Ballast?
Texas Red
Posted 6/4/2007 2:21 PM (#25872)
Subject: Ballast?


Rookie here. I really enjoyed the "Handling" thread, and have a question for the veteran riders. I saw one post that said he carried 15-20# of weight in the SC, but how much weight do most of you carry in your day to day riding?

I have a 97 Electaglide and HD SC. Thanks! Don
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Hack'n
Posted 6/4/2007 7:11 PM (#25885 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
'03 FXDL with Velorex 563 Tour sidecar, 65# ballast behind seat.
'83 GL1100 with Velorex 700 Cruiser sidecar, 65# attached to outer sidecar frame.
'98 HD FLHRCI with TLE sidecar, 65# behind seat plus factory weight bolted to sidecar spring perch.

Lonnie
Northwest Sidecar
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ditch
Posted 6/4/2007 7:15 PM (#25886 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


95 lbs. Lab named Rusty.
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Texas Red
Posted 6/4/2007 8:29 PM (#25888 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Ditch, the thought of getting my german shepherd pup, Loco, in the SC scares me almost as much as right hand turns!

Lonnie, I've been running with no ballast 'cause I thought most experienced riders rode that way. I'll try some weight, maybe steel plate that'll lay low behind the seat.

Your help is appreciated.

Don

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Hack'n
Posted 6/4/2007 11:53 PM (#25893 - in reply to #25888)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
That pup will take over the hack in a hurry if given a chance. I haven't seen a dog yet that wasn't a potential sidecar dog. Just make sure you have a good harness with a short enough leash so it can't jump out of the car if he/she gets excited.

At 74+ with a bad back, shoulders, elbows and one sheet metal wrist I like to have just enough ballast in the empty car so I can just lean a bit and don't have to try to "Hang off" or do other gymnastics to stay on the road.
If my Bride of 46 years (130#) is aboard then we're really solidly on 3 wheels.

Lonnie

Edited by Hack'n 6/4/2007 11:55 PM
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gnm109
Posted 6/5/2007 12:33 AM (#25894 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
I use a 46 pound weight bolted on the outer frame of my HD sidecar. It's a replica of the 45 pound cast iron ones that HD used to sell. Mine is 1/4" steel plate filled with lead. It's more than enough set out so far.

The slower you ride, the less ballast you need.
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Ron Campbell
Posted 6/5/2007 12:34 AM (#25895 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


My rig has pretty good balance so I realy dont need the ballas, but when I cary my normal load it is about 300# with my scooter on board . Buy the way it is 65" wide
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Bob in Wis
Posted 6/5/2007 11:27 AM (#25910 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


actually, most 'seasoned' SC drivers use ballast..it's the newbies who try without it.
with that said, my K100/motorvation FII rig need no ballast. it is a fairly heavy SC, and my track width is 60". with overall width of the rig 82 ". no leaning required on turns, with or without a passenger, including my 2 dogs.
of course, I have the usual 'stuff' in the trunk...tool box with tools, scissors jack, small compressor, SC convertible top, jumper cables,rain gear [for 2]rig cover. might add up to 20 pounds or so.
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Egor
Posted 6/5/2007 12:22 PM (#25915 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Have 02 Suzuki Intruder with Champion Escort sidecar. When running empty I put three 25lb bags of shot in it. Also carry various tools, covers, etc. in trunk. Egor
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Lunatic
Posted 6/5/2007 1:58 PM (#25916 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


I run car batteries in all of my sidecar rigs. Behind the seat of the sidecar. I suppose thats a solid 40 lbs of ballast there. But its USEFULL ballast. Car batteries cost less than motorcyle batteries and work VASTLY better. I have jump started many cars and pick up trucks off of my sidecar in the wintertime.
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RichardMc4
Posted 6/5/2007 4:17 PM (#25919 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
I ride a Honda Shadow 1100 with a Velorex 565. I started with a 5 gallon water jug but that was a pain but having the wheel come up two times when I was not ready I add 50# of bird shot. It was under the set till about a mouth ago when I put it in two 2” PVC pipes and hung them under the car.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f6/Richardmc4/DSC00404.jpg

Edited by RichardMc4 6/5/2007 4:25 PM
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gnm109
Posted 6/5/2007 4:27 PM (#25920 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.

Edited by gnm109 6/5/2007 4:31 PM




(Ballast1.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments Ballast1.jpg (84KB - 355 downloads)
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Texas Red
Posted 6/5/2007 6:09 PM (#25924 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Guys, I appreciate the info. The pics really helped out a lot. I think I'll try to fab something using your ideas.

