Reverse gear

Going backward

Getting your freedom machine to go backwards is not in itself unique to the fact your in a chair, all sidecars (except Urals) have this problem as standard. Being in a chair however does mean you can’t easily abandon ship if you hit the ice-burg as my mate “Bernie”  found out one day. Riding his rampaging 80cc Nippi thru city streets behind a Semi, he found himself in the situation where the truck, not making it thru a set of traffic  lights, started reversing back to the intersection entrance where Bernie patently waited!  Bernie was blasting the Nippi’s feeble horn for all he was worth but may as well have been singing the La Marseillaise as that truck driver wasn’t hearing anything but AC/DC and the Nippi obviously wasn’t showing in his mirrors.

Bernie reckons he had time to discover religion, remember the location of his least liked late Aunts favourite cat’s grave and add two items to his grocery shopping list while watching that trucks increasingly large rear bumper approach.

Bernie survived thanks to the chorus of car horns from adjacent horrified drivers but vowed he would never ride again without access to reverse.

Not having had the same specific experience as Bernie, I have put 80 thousand km’s on my various outfits none of which have had reverse and sure, it would be nice, but it need not be a show stopper.

If your tug is a Ural or Goldwing with reverse as standard, then your laughing. Likewise adding a reverse gear to the box of some early BMW’s and Harleys is possible, for the rest the most common means of going backwards in the sidecar world is frictional rollers on the bikes rear or sidecars tyre.

The following are images and info from the excellent website ADVRIDER ( but without specific permission which I’m chasing. Hence, they may disappear but can be found posted on ADVRIDER.

Pic by Richard-NL

Ok class look closely at this tasty machine from Europe to see the neat (even colour coordinated) commercial caravan reversing unit working on the sidecar’s tire.
In close up, the neatness of the installation is apparent, you pay a price but if space and funds allow, this can be the easiest means of going backwards.

Pic by Richard-NL

Pic by C Stanley Motorsports Inc.

A variation where the frictional roller/motor gearbox assembly rotates about a fixed upright pivot to make contact (at some slight angle) with the bikes rear tyre.
The more common horizontal pivot so the roller swing upto or down to the tyre. If you swing up then the frictional roller will pinch onto the tyre in reverse and be pulled away from the tyre by forward movement.  In most cases the “best” option will be governed by available space.

Pic by Richard-NL

Pic by Richard-NL

A neat setup showing the motor, gearbox and pivot with the roller removed and,
with the roller in place.

Pic by Richard-NL


15 thoughts on “Reverse gear

  1. No worries mate.

    Feel free to use any of my pictures from the internet. That’s why they are there.


    Thanks Richard-NL. Most of the images above are provided by Richard on ADVRIDER

    • probably as long as a piece of string…

      Since there in none off-the-shelf that i’m aware of your building from scratch or modifying something.

  2. i've worked out a nice reverse using a geared ccw starter motor and a flexplate starting gear on the side of the wheel...had too run a bigger battery cost=$90 ...30 for battery 15 for gear 30 for starter and 15 for jumper cables on said:

    i just sent photos to the owner showing how you can make a bad ass reverse gear powerful enough to back you up at about 10mph if you want,using a starter motor and flexplate bolted to the side of a wheel…of course,you need to run a bigger battery,and for gods sake,put some loud car horns on yours rigs as well…cost you 20 bucks and can save your lives…priceless

  3. how can I get prices on your reverse gears the units look nice but I see no prices I have an 83 Harley Davidson Shovelhead Electra start I have no way of pushing it backwards except for with help a friend always has to be around gets annoying would love to have reverse if you can give me some gears prices I would appreciate it or send a pamphlet or something thank you

    • Mate, we are not a business, just one bloke doing this for a hobby. Figure out how to do it then tell the rest of us!

  4. I have noticed that your page needs some fresh articles.
    Writing manually takes a lot of time, but there is tool for this boring task, search for; Wrastain’s tools for content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *