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Considering a Sidecar
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leroys73
Posted 9/3/2016 6:52 PM (#90624)
Subject: Considering a Sidecar


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Posts: 12
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Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
I rode motorcycles in my younger days but have been a serious rider the last eight years. I am now 67. During that time I have logged 125,000 miles, over 15 certified IBA rides, ridden to all 49 states and provinces that are accessible by paved roads all on my Honda VTX 1300R. Not long ago I purchased an almost new Yamaha Royal Star Venture S to take over the touring duties of my VTX which I still have.

I enjoy two wheels very much. I enjoy solo travel best. At times a buddy will travel on his motorcycle with me which I enjoy also. My wife won't ride. My special needs daughter loves to ride as pillion. As everyone knows a passenger can add different dynamics to a ride. I am about 5'7" and 180 with good legs while she weighs almost as much as me. At times she can be a load.

I have ridden trikes and Can Am Spyder. They have their pluses. I have been exploring sidecars for two years and more serious for the last 18 months. I had an eye problem two years ago (cured now) that got me interested. I took a MSF sidecar class, very valuable. I have been to the Hannigan Murray, KY, location twice in a year and also I visited the folks at Texas Side Car before they closed. I put the idea on the back burner until now.

Recently after hitting an obscure pot hole while stopping in Nova Scotia my VTX fell on me and broke my leg. No damage to motorcycle. I'll heal up very good. I have no issues with riding two wheels as soon as it is healed on a 10,000 mile trip.

However, this incident brought be back to the trike idea or the sidecar idea since if my daughter would have been on it with me she may have been injured also. I know we can't eliminate all possibilities.

I have a friend selling a GW trike with trailer for $24,000 that only has 15,000 miles on it. It is a good buy but I would have to sell my Yamaha for 10 or 12K I would hope. However, the sidecar idea would provide more storage for trips and no trailer with less $ spent.

I am not asking for someone to tell me what to do. I would like to ask some questions about setting up a Yamaha Royal Star Venture S (1300cc, liquid cool, shaft drive, 4 cyl) with full fairing, bags, and tail trunk.

I would put a brake on the sidecar.

Questions: Would the "Easy Steer", or whatever it is called, be considered almost mandatory for long distance touring comfort? Hannigan said most GWs don't use it. It would be nice to drop the side car and ride two wheels when I wanted to but with "Easy Steer" I understand this would not be an option. Although, I would still have my VTX for a two wheel rider. Is handling a sidecar rig a lot more tiring than riding two wheels or even a trike? The fellow teaching the sidecar class said he would rather take a trike on a long trip than a sidecar rig as the trike is less work.

I would hate to spend 6 to 8K on a new side care to find out I hate it. Any advice on equipping my Yamaha with a sidecar would be appreciated. If someone has had a lot of experience on all three maybe you could share some input.

Thank you
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Al Olme
Posted 9/3/2016 10:12 PM (#90626 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: RE: Considering a Sidecar


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Posts: 1732
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
leroys73 - 9/3/2016 5:52 PM

Questions: Would the "Easy Steer", or whatever it is called, be considered almost mandatory for long distance touring comfort? Hannigan said most GWs don't use it. It would be nice to drop the side car and ride two wheels when I wanted to but with "Easy Steer" I understand this would not be an option. Although, I would still have my VTX for a two wheel rider. Is handling a sidecar rig a lot more tiring than riding two wheels or even a trike? The fellow teaching the sidecar class said he would rather take a trike on a long trip than a sidecar rig as the trike is less work.

I would hate to spend 6 to 8K on a new side care to find out I hate it. Any advice on equipping my Yamaha with a sidecar would be appreciated. If someone has had a lot of experience on all three maybe you could share some input.

Thank you


Jerry,

I'll give you my opinion so long as you realize that it's just that and I'm no expert. Let's get this out of the way up front, the idea of installing and removing a sidecar sounds good but in practice it is rarely done. First, it's a pain and second alignment is a critical item and you have to be very careful to maintain the alignment when reinstalling the car. The bottom line is most folks never do it.

Some sort of of steering modification will make steering easier and reduce the amount of upper body strength you need to drive the rig. The majority of folks do without but I believe that's mostly a matter of the cost. Just about everything that you do to a bike to make it a better tug will make it a worse solo bike. In some cases it will become undriveable as a solo bike, adding an "Easy Steer" is one of those mods. If you want to switch from sidecar to solo and have the advantage of lower steering effort, it is possible with a proper leading link front suspension. The "Easy Steer" is a cheaper way to reduce trail and lower steering effort. The main advantage of a leading link is that it does a much better job of handling the side loads that you don't experience on a solo bike. Best practice is spend the money and get a leading link and build a dedicated sidecar rig.