The rig runs ok empty. No wobble at low speeds, and smooth up to 60-65. 75 is as fast as I've taken her. I'll be back at the high school this weekend practicing my turns a little better prepared.

Thanks from East Texas,

Don

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joejcr
Posted 6/5/2007 9:22 PM (#25927 - in reply to #25920)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Originally written by gnm109 on 6/5/2007 1:27 PM

Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.


Can you give me the demintions of the weight? That is exactly wanted to put on my TLE.
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gnm109
Posted 6/6/2007 10:54 AM (#25939 - in reply to #25927)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
Originally written by joejcr on 6/5/2007 6:22 PM

Originally written by gnm109 on 6/5/2007 1:27 PM

Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.


Can you give me the demintions of the weight? That is exactly wanted to put on my TLE.


Hi,

It's made of 1/4" steel plate and welded only on the inside to give a cleaner appearance. It's patterned roughly after the former cast-iron weight that HD used to sell.

It's 12-1/2" long, 3" high, 3" wide at the top and 3-1/2" on the bottom. It has a plate of 1/4" steel that is welded across the bottom center. That is about 4" wide to cover the area where the four bolts go through and 3-1/2" across to cover the bottom. The ends are also 1/4" plate to cover the area. The empty shell weighs about 6 pounds.

I also tack-welded four 1" nuts inside the unit, one on each corner. These are used to lock the filler lead in place after it cooled.

After it was welded, we turned it over and leveled it on the ground. We used lead which was bead-blasted clean and cut into small pieces. The unit was heated with a roofer's propane torch and filled with the small pieces. When the lead melted, we put more lead in until the level of lead was close to the edge. It was then allowed to cool. This method is far safer than heating the lead in a pot and pouring it. There is no pouring, the lead merely melts in place. Because the lead was first cleaned of outside impurities, there was no slag at all when it melted. I suspect that the lead that I used was alloyed with antimony as most commercial lead is, since the resultant weight is very hard. I used some antique theater curtain weights that were given to me many years ago but you could just as easily get about 40 # of fish weights - although, you would have to remove the brass hooks when the lead melts if you go that route.

The usual safety and comfort precautions apply: face shield, gloves, long trousers, long sleeves, 6 pack of Budweiser, potato chips, etc.

The result is a very neat weight that came in at 45 pounds, only one pound less than the original style HD 46 pound cast iron weight.

After all was done, it was necessary to drill four 1/2" holes down through the top and through the bottom center plate. The pattern for these was the top spring plate that holds the right spring onto the sidecar frame. These holes clear some longer 7/16" bolts to hold the weight in place over the spring.

The older TLE's, had leaf springs and since 1998 they have had single leaf springs. This design should work with either style. I later decided to add a spacer under the weight to lift the weight clear of the springs. It probably wasn't necessary but I didn't want the springs to slap the bottom on the weight. The spacer was 1/2" steel plate but could just as easily have been aluminum.

In the alternative, if you could find an OEM Harley weight that would also be good. Harley used to make two other accessories for the sidecars that they no longer produce. One was a reverse unit for the earlier sidecars. it had a ring gear that mounted on the brake drum (pre-1998) and a mount for a starter motor and a relay. The lead-acid battery went in the back of the sidecar in the trunk with your $400 leather jacket. LOL.

Harley also used to make a parking brake unit for the sidecar. Apparently the weight, reverse and parking brake didn't sell well so they have been dropped.

I hope this helps.

gnm109

Edited by gnm109 6/6/2007 11:00 AM
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Rotten Ralph
Posted 6/6/2007 5:06 PM (#25946 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 152
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Has anyone had any luck finding an OEM Harley sidecar weight?
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Hack'n
Posted 6/6/2007 6:01 PM (#25949 - in reply to #25946)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
The Harley spring perch weights are sometimes offered on Ebay.

Lonnie
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helliott
Posted 6/10/2007 1:44 PM (#26080 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Haven't seen this mentioned but I use two 5-gallon collapsible water jugs in the trunk of my Hannigan Classic. That gives me 80# of ballast that I can easily get rid of if I want to give someone a thrill. Than I just fill the jugs back up at the next stop.

