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Motorcycle Leaner Sidecar – Homemade Projects

Leaner Sidecar

Leaner Sidecar Homemade Projects

You are going to love this webpage. Put on your slippers, turn the kettle on, grab a coffee and relax. This is the page where Leaner’s Share. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Off Road Leaner Sidecar Combination

Off Road Leaner Motorcycle Combination

“Easy removable was at the top of my list when I built my unit…That’s the main reason I built a leaner..held on by 3 bolts…. takes 10mins if yer not in a hurry to take off or put on..”

Source: Click Here

Off Road Leaner Sidecar FuelPete-NZ’s Off Road Leaner Sidecar to carry extra fuel: Click Here

Tom’s Leaner Sidecar Project

Tom’s project is the attachment of a Unison Leaner to a 1950 Sunbeam, however, due to limitations on the Pivot Points, is considering attaching with the same method as the Armec Sidewinder.

Tom’s Sunbeam Leaner Sidecar Project

Leaner Sidecar Project Tom

Watsonian Meteor with 19″ wheel from a 1930’s BSA sidecar frame. Currently addressing ground clearance issues.

Leaner Sidecar Project Tom

Tom has chosen a 3″ difference between the Front Pivot Mount and the Rear Pivot Mount.

Leaner Sidecar Project Tom

Tom – “I can get about 45 degree lean, which on a Sunbeam is quite daring, even whilst riding solo. Trying to keep the weight under 50kg finished.”

Dave – I am wondering, Tom, how you will put a passenger in the boat if there is no shock absorber on the sidecar wheel? Is it a torsion shocky?

Tom – Yes my son is going in the tub, the tyre will be run at about 10 – 15 psi to give some cushioning, the bike only has 1/2″ of springing at the back anyway.

Perhaps Tom’s Leaner Sidecar will look like this: Click Here

Wireless Motorcycle Tire Pressure Monitor System

Paul’s Kawasaki ZZR600 Leaner Sidecar Project.

Paul – Hi. Thx for your wonderfully helpful site! I have fitted a leaner car (Kozi) to my Kawasaki ZZR 600 but I’m having some stability issues. It’s still in test stages but there is a lot of rocking up and down of the car at the front and rear. It’s stable at 100kmh. And corners OK but with some steering shudder. Regards Paul

Dave – Hi Paul, So great to hear you are going down the Leaner path. I wonder if the rocking is somehow related to the attachments to the bike. Rose joints can loosen and bushes can wear. Next I would adjust the Tow In. Then I would check the tyres. Unbalanced or worn rubber and wheel bearings. Just sounds like a rocking up and down is most likely the attachment. Good luck with your project and enjoy the ride. Kind Regards, Dave

Dave – Hi Paul, Just thought I would share a sidecar attachment email conversation I had with Terry.

“David. I looked at some rod end bearings recently in a bearing suppliers. I was surprised to see there is end float within the bearings. The supplier explained that is normal and there must be a certain amount in all of them for normal operation. A bit too much movement for me. With two of them basically in line the sidecar would tend to pull back on acceleration and push forward during braking. I guess brass bushes are the way to go and would be in keeping with the age of my bike.

When you think about it mounting a sidecar rigidly to a bike is the worst thing you could do to a bike frame. I had been thinking independently about a banking sidecar for years and figured two pivots below axle height was the way to go. Having the front pivot higher than the rear as mentioned in your web page is an improvement. Regards Terry

Good luck Paul, Dave

Paul – Thx for your prompt reply. Yes the problem is in the mounting. The Kozi sidecar is all new. I did replace the wheel on it with one from a kawasaki EX 250. The original wheel had plastic bearings! The EX wheel has disc breaks I plan to fit later.

I’m going to try and make up some bush bearing to replace the tie rod ends (knuckle joins) I have on there now. I see other leaners use them but the three dimensional play isn’t helping.

The other leaners I’ve seen in photos all seem to be low slung too, maybe 6 inch off the ground. This is a good 10 inch. Maybe the extra hight doesn’t help with balance.

