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Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)
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Blueeyedmichael
Posted 6/2/2017 12:17 AM (#93690)
Subject: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Member

Posts: 19
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I have a really nice retro Electra Glide. I am 70 and thought that a sidecar might be a good idea. I have Landing Gear on my bike and I ride just fine with it. My thought was that with a sidecar I would ride a lot more because they are much more stable, less dangerous and much less demanding on my knees.

I bought a 1982 Watsonian Monaco "barn find." In great shape but needs paint and mounting.

Seems like every guy I talk to that has tried a sidecar did not like it. All kinds of reasons and warnings. Seems they have nothing good to say about their experience.

Now I am discouraged. Sidecar not mounted or painted. Had my landing gear on ebay and cancelled the sale. Thinkng of selling the Watsonian and staying with what I have.

I would appreciate advice from some experienced sidecarists.

Thanks. Mike 989-893-8777 Bay City, Michigan



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AJ1200
Posted 6/2/2017 8:06 AM (#93692 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Veteran

Posts: 289
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Location: Savannah Ga
Hi Mike
I don't think your going to find much negative talk here about sidecars, except about the cheap crud that gets peddled to unsuspecting people

I will say sidecars aren't for everyone, only you can decide if it works for you. I for one totally enjoy my rig. I bought it because my wife was having trouble on long trips with her back and knees
we decided before we started trailering the bike everywhere we would try a sidecar, best move we could have made, she loves it and driving it is a blast
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OldSchool_IsCool
Posted 6/2/2017 9:03 AM (#93694 - in reply to #93692)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Extreme Veteran

Posts: 415
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Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
Welcome Mike!

I agree with Ace, it's not for everyone. It's not a difficult skill to learn, it's just different, like no other form of ground transportation out there!

I think the reason a lot of long-time motorcycle riders have issues with sidecars is that all those years of "butt knowledge" you've built up are no longer relevant on a 3-wheeled ridged rig. It's mainly the fact that you can't lean into curves anymore. Counter-steering is replaced with direct steering. You will "feel" the irregularities of the road more, confusing your "butt knowledge".

Another big issue that catches the uninitiated by surprise is the a-symmetric nature of the beast. When tooling down the road, your rig will now have a "yaw" component with the car pushing and pulling the bike. It's not hard to manage, just different. Right turns are a challenge and practice is needed to do them safely and effectively. You will now feel the "camber" of the road and any dips or crests near the curb will cause the car to rise and fall, causing the bike to "waggle" in a way that "butt knowledge" interprets as scary.

The over-simplified way I like to put it is that, on two wheels, it's you and your bike against the road. With a sidecar rig, your bike has changed sides. But with the right practice and the right attitude, you can tame the beast and learn to enjoy it's slightly off-centered nature.

Best of luck to you!

Edited by OldSchool_IsCool 6/2/2017 9:34 AM
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Blueeyedmichael
Posted 6/2/2017 10:10 AM (#93696 - in reply to #93694)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Member

Posts: 19
0
Thanks for the information. I really appreciate hearing back from you guys.

I was planning to attend a school that specializes in police motor certification. Its in Troy, Michigan. They produce high quality motorcyclists who can handle big bikes in close quarters. Cops come from all over the country to learn expert skills. The website for civilians is http://www.midwestmotorcycletraining.com/civilian-trainingschedule....

I mentin this because I realized that learning to safely handle a sidecar rig also means learning and parcticing a skill set. Have ever seen the police competitions? Those skills are mch more complicated and demanding.

I am a creative guy who has always loved the unique. I think I will enjoy the uniqueness of being a sidecarist. I also like talking with people.

Would you guys paint the chair to match my tug?

Thanks again for your replies
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AJ1200
Posted 6/2/2017 10:18 AM (#93697 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Veteran

Posts: 289
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Location: Savannah Ga
Would you guys paint the chair to match my tug?

the answer to that lies in your own taste, I for one say yes however I would suggest waiting until you have ridden and decided if your going to join the world of offset enthusiast, this way you don't have that expense up front
I rode mine around in a 2 tone brown for almost a year before painting it
I wanted to be sure it was for us first
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Valkrider
Posted 6/2/2017 11:21 AM (#93698 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Veteran

Posts: 111
100
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas
That's a darn good looking barn find. I believe it's probable many if not most of the folks that were negative about sidecars to you were because they "tried" but made little of the required effort to adapt. And it does take some commitment. Much more than a "try". It is a totally different than solo riding. I'm new to sidecars and it took a real effort in time and miles to become comfortable. Like many comments I had read beforehand I at first thought I might have messed up a perfectly good motorcycle. After a few hours of saddle time it got better and after a few weeks or increasingly longer trips it got comfortable. I love the stability it gives my big Valkyrie and my wife loves riding in it. Passenger comfort was my reason for getting a SC and we are both now glad I did. You don't come across as someone unwilling to give it the required effort. Painting the sidecar to match the bike? Their both beautiful machines. If it weren't for bad taste I'd have no taste at all ( apologies to Hee Haw) but those colors kinda clash to me. So yeah, paint it but no hurry. If after making the required effort you really prefer solo it might make it a bit harder to resell with the custom paint. Best of luck, Mike.

