Instructables
Picture of Build a Bicycle Sidecar
This sidecar was built to transport my 3 year old son on the local cycle paths.

It was constructed from a steel angle frame, with a wooden bodywork and plastic screen.
It was designed to pivot against the bicycle frame so the cornering and riding were less affected by the addition of the car.
The design was reminiscent of sidecars which were commercially available in the 1940's.

Safety.
The sidecar was fitted with a harness to help the passenger stay safely in place.
A guard was also fitted to the side of the bicycle rear wheel to stop potential accidents between the child and the spokes.


Please note that being in the UK I mounted the sidecar on the left. If you cycle in a country where they drive on the other side of the road, you should consider switching the sidecar to the other side.
 
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Step 1: Making the Frame

The frame was made from 25mm steel angle 3mm thick. The angle was cut to the dimensions shown in the CAD sketch.
The frame parts were clamped in place using some wooden off-cuts and cable ties, then welded together.

Step 2: Adding the Wheel

The sidecar wheel was a standard 20" bicycle front wheel. The mounting was slotted to allow some degree height adjustment, but this could be ommited if you know what bike you are going to attached the sidecar to.

The wheel mount was positioned midway along the frame edge and welded in place.

The outer frame was a piece of 25mm steel strip bent in the vice. This was bolted to the main frame to allow the wheel to be removed more easily.
Once the outer frame was bolted in place, the outer wheel mount was clamped and welded to complete the wheel fixing.
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travderose made it!10 days ago

This thing is awesome so I had to make it! Check it out: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-Sidecar/

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abadfart3 months ago

what you have built is called a leaning sidecar (look up flexit) very cool i think i would do this with a solid mounted car because once you get past the terror the first cople of times you fly the car its a lot of fun. my motorbike is sidecar equipped due to my bad right leg not letting me ride full sized motorcyles

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astral_mage9 months ago

124 comments an counting.

arsha721281 year ago
I want to try this now.
cool!
skaar1 year ago
if you put one slot vertical, and the other horizontal, you could adjust camber and toe in, in case there was an error in placement for welding.
WOW that is just awesome!
padeutsche2 years ago
You could also save time in construction by using a plastic barrel, and if you watch how you cut the hole in the top, you get your seat back at the same exact time save even more time.
Plastic barrels come in all sizes from small medium and large so it will be basically the same technique to build one for an adult.
I saw an article years ago about a guy who used a steel barrel for a homebuilt sidecar for his motorcycle and it looked pretty cool. Plastic barrels have been used to also make travel trailers for motorcycles and bicycles, as well.
stevebod (author)  padeutsche2 years ago
Great idea.
I've seen motorcyle sidecars made from steel drums (and bath tubs!).
You are right that it would save a lot of trouble with the bodywork construction and a plastic drum would be light and easy to work.
Thanks for the tip !
neaton12 years ago
Have you been able to experiment with one for a full sized adult?
stevebod (author)  neaton12 years ago
I haven't tried it but my feeling is that the current pivot design would not be strong enough. A larger sidecar would mean more over hang at the front which would put more strain on the pivot. Perhaps an arm attached to the headstock which is also pivoted would be the way to go ?
Excellent work! Thank you for so many ideas. Here are two back.

IDEA #1: using the frame from a kid's bicycle trailer would ease construction. A dual passenger model is usually rated for 100lbs. Frames are either aluminum tubing or steel angle iron (from what I have seen). You have your choice of outside wheels to keep. Height is a bit fixed, but you can find 16" or 20" wheel models.

Pacific Cycling makes them for InStep and Schwinn. In the US, these are avail for not much $. Walmart has the Instep for $100, and $160 for the Schwinn. Used you can find them for $40-$100.

IDEA #2: a kid's car seat would be a very good seat for the sidecar.

I am glad you mention other body options. I too was thinking of fiberglassed cardboard :)

I am still wondering about how to attach the car to the bike. My son Jacob has Cerebral Palsy. A trailer is ok, but I rather he ride beside me :). Jacob weighs about 50lbs, so that + growth is my design requirement.

Cheers - john.
stevebod (author)  mostly water2 years ago
Hi John,
Thanks for the comments.
A trailer would be a good starting point as you suggest. The removed wheel could be kept on the back as a spare - in case of punctures :-)
And you may be able to reuse some of the bodywork construction too, those trailers often have lightweight windproof covers.

Cardboard in fibreglass is an easy to make composite material. It is a good idea and I have seen bicycle cargo trailers made this way. Try it and let me know how you get on.

Yes, yes, yes to a car seat. I thought about this too, but didn't have room in this design. Car seats are very comfortable, safe and have proper restraints. Some car seats use what are called ISOFIX mounting points. You could use the same attach points to fix the car seat to the trailer, this would be very rigid.

You mention transport for your son. Sidecars are much more sociable than trailers. A trailer may be more efficient and more streamilned, but the enjoyment of riding side by side should not be under estimated.

Good luck with the build.
Steve
Ghost Wolf4 years ago
Question can it be built for a full sized person?

