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I'm in the "finally finished wrestling with that f'ing thing, and have taken it for its virgin ride" category of hacks. Can anyone give me some adjustment heads-up? I feel(with a passenger in hack)that I'm havin to right myself to some degree. The bike seems to want to be pulled to the right on acceleration. It is an entirely new groove to get into, and I don't want to "fine-tune" myself to insanity.
Location: Middleburg, Pa
Welcome to the world of lopsided ,one wheel powered vehicles called sidecars. You mentioned :"It is an entirely new groove to get into, and I don't want to "fine-tune" myself to insanity". Fine tuning to the insanity of these things is just what you must do..LOL. You are no longer on a motorcycle..it may look like a motorcycle, feel like a motorcycle and sound like a motorcycle but it ain't one no mo.
Yes, the thing will pull to the right when you accelerate due to the sidecar wheel not being powered. It will also pull to the left when you stop because the sidecar wheel probably is not braked. Believe it or not with more seat time you will not notice this any longer.
You did not mention what your outfit is. What sidecar do you have on what bike? You did mention that with a passenger you felt you had to 'right yourself'? I suppose you are feeling the difference in the lean of the bike when the sidecar is loaded. This is what lean adjustemnt is all about, in part. It is more critical and more affected by sidecar loads if the rig is softly sprung. Some rigs have electric lean or tilt adjusters on them to compensate and some rigs just have to be adjusted to a middle goround point or run with ballast in an empty chair.
At this time, Sean, it is very important that you take your time and learn all of the differences well. As mentioned, you are no longer on a motorcycle. Sidecars are different and it does take practice to learn these differences. Typically the ones who have ridden a solo bike longer will have a longer learning curve in getting the nack of things.
Please go and read Hal KENDALL'S BOOKS!! They are offered here at Sidecar.com fee of charge to benefit all sidecarists, new and old alike. Hal made this generous offer in order to help ALL OF US with no monetary benefit to himself.
This is a start but must be followed with practice. Preferrable in an empty parking lot. Take your time and do not get overconfident and you should do fine.
Setup wise? Take a look at Hal's books and you will get an idea. After you have looked into them be sure to post back here with any questions you may have.
Please let us know what rig you have..it can make a difference.
Hope this helps...
Edited by claude #3563 1/16/2005 10:32 AM
Thanks for the quick return of info--I'm about to do the first "post-ride" adjustment. If the rig seems to want to veer right, than I am to increase the toe-in, correct? And the "righting myself" is as though I have to lean toward the car(with load). This should be corrected by lessening the lean-out, yes?
I found the bike last year, a '79 gl1000, purchased from the original owner with 47k miles. He had told me that there was, at one point in its life, a sidecar attached. Apparently it wasn't his thing(or he couldn't get used to "the groove". Anyway, he told me where to find it(from an old school biker with lots of toys, including his mint z900 with 22k one-owner miles, but that's another story...), and I picked it up for a song as compared to new pricing. Its a Velorex/Jawa model, with full "high back" seating and enclosure with tonneau-type top in addition to windscreen.
The one issue you may want to comment on is the rear-axle to sidecar axle distance--the manufacturer manual says that 8-10 inches is where it needs to be. With the width of the engine case and guard, I was unable to adjust the front struts to bring about this measurement. I ended up at about 11 1/2". All other "suggested" measurements are right on, save the toe-in/lean-out minors.
I sure appreciate the help! Let me know what you think.
Location: Middleburg, Pa
|I WROTE YOU COMMENTS IN << >>SYMBOLS AND MY RESPONSES ARE SHOWN BELOW THEM. |
>> If the rig seems to want to veer right, than I am to increase the toe-in, correct?<<
Toe in should be a little as possible. Typically under 1" with 1/4" or less not being uncommon. More toe in will increase tire wear.The benefits to increased toe in related to a pull towards the sidecar are very minimal. I would get the toe down to a small amount and not mess with it if possible.
Read Hal's books
>>And the "righting myself" is as though I have to lean toward the car(with load). This should be corrected by lessening the lean-out, yes?<<
I am not real sure exactly what you mean here..I am a little thick sometimes
Lean out is the adjustment to get rid of the pull to the sidecar side. The bike should lean away from the sidcar slightly. The problem is, with a rig that has a soft suspension especially, is that when the sidecar gets a passenger then the sidecar suspension compresses and the rig tilits to the sidecar side...so long leanout. So..if you set the rig up initially with some ballast to crate a 'load' in the hack you can get rid of the initial problem.Take out the ballast when a passenger gets in and ,if possible, relocate it to the bike.