Hall
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papasmurf
Posted 6/5/2008 6:51 AM (#36297 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 82
Location: southern NH
HI FOLKS:
To have removable weights, stumbled on ample supply: old, large-sized brake rotors! My sons/yours truly did brake jobs on our respective vehicles over last 2 yrs.[full-size Buick, 2 pickup trucks]. Saved old rotors[about dozen to-date] which weren't too corroded and wire-brushed them. Use varying number in hack, depending on how much camping gear we're toting. Rig is GL1500/FSIII, so don't need many, but they DO make a difference in peace-of-mind on our terrible secondary roads up here in New England, after every spring thaw.
AND have 900cca truck battery in s/c trunk also! TTFN. Old Tom in NH
...member, NE 3 Wheelers
And THANK YOU LORD for bringing my son home safe from Iraq last month!
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Bob in Wis
Posted 6/5/2008 9:49 AM (#36301 - in reply to #26080)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Originally written by helliott on 6/10/2007 1:44 PM

Haven't seen this mentioned but I use two 5-gallon collapsible water jugs in the trunk of my Hannigan Classic. That gives me 80# of ballast that I can easily get rid of if I want to give someone a thrill. Than I just fill the jugs back up at the next stop.

Hall


Helliot, just put 80 pounds of permanent ballast under the SC or in the trunk, and LEAVE it!...no need to ride around with the water jugs...big PIA.
the extra weight along with the passenger is a plus!


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solo1
Posted 6/11/2008 4:04 PM (#36452 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


I have a Valkyrie with a Spyder 'car. Track width, about 64"

I have three duct taped bags each with 17 pounds of wheel weights, plus a complete set of Craftsman tools, another 20 pounds, plus about 30 pounds of gas in my aux sidecar tank.
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epicmoto
Posted 6/11/2008 9:29 PM (#36458 - in reply to #36452)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 40
Location: Atlanta, GA
I have a Yamaha SR500 with a Jawa Velorex 560 sidecar. It's a pretty lightweight rig. The tug and the chair are well paired. But the chair will come up pretty easily in a right-hander when empty. I run with a little over 100# of ballast when you factor in my tools. I bought some 15# stainless steel shot bags used for light rigging. They are very well made, have handles and don't move around in the truck. They are not cheap but will last a lifetime. I'll be getting some more for my second rig. Here's a link.

http://lowinglight.com/products.html#shotbags
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dmobrien2001
Posted 6/15/2008 7:10 PM (#36552 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


No ballast in my 2006 Ural Tourist LX hack. I can lift it up by hand, but when I set the hack wheel down on my wife's bathroom scale (shhhh, don't tell her), it puts 165 lbs on the ground. Pretty stable as is. Can lift on RH turns, but a little technique and body english keeps it down most of the time.
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Hack'n
Posted 6/16/2008 12:29 AM (#36561 - in reply to #36552)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Unless you are blocking up the bike to the same heigth as the scale so it isn't leaning away from the sidecar, you are getting a light reading on the scale. Part of the weight is being transferred to the bike wheels.
How much? Haven't got a clue.

Lonnie
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dmobrien2001
Posted 6/16/2008 7:43 AM (#36564 - in reply to #36561)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Originally written by Hack'n on 6/16/2008 12:29 AM

Unless you are blocking up the bike to the same heigth as the scale so it isn't leaning away from the sidecar, you are getting a light reading on the scale. Part of the weight is being transferred to the bike wheels.
How much? Haven't got a clue.

Lonnie


The scale is around an inch high so the effect isn't that much.

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." -
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claude #3563
Posted 6/26/2008 4:41 PM (#36794 - in reply to #36564)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 2480
Location: Middleburg, Pa
Originally written by Hack'n on 6/16/2008 12:29 AM

Unless you are blocking up the bike to the same heigth as the scale so it isn't leaning away from the sidecar, you are getting a light reading on the scale. Part of the weight is being transferred to the bike wheels.
How much? Haven't got a clue.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

dmobrien2001
The scale is around an inch high so the effect isn't that much.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Some long tim esidecar riggers will put the bike up on a 1x board (3/4") to simulate the crown of the road.If the sidecar wheel is on a scale the way to get the same effect woudl be to put the bike up on a thicker board.
Final adjustment will be " lean elft to go left and lean right to go right'...not rocket science here.
Claude
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Concho
Posted 2/23/2009 8:30 PM (#42194 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


When my chair was removed for painting, I went to the local do all welding business and asked if they would be interested in adding some steel to the car frame. We dug around in his scrap and came up with a piece of carbon steel scrap which was 12" X 12" X 2" thick. It fit perfectly into the frame opening and adds 81 lbs. to the rig. It's supported on 3 sides with pieces of 1 1/2" angle. It took the weight of the Velorex up to about 235 pounds empty and approximately 35% of my bikes weight.

