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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1821
Good Answers: 7

Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 3:44 PM

Hi guys,

As some of you know I have built my own leaning concept sidecar and also my own motorcycle trailer.

As they are not strictly covered by any legislature ruling, how legal are they when I get pulled over?

Also how would the resale of such item needed to be conducted?

I have built my sidecar back in 2003 specially for the Harley Davidson party in Barcelona celebrating their 100th anniversary. It has done in excess of 25,000 miles since then on 2 different Harley's and nothing has gone wrong ever. It even got hit by a car once in a car park, the bike got hit with the sidecar attached and the sidecar once bottomed out in a verge when I was pushed of the road by a tractor. Never anything broke or threatened to break so it is proven to be well built.

I was always happy for my family to be in it and there is nothing dearer to me.

Same story with my trailer.

Any body out there any ideas or experience relating to this?

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Guru

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 786
Good Answers: 23
#1

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 5:11 PM

Here's a bike with a sidecar that does not even exist in the real world..

I used to ride that bike when it was new. Some friends of my dad did this to it. It's fooled a lot of people.. won a lot of awards, and given a ton of rides...

I would try to get a homemade trailer licence..

That's what my brother an I did after cutting this truck in half!..

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Associate

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Carlow, Ireland
Posts: 41
#6
In reply to #1

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 4:23 AM

I dont see any sidecar, is it an invisable one

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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1821
Good Answers: 7
#8
In reply to #6

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:27 AM

It is partly hidden behind the mans big bel...........sorry just kidding.

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Guru

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Location: Chicago
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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 12:55 PM

.. great camouflage! It's on the other side.

Hidden to protect the guilty..

If I find another photo....

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Guru

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:31 AM

Looks an old Honda cb250 engine, is it?

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Guru

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 12:53 PM

You have a great eye!

Since it's never revealed as a fake when on display.. People from all walks just accept it as a 1915 Trusty.. so easy to fool people.

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Guru

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 4:42 PM

I used to have a CB400 which looked similar and my mother had a 250N which again is not far different except for being a single (with 2 exhausts).

Do I see correctly that the olive drab is also on the inner sliders of the fork legs? However did that must have been very enthusiastic and a great fan of olive drab. It should not have stuck to that chromed surface very easily and I should know as I have tried (see other thread).

Anyway I might not sell as it is still an unfinished project even though it has done all those miles. The trailer might be handy again one day so I should really keep that as well.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 5:44 PM

Yes, A big fan of olive drab, and a bigger fan of saving time.

That bike did belong to my aunt, then mom, and now.. I'm not even sure!?

It's gone as an accessory to a some air shows where they brought their WW1 home built biplane .. from scratch..

I think the prop was powered by a Suzuki motorcycle engine.

I would NOT take that for a ride.. No way...

It has a history of being overly susceptible to gravity.

Currently I enjoy an old Honda Shadow 700.. Fun bike

I'd love to upgrade someday, but it's less expensive not doing so.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/28/2008 3:27 PM

I love Harleys and I love cafe racers.....combined makes above bike (one day when I win the lottery)

Frame= norton featherbed with long road holder forks.

seat and tank= egli vincent nostalgic racer

Engine= Harley 1200 sportster sport

Picture made in psp8pro done as real photo. Brushed into pencil drawing. Lumped new engine in it from picture of my brothers sporty taken on the same angle. Coloured in psp8pro with pencil tools to make it look hand drawn.


Copied on scannner and improved with tipex for realistic look.

If you cannot afford buying new you make it yourself.

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Guru

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/28/2008 11:20 PM

I always do!

That's acrylic on canvas, and I then did silver leaf.. I do my best work by hand.

That's a new building going up in town. I can't afford to life there, but I can draw it.. I like architecture quite a bit.

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Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/29/2008 2:45 AM

Nice artwork...
I just did a sketch of a building site up the road, for submission to a local exhibition that's coming up....I went a bit wild with the colour! I'm doing an abstract too in acrylic ... not worked on canvas, must give it a try.

Del

PS More of my Industrial architecture stuff here

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#2

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 5:39 PM

I'm sure I've seen leaning sidecars years ago when I used to subscribe to 'Motorcycle Mechanics' .. ah many happy days perusing that magazine..or am I confusing it with 'Parade'?...

