Posted 10/23/2016 4:23 PM (#91186) Subject: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
I just want some input from those of you who were touring a lot of miles on 1000 cc or larger motorcycle (two wheels) then switched to driving a sidecar rig and touring a lot of miles on it. Or the other way around, hack to two wheels.
I am very much aware of how driving a hack is a big difference from riding two wheels.
I'd like to know your personal experiences with the change, either positive or negative. How much do you miss the one you switched from?
Posted 10/24/2016 10:32 AM (#91192 - in reply to #91191) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
I too ride both and haven't had an issue switching back and forth between the two. The way I think of it, on two wheels, you become one with the bike. You lean as it leans, you rise and fall over s and dips as one. It's you and your bike against the world. On three wheels, you lean opposite of the bike. Your weight and body position is done in compensation for what the bike is doing or riding over. Put succinctly, it's no longer you and your bike against the world as your bike has switched loyalties.
But its not as bad as it sounds. It's like riding a spirited horse. There is a lot of gratification in taming the beast!
Posted 10/24/2016 10:02 PM (#91202 - in reply to #91186) Subject: RE: Two Wheels to Side Car
I'd like to know your personal experiences with the change, either positive or negative. How much do you miss the one you switched from? Thank you
Rode BMW GS bikes on several Iron Butt rides, up to Alaska twice, etc. In the last five years, have put over 50,000 miles on various sidecar rigs looking for the perfect fit. Though two wheels and sidecars look like they should ride the same, they don't. Sidecars are a completely different animal requiring a different skill set to navigate safely. Not difficult to learn, but are different.
Are sidecars dangerous? NO, actually less dangerous than when you first learned to ride on two wheels. They do require more driver input than two wheels.
Being a long term MC rider, there are habits you will have to unlearn. For me, the hardest was unlearning to dive into corners, i.e. start high, dive low, come out high. Try that on a sidecar and suddenly your third wheel is off the pavement on right handers and your buns have a death grip on the seat. You learn to hug the centerline on ALL curves.
As mentioned above, on two wheels, it's you and the bike against the road. On three wheels, it's the rig and the road against you. You move around a lot but the rig stays planted.
I find I am more relaxed riding sidecars than on two wheels. I no longer worry about road debris, mud or sand washed out on to the road, plus cage drivers see me better. Can admire the scenery more, enjoy the sights and smells and have more opportunities to pull over for a quick photograph than I had on two wheels. Plus I can take the grandkids out for a ride that are too young to ride on a bike.
Attend a regional or national USCA rally, talk with various rig owners about their likes and dislikes with the various rigs.
Try it and see if it is right for you. Don't invest a lot of $$$ in your first rig. Start modest, buy a well sorted first rig then trade up if you like the sport. Some want a more off road oriented rig others want a road runner. You decide , they are all out there.
Posted 10/25/2016 3:18 PM (#91210 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Edwards, CO
I had 60,000 miles on my 2003 GS when I put the sidecar on it and now have another 60,000 with the sidecar on it and it really was not much of an adjustment. I still do road trips on my 1996 R1100 RS solo also so it is really just a matter of what I feel like riding. There are specific sidecar events where I will take a sidecar or the BMW Sport Touring events where I generally take the solo RS but even at those I have been known to show up on the incorrect moto.
As far as adapting I often run errands on one of the sidecars and then grab a solo mid day to run errands and I do not think twice about switching. I find it harder to go from a few days riding the Ural around and then jump on the K100RS/EML rig, that sometimes requires a little bit of conscious reorienting.
Posted 10/26/2016 11:37 AM (#91217 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Rapid City, SD
I am going to give another perspective here. I rode 2 wheels for 3 years. Early in those years I had a bad accident and that affected my enjoyment of riding with 2 wheels. I was always apprehensive. I bought my first rig in the early 1990's and have ridden coast to coast and border to border to attend BMW and Sidecar rallys. We bought a large Yamaha scooter a few years ago and I was never comfortable being back on 2 wheels. We sold it at a loss. I am now on my 4th rig (all with BMW tugs) and wouldn't go back to 2 wheels. Now - that being said - those of you who have a wheeler around and use it regularly - good for you.