I couldn't be more pleased with the results after cleaning upthe welds and giving it several coats of Rustoleum paint.




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Hack'n
Posted 2/23/2009 8:57 PM (#42198 - in reply to #42194)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
That's a rare find.
The local steel supply here wants $240. for a 12"x24" slab of 1" plate.
Ouch!!!!!!

Lonnie
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Concho
Posted 2/24/2009 1:58 PM (#42240 - in reply to #42198)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Originally written by Hack'n on 2/23/2009 5:57 PM

That's a rare find.
The local steel supply here wants $240. for a 12"x24" slab of 1" plate.
Ouch!!!!!!

Lonnie


I used to estimate a lot of steel and we used $1.00 lb. for estimating
purposes. Fortunately for me, this piece was in his scrap pile and he
charged me $80.00 for the steel, $1.00 lb. and $20 for the welding and
angle. I couldn't thank him enough....

If you call a steel supplier prices are out of sight. Scrap yards and
scrap piles are the best source.

An easy calculator for steel plate:
http://www.chapelsteel.com/weight-steel-plate.html



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deftone
Posted 7/2/2009 10:25 AM (#45019 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


i picked up a CB550 with a spirit eagle sidecar mounted to it...the owner said he was a little big for the old suspension and it leaned way to the left...i put new rear springs and shocks on the rear and it sits a lot straighter with me on it....i am new to the sidecar world but have road bikes for nearly 20 years....it is a different animal but i am liking it so far....my questions are

1.when my wife or daughter are in the car it corners and rides good but the steering is a bit wobbly at low speeds, is that normal?

2.my wife and i together are about #300 +gear(me #180)...my daughter is about #50 socking wet...if i were to put my self and my wife on the bike and my daughter in the car how much weight should i add or would it matter much? also would this be a safe ride? i'm not looking to go far just cruising around town and such

thanks
Tony
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Hack'n
Posted 7/3/2009 8:38 PM (#45038 - in reply to #45019)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Keep the bride in the car. For safety's sake the heaviest passenger should be in the sidecar.
For driving with an empty sidecar try dropping a 60# sand tube behind the seat and see how it rides.
With the long trail of the CB hondas some low speed nose wiggling is normal without a damper.

Lonnie
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hal77079
Posted 9/19/2009 1:58 PM (#46357 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


I tried to utilize my then 127 pound Pyr -X as ballast in my Watsonian GP. Got her snuggled down real good and even put up the convertible top as it looked like possible inclement weather. All went well until I climbed onboard and engaged the starter. As soon the engine caught she went straight out through the canvas top. Maybe she did not like the three into one running out on her side through open pipe. Never felt the need for ballast. However, my weight challanged friend in Canada who weighed close to 400 pounds did fill the entire wraparound frame on his english Hedingham with lead shot to keep the sidecar in balance with him and his 1800 GW. The one third rule is just that. A basic guide for most situations. But then, one must temper that with the real world - like WHO will be riding, and WHERE and how BIG will each person be. Certainly, one would not hook up a light 150 pound sidecar to a 750 pound tug. Nor would one hook up a 300 pound Watsonian four seater to a 275 pound 150 cc stepthrough. Let commonsense prevail. But human beings being what they are will commit both extremes - we have seen them at the rallies. I used to be asked to try out sidecar rigs. If they would not pass the stand on one side, swing body out while lifting on the handle bar test there was no way I would try out. The rig might have been safe enough for the driver who brought it to the rally but it was unsafe for me! Always put big moma in the sidecar and little Joe on the pillion.

Hal Kendall
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WinginCamera
Posted 9/22/2009 1:14 PM (#46439 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 205
Location: Spanaway, Wa.
For my GL1800/Escort rig I when empty I carry two collapsible five gallon plastic water containers, which is about 80 lbs total. If I pick up a passenger it is easy to dump the water is easy to dump. I just seat belt the containers into the sidecar so they can't move around.
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cat0020
Posted 12/7/2009 1:02 PM (#47967 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


I use two car batteries on the seat of my sidecar, approx. 80 lb.

Edited by cat0020 12/7/2009 1:07 PM




(4.jpg)



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Snapgadget
Posted 5/13/2010 2:13 PM (#51266 - in reply to #36564)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


I'm going to give this subject a little bump...where do I get the shot several have spoke about?
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Hack'n
Posted 5/13/2010 4:06 PM (#51268 - in reply to #51266)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Gunshops and reloader suppliers have it. Since lead shot has been banned for most purposes it may be on a back shelf in 25# bags.