Love your project very clean picture are not blurry and the instructable is straight forward. In other words 5 stars
stevebod (author)  Ghost Wolf4 years ago
Hi There,
The design coudl be scaled up, but my concern would be the load on the pivot bar. This would be under considerable strain during cornering.
I think for adult passengers a fixed design my be more suitable, but this would of course require a different riding technique.
Maybe two wheels would be needed :P
stevebod (author)  Ghost Wolf4 years ago
Interesting. Yes two wheels (one each side) would certainly ease the load on the pivot. I think the wheels would all have to be in line with the rear wheel to avoid steering problems. This is something that would require experimentation. The only possible downside is that it may look less like a traditional sidecar, but this need not matter.
or you can build a bike truck
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Damn, that looks great. Is that yours? Would love to see more detail.
I wish but no here's the link and video
Thank you! And I see the youtube clip has links to some more of their vehicle. Nice.
Might be able to figure some of it out from those. May not have the skills, parts or tools to MAKE it, but just figuring out how they did it is fun in its own way.
Hrm, one thing I'd change in their design is to ditch the sheet steel and use the sort of plastic they use on ultra light aircraft - stiff but light. But that's a pipe dream. Semi-enclosed and protected from the rain while riding. I like that idea. Would also reduce sunburn.
loool! make an instructable XD
lol If I had the money I would!
If you had the money...? I can't even afford a fro hat. :( and stuff
can you afford a hair cut?
stevebod (author)  Ghost Wolf4 years ago
It's a beauty !!
I like it.
Databanks3 years ago
Your sidecar's been ticking at the back of my mind for ages and seems to have turned up an idea - adding a car alternator and a 12V battery inside the trunk/boot of the sidecar. Thinking large cog on sidecar wheel, a couple of step up stages to get the alternator up to proper speed? Having had to take my kids home at night in an emergency with only bikes, the youngest struggles to stay awake. A sidecar, he could be all snuggled up while I ride and his older brother cruises behind. Any thoughts on the idea?
stevebod (author)  Databanks3 years ago
If I've understood you correctly you are talking about generating electricy for a lighing system. Your suggestion might work although I wonder if the gearing up might give some resistance to the pedaling. There are hub dynamo's available for bike wheels which run with minimal resistance. Using some LED lighting would enable you to power several lights off the one generator. This might be a better way to go. What do you think ?
Funny, I didn't get an email about your reply.
Yeah, you're right, it would add a lot of resistance and with the hills around here that's probably a bad idea. LED lighting and low-resistance dynamos or generators would be the best way to go. Or that contactless one in the reply above. It has the advantage of being able to mount the lights on the wheels/magnets on frame if you want to or reverse it and have the lights on the frame/magnets on the wheel. And only need to regulate it if you intend on using sensitive devices. LEDs aren't that fussy if you don't mind some flicker.
I'd still love to build the sidecar, but for now the trailer is working for us. In between jobs now, so I have the time but not the cash flow. When working it was the other way around.
Databanks, You should check out an instructable I found that might help you with your endeavor.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Charge-Any-USB-Device-by-Riding-Your-Bike/

This might answer your questions.
Actually, I came across one that looks fairly easy to do with scrap. Just needed some coils, some rare earth magnets, a smoothing capacitor, some diodes and some LEDs.
Found the link http://www.instructables.com/id/Contactless-dynamo-bike-wheel-lights/

In the end I didn't need a headlight for it because I've scrounged up enough bits to make a trailer that he can sit in comfortably. I found a golf kart that was just a frame and 2 wheels. With a little work and a timber box made from scrap it looks like a chariot and connects to the Trail-gator. A piece of broom handle on the back to mount standard bike tail lights and we're gold. Also doubles as a trailer for grocery shopping.

Still, a USB charger is a good idea. The contactless dynamo wouldn't be suitable for charging anything as it's unregulated, etc and no one wants to damage their device with unregulated power, so yours has a very good use.
cdncycler2 years ago
For those who are not into the metric system...what's all the measurements in the Imperial System?? I like this sidecar really good..I want to build one for a cruiser bicycle.
Can this be adapted to electric bicycles?
According to your design...what's the maximum weight for the sidecar?
stevebod (author)  cdncycler2 years ago
Hi There.
I don't have any imperial plans, but if you divide each number by 25.4, you will get a result in Inchs.
Hope this helps.
can I add a pistol bayonet to the front of the side car? Also do you think a laser sight would be useful?
stevebod (author)  carlchipsanders3 years ago
I don't know much about firearms, but if you built two you could do sidecar jousting - that might be fun.
that instructable will be coming soon than. Assuming I win the joust
SIRJAMES093 years ago
AWESOME!!
You did good!! because I'm not as smart as I wish I was, there were a few steps that I did not understand, but I think you explained things rather quite well.

This is definately something I want to try & build.

looks VERY SWEET!!!!!!
TY for sharing.
cheeseman53 years ago
I like it. Simple, efficient plan. The added comments were helpful, too.

Think I might try one myself. My first bike modification project, made from scrap, while I practiced welding; Was to weld 2 24" bikes side by side.
I slaved the front wheel forks with a tie-rod, and welded the 'slaved' bike's handlebars to the passenger side frame for a handhold. Both sides shift & brake independently...while steering is controlled from the left side.
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