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Hi, My name is Huey and I am interested in finding out more information regarding a Kawasaki Drifter set up with a sidecar. I have seen a picture of one with a Champion Legend and have seen some pics of one or two with Spyder sidecars attached.

I am totally new to the Kawasaki Drifter and do not know exactly what models I was viewing. The first pic I saw of the Kawasaki with the Champion Legend did not state what Kawasaki model it was (cc's), other than being a Drifter. Can someone point me out to where I can view these bikes online to get more of an idea about them?

Let me explain just a bit more of what I am interested in. Originally, I had looked at various hacks and had made some personal decisions on just what I wanted. I had looked at Royal Enfields and Urals, plus some others. I pretty much decided that I liked the styling, cost and general concept of the Ural Tourist. The more I have researched the Urals (and I feel I have spent several months in a very indepth look at them), the more questions I have of myself in considering them. Unlike the Ural dealership network, the Kawasaki dealer network has more than just a marginal toehold in the USA and appears to be here to stay. Parts, service and after the sale service may well be much better in going with the Kawasaki instead of the Ural. However, I love the looks of the Ural Tourist and was pleasantly surprised at seeing the pic of the Drifter with the sidecar. Can someone tell me what works best for this model as to sidecar applications? Any pics to share or can you point me out to an area that really has some good pics of a Drifter and sidecar set up?

Although I have purchased a helmet at my local Kawasaki dealership in Wichita Falls, Tx. recently, I did not see anything as to any sidecars when at the dealership. I have to admit that I did not even think to look at the bikes on the showroom floor there, as I had pretty well set in my mind that I wanted a Ural at the time. Any rate, I am not trying to do some online research to see if the Drifter may be a better choice for me to consider. I will return to my local dealer soon and see what he has on the floor and what he can offer as to literature on them, but first I'd like to research a bit on the web. Any thoughts as to what to expect with the Drifter as to MPG with or without a sidecar attached?

Is there a particular area I should be going to in order to learn more about this model or is this the place to be?

In researching Urals, I began to notice that Texas dealerships were more inclined to be nitch dealers that had other stock to sell, as weedeaters, ATVs, lawn mowers, etc. No local dealerships to actually get out and kick the tires or see the machines at. The dealer networks were poor at best when it came to web sites, parts information and service. These are some points that make me wonder if my first inclination to purchase one was correct or not. So far, I am researching them and glad that I am holding back until I learn a bit more before making any plunge. Service after the sale is as much an important thing to me than is the actual sale.

I realize that sidecars are a unique item for most motorcycles and that sidecar people are a bit different in likes and dislikes. I am not interested in the purchase of the bike to be a solo unit, but fully intend to have a bike and sidecar rig. Therefore, I am looking at the Drifter with some real interest. I do not plan on immediate purchase, but do want to research and find out more before any decision is made. I'd appreciate any info on Kawasakis with side cars, what works and what does not and any other information or help on the topic. Any side car specific sites for Kawasaki rigs? Also, what models of the Drifter would work with a sidecar?

I have not had time to fully study this site or read much on it to get a feel for what it really offers. I fully plan on doing that this week though, but I just sort of happened upon it by accident. Maybe it was a very good accident to have happen, huh? :)

On a positive note though, I am not trying to put down any make or model of motorcycle. The Urals are unique and have lots to offer. I have been hanging out at their web site for a couple of months now and have enjoyed the learning experience there so far. However, for any variety of reasons, I have learned there is another option to consider (the Drifter) and I am on the road to research it as well before deciding. Cost is indeed a factor, but many other factors are to be considered as well.

Thanks,
Huey
 

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Also that you should not pull a trailer with a bike.
That's because of warranty issues.
Even with a car you should not pull a trailer, but we do! It's just to protect themselves if you have an accident.
 

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the "fun" guy
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The Drifter (800cc and 1500cc) is no longer being made by Kawasaki so you'll be looking for used ones if you decide to purchase.

I would find a picture of the Drifter your interested in and email it to several side car vendors and see if they can rig it up to fit the bike in question.

Welcome aboard!
 

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Giggidy-Giggidy-Goo!
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I really like that Ural Retro and actually considered it -briefly- back when I was researching my motorcycle purchase.

I understand what you are saying about the Ural market and support in the US, but for $10,500, you can't hardly buy a bike, the sidecar, and put it together right for nearly the same amount. On the other hand, the Ural requires that you have some wrenching skill as the routine maintenance is fairly significant.

Here's a good review I found quite useful of the Ural: http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/motorcycle/moto_ural.htm

But, yeah overall, I'd definitely consider the Drifter 1500 (if you can find one, good luck) with a sidecar if money were not an factor.
 

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I really enjoyed reading this post. The main reason being that I cannot seem to sell my 05 Vulcan Classic, so this has really inspired me to put a sidecar on the bike.

I also considered the Ural, but not being mechaicically inclined I think that I'll stay with the bullet proof Kawasaki dependability. I think that the 1500 has the right gearing and power for a sidecar.