Lonnie
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hal77079
Posted 5/13/2010 6:20 PM (#51269 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Lead can be available - least it was in 2089 - from hardware stores - in 5 pound ignots - these are about 5 or 6 inches by 2 inches by three inches - in a trapezoidal form. These may be drilled or mounted in any fashion. I got mine from an ACE hardware store. Drilled hole then mounted by bolting. Was fairly inexpensive.
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SidecarMike
Posted 5/13/2010 10:44 PM (#51270 - in reply to #51268)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1710
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin USA

Hack'n - 5/13/2010 4:06 PM Gunshops and reloader suppliers have it. Since lead shot has been banned for most purposes it may be on a back shelf in 25# bags. Lonnie

It's getting pricey.  I was at the local big box gun shop lately and they wanted $45 for a 25# bag.

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hal77079
Posted 5/14/2010 4:19 AM (#51271 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Battereies i if used - must be careful to vent outside the cabin. Cost of new lead or washed lead from about $1.50 to $3.00 per pound. - reclaimed lead shot, or bars or ignots.
=================================================
Salvaging lead from batteries can be hazardous to your health. The "maintenance free" batteries are not like the older lead plate batteries. The ones these days have calcium and other alloying elements in them.
The danger comes when alloys containing calcium are melted with those containing antimony and arsenic (such as in wheelweights). Compounds are formed in the melt which becomes mixed with the dross. When the dross is discarded, if it comes in contact with moisture highly toxic gases can be released.
For instance, an alloy containing calcium mixed with wheeweights will have a silvery-looking scum that forms on it fairly quickly. It tends to cling to the ladle and often ends up in the mold. In the melting of these two alloys small crystals are formed and a reaction can occur. Two of the most common reactions are:

2Sb + 3Ca=Sb2Ca3
or
2As + 3Ca=As2Ca3

Neither one of these compounds can be fluxed back into the alloy and will become dross.

The danger lies in what happens to the discarded dross.

If moisture is introduced, the calcium oxidizes for form lime while the hydrogen combines with the antimony or arsenic to produce either stibine gas or arsine gas. Both are actute poisons.

The gases are heavy and will lie in low places, such as the bottom of a garbage can.

As little as 50 parts per million of arsine can impair the function of the blood or cause pulmonary edema. A few breaths of it can be fatal.

Calculations show that 1 pound of the above alloy can produce about 0.1 cubic feet of gas. If trapped in a garbage can, it could prove a fatal dose should one inhale it after taking the lid off. It would only take 0.3 cu. ft. of such gas to contaminate the air in an average basement or garage.

It is best not to mess with melting down batteries.
The above information was gleaned from "CAST BULLETS" by Col. E.H. Harrison, article "Battery Plates: Bad News For Casters" by Dennis Marshall, page 116.
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WildThang
Posted 7/6/2010 5:10 AM (#52310 - in reply to #51271)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 14
Location: Middle Georgia
2 50lb bags of sand behind the seat... 6 bucks at Lowes
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gnm109
Posted 7/19/2010 9:29 PM (#52620 - in reply to #52310)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
I added a weight over the frame outside of the tub. on my Harley TLE sidecar. It is a steel casing that I welded and filled with molten lead. It weighs 50 pounds and is approximately the same size and shape as the original Harley-Davidson cast iron weight that is no longer available.

With 50 pounds out at a distance, it gives a very good downward force. I can feel it working when I take a long turn at high speed. The wheel really doesn't want to come up. I don't want it to come up either. LOL.

I've shown these pictures before.

The farther out the weight, the less weight is needed but 50# is about tthe minimum, IMHO.

Photobucket

I had to build a caltilever mount to keep the weight away from the tub. The original Harley weight would always cut notches in the fiberglass body.

Photobucket

I also had to make a new foot step mount to move it forward about 3 " to just clear the front of the weight.

Photobucket



Edited by gnm109 7/19/2010 9:34 PM
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Xpehbam
Posted 1/3/2011 9:43 PM (#55339 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Posts: 3
A HD does not need ballast...rookie or not. I am the odd-man out in that I do not believe in ballast. It is a crutch. A sidecar specific rig (Ural/Dnepr/Cj/BMW/HD/etc.) does not need ballast. Cobbled together rigs and rigs not designed for chairs...may...need ballast.
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gnm109
Posted 1/3/2011 9:54 PM (#55340 - in reply to #55339)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
Xpehbam - 1/3/2011 6:43 PM

A HD does not need ballast...rookie or not. I am the odd-man out in that I do not believe in ballast. It is a crutch. A sidecar specific rig (Ural/Dnepr/Cj/BMW/HD/etc.) does not need ballast. Cobbled together rigs and rigs not designed for chairs...may...need ballast.