Edited by Valkrider 6/2/2017 11:35 AM




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ncdave
Posted 6/2/2017 2:46 PM (#93701 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Mike....you are the only one that will tell if a sidecar is right for you. one thing I found is that you have to WANT to drive a sidecar. they are different, for sure. I would suggest you get the car set up to your bike and try it out before going to the expense of paint, etc. that's the only way you are going to know unless you have a friend that will let you drive their rig.
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tinboatcapt
Posted 6/2/2017 3:25 PM (#93702 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Veteran

Posts: 119
100
Location: Lakeville, Minnesota
I have two years, but not many miles experience. You have a big advantage over my experience because you are starting with a bike that you know and trust. I, on the other hand, rolled the dice and bought a complete rig. and old one. My penchant for having the mechanicals in order has cost me a lot of mechanical down time to "get it right".
As said above "you need to want a rig" to put the small, but not unpleasant effort into acclimating to the off center world of sidecars. You have come to the right place to find a great deal of good information. This forum proved invaluable in my journey.

The bottom line is that I am firmly in the sidecar camp. I also have retained my sport touring bike, vintage cruiser, and vintage endure. It's the best of both worlds. Besides, when one owns mostly 30 and 40 year old machines, it is good to have more than one. That way I always have at least one running.
jim
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Blueeyedmichael
Posted 6/2/2017 10:10 PM (#93706 - in reply to #93702)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Member

Posts: 19
0
Thanks to all .. I am not going to paint the car to match until I give it a few thousand miles .. i will use the directory to see if I can find a member willing to meet up and show me the ropes a little

Edited by Blueeyedmichael 6/2/2017 11:16 PM
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MrMike
Posted 6/3/2017 12:28 AM (#93710 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: RE: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Veteran

Posts: 205
100100
Location: Richton, MS
Mike

I think you have it figured out.

I resisted getting back into motorcycles for years because of family situations. When I did, I opted for a sidecar so I could carry the wife and daughter. My only regret is that I waited so long. However, I think it is wise to go slow as you are doing. When complete you will have an awesome rig. Only thing I would do different if I was so lucky as to find something like that in a barn is, I'd paint the bike to match the sidecar.

Mike in MS
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Blueeyedmichael
Posted 6/3/2017 10:33 AM (#93712 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Member

Posts: 19
0
Hi Mike, thanks for your advice. I like your idea. Makes me think I should get another bike for the sidecar. I have too much into the Harley to repaint it. An older bike like a Gokdwing might be a good candidate .. buy it at a good price and have it painted to match the chair. It might be really cool if it were the same vintage. .. early 80's ..
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OldSchool_IsCool
Posted 6/3/2017 8:58 PM (#93719 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Extreme Veteran

Posts: 415
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Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
Mike,

I have an '82 Goldwing and can vouch for their strength, reliability and ease of repair. Parts can be an issue, but FeeBay has always come thru for me in a pinch.
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J.R.
Posted 6/3/2017 10:03 PM (#93722 - in reply to #93719)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Extreme Veteran

Posts: 355
1001001002525
Location: Crockett Tx
Check out to see if there is a riding class anywhere close to you. Most have loner rigs for you to take the class on. Highly recommended. You should have a beautiful rig when finished. My wife and I both ride sidecar outfits. Really enjoy them. National rally is in Corning N.Y. July 27-30. If possible,give it a try.
J.R.
USCA sec.
Tex. rep
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Blueeyedmichael
Posted 6/3/2017 10:32 PM (#93723 - in reply to #93719)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Member

Posts: 19
0
I have been tokd Honda added a gear in '83 .. does yours idle know nda high in 4th with the sidecar? I was thinking it might make no difference given the added weight to pull ..
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wallyging
Posted 6/5/2017 10:57 AM (#93742 - in reply to #93723)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Member

Posts: 5
0
Location: Shaker Heights, Ohio
I don't wish to discount others' observations about how difficult it is to drive a sidecar rig, but I'd like to say my experience has been otherwise. Other than getting used to having the car out to the right and being sure not to run into the curb, and taking it easy when cornering, I have found the rig to be quite intuitive. When first learning to ride (4 years ago) I was impressed with how much the sidecar rig rode like the tractors I drove when I was a kid growing up on the farm - I was riding on top of the bike with it moving around beneath me (as in driving a tractor), rather than becoming one with the bike as on a 2-wheeler. Compensating for the pull to one side or another when accelerating or braking quickly became second nature. I'm still honing my cornering skills, but then I'm also doing that on my 2-wheelers - it is a continuous process.