Driving a sidecar rig is more work than driving a trike but it is also more satisfying. You were right about cargo capacity, you can carry much more with a sidecar rig and the size of your passenger isn't much of an issue. It does make a difference in the inertial forces when you start and stop but you'll get the hang of that quickly. Have you sat in a trike with a passenger? It's not what I'd like for a road trip.

One more, VERY IMPORTANT thing. Don't buy a sidecar until you have driven one and are comfortable with the idea that you'll like it. And don't buy a sidecar if you don't have a little extra time because every time you stop folks will want to ask you questions and tell you about their uncle who had a sidecar i the old days. Also, forget about being treated like a "biker". Nobody will see you as a threat if you arrive driving a sidecar. It's like being in a full time parade.

I love sidecars because they are different and because they are a bit contrarian. I love sidecars because there is virtually no marque competition in the sidecar world and because there are a lot of really great folks who share my enthusiasm. If you want to chat about his, call me or send me a private message. Of course all this is just my opinion, you'll hear others

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SwampFox
Posted 9/4/2016 2:11 PM (#90634 - in reply to #90626)
Subject: RE: Considering a Sidecar



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Posts: 1659
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Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
Al Olme - 9/3/2016 10:12 PM

leroys73 - 9/3/2016 5:52 PM

Questions: Would the "Easy Steer", or whatever it is called, be considered almost mandatory for long distance touring comfort? ....

I would hate to spend 6 to 8K on a new side care to find out I hate it...


Jerry,
....
Some sort of of steering modification will make steering easier and reduce the amount of upper body strength you need to drive the rig....

Driving a sidecar rig is more work than driving a trike but it is also more satisfying.... cargo capacity ... carry much more...

Don't buy a sidecar until you have driven one and are comfortable with the idea that you'll like it....

I love sidecars because they are different and because they are a bit contrarian....


Hi Jerry,

+1 to to Al's comments, and I add: We've had two rigs without an "EasySteer" or similar modification. As budget and product were available, both we mounted modified triple trees to both with excellent results. We found it was time and money spent. We have several more sidecarists down our way with similar results. The rigs are just that much more enjoyable and less tiring. So I personally suggest an EasySteer or similar for the big Star.

And I second the suggestion re: trying a sidecar rig. It looks kinda like a motorcycle, but it drives entirely different. I like and enjoy sidecars, but I know a couple of fellows who have tried 'em and just didn't like 'em. And, yes, sidecars are quite satisfying and we also enjoy the independent spirit of most sidecar enthusiasts.
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leroys73
Posted 9/4/2016 2:21 PM (#90636 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar


Member

Posts: 12
0
Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
Al, thank you for your reply.

Most of what you said I suspected to be the case when setting up a motorcycle to handle well with a sidecar. I guess I hoped it would be different. I also wanted to hear from an experienced hack driver like you for the facts.

You asked if I had ever sat in a trike with a passenger. I did ride a Can Am Spyder about 50 miles with a passenger and a total of 500 miles over two days. I have driven a trike some, but no, I haven't with a passenger. How is that different than on two wheels with a passenger other than handling? Seems like it would be less of a problem. I have traveled many miles, longest day was 600, with a passenger on two wheels. I'm just curious.

I sure understand your advice on riding before buying. I did take the MSF sidecar class but we only rode in the parking lot for the handling part of the course. I wish I could rent one and ride some on the road. After I took the sidecar course the Texas Side Car owners said they would let me ride one of theirs but they went out of business.

I feel I could live with either the trike or Can Am Spyder, maybe not as much enjoyment as two wheels but I could live with either, especially when my daughter goes with me. However, I like the sidecar idea better. I'm just not sure how well I'd like it over the long haul. If I added a hack, I'd just have to spend the money to make it handle as well as possible. I know I'd have to replace the OEM clutch with a stronger clutch as the clutch is a weak spot on the Venture S.

If I switch to three wheels or stay with two wheels I do plan to do many more long distance touring rides, probably another to Alaska and maybe Yellowknife.

I may take you up on sending a PM or calling with more questions.

Thanks again for your input it has been well taken.
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leroys73
Posted 9/4/2016 2:33 PM (#90637 - in reply to #90634)
Subject: RE: Considering a Sidecar


Member

Posts: 12
0
Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
SwampFox - 9/4/2016 1:11 PM

Al Olme - 9/3/2016 10:12 PM

leroys73 - 9/3/2016 5:52 PM

Questions: Would the "Easy Steer", or whatever it is called, be considered almost mandatory for long distance touring comfort? ....

