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Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive
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BrianP
Posted 1/22/2005 2:28 PM (#5980)
Subject: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive


I need opinions on a couple of modifications I have planned. I have a Honda Ace 1100 with a Motorvation Spyder Spyder sidecar without a brake or steering dampener. I have driven my rig a few thousand miles without any problems except an ever so slight shimmy at about 10-15 mph with my 135 lb. passenger. The shimmy will increase as I reduce the ballast although it is nothing I haven't been able to handle. I have never driven without ballast, so I don't know how bad it will get. It tracks straight at up to 75 mph and I haven't driven any other rigs so I don't know how bad or good mine handles. First I would like to add a fork brace to strengthen the front end. Next I would like to reduce the track width of 51" by up to 6", still wthin the manufacturers recommendation of between 45"-53". This I believe will lighten right hand turns, but could reduce stability. If there is anything else I should consider or I am completely off base, your 2 cents would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Hack'n
Posted 1/22/2005 6:22 PM (#5981 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Brian,
Placing the sidecar farther back in relation to the bike will also ease steering. The Spyders have the wheel location quite a bit forward.
A fork brace may help reduce shimmy but the Shadows have a lot of rake and trail and are prone to nose wiggle. Tightening up the neck bearings so the front end doesn't just flop from side to side will also help some. Adding weight inside the handlebars will also slow the steering wobble a bit. I wouldn't even consider a steering damper for the rig.
Bringing the sidecar closer will ease the turning and not be detrimental to the stability of the rig as long as you stay within the MFGs. recommended perameters and leave room to open the right saddlebag, if so equipped.
It sounds like you're setup pretty close. Check tire wear for scrubbing after a few more miles and you can tell more about whether you need a little more fine tuning between lean-out and toe-in.

Happy sidecaring,

Lonnie
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claude #3563
Posted 1/23/2005 9:36 AM (#5983 - in reply to #5981)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Location: Middleburg, Pa
I would tighten the steering head bearings as Hack'n mentioned and leave the rest alone as long as your tire wear is okay.If you don't mind the ballast then leave it in. You may want to make it more permanent. THERE IS NO FEATHER IN ANYONE'S CAP FOR REMOVING BALLAST. Bringing the sidecar in closer will make the rig a little more tipsey on right handers. Personally I lik ethe track width wide for the stability it creates. Just never understood what the benefit of making a rig narrow was. if the rig is setup to run the extra width and the tires are wearing okay what is the point?
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/23/2005 10:04 PM (#5985 - in reply to #5983)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin USA
I agree with Claude. The only good reason to reduce track is to get your rig to fit through your garage door. A few years ago I put a Dnepr sidecar on my Valkyrie. When I was comfortable with the combination I discovered it wouldn't fit on my 76" wide trailer. My solution was to buy an 84 inch wide trailer.
On a related note, I once had a Goldwing/Hitchhiker combo. The Hitchhiker actually had three mounting positions on it's frame. I found that moving it back on the frame greatly reduced the front end shimmy. Try moving your ballast around in the sidecar. See if it makes a difference.
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claude #3563
Posted 1/23/2005 10:27 PM (#5986 - in reply to #5985)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Location: Middleburg, Pa
Another thing would be to call Motorvation. They are well known for their excellent customer service and willingness to help.
Also, as far as ballast goes it is best to have it secured as far to the rear and as far outboard as possible on the sidecar. Placing ballast forward is counter productive in left hand turns especuially if it is in the nose of the hack.
In a way the thought of making the track width more narrow is reducing ballast as any leverage gained by the wider track width is lost. Also the so called 'tip over line' drawn between the sidecar wheel and the front wheel of the bike will be pulled in closer which is not beneficial.
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BrianP
Posted 1/25/2005 5:09 PM (#6012 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive


