A tricycle offers more comfort and stability than its two-wheeled counterpart.
Even better, you can make it a lot more comfortable by adding a sidecar to it.
With a sidecar, you’ll have a roomier place to keep your stuff and even let your kids join in for a ride.
If you’re curious to know how to make tricycle sidecars, we’ll walk you through the steps to build one from scratch.
- Why Get a Sidecar for Your Trike?
- How To Make Tricycle Sidecar
- When To Hire a Sidecar Builder
- Final Thoughts
Why Get a Sidecar for Your Trike?
If you love cycling and the outdoors, you will find that a tricycle is a practical investment.
It’s no surprise that this eco-friendly vehicle is very popular among kids and adults.
More than that, it also makes an excellent ride for seniors and persons with mobility problems.
Owning a tricycle has many benefits.
Aside from being stable, it comes with bigger storage that comes in handy when you need to go to the grocery or when you have extra stuff to carry to work.
Then again, if you want to step it up a notch, you might want to consider getting a sidecar.
Tricycles with sidecars, also called sidecar rigs or hacks, are growing in popularity these days.
Riders who want to bring their spouses, children, or even their pets for the ride love them.
The idea of putting your kids in the sidecar might be scary, but it’s actually safe and legal.
In general, trikes with sidecars are regulated the same way as bicycles. As long as you’re following road safety rules, you should be fine.
Of course, you should take safety precautions, too, such as having your passengers wear helmets at all times.
Also, even though tricycle crashes are rare, installing a seat belt is a good idea.
With a seat belt, you lower the risk of your passenger getting ejected from the sidecar in case of a collision.
2. It makes for a more engaging outdoor experience.
Cycling lets you enjoy the outdoors at a much closer range than if you will drive a car.
For this reason, riding a trike is extremely enjoyable for children.
Being in an “open” vehicle, they can experience different sounds and sights. What’s more, they get to breathe some fresh air too.
3. It’s less intimidating to drive.
For individuals with balance issues, driving a tricycle is the solution.
Many trikes also have a low step, a more comfortable seat, and convenient handlebars designed for seniors and people with physical limitations.
4. It can be your go-to ride for urban living.
A tricycle makes an economical, eco-friendly option for city transportation. With a sidecar, it becomes even more helpful.
It gives you plenty of room to carry your personal belongings, work supplies, and groceries.
You can even take your spouse or kids with you to the grocery and still get enough space for your stuff.
How To Make Tricycle Sidecar
Getting a sidecar for your tricycle is a great idea, especially if you’re looking to use this vehicle for riding adventures with the kids or for running errands.
Building a sidecar from scratch can be pretty challenging, though.
Nevertheless, all your effort will be paid off once you see the finished outcome.
There are several steps involved in making a sidecar, but it’s not impossible for anyone who loves challenging DIY projects.
Of course, you need to have some skills with welding so that you can attach the rig to your trike securely.
Here’s how to make tricycle sidecar in easy steps:
Step 1: Create a design.
You can make your sidecar the simplest or the fanciest. It’s up to you.
However, when designing your sidecar, consider your activities or how you’d like to use it.
If you’re installing one so that your kids or spouse can join you for a ride, you want a sidecar that comfortably fits one adult or up to two kids.
In comparison, if you’re just using it for storage, you can design a pretty basic, box-like structure with a lid and a lock.
Step 2: Build the frame.
For the frame, you need a steel angle bar with a width of at least 25mm for a standard bike.
Your frame should be solid and properly welded together to ensure that it holds well over time.
If it’s your first time laying your hands on DIY projects like this, consider purchasing a DIY sidecar frame kit from bicycle shops.
It already comes with pivot bearings and seals, in addition to the parts.
The great thing about frame kits is that the steel bars are already welded. All you have to do is attach each joint.
What’s more, you will find many shops willing to customize the sidecar’s size and frame structure.
Step 3: Mount the wheel.
The next crucial step is to mount the sidecar wheel.
For balance and stability, position the wheel mount midway along the frame edge. Then, hold the mount using split pins and washers.
Alternatively, you can use a threaded bar for the pivot with some nuts to hold the sidecar in position.
Step 4: Assemble the sidecar.
For the bodywork, you can choose plywood or aluminum. Plywood is easier to cut, but aluminum is more resilient against rain and water.
Once the basic box is complete and an opening is cut, go ahead and paint and add finishing touches to the bodywork.
Step 5: Attach the sidecar to your bike.
You can attach the sidecar to your trike using a universal mounting kit, which you can buy at the local hardware.
The kit usually includes bolts, lock washers and nuts, large and small shims, and more. You will need a U-clamp to put things together.
Step 6: Align the sidecar.
Having the sidecar properly aligned ensures an easy and enjoyable ride each time.
Remember, the sidecar should be set level or adjusted to have as little toe-in as possible.
Attach the sidecar brackets to the motorcycle frame. Lift the sidecar and ensure that it’s correctly lined up with the brackets.
The axle should be between eight and 14 inches from the bike’s rear-wheel axle.
Also, check if the wheels are parallel to each other. Lastly, tighten the sidecar connections.
Step 7: Install accessories and safety gear.
Riding safety should be your priority when making a sidecar for your tricycle.
It’s best to have it fitted with a harness to help your passenger stay in place. It’s also nice to have a few accessories for your sidecar.
For example, a LED strip provides additional lighting when wandering around the neighborhood at night. Meanwhile, a speaker can make the ride more fun.
Other things like a mesh cover and a sidecar lock are helpful additions too.
When To Hire a Sidecar Builder
If you don’t have tools and know-how in welding, or you’re not sure if you can build a sidecar properly from scratch, it’s better to get it done at a shop.
You can save a lot of time and some money since you won’t have to invest in tools.
If you’re aiming for a complicated design, the more you should get a professional to build your sidecar.
Many shops make custom sidecars for bikes and motorcycles.
The price varies, but a sidecar for a trike would be more affordable than those used for motorcycles.
What’s more, many custom builders offer warranties for their products.
If you haven’t done a similar project in the past, you might benefit from purchasing sidecar framing and mounting kits from bicycle shops and local hardware.
These DIY kits come with pre-measured and fabricated parts, which you can easily install using bolts or screws.
If you’re thinking of a complicated design or want to ensure you get the sidecar installed right, hire a professional sidecar builder.
It may cost more upfront, but you can be sure that your tricycle sidecar is well-built, properly aligned, and crafted to your preference.