Del

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#11
In reply to #2

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:31 AM

Parade tends to lean sometimes

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#3

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 5:42 PM

I feel I must further add a gratuitous 5000th post>
I hope you feel honoured that it falls on your thread...
I remember my paternal Grandfather having a motorcycle and side car when I was young, we used to think it very exciting to travel in it.

Whooo whooo 5000 gw' blimey Guv do I get 'Super Guru' 'Cool Cat Dude' or some such... the Sardines are on me guys

Del

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Guru

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#12
In reply to #3

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:33 AM

Good on you but why did you spoil the fun.

You went on to post elsewhere so now it is not showing the 5000 in my thread anymore.

Now you have reached super guruness what are you going to do, live on a hill like a hermit?

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#4

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 11:20 PM

I presume that you reside in the EU, so what I will say is no help to you. I live in the U.S.A. and in the states where I had motorbikes registered, not a single one made any mention of the sidecar on the title or registration. As far as I can tell, it is treated as but an accessory such as a windshield or pair of saddlebags.

The only time it would be an issue is if someone inquired about the VIN of a Harley-Davidson through the factory service, and if that motorbike left the factory equipped with a sidecar then it would be considered as part of the motorbike. But that would only be important to someone who might restore an old motorbike I guess.

I could be wrong, as my experience is limited to my residency in two (2) North American states. But I think I am correct in saying that most, if not all, states in the U.S.A. do not recognize the sidecar as a "vehicle."

Now, the same cannot be said for trailers in the U.S.A.; whether they have one (1) wheel or two (2) wheels. In some states they are required to be registered and display a license plate. So, in those states they must have a registerable identification number for the vehicle title. If a title is not available, the trailer can still be registered. But it is a long process of providing receipts (for home-built units), Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (for purchased new units), and at the very least a bill of sale. This is followed by an inspection to make sure the "vehicle" meets all applicable road safety requirements.

As far as the legality if you are pulled over? Hmm. You are probably safe here, unless you are in a country/state/city that regulates and/or bans the use of sidecars. As far-fetched as that sounds, we have states here that do not allow the use of modulating headlamps-even if one is just passing through. Some states do not allow the use of helmets with built-in speakers. I don't think they are safe either, but hey, that's my opinion and to each his own.

Your post brings up an interesting point. I do not know of any motorbike builder who will sell one a hitch for towing a trailer because of forseen liability issues. But, plenty of these hitches are available from other sources and some guys make their own. Funny, because the manufacturer has "determined" that its motorbikes are "not suitable" for towing a trailer yet one can buy one and legally tow it.

I do not really know, but do I think that Harley-Davidson is one of the very few motorbike companies who will still sell a factory sidecar with their touring series motorbikes. I've seen factory sidecars on other makes of motorbike, but these were older machines made by BMW and I think BSA.

Best Regards,

Ing. Robert Forbus

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:26 AM

I do live in the UK so I guess we ought to consider that the EU but don't count on it as we don't like it much

Here the sidecar is not on the V5 (vehicle documentation) either unless it was factory fitted. If you ride with sidecar and the annual test comes along, it needs testing if any sign of the sidecar is on the bike. That means that if you can remove it fully, i.e. all fittings and fixings included, you can test your bike solo.

Trailers never get tested here and never show up on the document. Trailers do have to show a registration but it has to be of one of the vehicles you own that need their own registration document (little known fact this, you can drive car A that belongs to you with a trailer that shows reg number of car B that also belongs to you)

When I made this rig, I enquired about the law and was told this is one of the few grey areas left in the SVA (single vehicle application) regulations.

Same as building trikes. Trike on car basis needs seat belts and lights must conform to car regs, trike on bike base does not although you need a handbrake and you still don't need to wear a helmet

With regards to a normal sidecar I would never entertain the idea. I like to lean in corners otherwise I might as well take the car.

Also I am not considering selling for fear of falling foul of the law, I might not need the rig in the future and just wanted to know the story as selling implies certain responsibilities nowadays.

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#5

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/26/2008 11:53 PM

Hello,

I Bet Blink might know as he's building 3 wheelers. He's pretty sharp on that stuff, Look him up in CR4 .

http://cr4.globalspec.com/member?u=1712

Good Luck,

Joe Woodall, Managing Partner

Georgia Adobe Rammed Earth & Renewable Energy

2395 Bowman Hwy. NW

Dewy Rose, GA 30634

www.georgiaadobe.com

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Guru

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/27/2008 7:30 AM

Thanks, I know Ken.