I have a friend at church who has several 2 wheeled bike and a Ural. He is having so much fun with the Ural I seldom see him on 2 wheels. In fact I see him all over the Black Hills and if he wasn't wearing a full face helmet I would see a big smile on his face.
Keep us posted on your decision.
Posted 10/26/2016 2:11 PM (#91219 - in reply to #91186) Subject: RE: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
Thanks for the input. I hope the information keeps coming.
At present I have a Honda VTX with 125,000 wonder touring miles. I have decided its long distance touring is over. I purchased a NOS Yamaha Royal Star Venture S a year ago which now has 8,000 miles on it. I bought the Yamaha to replace the VTX as my main tourer but I'd keep my VTX for regional riding since it has so many miles on it and not worth much.
I take several long distance trips per year by myself. Also, my special needs daughter rides with me on a few long trips each year and some day rides. For a few years I have been considering a sidecar for the stability when having her ride as a passenger.
I have taken the sidecar riders course so I understand the difference in handling. I have visited two sidecar manufacturers. Also I know once converted to a sidecar rig with "easy steer" installed (I have been told to install it), two wheel riding on that motorcycle is out of the question. My concern is that I will not enjoy a rig on long trips and then regret spending the money to convert to a sidecar rig. This is one of those decisions almost like a marriage for me. Once I spend the money I will be stuck with no easy solution to get out of it since they are slow sellers. Money is not a spare item around our house.
Posted 10/26/2016 5:26 PM (#91223 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Have done both, bought well set up rigs and built my own. A well set up rig will almost always cost less in the end than building your own, even when your own labor is free. If you don't take to sidecaring or don't like a particular rig, you can always resell the rig for what you paid for it. Not so easy to do when you build from scratch.
Posted 10/26/2016 8:02 PM (#91224 - in reply to #91186) Subject: RE: Two Wheels to Side Car
I ride both and switch almost on a weekly basis. In a years time I normally put about 12-14k miles sometimes a little more on the solo and sometimes more on the rig. When my wife and I travel together is now 100% rig. This summer I took an 8 day 3650mi trip on the solo and must admit a couple of times thought about the rig. This may be because of my age and getting lazy about putting my feet down . Now that I am approaching 100k on rigs I feel that I am more secure on them due being seen easier. I have been fooling around with rigs for about 13-14 years. Now that I am 66 years young I really see that I can extend my years riding with the rig, plus I just really dig them! Never had trouble switching between the two, reminds me of when I played tennis and racquetball at the same time, both use racquets but entirely different motions, somehow my brain just switches over. Amazing since it seems so inadequate at other times Hope this perspective helps.
Posted 10/30/2016 6:45 PM (#91281 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Portland, Oregon
I rode 48 years on two wheels and then got a burr up my back side to try three wheels. Took the two class with Vernon Wade and fell in love with three. Bought a rig and before long found myself riding it more than my one remaining two wheeled bike. I was having so much fun with the sidecar rig that when my wife asked what I wanted for my 70th birthday, I said a sidecar for the Triumph T100. Now I have two three wheeled rigs and am having more fun that I've had in the last 50 years of riding.
Posted 10/31/2016 9:03 AM (#91287 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Reardan, WA
About 15 years ago, my wife (now of 46 years) decided she wanted to quit riding with me. I bought Hal Thompson's Ural to see if she'd like a sidecar ride. I didn't expect to like three wheels after many years on two wheels and still loving it. She tried it one week end but her mind was made up. She was no longer willing to accept the risk. But my good buddy Archie (a Boxer) loved it and I discovered a whole new thrill. For a couple years Archie and I rode the Ural while my Harley sat in the garage. Then it was obvious- there was no going back. Sold the Ural, my Kwik Kamp trailer and an old parts tractor and ordered the Liberty for the Harley. Archie died in 2010. I got Henry at the same shelter I'd found Archie at. Henry rode but his thrill in life was chasing cars and coyotes. That was his downfall. In 2012 he got hit on our little traveled road. I found Petey in the same shelter not long later and he took to the sidecars like Archie had. He loves to ride. We now have two rigs and no solo bike. The adventure continues. We also have our two acre yard surrounded with invisible fence. No more car or coyote chasing...