Your opinion is duly noted. If you don't feel that you need ballast, by all means, don't use any.

That said, I've riddien both with and without ballast and I prefer it. I don't do much more than 50 pounds and that's over the wheel on the spring.

Calliing it a crutch is somewhat harsh. "Crutch" is a word used to belittle the efforts of others.

This is an old thread. Are you trolling? Dd you look for a thread with which you could disagree?

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Hack'n
Posted 1/3/2011 10:56 PM (#55344 - in reply to #55339)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
No ballast needed? Not if one drives a well matched combo with caution after enough seat time to know what to expect under (most) all conditions.
No brakes needed either unless you want to stop quickly when you wish to.
No parachute needed if the plane is on the ground.

Let common sense prevail.

Lonnie
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SwampFox
Posted 1/3/2011 11:06 PM (#55345 - in reply to #55344)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 1661
Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
Double-wide EML conversion: No ballast required; chair has never lifted in "regular" driving; only got light once.

Sportster with Texas Sidecar: Quite difficult to keep the chair down unless there is 30+lbs of ballast; un-expected situations could get ugly without ballast; better is the usual load of 80lbs (including Maddie the dog).
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hal77079
Posted 1/4/2011 12:22 AM (#55346 - in reply to #55345)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Since the earliest of times - going back at least 100 years - to 1911 - just after the sidecar was born - it was found that when the sidecar was about 35% of the weight of the combo, optimum performance was achieved. Whether this was in the form of an optimally balanced rig, or was in the form of a slightly lighter sidecar with some added weight, it made little difference. Of course, adjustments may be made for your particular speed, roads travelled, etc - but this is a general finding. Where a much lighter chair is used it will spend much of its time in the air. For some this is the way to go. If the chair is too heavy, it will lag when accelerating and attempt to lead when braking. There is no one size fits all. Whatever suits you is just fine. Should one optimally ballast a rig for his driving style, it will probably not suit another sidecarist - maybe too light or too heavy. Many times when I used to go to the major sidecar events, fellas would come up to me for my opinion. I gave it my classic at rest sidecar swing - foot and body on left footpeg, swing body outwards while yanking up on right handlebar and pushing down on left handlebar. If rig came up swiftly and almost overturned I just smiled and said sweetly - your rig is unsafe. Suggest you have it carried back home. If the sidecar came up a few inches and thumped back down I was then ready to ride it.
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Xpehbam
Posted 1/4/2011 10:12 AM (#55347 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Posts: 3
GNM109, Lonnie...I said nothing different than what Mr. Kendall stated above. Apologies that I am not as eloquent as he. The original poster was inquiring about an Electroglide with factory sidecar. That combo needs no ballast unless he weighs about 500lbs. I was not aware that you can not share a differing point of view on this forum or add to a "old topic". If that qualifies me as a troll here, so be it. Again, my apologies to all who were offended. I shant troll here again.

In parting, let me extend my deepest gratitude to Mr. Kendall for allowing his publications to be freely distributed to the community. A very selfless thing to do in the name of safety and knowledge. I tip my hat....
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/4/2011 10:51 AM (#55348 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1710
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin USA

I have to agree with Hal and William.  I've been around sidecars for more than 40 years and have seen more poor combinations than good ones.  Ballast, to me, is one more thing that can backfire on you. 

 I used to carry bags of sand in my HitchHiker/Goldwing combination, figuring I could dump them in the ditch when they were too much.  Unfortunately, when they needed to be there, they were empty.  Or when the sidecar was loaded to capacity, it was overloaded with 2 75 pound bags.  I'm sure that is the reason I bent the frame on that car twice.  I had the frame gusseted and reinforced and still bent it a second time.

Since then, I pay particular attention to keeping the weight ratio correct when I put one together.

Without exception, every time I hear a nightmare story about sidecars, it involves a Spirit of America, Velorex 562, or something similar on a Harley or Goldwing, or other big bike. 

An important thing to consider though is that we are talking about the weight when going down the road.  I recently had a conversation with a man who told me he switched from a sidecar to a trike, because "sidecars are death traps".  Upon further discussion, he insisted that his outfit, a Harley Davidson, was "properly balanced at the factory".  The part he didn't consider was that he weighed nearly 300 pounds, and his sidecar carried a 12 pound Schnauzer.  Now his 800 pound motorcycle weighs 1100 pounds, and his 250 pound sidecar isn't nearly heavy enough.  Add to this that all his camping gear is on the bike, because he didn't want to crowd the dog.