What I found in this motor vehicle stuff is that a law for one class of vehicle seems to always not apply to a member of another vehicle in another class. It is as if they made it illegal or something, oohhhhh noooo sir, don't mix the classes, that is very bad! Ok so tell me about that other class than? We cannot sir, we are not allowed to talk about classes we have no certificate for.

Makes you want to throttle them for being civil servants.

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#20
In reply to #9

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/29/2008 5:10 AM

At one you could for a nominal fee ($10) go to State trooper HQ or highway patrol Station and have DOT inspection and safety certification upon any vehicle to establish roadworthiness thereby avoiding the roadside gotcha!

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#21

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

04/30/2008 12:55 PM

If you were to buy a side car what sort of pedigree would it have? you could do a little registration laundering from a wrecked one.

Still waiting to hear how the alternator fix came out ?

for paint on chrome you might consider appliance paint [epoxy], I had fair success after a #400 grit sanding.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

05/01/2008 5:19 PM

What type of pedigree would an unregulated conveyance need?

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

05/02/2008 1:05 AM

Depends on how much of a rectal cranial inversion the cop is.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

05/02/2008 3:26 PM

Good point, nice question and brilliant answer. My hat off to this worthwhile twist in my thread.

Problems I foresaw were to do with insurance for the new owner as I have always omitted to mention the make of the sidecar, just said "sidecar" of aftermarket type.

Also wanted to prevent any possible sale resulting in the fore mentioned coppers knocking on my door for some form of retribution after new owner killed himself on my rig.

Many possible reasons why I would want to make sure even though I am prepared to ride it with my whole family on it, does not equate to some other sod doing the same.

I don't know how far these "new" generally accepted guidelines go but if you sell your house nowadays, you are required by law to mention anything that could impede the new owners happiness in the future. No mention as to what this might or have to include

I know my sidecar is not a house, even though I built it as one, you could still argue you would have to tell him you made it and it has not had any testing done whatsoever.

Just making sure and putting my foot in it firmly, as it should be done

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

05/03/2008 12:34 AM

Hi Case491,

Reading all the postings since this question was posed , It looks more and more like you might be thinking of building these sidecars to sell and it could become a great business if marketed correctly. This situation reminded me also of how we once proceeded to add a product to our shop; as we also have a steel fabrication enterprise, here at our place .

I asked the local Govt Tax Commissioner ( Georgia USA ) about the fact that we were going to be making trailers ( tow dolly's Etc. ) to sell and he told me that after 2 units were built and sold, we were then considered as a proper manufacturer, of the same , by the State Govt and that we had to comply with the registration of said trailers by numbering them through his office and we would issue our own titles as we wished. Additionally , he told me that the county attorney had told him that , court cases he knew of, had held that this was the point also , where one becomes a manufacturer.

As such, one would wish to also have proper manufacturers liability insurance coverage and that added an additional small premium, to our existing fabrication shop coverage.

You might call the local tag & title agency in your township and hear their requirements ( if they can/will give a opinion also your legal consular and set up a small corporation to be the Company building them ) and also ask your insurer about the initial manufacturers liability coverage for the sidecars. This should keep you sleeping better at night for 1 Thousand US. or so, at least for the first year- most likely. They will want to know about your experience building the sidecars ( Bring Photos and detail your working knowledge on paper at least for talking points ) and bring your sales projections for the coming year. You can expect an insurance audit of your sales , most likely ( at least a self audit ) at the end of year 1, just to catch you, in any under estimation .

As to those tough guys buying custom made sidecars and not being satisfied with your work , an American High Sheriff named: Buford Pusser once said " walk softly and carry a big stick ". For Me, I'm satified to just have, good friends and family with us.

Best Of Luck To Ya.

Joe

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#26

Re: Self build sidecar or motorcycle trailer. LEGAL OR NOT?

03/27/2010 4:45 PM

Generally speaking: If DOT is happy, Georgia is happy.

All of my sidecar creations include tail, turn, brake and side marker lighting that meets DOT.

Note: If you choose to omit DOT lighting and are ever in an accident -- even if it's not your fault -- you can still be charged with "contributing to the cause of an accident."

Don't be sappy -- keep DOT happy

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Anonymous Poster (1); bwire (2); case491 (9); Del the cat (3); Garthh (2); Georgia Adobe (2); Ing. Robert Forbus (1); JE in Chicago (5); murphyc1 (1)

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