If you think of Shanghai’s most iconic vehicle it has to be the timeless Changjiang CJ750 with sidecar, but as the city looks to clean up its act and improve air quality even these have started to disappear. It was with this in mind that we looked into building a sidecar for the modern age… and it looks pretty slick.
We sourced a Veipai, China’s answer to (read: unlicensed copy of) that most iconic of scooters, the Italian Vespa. We found a suitable sidecar and after stripping both the bike and its new addition back to bare essentials, we fitted them together using a custom bracing mount.
In order to give the bike the power it needs to carry both a passenger and a fully laden sidecar we fitted a state-of-the-art 2000W rear hub-motor and a 200 Amp controller. We hooked up 8 x 12 Volt lead acid car batteries in sequence to power it with a pretty solid (albeit heavy) 96V supply. From this we got 80-90km/h top speed and a range of 60km, ample for anyone looking to turn heads in Shanghai, be it commuting or just cruising cafe to cafe in the Former French Concession.
The Veipai Sidecar was given a full overhaul, including a fresh new body kit, sharp leather upholstery and revamped electrics, but as would be expected from any vehicle as unique as this, we were faced with some challenges. The largest of these was the sheer weight of battery required to power the bike- but fear not! In what must have been a world first, we fitted our Veipai out with a reverse gear to make curb parking that much easier.
As licensing restrictions becoming more and more stringent the number of Changjiang CJ750s still on the Shanghai streets are dwindling and with them disappears a large part of Shanghai's automotive history. With our sidecar Veipai we hope to keep memory of these bikes alive by preserving Shanghai sidecar heritage for a little longer.
When you're next in Shanghai keep your eyes peeled and you might see this beauty fly past in the FCC！