THREE WHEEL FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
WORDS: Ric Greene
PHOTO: Ric Greene
I acquired this bike one day by answering a phone call from a friend who buys quite a few used bikes from the local H-D dealership. They had called him to pick his brain on the trade-in value of a bike and sidecar. Not knowing the sidecar market, my friend called me to see if I would be interested. We came to a number that worked for all three parties and before I knew it, I was the proud new owner of a 2002 Road King Classic with a matching red sidecar.
My first impression of the bike when I finally saw it was one of disbelief, I thought to myself, “Why would the Harley shop not want to keep such a unique bike? It only has 3K miles!” Regardless, it was my rig to ride. Once I got back to the shop with my now prized possession, the thoughts of what to do with it lurked in my conscience. I kept trying to talk myself into believing that I shouldn’t spend a ton of money on this bike by customizing it. However, much like an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, my devious side won the battle and the new/old sidecar project began.
I wanted the bike to turn heads as it went by a crowd and be unlike anything that might pull up next to you on the road. I wanted a bike with character and attitude. First on the to-do list was to order some parts. I had three custom 16x3-inch wheels made with powdercoated rims, hubs, and spokes. I also had the spoke nipples brushed to a patina’d finish. Three Shinko retro tires were ordered as well as a Rinehart exhaust system, a Paughco breather, and a TTS Mastertune system. I already had a 95ci big bore kit in the shop that would work for the build and would be a nice addition, especially with the additional weight of the sidecar. I wanted the look of the bike to be very streamlined but to also draw details from the Art Deco period for the perfect look.
The bars were chosen based on their reach and leverage over the sidecar. Once all of the parts for the build were in-house, the bodywork and sidecar were stripped off and sent over to the boys at Fox Custom Paint. My painter and I have a very good relationship and he knows how to transform what I’m thinking into reality. The pearl white base and the subtle brush strokes in the silver work perfectly with the Art Deco style.
While the bodywork was out getting painted, we installed the big bore kit. The motor covers, crash bars, handlebars, levers, and most everything else that is normally chrome was sent out to get powdercoated a nice deep gloss black. Once the paint and powdercoat arrived back at the shop it was time to rebuild. The powdercoated motor covers were installed, handlebars were wired, frontend reassembled, wheels and brakes installed, and the bodywork was hung. While all this was happening, in another corner of the shop the sidecar was being reassembled. Once the bike was finished, it was just a matter of hooking the two pieces together and making some sidecar-to-bike alignment adjustments.
The coolest part of this bike is the amount of people that notice it when riding down the road. The maiden voyage was from our shop to the mountains of North Carolina, Deal’s Gap, Cherohala Skyway, and eventually to a rally deep in the corner of Tennessee/Georgia/North Carolina. About 900 miles were logged with camping gear and a few changes of clothes in the hack. Did I mention it rained the whole time except for when I stopped, and as soon as I started riding again it would rain.
The bike then sat at the shop for a bit before I decided to sell it on eBay. The ad lasted 23 hours before the bike’s current owner, Alan, snatched it up. Alan had borrowed a friend’s Electra Glide that had a sidecar attached to it to take his wife and daughter riding in the beautiful Northern California Redwoods where he lives. His family enjoyed the experience so much they persuaded him to buy one for the family. Once seeing our bike, Alan knew it was the one for him. He called me, setup a flight from San Francisco to Charlotte, and came to see it first hand. We picked him up at the airport, came back to the shop and the rest is history.