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L'Association Canadienne de Motos Anciennes

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  • 19 Mar 2022 11:49 AM
    Message # 12672764
    Deleted user


    I recently installed a sidecar onto my motorcycle. I did a lot of research into the insurance implications before beginning the endeavor and discovered that in Ontario sidecars are considered accessories like saddlebags, backrests, etc. Therefore, an insurance company does not even need to know about their existence.

    However, I still wanted to be completely transparent with my insurance company so I told them about my sidecar. They asked if the sidecar was specficially designed for my motorcycle (it is not) and if it was installed by a shop (it was not). They are now requiring a safety certificate for unit. I am a Professional Engineer in Ontario and offered to supply a sealed document stating my opinion on the structural integrity of the unit but they will not accept this. They want a safety certificate.

    I have two options now: find another insurerer or get a safety.

    I first decided to pursue the safety but quickly discovered most motorcycle shops will not inspect a sidecar unit stating the reason that they are unfamiliar with them. I contacted Old Vintage Cranks in Acton, Ontario (very familiary with sidecars) and they are willing to do the inspection in the next month or two (they bring in a mechanic periodically to inspect units when they've collected enough interest). Does anybody know of a motorcycle shop in the Kitchener, Ontario area that would perform a safety inspection on a sidecar unit?

    I would like to also explore option 2: see if I can find an insurer that will not require the safety. Does anybody have suggestions?

    Thank you all for your time!

    Curtis Knischewsky

  • 20 Mar 2022 8:39 AM
    Reply # 12673445 on 12672764

    the old adage "let sleeping dogs lye" , but having woken them, what now.  

    There are a lot of frames not strong enough to carry the side stress when cornering "in a sporting manner" while driven in a more sedate style, for moderate distances work well enough. The switch to Reynolds 531 lightweight tubing voided any idea of attaching a sidecar, I have  Norton Commando in my shop presently which the manufacturer ruled out installing a crash bar (or buddy pegs) draw your own conclusions as to its suitability for a chair. The steering geometry adds to the stress, unless changed from positive trail (often 3" or more) to 1/2" negative (or caster) think car.

  • 21 Mar 2022 8:31 AM
    Reply # 12674631 on 12672764
    Deleted user

    I agree that most motorcycles are unsuited for sidecars unless special mounting is implemented. The "universal" mounting kits that are often seen mounting sidecars to motorcycles make me cringe. I have seen a few of these kits used for cb750s like mine. My mounts were designed around the knowledge that the bike's frame tubing is not itself sufficient.

    I made a few calls to people with sidecars and not one of these people have disclosed the sidcar's existence to their insurer. I am being advised that it is not legally necessary to disclose the presence of a sidecar becasue the Ministry of Transport considers a sidcar a bolt-on accessory.


  • 21 Mar 2022 8:35 AM
    Reply # 12674635 on 12672764
    Deleted user

    Attached picture is NOT of my setup. It is an example of a "universal" mounting kit on a cb750. I found this picture online during my initial research. It scares me immensly. What stops these clamps from rotating about the frame tube? Nothing...

    1 file
  • 22 Mar 2022 9:49 AM
    Reply # 12676114 on 12672764
    Deleted user

    FYI, I was able to get insurance through Mitchell & Whale Brokers, which set me up with Wawanesa Insurance. I did disclose the sidecar and it added $40 to my annual premium. I am covered for bare minimum liability only.


  • 07 Apr 2023 8:53 PM
    Reply # 13160798 on 12672764

    drifting the memory bank back to the UK in the 50's, sidecars were cheaper to insure due to the expected maturity of the drivers. nuff said. The facts though were that many bikers were familiar with them as were the dealers. In Birmingham the Triumph dealer in the "sand pits" or Jewelry quarter, carried in stock, sidecar tripple trees to alter the caster, heavier fork springs, lower gearing and assorted bolt on fittings. Those days are long gone. Like the dial phone in my shop and yes the crank phone in the closet, few people understand or know how to work the things I have a small flyer from Bernie Nickleson around 1974 with still very accurate info on setting up a sidecar in relation to the bike. Like George Otwell's "coming up for air" ? where he goes back to his childhood habitat, and is disappointed, you can't go back. Be thankful for what we had, rather than regret that it is gone. 

The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use, restoration and interest in older motorcycles and those of historic interest.

The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use, restoration and interest in older motorcycles and those of historic interest.

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