I purchased a Bajaj Scooter/Cozy sidecar rig a couple of years ago. Main reason being to take the grandkids for rides. It is a hoot to ride to say the least, but now am wanting more power.
 

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I say it is true...but the 1500 has almost twice as much torque. I've ridden a 800 and my 1500....love my 1500 much better!!!

I think I would go with a 1500 if I were putting a side car on. But then again, according to my dealer, the 1500 is only 10hp more than the 800. Is this true?
 

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Here is a drifter member that has a sidecar....with his 1500.

www.CruiserCustomizing.com - Member Detail


A place to purchase sidecar from.....a drifter is in the shifting gallery on the frontpage.. Champion Sidecars Huntington Beach CA.

or....where Virg bought his from
Side Strider Sidecars and Accessories


.....His quick write up...
9438.6 in reply to 9438.1

this side car is on my 2001 `1500 Drifter the frame mounting areas are the very same as the 99 has. only thing I would tell ya is to buy a side care that is Bigger than the my Velorex 562! the model I have is very small only 159lb they pull great but not room for a normal size person anyone over 5'8" will be a real tight fit" I first had a Ural hack and traded it for the Velorex 562 that was a mistake a Big one!! also make sure your front lower mount is set back about 3-1/2" behind your running boards front mounting bolt and you will have to build a stand off for your rear lower mount the trick is to get the hacks wheel center no more than 10" forward of the rear axle of your Bike, A mounting kit for a vulcan classic will fit the Drifter only thing you will have to mod is the top rear bracket under the rear of the seat"

Good luck hope this info helpsI do have some Pictures of my mount I built but give Doug Bingham a call at sidestrider he will know just what ya need


?????????????. Maybe someone will know.
 

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Huey,
Check out the above links.....I hope these above will be useful to you. If you're looking for a sidecar, find yourself a 1500 Drifter.
 

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Patriot Guardian
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And a crosspost:

SideCars - Sidecar Guide Quick and Dirty

For those of you who want to know a little bit about sidecars here is a quick primer.Nearly any modern motorcycle can pull one these days. I've seen them on 250cc's. Sidecars are not light weight, and you don't want them to be too light. But even a 250 seems to be able to pull a pretty big car (just have to replace the clutch often).
In the USA, it is best to mount the sidecar on the right, away from oncoming traffic. The passenger seems to feel better this way and there is a lot less cringing and screaming from what I am told ;-). I am not sure if there are any particular laws concerning this.
SOMEONE will always want to make a Winnebago out of a side car set up and pull a trailer too. Works perfectly, especially if - like required in Europe - the trailer hitch is mounted halfway between the sidecar and the motorcycle rather than directly behind the bike. This is a SUPERIOR way to pull a trailer! Think of it as a motorcycle 5th wheel type set up.
Sidecars are very stable, except when you turn a sharp hard corner in the direction the sidecar is on. The centrifugal force "can" lift up a sidecar - with a little practice!!! I am known for lifting mine over fire plugs, passenger and all. DO NOT DO THIS......hehehe.
Opposite side turns are so flat, stable and good, you can out turn a car or other motorcycles. They tend to "understeer" a bit (that is a good thing) when turned hard. Have your passenger put on their seatbelt, you can lose one doing this. Quite often I would wind up putting my foot out on one of the sidecar rigging bars to keep my own balance and stay on the bike.
Most sidecar frames do not connect and disconnect in a hurry or easily quick detach. There are some that claim this, but there are a lot of settings to consider. See extra part at bottom of article. There is ALWAYS some set up to do.
Some side car rigs come with a wheel that is not suspended but rigid mounted. These are BUMPY. Get a torsion bar suspension if you can.
Some rigs come with a brake in the wheel of the sidecar. If you can posssibly afford this do so. Other wise you can learn to compensate for it. What happens if you don't have a brake on the side car, is that when you stop, if stopping fast, the sidecar just keeps going, and will push your bike slightly into a left hand turn. Same with fast acceleration, it will not pick up speed as fast as the bike and will drag behind a bit make your bike want to turn right.
Also without a brake on the sidecar it takes twice as far to stop.
The acceleration problem can only be fixed by having a drive shaft going to the sidecar wheel (powered axle - talk about complex and expensive!). Braking problem is fixed by having a brake on the wheel. This is also the time when a steering dampner shock should be put on your front forks as the weight shifting around with the sidecar will make your front end shimmy at the oddest times. It works for avoiding shimmy problems accelerating as well.
You have NEVER seen a real handlebar "tank slapper" like the one you'll get with an improperly set up sidecar!! A lot of guys use a Volkswagon shimmy dampner on their bikes. I have even used a screen door closer shock to get home once.
Does this sound like you might need a little extra strength in your arms? You'll get used to it.
*** Side car quick guide of things to think about when you set it up.... ***
A leaning sidecar (like the Vetter) still has to be adjusted for toe in, and camber when under load. But they are very cool.
You WILL wear out brakes and clutches and tires a little faster than normal!! It takes much longer to accelerate, much longer to stop, but changes lanes like a maniac.
At speed the side car - like a normal car front end - will toe out and spread out a bit. Especially when accelerating. Adjust the sidecar so it is slightly toe in at rest. Then it will be nice and straight and not pull to the right at speed. Of course it will toe in when you stop hard.
When you sit on the bike you push it down. When a passenger sits in the sidecar it pushes the bike (and side car) down a bit too. On a car this is called camber, or lean out of the tires. Look at a VW sometime up on a rack. Set your camber as if you have a full load of weight. This means when you don't have a passenger you need to throw 50-100 lbs of weight in the side car to make it act consistently. Other wise you are leaning to the left on the bike and wearing out the sides of the tires on the bike and the sidecar.
Then there is the lean adjustment. On a flat driveway everything sits straight up. On a highway or even worse OLD hiway, there is so much curve (crown) to the top of the highway, spilling down into the gutters, that the road has a pronounced CROWN in the white line area. If your rig is set up straight up and down, and you put it on a crowned highway, you will be leaning to the right about 25 degrees or more. Feels weird.
So you set your bike and sidecar up with a little lean to the left on a flat surface. You will need to compound this with your camber and full weight load because when the bike is weighted and the camber adjustment is set, the lean will change accordingly.
If you have a garage with a flat slab, you can easily set all this with a long piece of metal, a tape measure and a level.
Is it worth all this?
Oh hell yes. It is a ton of fun, and you can adjust your rig to various driving conditions without much fuss once you get it dialed in.
I love sidecars.
 

