Champion Sidecar History

The Champion Sidecar owner Craig Arrojo retired in 2019 and Champion was split up and sold as of December 2020. The Trike division was sold to a company in Arizona. The sidecar and reverse gear division is now in Fountain Valley, California. Great news for those of us that own a Champion Sidecar.

HISTORY: In the beginning.

In 1990 Champion Sidecar was started by three former employees of California Sidecar. Peter Smith design engineer, Barry Bates shop Forman, parts manager & salesman, Craig Arrojo sales manager. Their first model introduced was the Escort Sidecar.

Peter and Barry had decided to leave the employment of California Sidecar and at the final dinner meeting they started joking about the quality of the CSC products and started talking about what they would do differently to improve the sidecars. During this Craig suggested that maybe they should start a sidecar company and things started happening from there.

The first Escort sidecar was put together in a matter of a few weeks in Pete's garage so they could show it at Americade, the motorcycle festival. The new sidecar was not perfect but they got it there and sold quite a few Escort Sidecars. Finally there was a sidecar that was sized more for an adult. Entry was and still is as easy or easier than any sidecar on the market. Peter designed an electrical trim system (lean control) or T.I.L.T. now it is standard in the sidecar industry. Back then it was a first. And there was also a real suspension, not the old stiff torsion bars that made CSC owners use 16 psi in their tires to get a decent ride.

They decided to use a sidecar body design similar to the CSC Friendship I and Friendship II. Similar, but not the same. Barry Bates personally built the new Escort sidecar body and it was considerably larger and had a totally different front opening and actually had front running and turn signal lights and even had a built in automotive tail light from a Honda. A considerable step up from the little accessory lights on the rear (only) of the CSC Friendship models. Barry and Peter wanted to go with a new sidecar design but Craig thought it was to their advantage to stay with a proven popular design similar to the CSC models he had been selling for many years. The Escort with its many innovations soon became a popular sidecar. The Legend and Daytona sidecar models were soon added to their sidecar line up all of which have been in production for over 30 years. 


Champion Sidecar Model Line from 1990 to 2019. Here are pictures of 3 sidecar models Champion Sidecar built. They started making the new Vintage Sidecar in 2014. It is a copy of the old Harley-Davidson "Peanut" sidecar, but I do not have a picture of it. In 2015 they started making the new Avenger Sidecar. It is a copy of the old Harley sidecar from the 1914's time fame and has a side door. Looks very cool. I do not have a picture of it. 

Now in 2022 they build 3 models. The Legend Sidecar, Vintage Sidecar and the Avenger Sidecar.

I own a 2005 Champion Legend.

Champion Escort Sidecar. This is the first model that Champion came out with when they started in 1990. The hatch opens and is called a flip nose or clam shell hatch. The Escort Sidecar has been dropped from their line up as of 2020.

 The Escort was a much improved copy of the California Sidecar Friendship II.

The Escort Sidecar has a amber marker & turn signal light in front, that is how you can tell it is not a California Sidecar because CSC has never put a turn signal on the front of their FS I, FS II or FS IISE sidecars, all of which could be mistaken for a Escort Sidecar. 

Escort Sidecars with their hatch open. That is an air vent in the floor. The cap screws out to let the air in.
Escort Sidecar with color match tonneau cover which is a factory option.
Escort Sidecar bucket seat.
This is the newer style Escort trunk with the hinges on top and the smaller taillight.
This is an older Escort Sidecar with the trunk hinges on the bottom and the 21'' taillight. Also shown is the Escort convertible top with side curtains. The top was a factory option.
An open Escort Sidecar with 4'' floor air vent and front hatch linkage and gas shocks to help open the hatch and hold it open.
Escort convertible top with side curtains removed.
Escort Sidecar rear window in convertible top.

Escort Sidecar trailer hitch. It slides into the 1-3/4'' frame tube and is held in place with one bolt. I have one on my Legend Sidecar and believe me it is strong and looks great! Also shown is the newer style trunk and smaller taillight.


This is the Champion Legend Sidecar. It is a copy of the old Indian  Sidecar body from the 1930's & 1940's. You have the option of getting it with the Harley fender or the Indian fender which is pictured below. The step is an option.


Most of the chrome trim is aftermarket on this Legend Sidecar. The smoked windshield is an option. I got one with my Legend Sidecar.

I love the look of this Legend Sidecar!!!

This is a 2014 Indian Chief Vintage Motorcycle & 2014 Champion Legend Sidecar in Indian dress. It sure looks great! Owned by Kip. F 


Champion Daytona 2+2 Sidecar. This is a two passenger double wide sidecar with a flip nose hatch. The Daytona 2+2 sidecar was dropped from their line up in 2020.

Daytona 2+2 convertible top.

Daytona 2+2 without convertible top.

Daytona 2+2 sidecar front end, marker light , turn signal & mounts on a 1997 Honda Goldwing 1500.

Daytona 2+2 sidecar with hatch open.

Daytona 2+2 sidecar two person seat.


Left Hand Mount Champion Legend Sidecar. This new 2012 Legend was ordered by Geoff N. in New Zealand. 

 Legend Sidecar crate at the Kiwi Shipping warehouse near the Champion Sidecar factory in Los Angeles California waiting for a ship heading to New Zealand.

New 2012 left hand mount Legend Sidecar in primer. Just opened the shipping crate in New Zealand. You can see the steering damper mounting bracket on the front pinch bolts. The brake line is coiled in the back and in the front is a bag with the chrome trim.

This is a mounting bar that Geoff made to mount a step on both sides of the Sidecar. 

These are left hand sidecar mounts made by DMC Sidecars for a Harley RoadKing. The two lower mounts you see on the right hit the road when riding without the sidecar so Geoff cut them and shorten the front mount by 2'' and tilted both mounts up and re-welded them so they would not hit the ground. 

New Legend Sidecar just back from the painter, WOW!!! Two tone paint job. The extra 3 chrome trim pieces on the sidecar nose were added by Geoff. They are 3/8'' and are called flexable trim.

The Harley RoadKing and left hand mount Champion Legend outfit complete in New Zealand.

Legend chrome nose trim and chrome Harley light and turn signal. The steps are Markland and is what Champion used on the Legend when they still offered a step as an option.

Step on the right side also. The frame tube in the rear is where the trailer hitch bolts in.

 Chrome upper mounting struts. And chrome steering damper on the front forks hooked to the front lower sidecar mount with a bracket attached to the two pinch tube bolts.

Champion Legend Sidecar left hand mount in New Zealand

On the left rear of the Legend Sidecar you can see the T.I.L.T (lean control) assembly.

A big thank you to Geoff N. in New Zealand for the great pictures and information and all the work he put into building a great outfit!!!


Champion Legend Sidecar Review-------------------------A classic style from the 1940s.The fiberglass Legend sidecar body is a copy of the old steel Indian sidecar. I love the style of the body. It comes with a modern swing arm suspension and a five adjustment shock. Every one who rides in the sidecar said it is comfortable even going across rail road tracks. Sidecar comes with black power coated mounts that are made for your particular motorcycle. It has  four point mounts and can hold 450 pounds, a big reason I purchased a Legend. I can load it up with camping equipment spare gas can, tools and spare parts, even a passenger and not be over weight. The wheel is the front wheel used on a Harley and has sealed wheel bearings and a one inch axle. When replacing tire order a front tire. The basic sidecar does not come with much, not even paint. If you want paint or pin stripes you will need to send the factory a paint sample from your bike because paint fades over time. I sent them my saddle bag because it also had pin stripes on it. They did a fantastic job painting the sidecar and pin stripes and

matching my paint (Cobalt Blue Pearl) on the bike, it cost $640 extra.

Other accessories I ordered were interior lights in the sidecar and one in the trunk, also a cigarette lighter, sidecar cover, trailer hitch that just slides in the frame tube and bolts in, very easy to put on and take off, a small halogen driving light with a switch in the sidecar, it does not help light up the road but is a good marker light. I put on a full size head light in its place but it just sat to low to help light up the road much so I made a bracket and mounted the headlight up higher on the body and it now lights up the road very well. I also ordered a smoked windshield, a brake on the wheel at $559 alone, and a electric leanout control at over $530 and it is the best accessory I purchased. It will level out your bike when a passenger compresses the suspension and makes the bike lean bad to the right, or help when there is a road angle or to just fine tune the lean out on the bike. I highly recommend getting this accessory because I know what it is like to own a sidecar without it. The tinted windshield works great at keeping the wind off the passenger, their hats do not even blow off. The fender does come with a yellow marker light on top and a tail light. I could not order it with a turn signal at the time so I had to put one on the front and back of the sidecar. I believe a turn signal is an option now. Also I ordered a tonneau cover to keep rain and dirt out of the sidecar, it goes over the windshield and snaps on and work perfect. It does not look to good but it is the only kind the Champion sidecar factory makes. So I made my own Legend Sidecar tonneau cover to use with out the windshield on the sidecar, the cover is flat and looks a lot better and works good even in a hard rain, and it helps lower wind resistance by not having the windshield on. See a picture of my cover at bottom of "About US" page. I recommend ordering the step to use getting in the sidecar, there is no frame sticking out to use for a step. Short people will have a tough time getting in without a step.The seat folds forward and has a good size trunk behind it to keep a tool box in and a helmet, but the trunk does not come with a lock and the factory does not have that accessory. The seat comes out easily with just four screws holding the seat hinges. A luggage rack is a accessory I ordered and they said it was back ordered nine months so I purchased a Harley sidecar luggage rack and made it fit, you have to play with the spacers that come with the kit, but it will work real good, plus it was cheaper and bigger than the Champion rack. Now for the bad: I ordered my Champion Legend Sidecar with a brake made by Bembro who stamped their serial number on the out side edge of the rotor and bent the brake disc, after a few months it was making the whole outfit shake bad, so I had the rotor machined and it helped quite a bit but then it got worse again so I called Champion to order a new rotor and tell them about the problem and they said they have never heard of a bent rotor problem before. I got my new rotor and the serial number was stamped in the edge again and it was bent but not as bad as the first one. I just purchased a new rotor in February -2022 and they no longer stamp serial numbers on the edge, yea!

The smaller draw backs are: no trunk lock, no turn signal, the black power coating peeled on the mounts after just three years. I touched them up with paint, no big deal. The pointed front nose of the sidecar can be a little of a tight fit for someone with long legs and wearing motorcycle boots, but that is just the nature of the beast. .........................................................................Conclusion

The Champion Legend Sidecar Looks great, rides great, handles great, and is built tough and made in California, U.S.A. It is pricey, about $7000 plus shipping about $400 in my case in 2005. About $9000 in 2022.