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Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post
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VtwinVixen
Posted 8/18/2014 3:23 PM (#79512)
Subject: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post



Member

Posts: 5
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Location: Alabama

I can't believe it happened and the outcome wasn't worse. My handlebars BROKE during a ride!!!! Now I need help figuring out what caused this.

Here's a little backstory..... Last Fri, my hubby and I decided to take ride with our dog out to a local water preserve and play in the waterfalls. Hubby on his bike following me on my '06 Honda Shadow Aero with MoJo (German Shepherd) riding in my fabulous Claude Stanley American Classic Sidecar.

Before we left the house, my hubby changed my headlight bulbs, added air to the tires and we did our normal preflight check. I noticed on the ride down our driveway (1/4 mile curvy, downhill driveway) and on the street(1/4 mile, STEEP camber) that my rig was a little harder to keep straight but I had a 90 pound dog and fully loaded cooler (20 pounds). Things got a little easier on the main roads, so I attributed the steering issue to a wonky load. As we rode the curvy roads, I noticed that the rig was harder to push around the curves and the normal slight wobble felt a bit more intense. I could also hear the sidecar tire make a little chirp around some corners.

No big deal, I thought. I definitely need to get new tires soon, maybe THAT was the problem ...... ride on. Well, about 15 miles from home, as we hit a straightaway and as I throttled up to 45 mph, my steering went wonky and my little wobble turned into a real tankslapper!!!! My hubby, who was riding behind me said it looked I was speed punching Mike Tyson!!! Batta Batta Batta Batta Batta Batta. I slowed down, pulled into a driveway and we quickly inspected the rig. No obvious issues, but I wanted to go HOME or at least ride a up the road to a safe spot and REALLY go over the rig.

Either way, we had to ride up the road a bit to turn around safely. The turn around less than 1/2 mile up the road, so went for it. Ugggg.

We pulled out of the driveway, I slowly throttled up to 30 mph and BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!!!! The wobble was incredibly violent, it got even worse when I applied the rear brake (couldn't relax my grip to down shift or apply front breaks). I fought the bike while coasting to a stop at the pull over, relax my grip to pull in the clutch, pull my hands up a bit and SNAP, off comes the left side of the handlebar! Thank goodness I made it off the road!!!!

The stock handle bar was broken where the handle bar was welded to the left riser (an after market 4inch riser is below that). I don't recall it being broken when we pulled over a few moments earlier, but I had kept a bit of downward pressure on the grips.

OK. Now I need help to dissect the cause. Did the tank slapping cause the handlebars to break OR did the weakened weld on the handlebars cause the mega-wobble??? Tire problems?

I need your opinions please. Put on your sleuthing caps and help me figure this out.

I had ridden to and from work the two previous days and hadn't noticed anything unusual. I don't recall hitting any big potholes. I usually park far away from other vehicles, but Thurs there was a giant SUV parked too close to my sidecar.

OH! When we were lining up the headlights before the ride, I noticed that the handlebars and windscreen were slightly off kilter from each other. Hubby commented that he had noticed the handlebars looked/felt crooked to him.
The bike's previous owner hit a curb and dropped the bike. A biker friend asked if the forks were slightly bent. He thought the 4inch risers exacerbated the crookedness.
I've had the bike about 4 years and never noticed anything odd, other than it being slightly dumpy on slow speed right turns (gymkhana maneuvers as a solo bike, pre-sidecar). The bike has been hooked to this sidecar for about 2 years and it rides better than my previous rig.
Flatbed tow truck driver owns a bike shop and has never come across this issue before, but he doesn't work on rigs like mine. (And I'm his first broken handlebar survivor). He is quite fascinated by the whole situation.

Alright experts, give me some ideas to diagnose this problem!

Gotta go order me some new handle bars..... And gotta FIX this problem!!!

 





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jaydmc
Posted 8/18/2014 7:45 PM (#79519 - in reply to #79512)
Subject: Re: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post


Expert

Posts: 1513
1000500
I can only guess looking at photo's but I would say it was a poor weld on the handle bars, Chances are if you look close you will see rust where they have been broken for a while.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
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SwampFox
Posted 8/18/2014 9:56 PM (#79521 - in reply to #79512)
Subject: RE: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post



Expert

Posts: 1661
10005001002525
Location: Summer Grove, LA USA

VtwinVixen - 8/18/2014 3:23 PM

... previous owner hit a curb and dropped the bike....

Gotta go order me some new handle bars....

 Whew!! Sure glad you weren't injured.  I suspect the weld on the handlebars was weakened during the prior incident and finally broke over time - I also suspect this was the source of the extra wobble.  Remember, sidecar rigs put lots more pressure on the bars than a 2-wheeler.  Also, the riser likely added some leverage/flex as well.

 As for replacement, I suggest avoiding welded handlebars if you can - try to find some "clamps" and tubular bars, such as on these rigs (photos from Hack'n albums):



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cleatusj
Posted 8/18/2014 11:35 PM (#79524 - in reply to #79512)
Subject: Re: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post



Regular

Posts: 84
252525
Location: Granbury, Tx
On a solo those bars should last a long time. On a rig I would stay away from welded or tall bars. Just my .02. I even went from pullbacks to straighter shorter bars on both my rigs.
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Hack'n
Posted 8/19/2014 1:59 PM (#79530 - in reply to #79512)
Subject: Re: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post



Expert

Posts: 4833
2000200050010010010025
Location: Boise, Idaho
It appears there is an area that has plating. If so the fit of the riser would have had a gap.

The visible upper weldment on the bar shows that there was very little penetration on the bar. A poor weld.
Quality Control issue (They don't pay those Chinese kids much).

Lonnie
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Phelonius
Posted 8/21/2014 12:20 AM (#79606 - in reply to #79512)
Subject: Re: Broken Handlebars. Need help. Long post



Elite Veteran

Posts: 725
50010010025
Location: N.lat 20- 13' -58" W.lon 155 - 48' - 31"
I made my own risers from blocks of aircraft grade aluminum I bought at Boing surplus years ago. I use a set of super bars I bought on the internet.
They have the right height and set back for me and clear the batwing fairing nicely. Notice that I also ride a Honda Aero. I fitted it with a steering damper from old VW supplies.
One of my friends has the same bike with sidecar and no damper. His rig is subject to incredible tank slappers. I certainly hope he has got it better set up now but I haven't heard from him in almost 2 years.
My rig is 4 and a half years old and I can take my hands off the bars at any speed without disaster. It carries a Kena sidecar, I built my own mounts and struts, and turnbuckles.
I also designed the hardware that mounts the damper to the machine.



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