Sidecar Brakes

Sidecar brakes come in four different configurations, plumbed to the front, plumbed or mechanically tied to the rear, through a second pedal next to the rear brake pedal and none (not recommended on the street).

I've seen plumbed to the front systems - mostly on Goldwing motorcycles. With these systems, applying the front brake also applies the sidecar brake. I personally don't like the system because you don't have as much control as you would with some of the other configurations.

My Harley-Davidson has a plumbed to the rear system and the sidecar brake is applied when I press on the rear brake pedal. I like the system a lot because with the system, I can come to a perfectly straight stop - even during a panic stop situation. It's easy - as I apply the front brake I keep the bike straight by varying my rear (and sidecar) brake pedal pressure.

The second sidecar pedal is probably the most controllable sidecar brake system. With this system, you have the ability to apply only the sidecar brake during right hand turns which is something you can't do with any other arrangement. You can also vary your sidecar to rear brake pressure by rolling your foot between the two pedals. And of course you can still use both the rear and sidecar brakes together just like I do with my Harley.

No sidecar brake? Just go find a cliff to jump off and save someone else the trouble of running over you and your bike. The same goes for the decision to not connect the sidecar brake. Sidecars without brakes belong on circle tracks.

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