Dave – Hi Paul, Can I beg you for some photos? My website is all about sharing projects and experiences. The rotation is only on one axial plane on a Leaner Sidecar. So bushes are best suited to this task. Rose bushes are press fit and can collapse. Probably not a good idea if you don’t want your passenger going in a different direction to you. Can’t wait to see pics of your ride. Cheers. Dave

Paul – Still in early stages as yet. When I was getting the position right I needed some weight in it and a large tub of water was as easy option, until my young daughter found it. The other photo shows how easy it is to pick up blondes in it….

Paul Leaner Sidecar Project

Paul Leaner Sidecar Project

Dave – Thanks for the photos. Nice Ride! Do you still use the Kwaka kick stand? Some leaners have a stand on the Pivot Bars. Scroll down to Replacement Stand on this webpage.

Leaner Sidecar Combination – Bike Leans and Sidecar Doesn’t

How does the 600cc go on top end torque on the open road with a passenger uphill? Dave

Paul – Sadly I had to remove the centre stand and bolted the undercarriage mounting frame to the stand mounts. I still use the kick stand. At this point in time I’m not happy with the sidecar frame supporting the sidecar let alone the bikes weight as well lol

Paul – Leaner Update. Hi David. A few photos of the leaner so far. Still not finished but finished look.

U were asking how the 600cc pulls uphill with weight in it. Not too many hills here but yet I notice it. Doesn’t take off like it use to. But still not too bad. Just have to give it more notice when u want to get up and go.

They fit these sidecars to Vespa’s. That must knock them around.

The main changes I have made to mine are….

Leaner attached. Front wheel off a 250cc ninja with 4 piston disc breaks. Compete respray and fairing / windshield off ZZR600.

I’ve made all the attachments quick detach. Undo two 3/4 bolts and it comes off. The wiring is a 7 pin plug under the seat.

Hydraulic brakes are on the rear foot lever and run off a separate master cylinder that unbolts as a unit. Takes about 15 min to take it off.

Leaner Sidecar Paul
Leaner Sidecar Paul
Leaner Sidecar Paul

Leaner Sidecar Paul
Leaner Sidecar Paul

Dave – Hi Paul, I absolutely love how you put the windscreen on the sidecar to match. Looks awesome with that paint job too.
At least you don’t have to put Leading Link like the Vespa connected as a Rigid Hack. Leaner is definitely the way to go.

I would really be interested to know the following if you don’t mind.
Width of sidecar?
Width of sidecar and bike leaning out? (don’t include mirrors and
Did you add a battery for the headlight or is your bike power running it?
Is the front mount attachment higher than the rear mount attachment on your bike? Having the front higher helps to steer the sidecar as you lean the bike, rather than scrub the sidecar tyre sideways.

Your answers to my questions will really help my engineer as he is interested in fabricating a wheelchair accessible leaner sidecar combination.

Here is where my Rigid Hack is up to:
I so wish it was a Leaner. Oh well at least I can take my daughter on our rides.
Look forward to your answers. Cheers Dave

Paul – I’ve tried to make the bike and sidecar extreme lol.

Over the top with the decal and mirrors and fairing. It just got carried away from a simple project…..
I’ve sent u some more photos from my phone and email u from my iPad. It’s easier.
In the photos I have leaned the bike over and holding with a strap.

I’m working on a steering damper system to help take out bounce in the sidecar from bumps and pot holes. It could also be used to limit the lean ether way. This could be used in your argument about width for your licence centre.

The original mounting frame I had made to mount on the bike was too light and small.

I rebuilt a heavier one bolting the front mount onto the engine mountings and sacrificed my centre stand and bolted the rear mounting the mounting on the frame. I’ve used 3/4
tie rode ends and bolts as the pivots. Just thru the bikes suspension system it’s surprising the amount bounce the sidecar can get. I was going to try long bush bearing mounts instead of the tie rode ends but all the photos I have seen use the tie rod ends.

Yes I designed the front mounting about 40mm higher than the back to push the sidecar over when leaning / turning. Works very well!

