Hawkesbury Harley-Davidson Sidecar Deluxe

“I built the sidecar chassis at home. It’s made out of steam-pipe and it’s not going anywhere,” said Ron.

I’VE been riding Harley-Davidsons exclusively for 42 years. I’ve never had a car licence; just ride every day. I’ve had 11 or 12 Harleys over that period of years. The longest one I had was a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead I kept for more than 30 years. I used to change the speedo every 100,000 miles because it got too faded to read; I don’t know what the final milage worked out at but it was a Hell of a lot.

I bought the Softail Deluxe new with the intention of adding the sidecar. I have a spare set of wheels so I can ride the bike without the sidecar; they wear flat in the middle with the sidecar which is not good for riding solo.

I’ve built a few sidecars over the years. I used an original Dusting sidecar manufactured in South Australia in the 1950’s to make the fibreglass mould for this one; just made it wider. I built the sidecar chassis at home. It’s made out of steam-pipe and it’s not going anywhere. The shock absorber on the sidecar wheel is from Progressive Suspension.

The three wheels are Ridewright 50-Spoke Fat Daddy. They are a really good setup because the rim and hub are generic, they would fit anything, but the bearing units come as seperate parts depending on which model bike they are meant to fit. I had to put bigger bearings in the sidecar wheel to take the load because it’s only supported on one side. I got Keith Brunton Engineering in Asquith to turn up the axle for me, and a few other little bits and pieces like the windscreen brackets.

The emblem on the front of the sidecar is pretty special to me. It was actually on my father’s sidecar. It was an accessory you could buy for sidecars back in the late 1940’s. I’ve got photos of him as the founder and president of Epping District Motorcycle Club with that emblem on his sidecar. My dad used to build sidecars for people and taught me a few things.

I’ve never really liked the standard paint job on the Softail Deluxe, the way the lines on the tank drop down forward, so I changed that. My mate Wazza did a super paint job for me.

I turned the handlebars risers back-to-front to give me a bit more leg-room. On an outfit, you don’t lean to steer it, you have to turn the handlebars, especially if you’re going around a roundabout, and the handlebars are going to hit your legs.

I’ve done a few big trips on the sidecar outfit since I put it together. Last week I went down to Mount Hotham and Bright for the Motor Festival, and I rode home non-stop from there; been up to Queensland a couple of times; out to Dubbo, that sort of thing. I just like riding them…

words by Ron Robb; photos by George

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  1. Hi,

    I have a Harley Seventy-two XL1200V Sportster 2014. My beloved bike is currently for sale coz I’d given up any hope of riding again after living the last few years with buggered kidneys and osteoporosis.

    Your article has given me reason to hope that I can be safely back in the saddle again, doing what I love.

    Would you consider a commission to make a side car for my mbike? I live in Tasmania.

  2. Hi there,
    The unit looks great. My mate wants me to buy his sidecar on an old evo and its a complete unit of harly davidson.
    I help with cash to buy it originally and he wants to let it go now and i have first option.
    I have a few harleys so im no stranger to this brand.
    I have just searched and found yours and it sounds all pretty good and genuine as your father has been around a bit too.
    Just simply , what sort of money are you chasing and how many clicks on the Deluxe and why are you getting rid of it ?

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