I would hate to spend 6 to 8K on a new side care to find out I hate it...


Jerry,
....
Some sort of of steering modification will make steering easier and reduce the amount of upper body strength you need to drive the rig....

Driving a sidecar rig is more work than driving a trike but it is also more satisfying.... cargo capacity ... carry much more...

Don't buy a sidecar until you have driven one and are comfortable with the idea that you'll like it....

I love sidecars because they are different and because they are a bit contrarian....


Hi Jerry,

+1 to to Al's comments, and I add: We've had two rigs without an "EasySteer" or similar modification. As budget and product were available, both we mounted modified triple trees to both with excellent results. We found it was time and money spent. We have several more sidecarists down our way with similar results. The rigs are just that much more enjoyable and less tiring. So I personally suggest an EasySteer or similar for the big Star.

And I second the suggestion re: trying a sidecar rig. It looks kinda like a motorcycle, but it drives entirely different. I like and enjoy sidecars, but I know a couple of fellows who have tried 'em and just didn't like 'em. And, yes, sidecars are quite satisfying and we also enjoy the independent spirit of most sidecar enthusiasts.


Thank you also for your input.

I do believe if a person is to enjoy a sidecar set up they must, as with two wheels, make it comfortable for them. I have heard people complain about the VTX but I have made mine where it fits me perfectly and is a joy to ride. I am now tweaking my Venture for my long distance ride. If I go with the sidecar I'll want it done right with steering mod and what ever else to make it comfortable. I know it will be much different than two wheels so I am ready to make adjustments. Some people are not willing to adjust and even have a mental block about three wheels.

Thanks again.
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Al Olme
Posted 9/4/2016 9:36 PM (#90641 - in reply to #90637)
Subject: RE: Considering a Sidecar


Expert

Posts: 1732
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jerry,

Where are you? I haven't figured out why folks are so shy about putting at least their state in the profile but a lot of them don't.

Maybe we can get a volunteer near you to let you ride.

The business about riding two up on a trike is based on my feeling that the two up seating on a trike is crowded and uncomfortable on a long ride. I'm sure it isn't up to sidecar standards for comfort.
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leroys73
Posted 9/4/2016 10:47 PM (#90644 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: RE: Considering a Sidecar


Member

Posts: 12
0
Location: Flower Mound, TX (N Dallas area)
Al, not sure why location not entered. Just updated it. I am in Flower Mound, TX almost in Lewisville, TX. It is north of DFW airport between I-35E and I-35W, south of Denton.

Thanks for the offer.

I might have a trip in the works to Duluth late in November. Not sure if it will happen or not but if does I'll let you know since I'd go through Twin Cities. Maybe I can stop by for a visit.



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jaydmc
Posted 9/9/2016 10:34 AM (#90697 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar


Expert

Posts: 1508
1000500
I would be glad to answer any specific questions you may have. I had surgery a couple of weeks ago and may be facing more surgery as such I am only in the office a couple hours a day.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
www.dmcsidecars.com
866-638-1793
jay@dmcsidecars.com
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Hack'n
Posted 9/9/2016 10:50 AM (#90698 - in reply to #90697)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar



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Posts: 4833
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Location: Boise, Idaho
Sorry to hear you're having health problems, Jay. Hope the prognosis is good and all goes well.

Lonnie & Judy
NWSC
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jaydmc
Posted 9/9/2016 10:58 AM (#90699 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar


Expert

Posts: 1508
1000500
Nothing life threating, just annoying.
Thank you.
Jay
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Reardan Tom
Posted 9/10/2016 9:26 AM (#90704 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar



Elite Veteran

Posts: 1170
10001002525
Location: Reardan, WA
Here's to a rapid recovery Jay!! Hope you're back to 100% soon... (and less annoyed. lol...)
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SideCar
Posted 9/15/2016 4:48 PM (#90772 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar



Veteran

Posts: 146
10025
Location: Colleyville, TX
Leroy,

If you have questions locally, I'm happy to help. I'm in the Grapevine area and work in Southlake, so right around the lake from you. A number of us sidecar pilots will also be out at TMS in a few weeks in case you're mobile enough to come out on crutches and check some out. Look for my Ride for Kids post in the events if you think you might be up for coming out.
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Lloyd
Posted 9/16/2016 5:05 PM (#90782 - in reply to #90624)
Subject: Re: Considering a Sidecar


Veteran

Posts: 161
1002525
Location: Columbiaville, MI.
I see you ride IBA rides, and enjoy long distance touring. Another advantage for a sidecar is that you have room to add an extra fuel tank, on a trike you usually have to trade storage for extra fuel. Good luck with your decision.
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