Posted 6/3/2014 9:38 PM (#78038) Subject: Best Car
I'm getting an '08 Guzzi California and would like help in finding the best car to get knowing it's going to be used only for a 75lb. Golden Retriever. She is a therapy dog and we visit hospitals and schools. Not too concerned with price. Want something that will handle well and I will feel comfortable with at highway speeds. Thanks for any suggestions.
Posted 6/4/2014 12:02 PM (#78048 - in reply to #78038) Subject: Re: Best Car
Posts: 929 Location: Rapid City, SD
We need more info. What is the displacement of the Guzzi? What is the horspower? I have a Motorvation Formula on my BMWK1100 which has 100 hp. The car has a seat that comes out very easily so the dog can have the full floor to spread out. Several years ago I saw a Hannigan that was set up to haul two Afgan hounds. Both rigs could be easily coverted back to carry people very easily. I regularly see Formulas for sale on the internet. One advantage of the Motorvation Formula is that they often come with an electric linear actuator to adjust the tension on the suspension on the car to compensate for changing road conditions and weight in the car. We have put 60,000 miles on our rig and love it for space and comfort of ride. This may be overkill for your specific application but if you use it for more than carrying your service dog it is a great car but it requires 90+ horsepower to pull it.
Posted 6/4/2014 6:03 PM (#78055 - in reply to #78038) Subject: Re: Best Car
While of course my first choice would be for you to get one of our sidecars, however there are lots of good sidecars out there as well as some not so good. Things to look for, bike specific mounts, NOT universal! Universal mounts seldom work well if at all. If the company offers bike specific mounts make sure that they are not a bunch of "universal" frame clamps that they say are specific to the bike but rather proper sub frames designed just for your bike. Proper suspension, this means a full swing arm with a shock, not an un-dampened torsion unit. A brake that is compatible with your bike, some sidecar companies do not even offer brakes, others offer a drum brake that there is little hope of getting to work proper with your bike. A brake is a very important safety item that while you may never need it, if even once you do it is worth all of the effort and cost. Make sure that your dog and or any human passengers can get in and out of it easy, some sidecars like our Kenna sidecar you must step over the side to get in and out of them, other sidecars like our M72C there is a step built into the frame, the body is cut down and the windshield tips forward out of the way. Nice things to have are a trunk that opens from the out side, Our M72C, M72CX and Expedition sidecars all have an external opening trunk while our M72B and Kenna do not. If you are going to do long distance traveling electric trim is nice to have, our Kenna and M72B do not offer this option while the rest of our sidecars do. Make sure that the sidecar was really designed for a bike as heavy as yours, I know of one person who is now dead as a dealer installed a very light weight sidecar on a Moto Guzzi Jackal.
You might want to also consider where the sidecar is made, Is it made in the USA? or India or ?
BTW, for our M72 series of sidecars we also offer a dog pad as an option where you remove the seat and place this full sized upholstered foam pad on the floor.
Both my wife and I are life members of the National Moto Guzzi owners club and as such we own and ride these bikes and have developed bike specific mounts as well as new from billet triple tree's to lower the steering effort with the sidecar.
Posted 10/27/2014 10:49 AM (#80858 - in reply to #78055) Subject: Re: Best Car
Wow Jay you are serious and it is refreshing to a newbie who is thinking of getting into the sidecar arena apposed to a Can-Am or Trike. I ordered the book from your business by Hough and will spend some time reading before I buy anything but we may talk about my current rides becoming hack rigs or other suggestions you may have as I progress in this venue. Thanks for the quality response to another persons email. I'm impressed and pleased.
Posted 3/1/2015 5:03 PM (#83156 - in reply to #78055) Subject: Re: Best Car
Posts: 2498 Location: Middleburg, Pa
Not posting this to begin any kind of debate at all but just an attempt to provide more information if you are shopping around. Some things can end up being a ;ford vs chevy' argument but the final decision is yours. I think there ar emaybe 6 or seven sidecar builders in ths country and all are a little different of course. Motorvation who has been around for many year sis a great choice andtheir after the sale care is great. Some for Hannigan, texas sidecar, champion and others. Motorvation has run a torsion bar suspension for many years with virtually no issues and no shock. We, Freedom Sidecars, also offer a torsion bar setup on our smaller Bullet Sort sidecar with no shock. They handle very well and are easily adjusted for ride height to compensate for loads road camber and so forth. We did do a few with a shock years ago but the nee didn't really there. Can one be added? Yes bit it isn't needed.