Now he rides a trike and the dog stays home.

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gnm109
Posted 1/4/2011 11:22 AM (#55349 - in reply to #55348)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
SidecarMike - 1/4/2011 7:51 AM

I have to agree with Hal and William.  I've been around sidecars for more than 40 years and have seen more poor combinations than good ones.  Ballast, to me, is one more thing that can backfire on you. 

 I used to carry bags of sand in my HitchHiker/Goldwing combination, figuring I could dump them in the ditch when they were too much.  Unfortunately, when they needed to be there, they were empty.  Or when the sidecar was loaded to capacity, it was overloaded with 2 75 pound bags.  I'm sure that is the reason I bent the frame on that car twice.  I had the frame gusseted and reinforced and still bent it a second time.

Since then, I pay particular attention to keeping the weight ratio correct when I put one together.

Without exception, every time I hear a nightmare story about sidecars, it involves a Spirit of America, Velorex 562, or something similar on a Harley or Goldwing, or other big bike. 

An important thing to consider though is that we are talking about the weight when going down the road.  I recently had a conversation with a man who told me he switched from a sidecar to a trike, because "sidecars are death traps".  Upon further discussion, he insisted that his outfit, a Harley Davidson, was "properly balanced at the factory".  The part he didn't consider was that he weighed nearly 300 pounds, and his sidecar carried a 12 pound Schnauzer.  Now his 800 pound motorcycle weighs 1100 pounds, and his 250 pound sidecar isn't nearly heavy enough.  Add to this that all his camping gear is on the bike, because he didn't want to crowd the dog.

Now he rides a trike and the dog stays home.



40 years? You're a short timer. LOL.


Apparently some say that ballast isn't needed and some say it is. Someone came up with a figure that the sidecar should be exactly one third of the GVR (Gross Vehicle Weight). Where did that come from? And if that's correct, wouldn't it be a good idea to add ballast to the sidecar to balance to that figure if the sidecar is lighter than it should be?

For the record, I've ridden many a mile on a Harley sidecar and they are rather well-balanced. A little weight helps but, overall, they are quite good. Too bad they quit making them in favor of their $35,000.00 (plus tax, documentation, freight and other state and local fees) trikes.

I'm trying to determine exactly what this thread is about. So, if someone could tell me whether there is a dispute going on here, I'd like to know what it is.




Edited by gnm109 1/4/2011 11:23 AM
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/4/2011 12:24 PM (#55350 - in reply to #55349)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1710
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin USA

gnm109 - 1/4/2011 10:22 AM  40 years? You're a short timer. LOL. 

Actually, it's 43 years.  I started young. 

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hal77079
Posted 1/4/2011 12:24 PM (#55351 - in reply to #55347)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


In support of those who are weight challanged - one of our past USCA VPs tipped the scales at almost 400 pounds I believe and stood some six feet tall. He used a Heddingham sidecar attached to his huge Goldwing, but the entire outboard frame of large diameter fipe was filled entirely with lead shot. Yes - he needed every ounce of ballast. I, on the other hand, used no ballast on my Laverda 3C with Watsonian GP - believing more in use of throttle to power slide those righthanders. Of course tire life was short - but the grin on mhy face was huge.
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hal77079
Posted 1/4/2011 12:42 PM (#55352 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


