Posted 1/7/2017 8:32 PM (#91950) Subject: I think it's time for a sidecar!
I operated a sidecar rig once, when I was a smart-a## kid, and didn't like it. After 100 yards I got off and told the owner, "Thanks but I'll stick to two wheels until I'm too old to hold up a motorcycle." Fifty years later I'm typing this one-handed thanks to a freshly-broken collarbone, the result of a KLR650 tip-over on an easy dirt road. Thus I'm thinking it's time to take another look at sidecars! My education begins here, with my shiny new USCA membership!
My first inclination is to mount a sidecar on a Gen 1 (pre '08) KLR, mostly because I love those bikes and have a little experience working on them.
My primary interests are adventure riding and low-to-middle key dual sport riding (blacktop back roads, forest service roads and the occasional rutted up two-track jeep trail) on a vehicle that is less inclined to tip over and break my aging bones. I'll never carry a passenger or a dog so I envision a minimalist approach, perhaps suitable to the KLR's limited horsepower; i.e. a basic sidecar chassis with a waterproof box big enough to carry camping gear, tools, spares and a six-pack on ice for the end of the day.
I understand that sidecar dynamics are totally different from a two-wheeler and the limited reading I've done hints that the engineering involved is way over my head so I'll rely on the advice of sidecar experts in choosing the right sidecar for my needs, with installation and alignment by a professional. Before venturing onto the roads and into the woods, I'll get all the training available and do a LOT of practicing on large paved and gravel parking lots.
Unlike the typical KLR owner, I'm not afraid to spend a little money on something that delivers value. I would, for example, seriously consider DMC leading link front suspension (listed at $2k on their website) even though that's almost as much as the bike to which it would be mounted! And since a stock KLR barely has enough braking power to stop the motorcycle, I assume it would be wise to at least consider a brake on the sidecar.
Bottom line, I'm looking for a bike-and-sidecar combination that will be the difference between continuing to do the kind of riding I love, or giving up that kind of riding and sticking to the pavement for the rest of my riding days. That's a a pretty big deal so any and all noobie advice will be greatly appreciated!
Posted 1/8/2017 2:36 PM (#91956 - in reply to #91950) Subject: RE: I think it's time for a sidecar!
Don't know where you are located, but if you are on the east side of the country
contact Claude Stanley of Freedom sidecars. He has done tons of adventure type sidecars.
He has a webpage and is on facebook. I am sure others will agree.
Posted 1/9/2017 11:53 AM (#91964 - in reply to #91950) Subject: Re: I think it's time for a sidecar!
We have done many KLR sidecars and offer 100% bolt on bike specific mounts that work on all years of KLR's and have built many KLR sidecar bikes, I own and ride one my self. Right now the best bang for your buck is the Russian Sputnik we have which is what I have on my own KLR and can be seen at this page http://www.dmcsidecars.com/sidecars/sputnik-sidecars/ $3295 hardware included. We also make the Enduro, M72B, M72D and Cargo sidecars that work well on the KLR. The KLR's rear spring is a bit week for sidecar use, we offer a spring for $85. As it takes as special spring compressor to install we have you ship us your shock and we swap the spring, We do not charge for doing this. You will loose any skid pan you may now have on your bike. If you want a skid pan that works with our mounts they run $75. I strongly recommend a brake on the sidecar $650 for any of our sidecars. Some people tell you that you do not need a brake which is why we make it an option. Several years ago we were filming for a video and still photo's for the book "driving a sidecar outfit" (also known as the yellow books, we stock it for $34.95) as we were rushing to build a bike and sidecar for the day that the photo shoot was to happen and did not finish the bike until late the night before we did not have time to get the brake built so we were riding with out a brake. Coming down a step grass and wet leaf covered hill with the sidecar trying to push the front of the bike to the left I had to chose do I want to use the limited traction on the front tire to steer or to slow down as there was not enough to do both. We came down the hill a lot faster then I would have liked.
When ever you add a sidecar to any bike you end up with heavy steering. On KLR's most people just live with it, if you want lighter steering we do make a leading link front end.
I have attached a few photo's. The last was an adaption to our cargo sidecar for some one who was traveling the entire length of the America's and doing a surfing documentary about the trip, he started by going to Alaska, in Mexico the bike with sidecar was stolen. So if it ever turns up, call the police! We have built or supplied sidecars and mounts to over 100 KLR owners, we have this down.
Posted 1/12/2017 7:19 AM (#91991 - in reply to #91964) Subject: Re: I think it's time for a sidecar!
Jerry, I had the same requirements as you for a KLR based adventure rig. Finally ordered a sidecar chassis from DMC with their KLR subframe. Then built out the rest with the features I thought I needed, extra fuel, fully mounted spare tire, lockable waterproof storage, etc...
Am very pleased with the final product. Can cruise all day on pavement or follow a Jeep trail when in the mood. Have taken it on national forest 4X4 trails and sections of the Continental Divide. Naturally I dropped the gearing down for better climbing on rocky terrain but can still cruise at Ural speed. Be glad to answer any questions you have as you put together the right rig for you. CCjon