Xtracycle Sidecar enhancements

Tina, Liam, and Ella gave me an Xtracycle Sidecar kit several years ago and I’ve logged several hundred miles with it, including trips with Suki. Last summer it received upgrades and it logged 500 RAGBRAI miles it was time to publish their success here:

1. For anyone who has a Sidecar, you might notice the axle makes noise when hitting bumps in the road. If you’re willing to use a screwdriver in addition to the easy-to-use and push-to-release button on the Sidecar’s lone wheel, you can silence the axle with a single 3/8-inch electrical conduit to NEMA clamp as shown in the pictures below.

2. Prior to last year, my Sidecar’s tire went flat a couple times. After I wore the first tire out, the Sidecar received an upgrade to a Schwalbe Fat Apple set up tubeless (this seems reasonable since I keep the pressure at 50 psi or less). Last summer, I was a cheap bastard and used a single layer of Kapton tape on the stock rim, which allowed a spoke to poke through after 500 miles. This year I took off the Kapton tape, replaced the Fattystripper with a hole in it, and installed a fresh Fattystripper, 1 ounce of Orange sealant, and 2 layers of Whisky 30mm tape (if you try this, consider 25mm tape, 30mm is what I had on hand and it was a bit too wide).

3. Finally, for bikepacking Sidecar trips that need power at their destination, we mounted a solar panel to the Sidecar’s deck and use it to charge Makita 18-volt battery packs. The solar setup proved it’s worth while riding across Iowa, keeping 3 of our iPhone’s charged in the evening. Also, detaching the Sidecar at camp with the wheel attached gave it perfect angles for tilting toward the sun, I recommend it:

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