On the other hand I have been impressed with how much easier (yes, EASIER!) it is to ride a sidecar rig. No worries about losing one's balance and tipping over at stop lights, slow speed turns, or moving the rig around the garage. When underway I no longer worry about losing traction by sliding on loose rocks, oil slicks, or tar snakes. When I stop I don't have to worry about my footing, or if the site is level enough. And perhaps most important, it's just plain easier to ride a sidecar rig. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to keep a 2-wheel rig balanced, and the sidecar frees me from all of that.

If this sounds like an old guy, well, it is! As I age (I'm now 72) I find the considerations mentioned above more and more salient.

So, yes, riding a sidecar brings its own unique challenges and learning requirements, but they can be handled relatively quickly. On the other hand, sidecars also have all of the advantages I've mentioned, plus the capacity to haul tons of stuff.

Wally Gingerich
Shaker Heights, OH
1988 BMW R100RT with Ural sidecar

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jaydmc
Posted 6/5/2017 11:05 AM (#93743 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Expert

Posts: 1508
1000500
Often times when we hear negativity about sidecars it is that the people did not learn to ride the sidecar however often it is also that the sidecar is either a miss match for the bike strength and weight wise (this would not be the case with your bike and sidecar) and often it is due to the sidecar being mounting poorly. If the sidecar is not mounted correctly it will never work correctly. "Universal" type mounts seldom work. Home made mounts can work fine or depending on the skill level of the person making them can be down right dangerous. Years ago I saw a BMW that had been mounted using steel from a bed frame! We can provide bike side mounting hardware however the bits and pieces for between the bike and the sidecar are not so easy as Watsonian uses an odd mounting system and odd bolts (when was the last time you saw 3/4 20TPI ?) When we do these in house we start with our bike side mounts, put the sidecar next to the bike and work out what we need to make the connection.
We also offer triple tree's to lower the steering effort with the sidecar.
Let me know if we can be of any help.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
www.dmcidecars.com
866-638-1793
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OldSchool_IsCool
Posted 6/5/2017 11:24 AM (#93744 - in reply to #93723)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Extreme Veteran

Posts: 415
100100100100
Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
Blueeyedmichael - 6/3/2017 10:32 PM

I have been tokd Honda added a gear in '83 .. does yours idle know nda high in 4th with the sidecar? I was thinking it might make no difference given the added weight to pull ..


I think the changed the gear ratios in '83, they didn't add a 6th gear. Honestly, I can't tell you if the '82 or '83 ratios are more or less rig-friendly. I can tell you that I don't do many highway miles so rarely make it up to 5th gear anyway. Pulls like a freight train in gears 1-4 and glad to know that 5th is there if I need it.
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wallyging
Posted 6/5/2017 11:28 AM (#93745 - in reply to #93743)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Member

Posts: 5
0
Location: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Good point, Jay. I'm sure the overall design, setup and quality of the rig is a big factor in how easy (and safely) it is to ride, although I have only ever owned one rig. Fortunately for me my rig is a good one -- you built it for the original owner. My rig steers and trails beautifully, and I have experienced none of the problems that can occur with sidecars.
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wvsporty
Posted 6/5/2017 3:35 PM (#93751 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)



Extreme Veteran

Posts: 412
100100100100
Location: Inwood WV
Hey Mike you have absolutely come to the best place in the world to ask questions about sidecars, sidecars aren't for everyone but they are fun to drive if its what you want to do. Most times the people I have found to talk negative about them were the folks who knew everything , done everything and mounted the sidecar themselves with little advice from someone with experience. What happened was they didn't have the setup right and either fought the bike to drive it or almost wrecked because of not understanding how it worked. Not making assumptions but at your age you would seem to be some one to take your time and learn to drive one of these things. I have a small Velorex on my Sportster and have been running it for 6 years now and love it . Last month I bought a California Friendship II for my wifes 1995 Ultra Classic and will be mounting it in the next couple of weeks
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jwshort
Posted 6/5/2017 8:44 PM (#93756 - in reply to #93690)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Elite Veteran

Posts: 829
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Location: Rapid City, SD
Doug is right! If there is anything we sidecarists is good at it is free advice. That being said most of these guys have been around for a while and know a lot from experience. I mounted my first sidecar. I struggled with the handling. after 20+ years and 65K+ miles riding rigs set up by pros I can say that it is good to pay someone to do it right or have someone helping you that has done it right.
Hang in there. It is a great adventure and a great bunch of people.
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J.R.
Posted 6/5/2017 10:52 PM (#93758 - in reply to #93756)
Subject: Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please :-) Greatly appreciated:-)


Extreme Veteran

Posts: 355
1001001002525
Location: Crockett Tx
Free advice sometimes cost a lot. Ask 50 riders a question and you might get 48 different answers. None actually wrong,they fit the one giving the advice. May not fit you exactly. You have to sort through it. Sidecars are a lot of fun. People can't use the excuse I didn't see you. May run over you looking at your rig.
J.R.
USCA sec.
Tex. rep
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