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Questions on set up
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Posted 12/24/2004 9:12 AM (#5745)
Subject: Questions on set up

In the future I plan on purchase of a Drifter 800 with a Ural sidecar attached. I like the combo look of this particular set up and I have decided that it is what I want in a sidecar setup when it comes time to put it together. However, I have a couple of questions.

One installer recommended that I change the original shocks to a stiffer set of Progressive shocks. However, I am not sure if he was thinking of the 1500 Drifter frame or the 800 frame in making this decision. The frames are different on these two models. Additionally, the 1500 has shocks to the outside and the 800 has them mounted beneath the rear fender. I am also wondering just why the stiffer shocks are actually necessary on the bike. The original shocks on the Drifters have different settings to stiffen the ride.

I am also wondering about the gear ratio playing any effect on the set up. I mean, the original sprocket can be changed out for a torque difference. I am not sure if this is necessary or not. The Drifter 800 is a chain driven motorcycle. In reading Hal's book at this site I see some info on expected losses as to MPG with a sidecar attached to a bike. Changing the sprocket will also impact this and I was wondering it it were best to stick to stock or it change out?
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Posted 12/24/2004 2:54 PM (#5747 - in reply to #5745)
Subject: RE: Questions on set up


Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
The URAL is a fairly heavy car for the 800 Drifter but it will handle it well. The last Drifter 800 installation I did was with a Motorvation HD Spyder. They come in at about 200# and the owner added about 45# of ballast to keep the third wheel solidly grounded. The URAL is about 230# so is comparable to this setup. We did no driveline changes as the 800 handled the sidecar adequately in it's stock configuration. Naturally it's not a freeway screamer (like the 1500 can be) but it is head and shoulders above a stock URAL outfit performance wise.
Usually, the only time we have changed sprockets a tooth or so was when the gear ratio was such that the rig was lugging at slow road speeds. Sometimes you get a situation where second gear is too low and third gear is too high for in town traffic speeds and jerky operation is the result. The final ratio that's right for you will depend on your driving style and normal load range of your rig.
Almost all of the Japanese cruisers are under shocked for comfort during solo operation. All those cute adjustments they have do little to enhance the operation of a sidehack outfit. The loads the bike is subjected to with a sidecar attached are much different than a solo. Since the bike no longer banks in turns and no longer has just vertical balanced loading, soft shocks will allow the rig to wallow in turns and give an overall feeling of instability when braking or accelerating. Good shocks are well worth the buck. Heavier viscosity fork oil will also help the handling as will keeping the tires at the top end of recommended pressure.
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