Just after the motorcycle was invented, someone wanted to find a way to bring along more people for the ride, so to say. And the sidecar was invented.
In all seriousness, did you know its invention is thanks to a cartoon? In 1903, a cartoon by George Moore showed a motorcycle with a sidecar. A few weeks later, that design had been patented by WJ Graham who then took the concept into production in partnership with Jonathan Khan in Middlesex, England.
And that's how the sidecar was born.
It became all the rage in the early part of the 20th Century and had uses beyond recreation. In fact, dispatch riders during World War I were sometimes given motorcycles with sidecars so a passenger and a machine gun could add some protection to their dangerous journey. The motorcycle and sidecar became even more valuable in World War II where both the Allied and Axis powers designed motorcycle and sidecars for a number of duties.
And then they faded away...
Luckily for us, sidecars are making a comeback, particularly in tourism, and are a great way to get out and about. So let's see if you can identify the motorcycles attached to sidecars or specific motorcycles with sidecar models on their own.
One of the earliest motorcycle and sidecar combinations, the Thor Twin is a true antique. In fact, Thor was responsible for producing the first sidecars in America from 1912 onward.
The Norton Big 4 was used by Allied military forces during World War II and could carry up to three men. It was made well before the war, however, and found favor from civilian customers as well.
Built in the mid-1990s, the GG Duetto is a high-performance motorcycle and sidecar combo. Around 30 units were built over a five-year period.
Designed in 1914, the Triumph H was used by the British Army during World War I. It often had a sidecar attached as well, thus adding space for a passenger.
Classic bike and sidecar producer Ural has a range of models for a new generation of sidecar fans. The cT is the perfect machine to get into the sidecar game, easy to ride and customizable as well. It comes in three assorted colors.
One of the world’s great touring bikes, the Honda Goldwing can add another passenger with a sidecar. One such option is a sidecar made by GTL.
A German motorcycle, the DKW-RT-350 was often paired with a Binder sidecar. This combination could reach 75 mph.
Introduced in 2015, the Scrambler has off-road tires for off-road adventuring. It looks like it was made for the beaten path.
Another brilliant example of an early motorcycle model with a sidecar. The Excelsior Twin was powered by a 1000cc engine.
This pre-war Polish motorcycle was designed with a sidecar. Around 3,400 were built between 1934 and 1939.
This 986 cc V-Twin motorcycle was available to British forces during World War II as a standalone model or with a sidecar.
This motorcycle and sidecar combination was produced in Germany during World War II. It was built specifically at the Germany army’s request.
A motorcycle based on a Russian model, which, in turn, was based on a German model. Yes, that’s the story of the Chang Jiang CJ750. Most of these have sidecars and are called BMW replicas, which they are not.
The Brough Superior Austin Four was very different. Marketed in the 1930s, it was deemed a luxury motorcycle and, in fact, had two rear wheels. This motorcycle was specifically developed to be used with a sidecar.
Cezeta scooters were manufactured in Czechoslovakia between 1957 and 1964. These unique-looking scooters, which were noted for their length, often included Druzeta sidecars.
Of the new range of motorcycle and sidecar models, this is the entry-level machine from Ural. It is very basic, with just the necessary parts equipped. Nothing fancy here at all but that helps keep the price down.
It’s a beautiful thing when a wacky idea comes to fruition, like the Vespa scooter and a sidecar made to look like a Volkswagen bus. Genius!
A Japanese sports bike with a sidecar. Yes, it has been done.
Formed in 1941, the first machine made by Ural was the IMZ-Ural. It was based on the BMW R-71. Ural continues to this day, making a host of motorcycles with sidecars.
This was essentially a hybrid BMW 73 and Zündapp KS 750 configuration where the BMW sidecar could be bolted to the Zundapp KS 750 motorcycle. This was done at the request of the German army as parts for each started to become scarce.
A product of the Soviet Union, the Dnepr N-72 was based on the BMW R71. Most were produced with a sidecar.
Great for long roads, the tourist has an electric start, leading link forks for a smoother ride and even a trunk to pack a picnic lunch. This is a great motorcycle and sidecar option to explore those back roads.
A 600cc scooter, the Silverwing from Honda is a popular bike. Add a sidecar, and you can add another passenger!
This Japanese sidecar combination was used extensively throughout World War II and could transport three soldiers. Despite the fact that more than 16,000 were built, finding one today is very difficult.
A unique design, the Ural Sportsman not only provides drive to one wheel but with the mere flick of a switch, the wheel on the sidecar will receive drive from the engine as well. That means the Sportsman can climb hills with ease, no matter the load. In fact, it can go just about anywhere.
The Ural Cross TWD is a higher specification of the regular Cross model. It is powered by a 745cc 2-cylinder Boxster engine.
A BSA model from the 1930's, the Sloper, powered by a 595 cc engine, was often coupled with a sidecar.
Another German produced motorcycle/sidecar combo from World War II, the Zundapp KS 750 was powered by a 751 cc four-stroke motor that produced 26 brake horsepower. More than 18,000 were made until 1944. They were discontinued because they were too expensive to produce.
A flat twin 750 is the power behind the Ural Ranger. This is effectively a "go anywhere" motorcycle and sidecar combination. It even comes with tools, a shovel, air pump and other accessories for your adventures.
More than 700 Gilet Herstal 720s served with the French army at the outbreak of World War II. More had been ordered but because one of its components was produced by Bosch (a German company) and Germany had declared war on France, they stopped supplying it. The 720 was powered by a 728cc engine.
A Russian motorcycle often with a sidecar combination, the PMZ-A-750 was produced before World War II. Around 4,600 were built.
Dnipro motorcycles have been produced in Kiev, Ukraine, since 1967. Many models come with sidecar options.
A three-wheeler, in essence, the Krauser Domini is sold in Europe and Japan and the sidecar portion is part of the structure of the overall machine. It is powered by a BMW engine.
Aimed at the outdoorsman, the Ural Cross is the perfect motorcycle and sidecar for an outdoor adventure. Accessories include a fuel can to increase range, a first aid box and a shovel.
Considered the best of the Ural range by sidecar enthusiasts, the Retro was first introduced in 2003. It comes with a stainless steel luggage rack, a sidecar windshield and a jerry can.