In the twenty first century a motorcycle on the road is a common sight. But a motorcycle with a side car is not so common. When you do see one on the road, it will most likely catch the eye of the people present. This is so because people love to see something quaint. Side cars are one wheeled contraptions with a seat that is attached rigidly to the motorcycle. You can have one attached to a scooter as well and it is not uncommon to see it attached to a scooter like the Vespa in Europe and the Bajajin India. But basically this equipment is relevant for motorcycles.
Attaching a side car changes the aerodynamics of the bike. It no longer rides like a two wheeled vehicle. The forces that run a motorcycle like the centripetal and centrifugal do not come to play. The drag coefficient also increases. The maneuverability of the bike as a two wheeled vehicle is lost. The bike then rides more like a car, but then it's not a car. Its feel is different. So in case you have been riding motorcycles without a side car you will have to learn how to ride a bike with one attached to it. This is because the bike now has 3 wheels and cutting corners and moving through traffic will require some expertise.
Side cars for motorcycles have been in existence since the turn of the last century. WJ Graham of England was the first man to get the patent in 1903.The twenties and thirties was the hay day period and a lot many were manufactured.This continued in full force during the war years (39-45) and were popular with the Armed forces. The Germans particularly used the side car with telling effect and mounted a machine gun on it. The motorcyclist rode the bike and the machine gunner looked all around with the machine gun ready to fire. This type of motorcycle with its attachment with a machine gun was one of the main stays of the German army in occupied Europe.It really did terrorize the populace. The Germans attached these innovations to their BMW, Zundapp and
Though the attached car is getting out of fashion it must be remembered that during the war years the it had a life of its own. German and Soviet bikes(The Ural) used a differential gear to improve the ability of the bike to negotiate all types of terrain. Differential gear permits power from the engine to be transmitted to the wheel of the attached car thereby helping the machine move along easily on an uneven road.
The car attached to a bike is usually made of steel and is fixed to the body of the motorcycle. Most cars can be decoupled from the bike or attached in a reasonable short time. The side car provides a seat for one passenger and can come with an optional wind shield.One of the adoptions also allows a side car to be used to carry cargo. Some of them may have also have a soft removable top. But all these contraptions take away the thrill of a motorcycle and that's the reason this contraption is almost out of fashion these days. Remember once a side car is attached to a bike the dynamics of the bike change and it drives more like a car. Attaching it to the bike also affects the speed which is greatly reduced. Thus the bike becomes unsuitable for cross country rides or intercity drives. Even in cities the usage of the bike becomes restricted in case the streets are crowded or narrow. Of course the stability is greater and chance of the bike falling on the side is almost zero. It could be a good help for older people and persons who cannot afford a car.
But what cannot be forgotten is that the side car is part of the evolution of the motorcycle and will always be associated with it