fibreglass sidecar xs650

Rich – Short story, in the late 50’s/ early 60’s my dad had a business making a fibreglass sidecar of his own design called a Clarendon and after a 25year search I found one !! This was duly restored to as near as original spec as possible but what to attach it too? I decided to do a combination of my dads work and mine, so a mildly customised/aged XS650 was born.
The bike has the rear subframe lowered & shortened otherwise the frame is standard, wire wheels were fitted to get an older look. A dummy oil tank holds all the electrics and the copper tube ‘oil lines’ hide the wiring. All the switchgear has been converted to levers connected to relays, the bar-end ones operate the horn & main/dip beam and the ‘choke’ lever turns the lights on/off.
With a lot of help from people on ‘Britchopper’ (a custom bike forum) the bike also got a one off wooden headlight, a wood number plate holder and a leather seat.
Have now upgraded the frontend to a set of leading links, with much improved handling. Rich


  1. Hello Rich,
    What a great combination !!! Never heard of a Clarendon sidecar, this must be one of the first fibreglass sidecars I think. What surprises me that you haven’t install a steeringdemper, no problems in steering at low speeds?
    I ride sidecar for about 15 years and really love this way of biking. For all the European sidecarfans; in August is again the Eurogespann meeting in Germany, really a place to be.
    Last year 1000 sidecars appeared on this huge meeting.
    Wish you a lot of fun miles on your XS 650 !!!!

  2. turdherder says:

    Looks like it will be a lot of fun and a nice clean job! Enjoy!!!

  3. Björn says:

    Lovely bike and a wonderful sidecar…..nice work..!!

  4. Barney says:

    Very cool story and very unique ideas on the bike. What does your dad think about it?

  5. Pickles says:

    A beautiful custom combination! Truly, a handcrafted work of art.

  6. ed says:

    nicely done! love the copper piping.

  7. guill says:

    very cool bike and sidecar!! i want one!!!

  8. Buck says:

    Nice build. Your rig looks great. Very sweet looking sidecar. The leading link forks look great. XS650 with a hack , what a great combination.

  9. Ted H says:

    Nice, Real Nice always wanted to see a sidecar on an XS Did I say Nice
    Real Nice

  10. Rich says:

    Thanks for the nice comments

    Hans – the sidecar was first built circa 1960, the tele fork version did have a steering damper (just visable left side under the tank). With the leading links – no wobble yet and can easily control the outfit with one hand on the bars

    Barney – My dad is well impressed, he didn’t think I’d even find one – approx 30 made

  11. Steve H says:

    Cool sidecar, are the molds still around?:

  12. Lou says:

    A wood turned headlight! Neat!

  13. Max Rippage says:

    That is a sharp sidecar!

  14. Brendan_mp says:

    Very, very, cool. It has almost a steam punk feel with the wood and copper. Thanks for posting it.

  15. Mike S says:

    I really like the stance of the bike. What mods did you do to the frame??

  16. Rich,
    Got a question for you, maybe you know I’m editor of the Dutch XS 650 magazine ‘ 653′ and really like to write an article about your great ride.
    Hope you like that idea ( and see it as a honour….) Would you be so kind to write some lines about your sidecarcombi and send some pics??
    Over 600 readers of our Dutch XS 650 club will be pleased I’ ll be sure.
    If you would, drop me a mail at

  17. Rich says:

    Again cheers for comments & to answer some questions.
    Steve H – sadly the molds are gone forever
    Mike S – the seat rails were cut out and replaced with parts chopped off a dead Z650 frame, dropping the seat height by approx 30mm. Rear section of frame also cut off, the ends blanked off and a new cross brace welded in. What really helped in doing the back end was not having to mount the number plate on the bike, posistioned between the bike & sidecar.

  18. Capt_Zoom says:

    Great bike. Very cool that you could combine your dad’s past vision/passion with your own.

    I love the wooden headlight. My father-in-law has been trying to get me to make a wooden accent bobber. I’ll have to show him yours.

  19. Mark Dalton says:

    What a brilliant setup.
    Why not help your dad build new moulds for the sidecar,great legacy to leave behind.Sure it would sell well too.