But if hitting a pothole with the sidecar wheel it can pull the bike around a bit. Sort of steering the bike in reverse….. Causing some steering wobble. I have put a small steering damper on the handle bars and it helps. So far the dampers I have tried from the car to the bike tends to stabilise the bike more than the car making leaning too slow and not safe for cornering.

Surprisingly the faster the bike goes the less steering wobble occurs. It handles very well at 140 km (not that I have ever ride at the speed of course…..).

But and this will need more research and trial and error, at higher speed, like 100km, the bike tends to pull a bit. It has 30mm toe in at the moment. I just haven’t got around to adjusting it more yet. It seems strange but maybe it needs toe out not in???

In the photo of the bike leaning out I don’t think I would lean out that far when cornering (but it would come close to it) and even if I’m trying to I have never hit the car with the bike on a left hand corner. I wouldn’t want the car any closer to the bike, it seems about right.

Of course with the car attached it’s no longer just a bike so can’t expect racing type performance from it. In the photo the total width is 190cm. Errrr sorry must have misread the tape because legal width is 185cm right? ๐Ÿ˜€

With the Kozi sidecar there is a lot of room between the wheel and body of the car. I think this could be reduced by 100mm maybe. Meaning overall would be narrower.

I don’t think it’s fair the over width of the bike and car is Max of 185cm because cars, utes and trailers are all wider. And so what if the bike sidecar is a little wider on a corner because it leans out? What is the width of a car and trailer when they are turning?!

Head light and battery….. The extra headlight is an eBay job ($70). It’s three high output LEDs. Single on low and all three on high. I’m stunned how bright it is. But because it’s LEDs the wattage is very low. Also I have replaced the tail lights and blinker with LED globes. I haven’t calculated out the total wattage used but I think it would be fine. I would like to replace the bike headlight globe with LED too. Paul

Leaner Sidecar Paul

Leaner Sidecar Paul

Leaner Sidecar Paul

Leaner Sidecar Paul
Paul – Just been having a read thru your set up. U have done bloody well! I’m surprised at the weight. Only 140 kg.

I think my sidecar weight would be about 100kg?? Just a guess. The frame is heavy but I can easily lift it myself.

The body is just thin rolled tin and light as.

Good choice of bike for your car, much more power than mine. Geez mine sucks thru the fuel if I try and open it up on the road. Maybe double the normal or more.

I’ve just picked up a ’84 BMW K100 1000cc. I’ll make it into a cafe racer. Thinking about making a trailer for it….

Dave – Hi Paul, Sorry to bother you again.

I was uploading your photos to the Haul N Ride Community and looking at the bolt that remove/attaches the sidecar, I thought it really could do with a Nyloc nut. Hate the thought of vibration loosening it. Cheers Dave

Paul – U are right, good pick up! But the way I always build things is just out of my head and work it out as it goes.

I once built a stone building 18″ x 36″, a Korean style martial arts training hall, complete with return verandas and double sliding doors on each side and high pitched exposed beams roof without putting a pen to paper. Just straight out of my head. (It was under the $20k restriction so didn’t need to submit plans to the council)

Anyway I wielded the nuts onto the mounting frame for the bike then later realised I couldn’t put a locking nut on it as it there isn’t room for it to turn. So what I’ve done is used super strength loctite on it. I’ve been meaning to also drill thru and nut and bolt and then put in a split pin.

If u want any more photos of any bits let me know and I’ll send u some.

One bit that worked well was running the brake line and wiring past the rear pivot point. Stopped any looping lines problems that occur as the bike leans one way or the other.

Compare Motorcycle Airbag Clothing – Riding Gear Review

Terry’s Ariel Plunger Leaner Sidecar Project

Terry – “I am looking at designing and building my own tilting sidecar attached to a special I am building that has two JAP 600 cc SV engines set in tandem in a stretched Ariel plunger frame. Attached are a couple of pictures of the bike in its early stages. I will be able to experiment with the firing order to get it to sound like a parallel twin or V twin with different angles between the cylinders. The best power delivery and sound combination will decide the settings. Can you tell me the size of the Rod End bearings that are normally used? The threads look about 20 mm diameter in the pictures with the BMW outfit. Thanks Terry.”

