Why all the sales drama buying a sidecar?

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Scott-E

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#1
I've been looking on-line for a sidecar. I'm having arthritis problems with my right ankle. Eventually that's going to lead to injuring it when my ankle rolls over at a stop and the bike falls over on me. I can't believe how every site that sells them goes about it. They are all misleading about the cost and what you'll be getting and what you must order to actually attach the sidecar to your bike and make it work. The only exception is Ural where you buy a bike with the sidecar already attached and ready to go. All I wanted was a factory built unit that I could order and put on my bike myself. I looked at Saferwholesale.com reviews and apparently actually receiving a sidecar with everything you were expecting never happens. Parts will be missing and they will not send you the missing bits you must have. The warranty and customer service ends when the crate leaves the warehouse. The most reputable sidecar dealer is Cozy but you must purchase the mounting kit separately for $480, which are out of stock. From what I can tell their customer base is made up of Royal Enfield and Triumph owners and they don't care to sell to anyone else. I think they have troube with customers that can't put the sidecar on properly with the universal mounting kit on bikes other than Royal Enfield and Triumph where they have mounting kits made specifically for those bikes. The other sidecar dealers only want to sell to RUB's (Rich Urban Bikers) with Harley Davidson or Indian Bikes and feature reproduction sidecar designs that started in the 1930's, and have never changed.

Well, I've officially given up buying anything related to sidecars on-line. I'm going to build one from scratch. I've already started designing the mounting kit which will replicate Craig Vetter's design except instead of manually turning the lean angle adjuster I will have an electric actuator instead. Another design I am coming up with is the wheel and suspension brackets. I'm going to design it as a separate unit from the frame that can be fitted to any sidecar frame. A plate will allow bolting it to a bracket that welds to the frame. There will be an easy to adjust toe-in adjuster on the suspension assembly. Adjustment will consist of pulling into a parking lot, loosing a clamp bolt, turning a lever to increase or decrease tow-in, and then tighten the clamp bolt. All done with just a socket, extension, and ratchet in less then 5 minutes. If it works I may patent my designs and go in the sidecar busness and operate it without all the drama I have discovered with other sidecar sales sites. I would contract a local sheet metal shop and/or a cabinet shop to build the sidecar body's and fab the frames, mounting hardware, and suspension unit myself. Everything would be made here in the USA.
 
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Alan F.

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#2
That's the spirit! It seems to me that a well designed product with superior service and universal application, could easily take over the greater market share. Popular sidecar design, with few noteable exceptions does seem to be stalled in the early 20th century.

I would suggest different scaleable models to match a variety of different sizes of bikes (wheelbase and weight). In Boston there are a few winter regulars with sidecars, some Urals and a few small bore Honda twins.
 
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Scott-E

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#3
That's the spirit! It seems to me that a well designed product with superior service and universal application, could easily take over the greater market share. Popular sidecar design, with few noteable exceptions does seem to be stalled in the early 20th century.

I would suggest different scale-able models to match a variety of different sizes of bikes (wheelbase and weight). In Boston there are a few winter regulars with sidecars, some Urals and a few small bore Honda twins.
My son has a Kayak but I never really paid attention to it before I starting thinking about sidecars. I quickly realized the same process used to make those modern Kayaks could be used to make sidecar body's. They could be made very inexpensively, would be very durable, and very light weight. I'm not going to design "replica" sidecars. I never even considered such a thing. I would let the manufacturer design several different models along a simple guideline of carrying one or two persons and design one or two for Dogs because most sidecars are used to carry Dogs. The design would also consider the manufacturing process. If it's easier and cheaper to make them round then round they would be. I want to keep the cost so low that a customer could order a sidecar for hauling people and another for hauling Dogs and easy to change them out in just a few minutes. Of course designs would include a several sizes of aerodynamic box's for hauling cargo such as camping equipment and grocery's. Speaking of Kayak's, a simple kit would allow a Kayak or other small boat to be carried on the sidecar frame.
 
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Dave Ireland

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#4
I'd be inclined to pick up a beat-up kayak and use it as the main passenger carrying bit, but that's just me. I can't see up-cycled kayaks having much appeal to RUBs :)
Otoh, if you make and sell bare chassis for the customer to put whatever they like on them, you'd be surprised at what will come out the owners' garages. The heyday of home-built sidecars over here were the post-war years, and there were still a lot of them trundling around the roads of Britain when I was a boy. I recall seeing everything from aircraft drop-tanks to bathtubs being used. Ok, some of them were meant as a bit of a joke, but several were truly ingenious.