Sportster/Ural Sidecar

Sidecars have been ridden probably since the late 1800’s, always more in Europe than in the US.  where they are relatively rare.  Most everyone like looking at a sidecar rig and at its pilot, the sidecarist. They have many advantages and disadvantages over a 2-wheeler motorcycle, but many consider them only as substitute for motorcycles for old or handicapped folks not capable of handling two-wheelers. There can be some truth in those ideas but there are many very good reasons to ride one. Among many, the one why this Sportster/Ural sidecar was built in the garage of Adam Lukowiak.

One of his friends – Pawel Rozmarynowski, the photographer of this bike feature – was afraid to travel with his 6 years old daughter as a passenger on an ordinary motorcycle. Adam, a Polish garage builder with pro-skills, offered to build him a “family” sidecar . The combo used here is a 2004 rubber mounted Harley Sportster XL883 chosen for its reliability and a 1991 Ural sidecar chair chosen for its very cheap price, East Europe being covered of old soviet motorcycles and parts.

Adam Lukowiak is a medical device engineer working in an hospital near a rented garage that he joins afterwork almost every evening. It’s where he completes some special custom motorcycle projects like this one. He is a fan of military themed Harleys and has always been fascinated by the fat tires Harley XS prototype for off-road use. Evidently, it was a major inspiration for this project although Adam kept it specifically for on-road use

A Harley Sportster is close in size to the Ural motorcycle, so fitting the Ural sidecar part to the XL 883 was not a major issue. Except that the Sportster need a front and rear suspension pre-load adjustment to handle the sidecar. Problem that Adam solved in the rear by installing air shocks from a Harley touring bike and in the front by installing air valves in the fork tubes hidden in the fork shrouds. Another issue was the sidecar brake line, a problem resolved when Adam discovered the quick release brake line connection from Galfer letting you disconnect without loosing any brake fluid. (same principle as a quick disconnect gas line)

Poland being a country, like the US, where  people are driving on the right, the sidecar is attached on the right side of the motorcycle. All of the bike modifications were made in Adam’s rented garage, along with the paint job. Only the sandblasting and powder coating were subcontracted. But sidecars don’t handle at all like cars or motorcycles or trikes and can be very dangerous for the novice. So friend and client Pawel was obliged to do some off traffic training before being authorized to carry his little 6 y.o. girl. (Photos @ Pawel Rozmarynowski for Patumwan)

Tech Sheet

General info.
– motorcycle: 2004 XL883
– sidecar from 1991 Ural

Front end :
– fat front using midglide 2011 and up Xl1200C triple trees and axle
– dual disc front brakes from 2008 XL1200R
– modified stock speedometer mount (from 2004 XL883)
– modified stock handlebar (from  XL1200R )
– shortened fork shrouds from Lowbrow Customs
– 50 mm fork tube preload

Rear end :
– rear suspension from 2009 touring
– rear brake linked to sidecar brake with quick release brake line from Galfer
– low profile tail light

Seat from 2017 Iron and relocated ignition module

Sidecar :
– fender shortened with Harley tail lamp
– frame, swing arm,axle and mounts modified by our shop
– front bumper fabricated by our shop
– fog lamps from 2009 Electra

All wheels 16″ from 2006 Electra

20 Responses to “Sportster/Ural Sidecar”

  1. 1 Sharkey Sep 4th, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Very well done!

  2. 2 Pat h Sep 4th, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Nice job

  3. 3 Iron Horse Sep 4th, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Nice rig. Looks like the new owner and his daughter should get some good use out of it.

  4. 4 reyn Sep 4th, 2017 at 9:20 am

    The project is an interesting mash-up of a Ural and a Sportster, it does show real creativity.

  5. 5 Sam Sep 4th, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Well done. Use of Harley parts rather than custom brings back fond memories of being able to mix parts on our old bikes. Most excellent.

  6. 6 Fzzzz Sep 4th, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Very nice. Looks like a lot of fun. What else has this guy built?

  7. 7 richards Sep 4th, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It looks like it is very functional also. LIKE very much!

  8. 8 Xenu Sep 4th, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I’ve always considered the Sportster a good choice to hang a chair on. I would use a chaindrive bike with a Cosy sidecar to cave weight.

    Torquey and low slung, It’s rear travel and weak forks are the only drawbacks.
    Some Ural forks would help, but I like this. Fine job.

  9. 9 sharkey Sep 4th, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Xenu: Good points; that would make a 48 perfect for a hack…just change shocks

  10. 10 Francesco Sep 4th, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Vraiment superbe!!!!et la couleur magnifique!! Bravo!!

  11. 11 Adam Łukowiak Sep 4th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    there is a short video from riding it

  12. 12 Roadkill Sep 4th, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    +This is a beauty. I mounted a lightweight Velorex 562E to my 94 883 without suspension mods or a chair brake. Absolutely loved it. Here’s a pic of mine:

  13. 13 Sheridan Sep 4th, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Beautifully done, I love it and want one!

  14. 14 Pat h Sep 4th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I can see the price of side hack bodies going up after this post thanks to Adam hahaha again nice job simple clean

  15. 15 Aloha-Terry Sep 4th, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    VERY nice…I owned a Ural for years and still miss it at times (sniff)…love the way it is lowered and attached to bike…a Sporty is great side hack bike…good torque down low. Great bike wish these guys were closer!

  16. 16 bernard czech Sep 4th, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    not a fan of harley’s in general but the sportster is pretty decent, but its poor suspension + braking except the roadster needs upgrading. if HD produced a nice rig like that one i would be interested!

  17. 17 Hdrider Sep 5th, 2017 at 8:02 am

    A Ural normally drives the sidecar wheel also — I’m assming for simplicity he didn’t retain that feature.

  18. 18 Gear-Up Guy Sep 5th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Ural Gear-Ups and Patrols are the selectable two wheel drive models. The others are single wheel drive.

  19. 19 Tobias Sep 5th, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Absolutely brillant , would love one !

  20. 20 dale s. Jun 30th, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    How would something like that work on a 2000 Drifter 800?? It might solve my needs instead of another bike, i.e. ural, enfield…. Thanks. I really like what you did there………

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