Couple years back I heard a statistic that over 10% of all the Gold Wings built had been hack’d with sidecars or converted to trikes. Honda responded with the aluminum spine frame GL1800, and the hackers and trikers figured out how to make it a three wheeler anyway. HOG(NYSE) has done a steady business in sidecars for decades, and in the latest of many stupid business decisions from Milwaukee axed their sidecar and kluged together a factory trike offering. In the Harley tradition it’s crude, rude, and overpriced with a too narrow track and no differential, but Harley’s physics impaired followers still buy it like crazy. More enlightened competitor Polaris has figured out that the easiest way to promote it’s Victory bikes is to ‘hack ’em… But their lawyers haven’t gotten the memo, threatening to void your warranty if you install an “unauthorized accessory” on their bikes. Polaris preferred supplier is Motorvation sidecars, and if you see a hack’d  Victory in the media, Polaris bought it from Motorvation. The rest of the industry, ever ready to avoid a trend, seems intent on designing bikes that are incompatable with any bags, etc. but their own, never mind a sidecar.

But the followers of the third wheel persist… Every purveyor of sidecars I know off is backed up for months. Want a sidecar to ride this spring? You should have ordered it last fall! Meanwhile, sales of a few old school bikes with full frames are inflated by prospective hackers who hack ’em despite the manufacturers threat to void warranties and worse.  The demand for trikes is so high that that some truly scary conversions like the “tag axle” adapters persist.

The resistance of the manufacturers is futile as well as downright stupid. A lot of folks go to three wheels because of disability, and the laws of just about every democracy require manufacturers accomodate a disability. That’s why when you buy a new four wheeler, if you need hand controls or other accomodations the manufacturer will pay for them. Somehow or other the motorcycle manufacturers think they’re exempt from the law… Perhaps it’s time for a lawsuit?

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