Read Hal's books
>>I found the bike last year, a '79 gl1000, purchased from the original owner with 47k miles. He had told me that there was, at one point in its life, a sidecar attached. Apparently it wasn't his thing(or he couldn't get used to "the groove". Anyway, he told me where to find it(from an old school biker with lots of toys, including his mint z900 with 22k one-owner miles, but that's another story...), and I picked it up for a song as compared to new pricing. Its a Velorex/Jawa model, with full "high back" seating and enclosure with tonneau-type top in addition to windscreen.<<
It sounds like a Velorex 700 which is a very light sidecar for a GL1000 at a little over 150 pounds. For my first sidecar rig I had a 562,which is a few pounds lighter than a 700 model, on a GL1000 in the early eighties. I did not know just how bad it was until I got a heavier sidecar and a little experience. Typically the rule of thumb is for a sidecar to weigh about a third of the bike's weight. This is not cast in stone but is a good starting point. With a light sidecar it can be a real challenge to get it working well under varied conditions. It can also make a rig very tipsey in right hand turns. This is probably why the previous owner never got 'in the groove' as you mentioned. When you adjust lean out to go straight you also create an even more tipsy situation. If you adjust it to keep you feeling more confident in righthanders it may pull to the right and also load the sidecar suspension very hard in left handers. There will be ahappy medium that you will reach but without modifying the sidecar suspension and adding some weight over there you will not be that happy. This is issue is somewhat dependant upon riding style but saftey must be kept in mind. Yes, sidecar are additive and a ton of fun but ,like anything else, they can bite you especially if they are not balanced well and if the operator has not had the time or put in the effort to practice in a safe manner in a safe place...the open road is not the place to learn, too many targets!!!
Again..read Hal's book
>>The one issue you may want to comment on is the rear-axle to sidecar axle distance--the manufacturer manual says that 8-10 inches is where it needs to be. With the width of the engine case and guard, I was unable to adjust the front struts to bring about this measurement. I ended up at about 11 1/2". All other "suggested" measurements are right on, save the toe-in/lean-out minors.<<
Excessive wheel lead will tend to make the rig more stable when turning left , away from the sidecar..not a bad thing. It will also make the sidecar wheel tend to lift easier...Not a good thing. I would try to get it down some to around 9 or 10 inches especially with an unbalanced rig.
Believe me, I am not being critical of y
Thanks for bringing things into a less theatrical plane. I am taking it out today, prior to making any adjustments, and letting it talk to me further. I honestly can't even quantify most of the information it was giving me on the first ride, as I was being blasted by "what the hell is this thing doing!" train of thought.
It is great to become part of this 3-wheeled world. Do you think the addiction will cause me to neglect my 2-wheeled habit?
Location: Middleburg, Pa
I still ride a solo machine but it seems like every time I get a solo bike I like it ends up with a sidecar on it sooner or later. Neglect the solo habit....maybe so but not in a bad way.
Sean..above all please practice in a safe area AFTER you have read Hal's books.
Probably the most common thing we see is a new sidear jockey getting into a right hand turn too hot and the sidecar wheel coming up. When this happens he or she will instinctively correct by turning the bars to the left..when this happens the sidecar will come back down but you will shoot Across the centerline. Look for trucks on the highway with sidecars stuck in the grill and you'll get the message. THIS SCENARIO IS MORE APT TO HAPPEN, AND AT A LOWER SPEED, ON A RIG THAT HAS A LIGHT SIDECAR HOOKED TO A HEAVY BIKE OKAY?
READ AND PRACTICE.
None of us have learned what we know without practicing and expanding our sidecar skills...you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Read the books, take a course and then practice. Some on this site have been riding sidecar rigs for many many more years than I have. I think if we were all honest we would say that we are still learning new things every time we go out. In my 20 years on these things I have learned a lot but one of the main things has been to realize I still have a lot to learn. I guess we should all call ourselves 'practicing sidecarists' as if we get to a point where we think we know it all then we are just cheating ourselves.
I have said this before but the school of experince may be a good teacher but the tuition of that school can be very high. You have a source in Hal's books and other places to learn by reading and then back it up with practice. If you apply yourself you will do well with no harm done. If not you may be disapointed...
Edited by claude #3563 1/16/2005 1:52 PM
Location: Boise, Idaho
We of the left coast get up about 4 hours or so after you guys do. This works out real well for me because all I have to do is toss in a couple of little hints after you have done the bulk of the work. The fact that I am a hunt and pecker keeps my opinions short and sweet. (Good speller, lousy typist).
Now for the hints.
Ballast: If removable, try to place it behind the seat on the floor. Soft is best so you won't damage the sidecar body. Plastic one gallon milk jugs full of moist sand weigh about 18-20# each. Empty car, start practicing with 4 or 5 of them if you want that third wheel to stay on the ground. They are easily removable one at a time as your proficiency improves. Optional permanent ballast can be welded or bolted to the frame. Toward the outboard side or rear.
Sidecar suspension: There are different ways to make the rig more stable in turns. Perhaps the easiest is by replacing the relatively light shock on the 700 with a heavier rated shock of the same dimensions. Progressive Suspension would be a good place to check for technical advice here. There are also bolt on suspension modifications that are available from our shop or from other vendors. The earlier Velorex models had a 15mm axle which has been known to bend under certain conditions (usually impact caused)when the cars were mounted on GLs and some other heavy bikes. They have been mounted on thousands of GLs so this isn't necessarily an impending safety problem. However the new Velorex models now have a 20mm axle and redesigned swing-arm.