Thanks for all the input. Just some clarification. My axle lead is 14.5" and Motorvation recommends 12"-28". The back of the sidecar is now even with the back of the motorcycle. Should I consider reducing to axle lead to 12"? I only use ballast (130lbs.) when I don't have a passenger and I place it all on the seat. As far as tire wear, I'm not sure what would be excessive? I had about 10,000 miles on stock Dunlop tires when I attached the sidecar. The front is OK and the rear was probably due to be replaced. The sidecar tire is almost new. Will most of the wear be on the rear of the bike if the set up is wrong? I will check the steering head bearings this weekend to see how close they are to spec. How do I figure out how much tighter I can go without causing any damage? Thanks again.
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/25/2005 7:23 PM (#6021 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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When I first set up the sidecar I wore through the stock sidecar tire in about 800 miles. Sidecar was toe'd out. I correctced the problem and tire wear seemed even. Last summer I had an argument with a minivan. She turned left while I was along side her. She hit the sidecar fender at about 30 mph, didn't do much damage, but may have pushed the mounts in a bit. I believe I may be a bit toe'd in as the rear tire of the Valkyrie is now wearing badly. A Bridgestone Potenza has worn out in about 12,000 miles.
As an endorsement of Russian Iron, she hit the fender hard enough to force me off the road, through the ditch and an electric fence, and well into a horse pasture, but not hard enough to push the fender into the tire. $2300 damage to the minivan.
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Hack'n
Posted 1/25/2005 9:41 PM (#6022 - in reply to #6012)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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A 2" setback won't make a big difference in handling.
I would prefer the ballast as far back and as low as possible when used. The trunk?
Your rear cycle tire will show the most wear even if your setup is correct.
Wear on one side or the other on the sidecar tire will show if you are tracking well or not. A distorted wear pattern will appear if not tracking correctly. A rounded edge on one side of the tread and perhaps a feather of rubber and a sharp edge on the other will mean the tire is being forced one way or the other. Reset toe-in/out as needed to correct wear pattern.
A little tighter than spec on the neck bearings will work for the sidecar. Just try to get rid of the flop so it takes just a bit of pressure to move from lock to lock. Also keep all three tires at the top end of the inflation range for tighter handling. Keeping pressure low for a soft ride will allow the rig to wallow in the turns.
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claude #3563
Posted 1/26/2005 8:28 AM (#6026 - in reply to #6021)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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SKUNK #0001 wrote:
>>A Bridgestone Potenza has worn out in about 12,000 miles. <<

Mike,
what size itre was that?
Curious Claude
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/26/2005 6:32 PM (#6029 - in reply to #6026)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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195R60-16 I have a photo somewhere. if I can find it I'll post and let you know.
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/26/2005 8:16 PM (#6030 - in reply to #6029)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin USA
Found the photo. I put it in the SidecarMike Album.
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claude #3563
Posted 1/26/2005 9:51 PM (#6031 - in reply to #6030)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Look good on there Mike. Would a 205 fit? What is the diameter of the 195?
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SidecarMike
Posted 1/26/2005 10:24 PM (#6033 - in reply to #6031)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Actually, I guess I lied. I went out to double check before I order a new tire, and it's a 205/VR60/16. It was nearly $200 when I bought it, but I see they're down to $98 at http://www.tirerack.com
The 205 is 25.9 inches high and 8 inches wide. It is designed to fit a 5.5 to 7.5 inch wide rim. The 16 inch model is not available in a 195.
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claude #3563
Posted 1/26/2005 10:52 PM (#6034 - in reply to #6033)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive



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Okay..I am putting 205/50x15s on the K100. These are Kumho tires and are 60 dollars a piece. Dunno what they will be like but I guess we'll find out
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BrianP
Posted 1/28/2005 4:03 PM (#6059 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive


Thanks for all the input. I will be checking/tightening the steering head bearings this weekend. I will also watch the tire wear pattern closely. Thanks again for all the help
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RedMenace
Posted 1/29/2005 10:09 AM (#6074 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive


I like a little more sidecar wheel lead than most folks do as it reduces the tendancy to nose dive in left turns.

Your bike may just have a shimmy-modifying the trail could be more effective than moving the sidecar wheel or reducing the track.

Before I did anything I would try putting new tires on front and back and play with the tire pressures(within spec). Also check the mounts for tightness. Wobbles can be caused or accentuated by differences in tire tread/wear front and back, bad wheel bearings and loose or broken sidecar mounts. Doublecheck the easy and inexpensive stuff first.

And I am sure you have secured your temporary ballast in such a way it wont shift in the event of an accident or hard braking?
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Posted 2/8/2005 5:30 PM (#6271 - in reply to #5980)
Subject: RE: Wanted: Opinions Dead or Alive


I agree with Lonnie about the stearing head bearings (it makes a huge difference), and with the Red Menace about having enough sidecar wheel lead to prevent tipovers (I like to go as fast turning right as I do turning left), but I personally don't like ballast (I've only got about 45 hp) and prefer a narrower track to improve performance (tracking and left hand turns).

Have a look at the "German Sidecar Manual" available somewhere on this website and it will help you understand the hows and whys of lead and track. But in the end it really boils down to what kind of rig you want to ride, and how you want to ride it. Mine is a 1977 R75/7 with a Ural sidecar that I like to fly the chair on at high speeds, low speeds, and all speeds in between. Build your rig to match your needs and you're likly to be most satisfied.

Jim
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