Leaner Sidecar Ariel Plunger

Leaner Sidecar Ariel Plunger

Dave – Hi Terry, Unlike motorcycles, it is difficult to locate specifications on the Internet when it concerns sidecars.
Most Ariel motorcycles provide little frame to attach to. Likewise the BMW on the Kalich Leaner website has little frame to attach to. Using Google Translate, the website states a sub frame is custom made for each motorcycle:

โ€œThe subframe is exactly adapted each type of motorcycle and different in appearance and dimensions.โ€

The other examples on ADVRider website, also have no frame to attach to and a Shadow Frame was also fitted:

Therefore, it seems you will have to fabricate a strong Pivit Bracket (Shadow Frame) in order to attach the Pivits.

The Kalich Schwenker Website:ย states the following:

“What technique is this necessary? Under the bike a subframe is attached. Front and rear of this are backlash-free ball joints that lead to the sidecar chassis. Because of the different height of the bearing points of the side car when cornering draws passively.”

Example ball joints (up to 30mm) can be seen here:

I am not an engineer, however, while consulting two engineers concerning our wheelchair accessible leaner sidecar project; both had concerns that this ball joint has a weakness due to being press fit. Also that a ball joint is not necessary as the motorcycle will only rotate on one axis. Therefore, the advice given was that a bush is all that is required. But your Leaner will be lighter because our sidecar weighs 140 kgs, the wheelchair 110 kgs and the occupant 55 kgs. Even if you did choose the bush option, you still need a thread to adjust Tow In.

As it is not possible to determine the size from a photo, if I were you, I would either contact a manufacturer for specifications or just go for the 30mm to give maximum strength. Like me, you probably cannot speak German, so I would try the Canadian company that have built Leaner Sidecars:ย or ask the guys on the ADVRider Forum.

Hope your sidecar project goes smoothly, Cheers Dave

Terry – I am sorry to hear that your family needs a wheelchair.
Sidecars can certainly be a lot of fun. You are correct in saying bushes are only required for a tilting sidecar however the rod end bearings eliminate misalignment. I have had a couple of rigid sidecars in the past. The best was a 1930’s Brough Superior 1150 outfit. It took me many years to restore it.ย The chassis acted as an auxiliary fuel tank holding 1 1/2 gallons. You had to be stationary and use a rubber hose plus a tyre pump to pressurise the fuel. I sold the outfit to a guy in Florida and it has won many shows in the US.

The bike is a 1934 Brough Superior Model 1150 with a 60 degree 1100 cc side valve JAP engine. The sidecar is a 1938 Brough Superior Grand Alpine Sports with the Cruiser body. It was a pure Art Deco design. As previously mentioned the sidecar chassis acts as an auxiliary fuel tank holding 1 1/2 gallons. The sidecar wheel was fitted with a brake that operated in conjunction with the rear brake of the bike. It won many best of shows in NSW and now in the US it has won numerous best of show. Regards Terry

Brough Superior Leaner Sidecar

Brough Superior Leaner Sidecar

Terry – Dave attached are the pictures I mentioned. They came from the BS Club archives.
The first shows an 1150 Brough Superior motorcycle like mine with a period Garrad sidecar plus a Garrard caravan. The caravan or motorcycle van looks like very light weight construction however it is immense and must have caught the wind.ย ย This was on the road in the UK for many years and probably driven to death as it no longer exists according to the BS Club register. The owners used it on trips all over the UK and took their numerous pets with them including cats, a cocker spaniel and a ferret all together on trips of up to 200 miles. Only the English !

