Thailand is very liberal when it comes to the rules regarding passengers on motorbikes. Take, for example, a Honda Wave i125 with a custom-built sidecar in Thailand from which we will look into this blog.
But before that, with regards to rules, one might say that the authorities are not just quite so strict about enforcing those.
However, you can get a child seat installed on a motorbike and drive quite “safely” by any standards with a kid on a bike. The issues start though, once the family gets bigger...
Ever since, I have always been into motorcycling in everything I do. But, when it came time that we had a couple of growing boys, a solution had to be found. And a custom-built sidecar in Thailand was the answer! A Double Seater.
I googled countless websites, compared solutions, browsed into chat rooms, and reviewed dozens of products. I became an expert in the advantages and disadvantages of the whole concept. Also, I studied the technical elements like weight distribution, form factor, how strong the motorbike has to be, how many CC the power plant should be for enough to, etc.
For the whole time, I was very conscious not to forget how it should look.
I discovered that there is actually an amazing variety of sidecars available in Thailand.
It ranges from the classic luggage sidecars (ones that are just a metal frame with wooden boards on the floor), all the way up to luxury cabins with velvet cushion interiors…
But, I didn't want something like that. My dream was to have a real sidecar, one that had the perfect combination of utility and style.
I looked into some offerings from all the big sidecar companies like EZS, Liberty, Dauntless, California, Champion, and many more. I checked all the stats like dimensions, weight, material, hardware.
Also, in the meantime, I thought about buying and importing it. However, this idea quickly went nowhere as it essentially failed in three ways:
And ultimately it is of course also a question of price. An imported sidecar would cost at least 500,000 THB. That’s 10 times more than the motorbike price, and 20 times the custom solution price that I eventually went with locally here in Thailand.
Searching for a sidecar builder in Thailand was extremely difficult and maybe I started it in the wrong way.
Contacts with companies building TukTuks failed; building sidecars is just not what they do. Those who build the metal luggage sidecar types have no technology for fiberglass body parts. In addition, a pure metal variant that would look nice would be too heavy for the Honda Wave i125.
Finally, I found help at a car repair shop that also repairs big trucks. They had experience with fiberglass through all the modern bumper repairs they regularly perform. They were familiar with stable structures for weight, and they had everything to custom build anything. The project dragged on for months. In the end, it was conveniently finished right on my 38th birthday.
It felt really good to finally have the sidecar I need for my Honda Wave i125. It felt like a nice birthday present for me.
However, it turned out that actually using it is an entry into an entirely different world! The first thing I learned is that a custom build sidecar in Thailand drives very differently than a motorbike. The driving characteristics were excellent but unusual. When turning left, the motorbike tilts to the left, but the sidecar pulls you to the right – this can cause you to fishtail just like a car.
Turning the other way is even more tricky because the sidecar will lift up off the road if you are going a bit too fast. Some guys I know caught a bit of air underneath when that happened and the whole thing tumped over! But after a few kilometers, or maybe a few dozen kilometers, you get used to it. And in a week or so, all these quirks become second nature to the ride.
The kids love the custom build sidecar!
All of a sudden, my kids had plenty of space to take everything with them everywhere we went. We could go grocery shopping just like with the car, and even relatively big things were easy to transport.
Many people that don’t have one say that a custom build sidecar in Thailand is a combination of the downsides of both a motorbike and a car. An example of this is when you get wet in rain, and that thing isn’t small enough to run between the cars in city traffic.
Well, yes, maybe that’s mostly right. However, Thailand, generally speaking, has good and stable weather conditions, and lane-splitting cars is not a big deal since the traffic in Pattaya is not as heavy as in Bangkok.
So actually, you still have advantages over cars - especially when it comes to parking spaces. A custom build sidecar in Thailand is still as short as a motorbike, so you can park it the same as a motorbike. You just need the space that normally 2 or 3 motorbikes would take.
With our accessory top box, we also had a lockable space and we use it all the time. I think it all comes down to the question of whether you like motorbikes or not.
All this about our new sidecar was just great, but we were not done yet.
There is one little thing that really made this project a true winner besides all the other cool stuff. Since we live close to the beach, we got a small fiberglass boat.
We had a car, but it would be terrible to pull this small boat with a car, and it’s too big to fit in the back of our pickup…
We tow it with the sidecar! We added a simple custom-built metal fitting to the top case mount and installed a trailer hitch. As you can see in the pictures, it was a lot of fun and all the neighbor kids loved it, joining us on many trips to the beach with our sidecar and boat.
So then, with a family, a custom build sidecar in Thailand is a good solution for all-around motorbike travel. We have done more than 40 thousand kilometers with the sidecar in 8 years. And, the motorbike has never had any problems with the heavy load.
We enjoy visiting all the beautiful places around the Pattaya area and have never felt held back by running around with the sidecar.
I never regret doing it. As we know, life is the sum of all our choices and happiness is not by chance, but by choice. So, I would definitely build it again.
So, until next time... Rumble on!
Hi, I'm Big Bear. I love to hit the road with the motorbike for the long haul. Join my adventure in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
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