Sidecar brakes? There has been an ongoing debate about brakes for ever it seems. Yes, some rigs do we with them and some should have brakes but many do very very well with no brake on the sidecar wheel , We offer a brake if one desires as does Hanngan on their smaller sidecars. their larger ones do come with a brake. I could make a case to a newbie that would make them feel like they would die instantly if there was not a sidecar brake n the sidecar but I cannot do that and feel comfortable unless they know the facts enough to make a decision. Sidecar brakes can be inconsistent due to their nature on many rigs. Yes you can roll up to a stop sign and stop with little to no handlebar input wit a brake. But our concern is the panic situation not the day to day operation. When the deer jumps out in front of you your reaction time is only so long to try and avoid the target. Igf you have practiced hard braking as you should you will have a pretty good idea what your rig will do under braking when the time comes. You will react and pretty much know what will happen. With a sidecar brake there is another factor thrown into the mix. What will it do or what will it not so? This varies with sidecar loading, road conditions and other factors, So,,,react to the target then react to what the brake did or didn't do.....precious time has gone down the tube and that can be the deciding factor between a near miss pucker factor experience and a disaster. Many of us feel that consistency in a critical situation is much more important than the 'perceived' additional braking power of a sidecar brake. Notice that many sidecar rhave a skinny tire on them,,,,well that tire likely will just lock up if it was not proportioned well. Not a good thing. Or if you break in a right turn and th sidecar wheel is very unloaded.....no effect until it comes back down and at that time it more than likely will be locked up....again...the inconsistencies are real.
When we do a brake we many times plumb it into th erear brake on the bike. Hannigan does it this way also. Works well on most bikes. Our preferred way is to do a self contained unit that has it's own master cylinder. We WILL NOT place two pedals side by side as that can be disaster in a panic situation. Hitting just the sidecar brake can make the rig do scary things.....what things? Okay...example....right hand turn.. deer jumps out. You cram on the binders. Sidecar wheel is light due to cornering forces. Sidecar wheel locks up and skids or maybe is off the ground and locks up.When it regains contact with the road then braking changes again...yadda yadda . When we do a brake we can plumb I tin as mentioned. The self contained system has it's own master cylinder but the second 'pedal' goes down below the stock bike pedal with an adjustable link to allow brake bias adjustment, By doing it this way there is no chance of hitting just the sidecar brake alone. However you can still activate the sidecar brake with a conscious effort if you want to but not by mistake! Note....Last year we did 14 Hannigan Classic sidecars. These sidecar come trough with the brake rotor on the hub and th ebrackets on the swingarm to moun tth e caliper. Easy retrofit! One outof the14 orderd the brake. None of the others came back for a brake and some of them are pretty aggressive riders.
So it goes..... oh BTW if anyone finds a brake thread from the past on any of these forums you will see that opinions are all over the place and that much of th edicussion will be about how to make the darn thing work right.
Suggestion,,,,start without a brake get you r skill envelope up as high as you an through practicing and then make a decision on a brake,
Comment: Some have said they hit the brakes and the rig went to the left across the centerline and if they had had a sidecar brake that would not have happened. Answer: MAYBE OR MAYBE NOT. Truth: To allow a rig to do this is a dead giveaway that someone did not practice breaking the way they should have. When someone gets out of their skill envelope they are lost! We can plan our actions but our reactions only come through practice!!! If we do not practice a little above our present comfort t zone we can never ever increase our skill envelopes. So....if this happened as stated with no brake but consistency what can we even imagine would have happened if It had a brake and and that created an inconsistency?
Food for thought..... have fun practice and be safe.
Posted 3/28/2016 10:41 PM (#88474 - in reply to #78038) Subject: Re: Best Car
hello Claude, i am just learning + deciding about a sidecar setup. my father lived in glen iron + i am in the shamokin area, so i will be riding up to see you when the weather gets good. glad to see theres someone in the area!
Posted 9/26/2016 10:06 PM (#90868 - in reply to #78038) Subject: RE: Best Car
Posts: 248 Location: Richton, MS
Jay & Claude
I think you both have very valid points. Been reading and considering but still cannot make up my mind. Now have over well over 17,000 miles on three different rigs in the last three years and still haven't figured it out. For sure, each rig acts differently. I strongly agree that experience/practice is a key factor. We learn by doing. As Claude said: "We can plan our actions but our reactions only come through practice!!!" Get out there and ride.