Buying a brand- new sidecar outfit

You could buy a car for the same price – but would it be as much fun? Mick Payne discusses the choice that’s now available in off-the-shelf combinations.

Not so long ago, it was just as easy to buy a ready-made new outfit as it was to buy an off-the-peg suit. In the home town of my late teens, there were probably as many motorcycle and scooter shops as there were those selling cheap suits, and among those bike shops were a handful that could supply the family man or sidecar enthusiast with a sidecar outfit.

Once upon a time, you could buy a ready-made outfit from BSA, as this happy Mortons Archive picture shows.

One of these was John Judge of RGM, who ran a team of racing outfits in the late 1960s, and I remember him selling a brand-new Ural to a customer who’d never ridden an outfit before. It was crashed and written off before it got even beyond the alley behind the shop.

In those days they came
with the chair on the right, and the cylinder capacity was 650cc, but these Russian-built machines still have a large market niche in the 21st century, and remain one of the easiest ways into sidecar ownership. The Ural name is synonymous with David Angel of F2 Motorcycles, who’s been
selling them since 1998. Watsonian has also sold them from its base in the Cotswolds since 2015.

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