Back in the summer of ’88 I bought a Horex Regina poster at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Since then I have been staring at this poster – dreaming that one day I would have cool vintage bike with an awesome sidecar.
Now that I have a little one and a funky old bike (the Puch Allstate 250 SGS) that’s suitable for a hack, I thought it was time to see what’s out there.
I won’t go into the history and classification of sidecars – but I determined that I need something light weight for the small displacement PUCH, and it defiantly needs to have some style. The Puch 250 seems like a perfect sidecar rig, it has lots of low end torque, a pressed steel frame, unlike the Norton Commando isolastic system that wouldn’t tolerate a side car, finally it isn’t a racing thoroughbred, so attaching a sidecar isn’t a travesty.
A quick look on ebay reveals that there are no end of Chinese CJ and Russian Dnepr rigs out there. A few weeks ago I took a freshly imported CJ for a spin and it was HEAVY – the bike had been rebuilt with FAG bearings, disk brake (Nissin knock off) and snazzy matte Wehrmacht gray paint, but I think I’ve driven smoother tractors. I tried to tip/pick up the sidecar – couldn’t get it off the ground, if you are crossing the Mongolian Steppe, I suppose robust construction is the order of the day.
I really like the Indian Cozy sidecars, they are knocking-off the Watsonian zeppelin style and Steib/Stoye “canoe nose” sidecars. I contemplated a sidecar for my Vespa 125, but ultimately decided that I really like riding my scoot, and I doubt it would be strong enough to lug the extra weight of a steel sidecar even with the DR177 hop-up.
The Velorex 562, which there are plenty to choose from on the market, looks far too similar to a Thule roof-box for my taste.
This brings me to the fun stuff. The former Eastern block had need for cheap transport, and while there wasn’t great variety there was an attempt to make the only choice a stylish choice.
The Velorex 560 was introduced in the early 1950s and produced until 1974 when it was replaced with the 562. The 560 is a fiberglass body on a simple chassis designed for 250 and 350 Jawa motorcycles. For the domestic market they came in a burgundy/red, export was black.
The 560 shares the same brake and wheels as the Jawa bike, and parts are available (in English) from vendors in the Czech Republic such as Jawamarkt.cz.
I picked up mine last weekend – it’s in great shape, mostly there (missing the interior sidepadding, latch for the seat lock, Velorex logo and tonneau cover.) it was previously attached to a couple of Triumphs, before that it was owned by a former policeman, not sure what he had it on. Here it is loaded on my little trailer – previous owners planning on what to do with their fist’o cash.
Here’s a better shot on the trailer. Haven’t had a chance to take it off yet! I have only been able to find one person (http://allstateguy.tripod.com) that has a sidecar attached to a Puch 250 SGS – if there are others out there, let me know!
If I was really patient and resourceful I would hold out for a Hungarian Duna….