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READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2007 Triumph Bonneville with Jawa Sidecar

By Teri Medina, Oxnard, California

8/22/2010


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I don’t get mad when people call me a “hack” mom; I take it as a compliment. I am a single mom of two beautiful daughters, ages 12 and 17. My 17-year-old is legally blind, and riding on the back of a motorcycle was very disorienting for her. She just didn’t enjoy it, so I never pushed. Motorcycling has been and always will be a big part of my life, and I wanted to share the love I have for it with my children. One day I was picking up my 1985 FXR from the shop, and parked outside was a Ural with a sidecar decked out in camo paint. It was the first time my kids ever saw a sidecar in real life, and from that moment on, all I heard about was getting one.

Teri with her 2007 Triumph Bonneville she had outfitted with a Jawa sidecar.
Teri with her 2007 Triumph Bonneville she had outfitted with a Jawa sidecar.

So that summer, I bought a 1979 Yamaha with a Jawa sidecar attached. It took some work to get that 1979 running, but I only spent $1500 on the whole rig. I figured it would be a good test bike to see if the kids really wanted to do this. We spent that whole summer tootling around our county, never venturing farther than where my dad would be willing to drive out and rescue us (and there were many, many rescue trips). I decided a sidecar was for us, so I bought a 2007 Triumph Bonneville (the frame of this bike worked perfectly with the Jawa rig) and sent the car to be painted to match. With a little fabricating help from Dad, the Jawa mounted up perfectly to the Bonneville.

Teri thinks it's cool to ride a sidecar, especially considering she can bring along her daughters.
Teri thinks it's cool to ride a sidecar, especially considering she can bring along her daughters.

Now, if I didn’t have two kids who love the grand adventures we have, I don’t think a sidecar would be for me. Handling is nonexistent, and top speed is 55 to 60 mph. Oh, and when approaching a curve where the sign recommends 20 mph… you'd better slow to 10 mph!

Teri's two daughters. One rides behind her, the other in the sidecar.
Teri's two daughters. One rides behind her, the other in the sidecar.

We spend a lot of time pulling over to let others pass us, but the great thing is that we are always passed by people with huge grins and nothing but thumbs up for us. I’ve seen many iPhones stuck out car windows snapping up pictures of the three of us, and when we stop, it’s never more than a minute before someone is coming over to ask about our rig.

The girls getting ready to hit the road.
The girls getting ready to hit the road.

If you are thinking of a sidecar because the thought of two wheels scares you, I’d like to say three wheels can scare you in a whole different way—the fun of carving up a good twisty road is turned into muscling the steering to make it through all those turns. I would say by far the sidecar is twice as fatiguing to ride than any two-wheel motorcycle. We have started to venture farther than just our own county, and we're preparing to hit the Grand Canyon this summer or fall. So I wear the title “hack” mom with pride.

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Reader Comments


I'm kinda' surprised about the top speed comment. My Ural does 55 and 60 mph fairly easily with only 40 hp, and it weighs more than 700 pounds. I would expect a newer Bonneville to do considerably better with nearly 30 more hp and less weight? That's the MOST awesome sidecar,BTW!

Cliff Lyles
White, GA
Monday, November 28, 2011
I loved this story. I too have a legally blind son who is 11 years old amd not very fond of going fast but he is learning to relax with mom on the quiet roads out here in Beaver Dam. I have 09 883 Iron and hope to find a side car for my son and I to make the rides better for him. It's great to be able to ride and relax and enjoy this beautiful place we live in. Keep the shinny side up!

Angela Cassel
WI
Sunday, March 20, 2011
We had a Ural when our son was small and we refused to believe what others said - that we just wouldn't ride for that period in our life. I second Teri's comments on handling and top speeds. We are lucky to have dirt roads and county roads around us but I wouldn't ride it on the highway. We also found it needed more maintenance than we preferred. But it's a great way to do something as a family!

Tracey - Leader Motorcycle

Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Teri,
This is awesome! I always wanted a sidecar on my 1974 R75 to do carpool, but both kids seemed to always go in different directions. I often took my daughter to soccer practice on the back of the bike and just built her a 1974 CB350 as a college graduation present. I'm still thinking of a sidecar for my granddaughters!

Linda Cluxton
Asheville, NC
Monday, August 30, 2010
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