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Old 12-20-2012, 05:56 PM   #1
Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 21
Hack ID Help

Hey gang,

Could someone help me ID this sidecar? What do you think its current value is? What size bike would be a good match for it?

All I know is it is from the 80s.


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Old 12-20-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Location: Plano, TX
Oddometer: 583
I'm guessing a Velorex (experts chime in)
Size bike? Eh, I've seen 600cc bikes with sidecars like that. But more is better, your choice.
Value? $1500-$3000 or so.

My best guesses, not an expert
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:45 AM   #3
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Location: Formerly Shoreview, MN
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I believe that's a California sidecar. What condition are the mounting pieces? IIRC, replacements may be a bit tricking to find. You see those attached to Goldwings quite a bit as it is a bit heavier than some other fiberglass tubs.

Scott in Shoreview
'79 Suzuki GS550
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:01 AM   #4
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central NY
Oddometer: 206
I was thinking that it was a California Sidecar Friendship but at closer look it appears to have the narrow tire and rim that I believe Spirit America or another similar named company used before California Sidecar took it over.

What does it have for suspension? I know the California version used torsion bars inside the swing arm pivot. These are a know weak point and are no longer available from California Sidecar. seems I did see somewhere recently there is a guy making replacements. The bars are actually salvaged from early 1960's VW front ends, best ones are those that used king pins and only some of the bars from those are the correct size. BTDT.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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Location: Central Florida
Oddometer: 162
Article about the springs and things to watch for... I have a Friendship model as do a few other guys in here, there's a few things to keep an eye on but as long as you're aware of them I don't think it's a problem. If it's cheap and you're handy, I say go for it!
Prices I've seen run from ~500 to around 2K, upper end is usually newer models with updated parts. I would expect this one to be on the lower end.
Mine is mounted to a Ninja 500R, in this forum there's also one mounted to a GL1200 and a bigger BMW GS (sorry DirtyDR, I'm not sure what size your bike is ) so anywhere in between should be fine for bike sizes. Just be aware the smaller the bike, the less likely you will want to do any freeway running. (Mine is plenty capable, just not super comfy)

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #6
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I had California Friendship car like that mounted to a 80's model FJ 1200. It was a great match.

After looking at my pictures, I'm kind of sorry that I sold it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:44 AM   #7
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It looks like a Friendship I to me. A lot of the guys don't like the torsion springs but after 40,000 on mine I have no complaints. Check them regularly and keep them greased. The Friendship I most likely has the brass bushings so you probably want to see if Jay at Dauntless has some spares left.

Mine is on an 1150 GS.

06 Ural Patrol
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:56 AM   #8
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central NY
Oddometer: 206
I had a Friendship II for many years and also have a Companion sidecar from California Sidecar. Both had Torrington needle bearings in the swing arm. Not sure why some had the Torringtons like mine and some the bushings. In my opinion a bushing is a better choice for this type of application. Bushing should be able to stand a little abuse and lack of maintenance better than the needle bearing. Another possible advantage to the bushing is it would act as a damper due to the sliding friction. As the swing arm suspension has no shock it may help the ride some.

My Companion had the 16 inch cast wheel on it but after an accident broke it I found that a standard trailer hub would fit the axle and allow using a inexpensive trailer tire and wheel assembly that is available just about every where. Mine actually cam from Wallyworld of all places.

[QUOTE=DirtyDR;20307512]It looks like a Friendship I to me. A lot of the guys don't like the torsion springs but after 40,000 on mine I have no complaints. Check them regularly and keep them greased. The Friendship I most likely has the brass bushings so you probably want to see if Jay at Dauntless has some spares left.

Mine is on an 1150 GS.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:00 AM   #9
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It is a California friendship 1 from about 1981 or so. I put about 150,000 miles on one of these attached to a Honda GL1100 and as such have had just about every thing that can fail, fail. It is fairly light sidecar but as it has a strong frame can be mounted to larger bikes as long as you add ballist and change out the wheel. The wheel on these is known to fail, they tend to break at either end of the spokes. You can switch to an automotive wheel by running a trailer hub however if the wheel has much off set to it then you will also need a shorter swing arm. With the shorter swing arm you will need to remount the body to center it over the wheel. If I where to do this I would go with a 12 inch trailer wheel. California went with a 13 inch wheel with a 145 tire. The 145 tire almost fits under the body. The problemis 145 13 tires can be hard to come by. There is no provision for a brake on the sidecar at all. You could if you have to make changes to the swing arm add a brake however you must do it with the calipar under the swing arm as there is not enough room in the wheel well for it to be on top. You will also want to take apart, inspect and replace as needed the suspension. Look at the referenced article on this. If this still has the original lower mounts they will attach to the bike by clamping over 5/8 inch balls. These are known to FAIL. One of my employee's use to work at Califonia sidecars tells me they installed a new sidecar and had the mounts fail before it got out of the parking lot. We have the parts to up date these mounts. If it comes with clamps for the bikes frame they most liley will be of the type that does not have 1/4 inch bolts keeping them from spreading. These are also known to fail. They should either be replaced or be cross drilled for bolts. Unless the sidecar has been stored out out of the weather chances are the struts will be frozen from rust as they thread on both ends and water works its way down the treads and locks them up so plan on possibly needing to buy new struts. Our struts are threaded on one end only. The treaded end we install down so water runs out of the treads not into the treads. Tail lights are no longer made for these, windshields can be purchased at and of course we can supply mounting hardware. You also asked about what the sidecar is worth. Looking at the photo's which of course do not tell me every thing I would need to know to price the sidecar, if we had it I would be asking around $700 for the sidecar.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
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