Few modes of transportation can rival the elegance of the wooden boats made by the renowned Italian company Riva. But what if you could capture that sophistication in a well-executed classic sidecar rig?
That’s exactly what the French sidecar specialists, Alternative Sidecar, have just done. Based in Ablon-sur-Seine (about ten miles from the Parisian city center), their latest build pairs a modern Indian Scout with a new version of one of their existing sidecar designs. Except this one’s been finished with luxurious leather and wood finishes.
To pull it off, Alternative Sidecar roped in Jacques Jouvin of Atelier JAB—a carpenter that specializes in automotive work. Jacques has experience creating wooden trim for cars, motorcycles and sidecars, and has even built his own wooden Yamaha XS650 cafe racer.
With the team assembled, all that was left was to find a suitable donor. They settled on a current-model Indian Scout 1200, and sourced one from the Indian dealership in Valence.
Alternative Sidecar hadn’t built a rig on a Scout until now—but luckily they’ve been building sidecars for modern classics for five years already. So they took their existing ‘Gran’Large’ design and reworked it to sit lower, and to match up with the Scout’s proportions.
Their proprietary attachment system doesn’t require any frame mods on the parent bike, which means that they can now offer this new ‘Gran’Sport’ unit as a kit.
All of Alternative Sidecar’s rigs use frames and attachment arms made from MIG-welded steel pipe. They also use a ‘big wheel’ design with a swing arm and shock, for maximum comfort. This particular unit’s using a Hagon shock, plus a Brembo disc brake that’s linked to the bike’s rear brake pedal.
The bike itself has been fitted with stiffer fork springs, and a stronger set of rear shocks from Shock Factory to match.
Other sidecar features include a 50-liter trunk, and a full complement of LED lighting. It’s also sporting a Brooklands-style windscreen, and a chrome grab handle and footrest. Alternative Sidecar have even built in a USB charge port, and there’s a cover for when you want to protect the interior.
But it’s that Riva-inspired wood trim that steals the show. Working with solid mahogany as a primary wood, and sycamore for stripe inlays, Jacques hand-shaped the floor and outer step, and added a stripe that runs down the front. He also made new armrests, and backings for a set of custom badges.
But Jacques isn’t the only master craftsman that laid hands on this project. There’s a leather artisan near Alternative Sidecar’s HQ who specializes in car interiors; he handled the stunning burgundy leather upholstery.
The pin striping was laid down by Taka Hira—a well-respected striper in France with over 40 years experience. It sits on a green base with just a hint of flake, with gold tank logos that were hand-painted by Studio Kallico.
From the color palette to the materials used, this elegant sidecar rig is so well judged it hurts. If we had a 1960s Riva Aquarama moored nearby, this is the bike we’d pick to ride down to it.