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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.

2009 Honda DN-01 Road Test

Honda’s “Crossover” DN-01 blends the easy fun of a scooter with the lowness of a cruiser and handling of a sport machine.

Mark Tuttle
June 22, 2009

[this road test review of the 2009 Honda DN-01 was originally published in the August 2009 issue of Rider] If you find it difficult to imagine a motorcycle that combines some character of a sportbike with the lowness of a cruiser and the user-friendliness of a scooter, just look at the photos on these... Read more »

2009 Yamaha Tmax Scooter Road Test

Yamaha’s new TMAX blurs the boundaries between motorcycles and scooters. And the fence posts along the way.

John L. Stein
December 12, 2008

When Yamaha introduced the boisterous new Vmax streetfighter last summer, another “Max” had already slipped into the market under the radar. Billed as a cross between a sportbike and a scooter, admittedly the 2009 Yamaha Tmax looks like neither fish nor fowl at first glance-but then again... Read more »

2009 Honda DN-01 Road Test

Riding the Honda DN-01

Kevin Ash
October 10, 2008

[this review of the 2009 Honda DN-01 was originally published in the November 2008 issue of Rider] Confusion. If there was a consistent theme running through the presentation of Honda’s new DN-01 in Milan, then this was it. Confusion first is exactly what the DN-01 is or is meant to do-it looks... Read more »

2008 Can-Am Spyder Road Test

The Spyder at Mono Lake

Greg Drevenstedt
September 15, 2008

photography by the author, Gary Drevenstedt and Scott Hirko The not-so-itsy-bitsy Spyder at the western edge of Mono Lake, an ancient salt lake near Yosemite National Park. Feeling lonely? Having trouble getting noticed? Ride a Can-Am Spyder and you’ll instantly win friends and influence people.... Read more »

2008 Piaggio MP3 500 Road Test

2008 Piaggio MP3 500

Rider Magazine
July 9, 2008

If Batman owned a scooter the Piaggio MP3 500 would be it. In the immortal words of Robin, the Gotham-city hero’s sidekick, “Holy mechanical marvel, Batman!” And that it is, with its three wheels and parallelogram steering and suspension components that allow the MP3 to lean up to 40... Read more »

2008 Lehman Renegade Trike Road Test

Lehman Renegade Trike

Bill Stermer
July 8, 2008

We’ve seen them at rallies and rolling down the road, three-wheeled vehicles based on motorcycles that are referred to as “trike conversions.” The conversion process is usually performed by a dealer and consists of substituting a differential and a pair of rear wheels for the bike’s... Read more »

2008 Trike Buyers Guide

Rider Magazine
April 17, 2008

You’ve seen them on the road and probably heard the rationale. With three wheels, a tricycle is more stable than a motorcycle; there’s no dropping your trike in a parking lot. Come to a stop and you don’t even need to put your feet down to keep it balanced. And think of the weight you’re saving... Read more »

2008 Can-Am Spyder First Ride

Front riding view

Rider Contributor
April 11, 2008

[This 2008 Can-Am Spyder First Ride was originally published in the April 2007 issue of Rider magazine] by Troy Siahaan The wild vehicle you see before you is the 2008 Can-Am Spyder. The wild vehicle you see before you is the 2008 Can-Am Spyder, which parent company Bombardier is using to bring the... Read more »

2007 Kymco Xciting 500 Road Test

2007 Kymco Xciting 500 design

Rider Contributor
October 24, 2007

[This 2007 Kymco Xciting 500 Road Test was originally published in the May 2006 issue of Rider magazine] The Kymco Xciting 500 weighs 529 pounds fully fueled and carries its weight low. Scooters were big back in the 1960s when I was in high school, and began making a comeback in the ’90s. Today,... Read more »

The 32nd Annual Griffith Park Sidecar Rally

Norm and Ray Brown displayed their 1915 Indian V-twin and factory sidecar.

Paul Garson
May 1, 2004

Even Huell Howser, the host of PBS-affiliate KCET TV’s popular “California Gold,” showed up for the weekend event that brought sidecar rigs trundling into L.A.’s Griffith Park from all points of the compass. After all, this is the mother lode for rare, unusual and very high-tech sidehacks and... 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.

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