Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sidewinder learner sidecar

A blast from the past for many. The Sidewinder sidecar from the eighties was a ruse to get around learner motorcycle laws - a learner in the UK was restricted to 125cc until he or she had passed their riding test, that is unless they were in charge of a sidecar outfit. In the case of a combo any capacity was possible; so the learner could ride for example either a CB125 solo or a CX1000 with sidecar.

The Sidewinder was a mail order clip on banking sidecar that was aimed at the learner market. There was no passenger, or even luggage, carrying capacity. The whole thing was just a liberal interpretation of the rules to get around learner capacity restrictions. They sold a whole load of them and at one time they were a regular sight on British roads.

Though the spirit of the law was being twisted there was never a huge spate of road traffic accidents associated with learners and Sidewinders. As learner laws changed and direct access riding tests came on stream so the whole raison d'etre of the Sidewinder vanished and they are now a largely forgotten footnote in British motorcycling history. 

Sidewinder brochure front cover.

Sidewinder brochure inner page 1.

Sidewinder brochure inner page 2.

Sidewinder brochure rear cover.

Sidewinder brochure order form.


  1. I'd already passed my test by the time these came out, but they still make me smile. Talk about "Sticking two finger's up to the Law". Fooking Brilliant!.

  2. I just about remember these as I was on a 125cc at the time. One of my mates had one and I thought how advanced that they looked. Now it just looks like something that one one has made up in a garage.

  3. I'm looking for one of these for my father. Hes 78 and a little unstable with mother as pillion at slow speeds so I thought one of these might just be ideal. So if any has one in a garage and not using it please get in touch at
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Are they still legal to use on uk roads?

    1. Pretty sure they are. Not much reason to use one nowadays since the learner rules for sidecars changed a few years back: