Brett Ladbrook, an L2 paraplegic, recently sent us an original article he wrote about his modified motorcycle - a 2007 Suzuki GSX1400, complete with an Mk1 Sabiston sidecar - that he rides along the roads of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Our readers were intrigued and wanted more information from Brett, specifically on the modifications he made and how they fit his needs. So he’s back with some great photos and commentary on his uniquely modified ride!
When it comes to transferring from his chair to the bike, Brett’s got a pretty good system.
"I transfer off my chair and onto the bike. Sit side-saddle and put the chair onto its footplate to remove one wheel at a time. Swing my leg over and lift the frame into the sidecar."
Storing the Chair
Brett has had to go through a couple different modifications to find out what works best for storing his chair on his bike.
"My chair wheels were put on a pack frame behind the passenger’s seat with quick release wheelchair receivers on. This kept breaking the pack-frame and after the 4th time it broke I had to change it."
"This photo shows the new mounts I had made to carry the wheels in between the sidecar and the bike. These are very sturdy and I’ve had absolutely no issues with them at all. Still have the quick release receivers on to lock the wheels in. You can also see the wheelchair carrier on the back of the sidecar as well as the wheelchair inside the sidecar."
"When I have passengers I put the chair on the back of the sidecar on a nifty little mount. The camber bar sits on the half round bracket and it has Thule pushbike rubber mounts that go over the tubes and bungee onto the bottom down tubes of my frame."
Specific modifications are necessary on a bike like Brett’s. He highlights some below.
"These photos show the Velcro straps for my bike boots. Just slide my foot in with no hassles. You can also see the Translogic gear shifter. It's in a very tight position, right up next to the bike's engine cover. Works well."
"Pushbuttons for the gear shifter. Nice tidy little bracket on this that came with the shifter."
"This is the rear brake caliper that came off a Honda CBR1000. It has two inlets so you can link the front and rear brakes together and also use the footbrake separately. Of course I don’t use the footbrake but it is law over here to have two separate brakes working. I didn’t want to have other controls up on the handle bars so this really works well for me."
"The sidecar has been altered every year with new mods. I would run the mod for the summer and if they worked I would get them powder-coated over the winter time. Took three years to get it where I wanted."
Brett's had plenty of experience when it comes to making modifications work for him. His advice is, "Be prepared to sit back and think about the mods and then knowing sometimes that you will have to change them after you give them a good test." It's all about trial and error.
Brett has clearly put a lot of time and effort into transforming his one-of-a-kind bike to fit his needs. He even has plans to make additional modifications to accompany a new wheelchair with new dimensions. So while it may be a work in progress, tinkering with the modifications is half the fun!
"This rig is an amazing piece of kit to ride. Does everything it should - some things you wouldn’t think it would do and gets you scared every time you go out. Great adrenaline rush."
Thanks to Brett for sharing the details of his modified motorbike!
What changes have you made on your favorite mode of transportation to meet your needs? Tell us about them for a chance to be featured here on AbleThrive!