Earlier this year, Indian gave a handful of bike builders in the US an early crack at customizing the 2022 Chief. But they’re not the only ones capable of modifying the cruiser with some extra accessories. With the updated Indian Chief arriving at international dealers, the stage is set for overseas shops to show their skills. And Germany-based Iwan Bikes did just that by giving the motorcycle a sidecar.
The 2022 Indian Chief gets a motorcycle sidecar courtesy of Germany’s Iwan Bikes
In addition to motorcycle restoration and modification, Iwan Bikes also has a hand in motorcycle sidecars. Although the German shop sells a variety of sidecars from other brands, it also makes and designs its own. Since 1993, Iwan Bikes has fitted sidecars to numerous bikes, including Royal Enfields, Triumphs, BMWs, Moto Guzzis, and yes, Indians. And recently, it released one for the 2022 Indian Chief.
In terms of design, the 2022 Chief’s new sidecar is based on Iwan Bikes’ BellaVista model, RideApart notes. And the artwork on its matte-black body panels is an homage to the bikes lost in the Top Point Museum blaze. Underneath that bodywork is a hand-welded tubular steel frame mounted to the Chief’s frame at four different points. As standard, the BellaVista comes with a 15” car tire on a wire-spoke wheel. However, buyers can opt for an alloy car wheel or a motorcycle wheel instead.
Regardless of the wheel choice, the 2022 Indian Chief’s BellaVista sidecar comes with a dedicated disc brake. It also has LED lighting, a locking trunk, and a folding seat. Speaking of the seat, a heated one is an optional extra. So is a luggage rack and a windshield.
Can you get a sidecar for other Indian motorcycles?
Iwan Bikes can fit one of its sidecars to any Indian motorcycle, including the Scout. But waiting for it to ship from Germany might take a bit too long for some. Luckily, there are some alternative options in the US, such as DMC Sidecars, Hannigan Motorsports, and the Texas Sidecar Company.
It’s worth noting, though, that all of these motorcycle sidecars are aftermarket options. Apart from Ural, no OEM offers sidecars for their bikes today, Cycle World says. Harley-Davidson was one of the last holdouts, but it stopped producing sidecars in 2011. And Indian hasn’t offered a factory sidecar option for its motorcycles since the 1940s.
But why is that? Mostly it’s because sidecars were superseded. Although sidecars make motorcycles more practical, a car is more practical still. Once cars became truly affordable, sidecars became obsolete. Plus, a sidecar-equipped bike doesn’t handle like an unequipped one, further complicating things for newer riders, Cycle World notes.
That being said, fitting a 2022 Indian Chief or any other motorcycle with a sidecar has some upsides. For one, the bike won’t fall over when it’s stationary. Two, it lets older individuals, as well as pets, safely enjoy the thrill of riding. And a sidecar can carry more gear and groceries than even a good bike luggage set.
Plus, a sidecar doesn’t have to just be an enclosed seat. Remember those modern Indian sidecar builds mentioned earlier? One of those had a Traeger Ironwood 885 attached to the side of a Chieftain Dark Horse, The Drive explains. And Chicago’s Federal Moto built a Honda CB360 rig where the sidecar is a nitrogen-charged cold brew coffee ‘keg.’
How much does it cost?
As of this writing, Iwan Bikes hasn’t released pricing details for its 2022 Indian Chief BellaVista sidecar. However, Cycle World says that, on average, “a motorcycle sidecar can cost half as much as your bike.” Given that a base 2022 Chief starts at roughly $14.5K, that works out to a rough estimate of $7250.
As it turns out, that estimate might be on the low side. DMC’s Indian-inspired Tomahawk sidecar, when equipped with a windshield, heated seat, and Brembo disc brake, costs roughly $8000 before installation. It’s likely, therefore, that Iwan Bikes’ sidecar will be more expensive.
But, if you want to give your new Indian Chief a different look and extra practicality, it might be worth considering.
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