Positioning: Lengthening, shortening, and bending struts is common when mounting the sidecar to achieve the optimum placement of the unit. The Velorex handbook is dealing with the wheelbase of a Jawa or the pictured Yamaha twin when they quote wheel lead figures. GLs are much longer.
The same applies to the recommended 1/8" leanout. That may work fine as a starting point with the same height wheel/tire as used in their picture but motorcycle front wheels may vary from 15" to 21", with different sized tires. An easy way to set leanout is to purchase an inexpensive magnetic angle guage from your local building supply, place it on a front rotor and set the bike up with about a one degree leanout with your normal load on the bike and the wheels pointed straight ahead.
There is no one size fits all for setting up your rig. No two are the same. What works well for one person is a pain for another. If you are to have a good sidecaring experience, you will end up tweaking your rig to fit your own personal riding style.
Location: Middleburg, Pa
|Just adding a couple of points to what LONNIE WROTE: |
Optional permanent ballast can be welded or bolted to the frame. Toward the outboard side or rear.<<
COMMENT:Yes and as far to the rear as you can. Do Not put ballast up towards the front as it will do you no favors in left handers if the sidecar is nose heavy.
>>An easy way to set leanout is to purchase an inexpensive magnetic angle guage from your local building supply, place it on a front rotor and set the bike up with about a one degree leanout with your normal load on the bike and the wheels pointed straight ahead.<<
COMMENT:It is important to recheck toe in after leanout is adjusted. Dependant upon the lower mount locations toe can change as the bike is leaned in or out.
Location: Middleburg, Pa
|oH...Lonnie..glad to see the second shift is here. |
Ride #2 was much more rewarding! I took it out w/out any load so I could get a handle on the chair lift/recovery aspect of it all. Cool, that's it...I live out in the toulyweeds on red dirt about a 1/4 mile from 2-lane blacktop that dead-ends about 1/2 mile north. A great place to practice manuevers, albeit width-challenged. What a treat to control the lifting of the chair-the "correction" is a little hairy!
I believe I'll save the adjustments for now--I spent an awful amount of time on adjusting to within the manf. guidelines. It is just the damn groove of the rig! I'll let you know as the rides continue. First thing is to concrete the area adjacent to my shop--I've had this place 3-4 months and put in alum french doors that I bought from another classic biker (Larry--yet another story). I can now get the rig in and out, but onto dirt/mud, which I had to unstuck myself from 3 times this evening! An aside--If your gonna use 5-gal buckets of old paint as ballast, make doubly sure that the friggin' things are indeed sealed! At any rate, have some paint thinner on hand.
Have a good night,
|btw--I am reading Hal's book. Saved to my desktop, thank you. Snf the paint bucket ballasts were toward the front, dammit...A stiffer shock would seem ideal--it feels like about 1/2 what it needs to be. |
Location: Middleburg, Pa
|Good deal man. Hey what color was that old paint..heck just pain the whole rig and call it a day. |
B N Touch,
Oh ..good to hear yer readin them books...good stuff there.
Claude,who lives a mile off the hard road himself.
|Its been three weeks. How's it going?|
|Hey Folks! |
Glad that I've been prompted to return to the message board. Here's the deal: My ingess/egress from "parked" is through a set of french doors that gives me about 2-3 inches of clearance, honestly. That in itself is a little tricky, what with the angle of attack needed. Nice to have another set of hands around to guide them 3 wheels. In addition, the ground adjacent to the doors is so damn saturated at this point that I had to wrestle the damn thing out and back in at the last outing. Three times the trouble. I'm aiming at a concrete ramp and gravel as soon as the wallet can handle it, which will make the one-person operation much less hairy.
So it sits, anxiously awaiting the next learning(leaning?!)session, jealously watching it's 2-wheeled friend come and go as it pleases. We look forward to the spring!
Thanks for the curiousity
|I have read these posts on a new connection with great interest as I, too, since this past Friday, am new to the world of sidecars. I have wanted to try it for years and finally last week bought one, a Velorex 562 Cruiser. It was recommended by my dealer and Velorex for my motorcycle, a Moto Guzzi California EV. From reading posts on this forum and others to gain some valuable information it is apparent to me that my learning curve will be like a road through my native WV as I have 40+ years on solo machines. |
However, be that it may, the fact that concerns me from this research is the conflicting advice from a number of sources about this particlar match. I was told on the one hand that the rig is too light to use with this bike and cannot be used safely. Others have said it will be fine, even for long-distance touring, so long as I carry sufficient ballast. This is what I am interested in as I cover a lot of miles per year, 32K miles last year in 9 months.
I would really like to hear from enthusiasts who have Velorex units on heavier bikes and whether or not carrying the ballast will make this a safe combo. If not and I have to bite the bullet I would prefer to cut my losses and sell/trade now in order to purchase a heavier, safer sidecar if that is indeed what is necessary. I look forward to your responses.
|As per Claude's reply, it may be light, but not inherently dangerous. I've got the velorex 700 on a '79 Wing. Be forewarned, says they... |
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