Bike sidecars have made several appearance on bike hacks before. We have featured a version from Buenos Aires, one reader produced several versions to serve as pedicabs, and we have had two military themed sidecars (version 1 and version 2). Reader Rob contacted us with his own DIY sidecar and all text and pictures below are credited to him. If readers have questions they can leave them in comments and Rob can respond.
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I started building sidecars in my garage with a 10' piece of conduit and a conduit bender. The first challenge was bending the conduit into a shape that I wanted my sidecar to look like. Once I had the basic chassis together I added threaded pipe to areas that I considered to be load/stress bearing. I constructed the fork and connection rods out of schedule 40 steel pipes. I added a plywood deck with carpet stapled to it for the floor and also for the seat and backrest. Nothing is welded on my original sidecar; all connections are made with threaded pipe or bolted together.
The floor plan is simple; I wanted a seat wide enough for 2 adults and enough floor space to mount 2 child safety seats. I later added a lawn mower roof to keep a little shade on my passengers; it also adds some character to the design. I recommend picking up a reflector kit and placing a slow moving sign on the back for a little added safety with passing cars.
We ride hundreds of miles each summer with an average pay-load of about 230 pounds (My wife and 3 kids) with no problems at all.
The units that we use now are totally engineered from a blue print of my original unit. The majority of the assembly is outsourced including pipe bending, welding and powder coating. The end result is a very sharp looking ride but the functionality is basically the same as my home made sidecar.