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ooooh I like Rexdog's color................Thanks Rich!!!!! Evil thought....and plan :D
Ya... I love the theme.

Don't you DARE touch that beautiful red paint!
Save the military theme for 10 years from now after it's chipped and dulled from rocks and bugs.
 

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Drifter sidecar setup

:wink: I put a ural style sidecar, I bought on e-bay, on my 99 Drifter...
It's Great. It took some innoventive mounting because the Drifter doesn't have a frame in the back, but once i got it hooked up it works. A little squirly at low speeds. I have to hold on to the handlebars or it shimmys til about 30 or 35...but after that it runs great. I haven't had so much fun in years.
look at the pics: notice my custom dual exhaust w/fishtails, WWW tires...
I have a stereo in the sidecar with speakers mounted behind the seat. I also fabricated a trunk lid and put an extra battery in the trunk. Hooked to the bike's electrical system it sure helps on those cold start days...
Thanks for looking
Mr. E
 

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Power Hungry V2K Rider
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:wink: I put a ural style sidecar, I bought on e-bay, on my 99 Drifter...
It's Great. It took some innoventive mounting because the Drifter doesn't have a frame in the back, but once i got it hooked up it works. A little squirly at low speeds. I have to hold on to the handlebars or it shimmys til about 30 or 35...but after that it runs great. I haven't had so much fun in years.
look at the pics: notice my custom dual exhaust w/fishtails, WWW tires...
I have a stereo in the sidecar with speakers mounted behind the seat. I also fabricated a trunk lid and put an extra battery in the trunk. Hooked to the bike's electrical system it sure helps on those cold start days...
Thanks for looking
Mr. E
Well, well, Mister MRE (Meal-Ready-to-Eat), just can't help myself tonight. Welcome to the forum. That is one very sweet looking Drifter and hack you have there. We woud love to see it in person. Really like the color.

The day will come when I have to make the decition, side hack or trike? Which should it be? But, with luck, that day is several years down the road.
 

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sidehack or trike???

Everytime I see a trike I think of some old fart who cant hanlde a 2 wheel.
A side hack on the otherhand, indicates an adventurer...
I'm riding everyday to work... Ilove it, the sounds, the attention... It's great...:tongue:
 

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I had a sidecar on my...

Z1 back in the 70s. It was a hoot. I don't remember what brand it was though. My wife wants to get another one since she can't ride on the back due to our weight gain over the years won't allow both of us on the bike. A bud has a Ural, the military model, that is so cool. The only thing keeping me from getting one is the wife says I have to part with my KZs first. That will not happen so things are at a stalemate. There is a decient Ural dealer in Grand Prarie (sp) TX. I also want a Drifter but by the time I could afford one, Kawasaki quit making them....chris3
 

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Drifter with sidecar, new paint

Well I finally did what I wanted to do for almost 2 years, I finally painted the Drifter and sidecar. I never did like that burgundy or Maroon color, and the sidecar didn't quite match the paint...
So I broke down and painted both the bike and sidecar....
attached are some pics... let me know what you think...
other than that , it's been running great. I have some pictures of my vacation last year...The Drifter at Mt. Rushmore and other stuff at my 'bikerornot.com" webpage, search TedEBare...also on facebook, search Ted Eminowicz.
Thanks for looking
 

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