Sidecars are among the most niche, yet charming motorized vehicles out there. While occupying very specific purposes, as well as being subject to various road restrictions in different parts of the globe, these quirky three-wheelers continue to thrive, and actually have a cult following, particularly in Europe.
Perhaps the best known sidecar maker, which undoubtedly has a very rich history, is Ural. Interestingly, Changjiang, a Chinese motorcycle manufacturer, has seen reasonable success with its sidecar models, the Dynasty and Pekin Express, particularly in France. So much so, that these Chinese-made sidecars are said to hold their own against the likes of Ural. That said, the otherwise obscure manufacturer has taken it upon itself to revamp its two sidecar models for the 2021 model year. Let's take a closer look at these two charming machines.
Known collectively as the CJ650, the Changjiang sidecars are now Euro 5-compliant. The three-wheelers are powered by a zesty 649cc parallel-twin engine. Churning out 61 horsepower, the Chinese three-wheelers have proven themselves as dependable companions for those who prefer trundling along on three wheels. The two machines transfer power to the ground via a four-speed gearbox, complete with a reverse gear. The gear rations have also been revised to provide more efficient power output for rugged terrain. That said, the company claims a speed of 110 kilometers per hour at 6,500 RPM in fourth gear.
As far as underpinnings are concerned, both the Pekin Express and the Dynasty are equipped with KYB suspension front, rear, and side. A combined braking system keeps speed in check. Of course, a parking brake comes standard, ensuring the machine's 365-kilogram heft doesn't go anywhere while parked. Very little nuances set the two sidecars apart. The Dynasty boasts premium creature comforts such as heated grips, and thicker padding for the rider seat and sidecar. The Peking Express, on the other hand, boasts a more rugged appearance, complete with a winch and long-range auxiliary light mounted on the front of the sidecar.
The Changjiang Dynasty and Pekin Express sidecars are expected to arrive in French dealerships by the end of April and will be priced at 13,390 euros, or the equivalent of $15,708 USD.