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Sidecar + Scooter + Trike Motorcycles

Sidecar + Scooter + Trike Motorcycles is a catch–all category that, according to guides, includes machines that have styling, controls and seating positions like those found on motorcycles, but are different in important ways. Reviews of the Sidecars category include motorcycles with an affixed sidecar rig, also known as a “sidehack,” that adds a third wheel and a car that can be used to carry a passenger or cargo. Scooters have a step–through design that offers a chair–like seating position with the rider’s knees close together, as well as a twist–and–go transmission (usually a CVT) that doesn’t require a rider to change gears manually. Trikes are typically conversions–motorcycles with the rear wheel replaced by an axle and two car–like wheels/tires.

2011 Lehman Storm Road Test

2011 Lehman Storm Trike Engine

Bill Stermer
December 2, 2011

photography by Bill Stermer and Mark Tuttle [This 2011 Lehman Storm Road Test was originally published in the December 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Lehman’s trike conversions have been around since 1985, and its Harley-Davidson and Honda Gold Wing conversions have been a staple on American roads... Read more »

2011 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive Road Test

2011 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive front action

Greg Drevenstedt
October 6, 2011

Over the past few years we’ve tested quite a few machines with “automatic” transmissions: the SE5-equipped Can-Am Spyder, the electric-shift Yamaha FJR1300AE, the dual-clutch Honda VFR1200F DCT, the hydromechanical HFT-equipped Honda DN-01, as well as CVT-equipped scooters and the Aprilia Mana... Read more »

2011 Can-Am Spyder RS-S Road Test

Can-Am Spyder RS-S front action

Greg Drevenstedt
September 14, 2011

photography by Kevin Wing Hustling the Can-Am Spyder RS-S down a curvy road is an experience like no other, a full-body workout that is the most fun you can have on three wheels. When Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), the Canadian company best known for its Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft,... Read more »

2012 Can-Am Spyder RS and RT — First Look

2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Rider Magazine
July 15, 2011

2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited in Lava Bronze Metallic Our soon-to-be-delivered September issue features a full test of the 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS-S, the sportiest of BRP’s three-wheeled roadsters. Equipped with a 106-horsepower (claimed) 998cc Rotax V-twin, a state-of-the-art Vehicle Stability System... Read more »

Yamaha Royal Star Venture/Hannigan Trike Conversion Road Test

Royal Star Venture/Hannigan Trike rear beauty

Rider Contributor
June 14, 2011

story and photography by James Parchman [This Yamaha Royal Star Venture/Hannigan Trike Conversion Ridden & Rated was originally published in the March 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Hannigan’s Venture trike conversion has slick twin-pipe roadster styling but the lockable trunk, topbox and upper... Read more »

A Short History of Sidecars

The scene at the 2005 34th Griffith Park (Los Angeles) Sidecar Rally.

Clement Salvadori
May 13, 2011

Curious conveyances, sidecars. Few of us have ever ridden in one, fewer yet driven a rig. But there is a small, passionate number of sidecarists who love their three-wheeled machines, sometimes referred to as hacks or chairs, and a sizable number of companies that cater to these aficionados. The origins... Read more »

The 34th Annual GP Sidecar Rally in Southern California

Leaning into the green, sidecars from across the United States flock to Los Angeles’ Griffith Park for the 34th annual event.

Paul Garson
April 28, 2011

story and photography by Paul Garson Don’t start dusting off your roadracing leathers, the GP in the title above refers to Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, perennial home to the L.A. Zoo and Griffith Park Observatory. Both the Zoo and the Observatory have been “under renovation” it seems since Noah... Read more »

2010 Kymco Lineup

2010 Kymco Xciting 250

Rider Contributor
November 17, 2010

photography by Scott Hirko [This 2010 Kymco Lineup review was originally published in the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine]   2010 Kymco Grandvista 250 Kymco’s 2010 two-wheeled lineup, which includes 16 scooters and a small-displacement motorcycle, offers a wide variety of fun, stylish and... Read more »

2010 Kymco Xciting 500Ri vs. 2010 Yamaha Tmax

2010 Kymco Xciting 500Ri and 2010 Yamaha Tmax in action

Rider Contributor
October 20, 2010

photography by Scott Hirko [This 2010 Kymco Xciting 500Ri vs. 2010 Yamaha Tmax road test was originally published in the December 2009 issue of Rider magazine] 2010 Kymco Xciting 500Ri and 2010 Yamaha Tmax in action The first time I took one of these scooters out with my riding buddies they were holding... Read more »

2010 Lehman Crossbow Powered by Victory Road Test

2010 Lehman Crossbow Powered by Victory Review

Rider Contributor
May 26, 2010

photography by the author and Mike Callahan [This 2010 Lehman Crossbow Powered by Victory Road Test was originally published in the July 2010 issue of Rider] Trikes, with one wheel in front, two behind, have been around the motorcycle world for more than a hundred years; the earliest picture I can find... Read more »

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Sidecar + Scooter + Trike Motorcycles, Who Uses Them?

Sidecars, scooters and trikes appeal to very different riders. Road tests emphasize the fact that motorcycles with sidecars, which are considered quirky by anyone who doesn’t own one–part of the appeal–handle very differently than two–wheeled, single–track (one wheel in front of the other) motorcycles because they don’t lean when going around corners and curves, and thus require special riding skills. Scooters typically have small–displacement engines (49cc to 650cc) and are small and lightweight, making them perfect for riding around town. Because you don’t have to shift gears using a manual clutch and shift lever, anyone who knows how to ride a bicycle can operate a scooter. Like sidecars, trikes don’t lean when they go around corners, which gives riders a greater sense of stability and safety during road tests. Reviews indicate that many trike riders also appreciate not having to raise the machine off a sidestand, not having to put their feet down at stops, and not being concerned about tipping over, a common concern regarding motorcycles.

Sidecar + Scooter + Trike Motorcycle Standouts

Motorcycle guides discuss the fact that sidecars are quite rare these days, and the only major manufacturer of sidecar–equipped motorcycles is Ural, a Russian manufacturer. With old–school, utilitarian styling, Ural offers several models, from the entry–level Ural T with single–wheel drive to the military–spec Ural Gear–Up with two–wheel drive. Independent manufacturers such as Hannigan Motorsports, based in Kentucky, build sidecars for a variety of touring, sport–touring and dual–sport motorcycles. Scooters are manufactured by many companies, including Aprilia, Honda, Kymco, Piaggio, Suzuki, Vespa, Yamaha, and others. Most trikes are sold as conversions, but some motorcycle reviews discuss motorbikes that are mass–produced, such as the Harley–Davidson Tri–Glide and the Can–Am Spyder, a unique roadster with two wheels in front. Trike conversions are offered for many cruisers, touring bikes and scooters by companies such as Hannigan Motorsports, Motor Trike, Danson, Tow–Pac and Lehman.