The missing link?

Given the asymmetrical nature of motorcycle sidecar combinations, handling is always going to be a little interesting, and Mick Payne takes a closer look at how it can be improved.

The telescopic motorcycle fork has been with us for a very long time.

Well over a century, in fact. It was 1908 when Alfred Angus Scott fitted one to his ground-breaking two-stroke machines and the design has been developed ever since.


It isn’t without its detractors however; expecting a pair of sliding legs to cope with steering and braking is a tall order, and add a constantly changing wheelbase and trail and there must be better ways of going about it?

Throw a sidecar into the equation and we can add side loads too and, if those forks flex, they are going to stick.

Leading link forks were used on Greeves trials machines in both solo and sidecar forms.

When Mr Scott developed his three-wheeled Sociable post-First World War it is noticeable that he was a good enough engineer to realise that the single front wheel needed better location.


He gave it conventional rack and pinion steering as used on ‘real’ cars; sadly, he seemed to have used up all his mechanical know-how on the frame and steering, leaving little to consider aesthetics or even fit for purpose.

Perhaps inevitably his concept of melding car and sidecar came to very little, only around 200 were ever made.

Modern opinion seems to be that leading link forks are essential for pleasant sidecar-ing, with hub centre steering also gaining in popularity.


Leading link forks have the ability to separate steering and braking forces while still giving good suspension travel.

It is noticeable that the only manufacturer of production outfits, Ural, choose to use them and they are pretty much ‘go anywhere’ machines.

Read more and view more images in the October 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!


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