Posted 10/31/2016 10:08 AM (#91291 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Tom, Thanks for sharing that. I for one, love hearing how different individuals got into the world of sidecars. In some ways it is curious that very few of us even thought about sidecars until later in life, or there were so few of them around we never had the opportunity to see one up close or experience one before we got into two wheels. Even today sidecars are a rare encounter in the public realm.
If the USCA doesn't raise the public awareness of the fun and safety of sidecars, who will? If sidecar vendors won't support the USCA, how can the USCA support the vendors when they need owners to rally to their cause. In this small world of sidecars, we ALL have to support each other if our preferred mode of riding is to survive the onslaught of corporate funded trikes and reverse-trikes.
Posted 11/13/2016 8:17 PM (#91420 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Spanaway, Wa.
I too have ridden both just two wheel & three wheel. My first rig back in the 70's was a Guzzi/Ural rig I got because the kids were wanting to travel with me. I rode the Guzzi about half the time with the sidecar attached, other half with it removed. Never had a problem switching back and forth. There was no automotive tire that would fit the Guzzi rear, so when the rear tire started getting a little flat I would leave the sidecar on until I got a new tire. I did same thing later when I got a Kawasaki 1300 and put a Vetter sidecar on it. Both rigs had about 80,000 miles when sold. The kids grew up, wife had her own solo bike so I went back to only two wheels until 2003 when I went back to another rig (wife had broken her ankle and had to give up solo riding).
Posted 11/25/2016 3:23 PM (#91510 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
In 2010, my wife of 24 years told me that riding the tow wheeler was no longer comfortable for her. Tried a trike, but no benefit because still sitting on bike seat. I ask her if she would ride in a sidecar. Maybe. Looked around, found a gentleman about an hour and one half driving distance away with a sidecar for sale. Multiple phone calls, we arranged a day for us to go look at the car. Hooked the trailer to the pickup and took off. Looked at car, wife sat in it, detached from bike, says yea, I could ride in here. Paid the man, loaded it up, drove home. Bought needed items to attach to my bike, painted car to match said bike, and installed. Took it to a school parking lot for about an hours worth of aquainting, rode home got wife and took her for a 25 mile ride. She says compfy. Four days later, took a 3 day week end trip, and have kept my sweetie smiling. I purchased another used 2 wheeler and switch back and forth all the time, no problems. We've riden the sidecar from Binghamton, NY, to Yellowstone, and other shorter trips. Loving it. I also do solo trips on the 2 wheeler. Life is good,
Posted 1/7/2017 8:52 PM (#91951 - in reply to #91186) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Considering adding a sidecar to the fleet primarily for dual sport riding...getting too old to hold up a two-wheeler. Met a guy a while back who kept his bikes but bought a Spyder because he felt unstable on two-wheels. He loves the Spyder but said after riding it a while, if he gets back on his two-wheeler he forgets to put his feet down at stop lights! I suggested he was joking and he insisted he was not. Most of you have indicated no problem going back and forth between two wheels and three...I'd like to hear more if anyone HAS had that difficulty and would like to chime in?
Posted 1/9/2017 8:06 AM (#91961 - in reply to #91959) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
tinboatcapt - 1/8/2017 8:27 PM
It takes me a couple of stops to remember I DON'T need to put my foot down with the rig. It must be an entertaining moment for witnesses.
When 1st first leaving from home I generally complete a few weaves around imaginary cones within the 1/4 mile before to 1st stop sign to get my memory working as to whether I'm riding two-wheels or three-wheels. So far this practice has worked well. After the initial learning curve, I've encountered no particular issues switching between 3 to 2 to 3 wheels.
Posted 2/24/2017 8:38 AM (#92494 - in reply to #92493) Subject: Re: Two Wheels to Side Car
Location: SW Ohio
With all the non-winter weather I've been able to start my rebuild (upgrade) of the front end, which entailed removing the hack. Of course that means getting some mileage on two wheels. Feels good, and the bike likes it too.