There does not appear to be any dispute. Consider the ancient ledgend of the three blind wise men and the elephant.
One day, three blind men happened to meet each other and gossiped a long time about many things. Suddenly one of them recalled, “I heard that an elephant is a queer animal. Too bad we’re blind and can’t see it.”
“Ah, yes, truly too bad we don’t have the good fortune to see the strange animal,” another one sighed.
The third one, quite annoyed, joined in and said, “See? Forget it! Just to feel it would be great.”
“Well, that’s true. If only there were some way of touching the elephant, we’d be able to know,” they all agreed.
It so happened that a merchant with a herd of elephants was passing, and overheard their conversation. “You fellows, do you really want to feel an elephant? Then follow me; I will show you,” he said.
The three men were surprised and happy. Taking one another’s hand, they quickly formed a line and followed while the merchant led the way. Each one began to contemplate how he would feel the animal, and tried to figure how he would form an image.
After reaching their destination, the merchant asked them to sit on the ground to wait. In a few minutes he led the first blind man to feel the elephant. With outstretched hand, he touched first the left foreleg and then the right. After that he felt the two legs from the top to the bottom, and with a beaming face, turned to say, “So, the queer animal is just like that.” Then he slowly returned to the group.
Thereupon the second blind man was led to the rear of the elephant. He touched the tail which wagged a few times, and he exclaimed with satisfaction, “Ha! Truly a queer animal! Truly odd! I know now. I know.” He hurriedly stepped aside.
The third blind man’s turn came, and he touched the elephant’s trunk which moved back and forth turning and twisting and he thought, “That’s it! I’ve learned.”
The three blind men thanked the merchant and went their way. Each one was secretly excited over the experience and had a lot to say, yet all walked rapidly without saying a word.
“Let’s sit down and have a discussion about this queer animal,” the second blind man said, breaking the silence.
“A very good idea. Very good.” the other two agreed for they also had this in mind. Without waiting for anyone to be properly seated, the second one blurted out, “This queer animal is like our straw fans swinging back and forth to give us a breeze. However, it’s not so big or well made. The main portion is rather wispy.”
“No, no!” the first blind man shouted in disagreement. “This queer animal resembles two big trees without any branches.”
“You’re both wrong.” the third man replied. “This queer animal is similar to a snake; it’s long and round, and very strong.”
How they argued! Each one insisted that he alone was correct. Of course, there was no conclusion for not one had thoroughly examined the whole elephant. How can anyone describe the whole until he has learned the total of the parts.

And so it is with sidecarists. Every one is right, or perhaps not so right. But all are welcome to express their views and their experiences from which we all lean when we appreciate the whole, and not just the part.
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gnm109
Posted 1/4/2011 1:26 PM (#55353 - in reply to #55350)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
SidecarMike - 1/4/2011 9:24 AM

gnm109 - 1/4/2011 10:22 AM  40 years? You're a short timer. LOL. 

Actually, it's 43 years.  I started young. 



Oh sure, now you shange it.....LOL.
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hal77079
Posted 1/4/2011 1:32 PM (#55354 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


There are old sidecarists and there are bold sidecarists

But there are are no old and bold sidecarists

Hal
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Snapgadget
Posted 1/4/2011 6:59 PM (#55357 - in reply to #55354)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


I have a 04 Electra Glide with a 2010 Hannigan Classic SC. I've got 90 lbs from a old dumbell set, in the trunk. works well...
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david lloyd
Posted 1/4/2011 8:32 PM (#55358 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 154
Location: Lachine, QC-CANADA, EH!
I took "Crawf's" advice and wired up a car battery! Great ballast and extra juice!
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SwampFox
Posted 1/4/2011 8:50 PM (#55359 - in reply to #55354)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 1661
Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
hal77079 - 1/4/2011 1:32 PM
There are old sidecarists and there are bold sidecarists
But there are are no old and bold sidecarists


Thanks for the reminder Hal. Occasionally, the late model BMW riders encourage me to go "play" with them. I generally know better.
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Daryl Martel
Posted 1/11/2011 12:15 PM (#55452 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Posts: 83
Could just fill a plastic fuel jug full of water, or? Was thinking I could carry a Jerry can (plastic of course) of gas, and 1 of water along for the ride.
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hal77079
Posted 1/11/2011 12:43 PM (#55453 - in reply to #55452)
Subject: Re: Ballast?


Of course. Outfits designed for desert movement were often equipped with jerry cans for fuel and water. However, these were of the old WWII type - steel - mounted in exceptionally strong brackets - also steel - be very careful oin placement, especially if using gas in plastic jugs - and think of where you would place them. Collisions. Fire. Extra fuel carriers have been used as long steel cylinders between the bike and sidecar, with auxilliary pumps to pump the fuel back into the gas tank. Just think safety first. For yourself, and for other road users.

Best location - just rear of seat and inside trunk - as close to SC wheel as possible. If gas inside trunk - then think of vapor to outside - bad idea. Do not have any loose objects in trunk.
Hal
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chiba
Posted 2/7/2011 8:13 AM (#56049 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: Re: Ballast?



Posts: 11
I'm currently learning to drive a sidecar rig & actually just got my first rig yesterday! After checking out all the new hardware attached to my bike, the first thing I did was go to Home Depot & buy 2 50lb bags of rocks. I put each into an old pillowcase & they went into the trunk.

I figure 100 lbs is heavier than my kid & lighter than my wife, so it's a good middle ground to start learning with before I put either of them in the 'car. I'll most likely leave 1 bag in when my kid's along with me.

--chiba
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