First, you need to know what you are going to use it for. Are you going to carry a passenger? Will your passenger be an adult, child or both? Will your passenger have any difficulties getting in or out of the sidecar? Is the sidecar going to be big enough to be comfortable for your passenger? Is the stock seat ok or does your passenger or operator have any special needs?
Second, armed with the above information, talk to some experienced sidecarists about whether or not the motorcycle/sidecar you plan to use will work. I say to ask experienced sidecarists both because of their experience and because they are not trying to sell you anything. Sidecars are a lot of fun when matched to the correct motorcycle, but can be a nightmare if mated to the wrong one! Remember, your passenger’s life is in your hands, just as it is in your automobile.
Third, when talking to a manufacturer or installer who is hoping to sell you a sidecar, you should expect them to ask the same questions. By asking these detailed questions, they are telling you that they care about helping you to make the right model selection for your needs. How the sales person reacts to your asking about brakes and lighting, in my opinion, tells you how much they care about your safety as well. For that matter, do they even offer those items?
As you get close to actually buying your sidecar, you need to ask how long the build/install and/or shipping will take; if they need to have your motorcycle, how long? Also, how much money is needed up front and when is the balance due?
Fourth, there is one more thing I would strongly suggest. If you have not driven a sidecar rig before, look for a program that offers sidecar training. You really should take a sidecar education and training class before venturing out on the road. You may have a million miles on motorcycles but that experience goes out the window once a sidecar is attached. Driving a sidecar rig is a whole different animal! If you cannot find a credible training program, then get a copy of “Driving a Sidecar Outfit” by David Hough, and read it cover to cover. When you pick up your new sidecar outfit, plan on bringing it home on a trailer. Take it to an empty parking lot or other quiet place and practice starting, stopping, turning left and right. Once you feel comfortable with doing that, get some more experience on quiet secondary or back roads in your area. Just stay out of busy traffic areas until you are feeling comfortable with the sidecar and are not having to think about everything you are doing. Take it SLOWLY. It is not a race. That will come later. LoL.
Even if you are looking to purchase a used sidecar and intend to install it yourself, please call us at 1-866-638-1793. Ask us if your selection is a good one. At DMC Sidecars we are happy to help you learn and stay safe on the roads.