The second group of pictures shows a double adult sidecar attached again to an 1150 Brough Superior like mine. The sidecar is bigger than the bike. Apparently the four passengers enjoyed numerous holidays together. This outfit no longer exists either and was probably driven to death. I can’t imagine riding four up the weight would have been just too much for safe motoring. Cheers Terry

Brough Superior Leaner Sidecar

Brough Superior Leaner Sidecar

Terry – David. I looked at some rod end bearings recently in a bearing suppliers. I was surprised to see there is end float within the bearings. The supplier explained that is normal and there must be a certain amount in all of them for normal operation. A bit too much movement for me. With two of them basically in line the sidecar would tend to pull back on acceleration and push forward during braking.
I guess brass bushes are the way to go and would be in keeping with the age of my bike. When you think about it mounting a sidecar rigidly to a bike is the worst thing you could do to a bike frame.
I had been thinking independently about a banking sidecar for years and figured two pivots below axle height was the way to go. Having the front pivot higher than the rear as mentioned in your web page is an improvement.
Regards Terry

Dave – Hi Terry, Nice to hear from you.
I agree. I love the way the sidecar wheel is steered rather than scrubbed as it turns the corner. Thanks to the higher front mount. I would so love a leaner.
This video is my favourite.

Hey imagine if the leaner sidecar was a motorcycle.
The passenger could have some “non operational” handlebars. Don’t think it’s been done yet. Would be handy for a motorcycle instructor and student.

I’ll put the feedback about the Pivot Mounts on Haul N Ride.
Maybe they are a bit light for the type of work they will be doing.
Take Care

See Photos and a Detailed History of the Brough Superior and Sidecars. Click Here

Check out this Build

Leaner Sidecar

See more photos from this builder and read his story – Roadliner Leaner: Click Here

And Here

Share Your Project

Submit Your Leaner Sidecar Project: Write a comment below indicating you would like your project on this page. Other builders would love to see your project. ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out my other website, click the link below ๐Ÿ™‚

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Haul N Ride website was created to explore Innovation and Human Creativity with a focus on Interesting, Rare and Unusual Motorcycles and Accessories. Haul N Ride welcomes the sharing of projects and ideas, creating an enjoyable and educational online resource. We like to hear from readers so please leave a comment below and let us know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

Thank you for visiting Haul N Ride. Dave

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2 thoughts on “Motorcycle Leaner Sidecar – Homemade Projects

  1. Hi Reinier,
    Thank you for visiting Haul N Ride and providing your comment.
    I visited the ADVrider link you shared in your comment and love your creativity.

    How clever that you used the Citreon swingarm and Suzuki shocky from spare parts in your garage.
    However, the square tubing swingarm looks a lot neater and simpler.

    With the front mount connected higher on the bike, as the bike leans, it will naturally steer the sidecar instead of scrub the tire.
    Question: Is this what you have found?

    Apart from the ships boulder bending the sidecar frame, have you had any clearance issues?
    Question: What is the clearance between your frame and the road?

    Relocating the swingarm seems to have put the sidecar wheel hub further to the rear and improved the right turns.
    Question: Could you share with our readers the “Wheel Lead”? (distance between motorcycle rear axle and Sidecar hub center).

    Question: Could you please let us know the total width of the combination without lean and total width on full lean?

    Under 60 kgs is a great sidecar for a leaner combination, so light.

    We welcome you email photos and explanations of you build to

    Many visitors to Haul N Ride would love to read about your journey and benefit from your story.
    Feel free to send as many emails and photos as you would like to share with explanations of the photos.

    We can’t wait to hear more from you.

    Wow, not only are you a good welder, I am very impressed with your upholstery skills, you did a wonderful job creating the sidecar seat.
    I look forward to your story and photos.
    Have a great day. Dave

  2. Hi Dave,
    I’ve been reading your page with a lot of interest. Thanks!
    I’ve build my first leaner sidecar 6 years ago after reading about it. I’d never seen a leaner sidecar in real life at that time but that didn’t stop me.
    At first I build a prototype attached to an old Suzi GSX1100 from ’83. This was a very rough build but it served my purpose; I learned a lot on how to build my next one.
    I’ve attached the second build to my BMW K100rs from “88. The tub is a Polish Junak tub. The total weight is under 60 kg.
    The combination is proving to be very reliable and an absolute joy to ride. I’m riding it a lot together with my daughters and they love it.
    I’ve made a small build topic on ADVrider with a little bit more info ( ), if you are interested in posting my hack on your site, you are very welcome to do so. I’ve got a lot of pictures and I like to discuss with other leaner owners.
    Best regards from the Netherlands

    Reinier Smallegange

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