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|I am very new to sidecar driving, about a month, and am still a little scared of the right twisties in Pa. I have 50 lbs of ballast weight in the sidecar and have not lifted it so far, but they still have me worried. I have been reading all sorts of articles on the subject on what to do if the wheel lifts, but still am not sure if i really understand what to do. Can any of you tell me what is the proper thing to do and counteract if this ever happens? I know one of these days it will happen and i want to do the right thing and not cause serious harm to me or the bike, so give me all the info i will need to be prepared.|
Location: Cedar Rapids, iowa
|when I started I went to a parking lot and did right hand circles till I could lift the wheel. After practicing this I got a feel for it and became confident that I would not freak out when it happens on the road. Really it is kinda fun, enjoy it|
|Tom, thanks for the reply, but i would like to know what to do if this happens at like 50 mph and what happens when the rig comes back down, does it go to the right or left? |
|First if you can, take a class http://evergreenmotorcycletraining.org/ we also offer the book "Driving a sidecar outfit" by David Hough $34.95 This will answer questions you do not even know to ask. |
You have not said what bike and sidecar you have, How it is set up can have a lot of effect on how it rides. Ballast is fine if the sidecar is strong enough for your bike with a strong enough suspension, wheel and shock however often people will put way to light duty of a sidecar on a bike, mount it narrow and then add ballast. This often provides you with a rig that is some what less then safe. You should be able to stand on the left foot peg, grab the handle bar and lean back and by bouncing should not be able to get the sidecar to come up more then an inch or two. If it comes up easy then your sidecar is not heavy enough or in some cases wide enough.
|My ride is a 2014 Harley Heritage softail with a Texas Ranger sidecar. I will try standing on my floorboard and grabbing the handlebar thing and see what happens. I also hope to get a lot more info at the rally at Corning NY next month as i will be there Friday and Saturday.|
Location: DENVER, COLORADO
captdan - 6/26/2017 11:11 AM
Tom, thanks for the reply, but i would like to know what to do if this happens at like 50 mph and what happens when the rig comes back down, does it go to the right or left?
Slow down and or go left a little. Practice on empty parking lot slow and then faster. Have ballast in sidecar.
Location: Lakeville, Minnesota
|I am not an expert, and have never taken a class. However, I had a few miles of parking lot/side street riding before I bought a rig in Phoenix and rode it home to Minneapolis. There were two occasions when the car lifted unexpectedly on that ride. The first time was on a twisty mountain road with no shoulders, or room for maneuver. no sight line to see if anyone was coming the other way. The car lifted a foot or so as I made my right turn. I held my line through the turn but shifted my weight, like I would have with my two wheels, leaning far out over the sidecar, right foot firmly on the footboard, (peg). My weight shift brought the car down slowly as I exited the turn. Speed control: I made no abrupt change, but held a constant speed. (at least that is what I remember during the intense event) |
The second was as I was negotiating a roundabout. The sidecar wheel rode over an angled curb as I clipped the right hand apex exiting during the right hand turn. The wheel lifted and I used the same weight transfer move ,but less pronounced, than I used the first time.
Since, I have been carefully trying to lift the car (In safe conditions) and have found that the pronounced left hand turn maneuver does not immediately bring the car down, but certainly moves the rig into the oncoming traffic lane. It all seems counter intuitive, but it has worked so far.
I also look forward to talking to more experienced riders, and I hope to get to the rally in Corning. Perhaps more knowledgeable opinions will weigh in here. for reference: the rig was an old Wing with a California I sidecar with 2 40# bags of sand for ballast. I currently ride without ballast.
Edited by tinboatcapt 6/27/2017 11:27 PM
|I have 50lbs. of ballast in the tub now and it seems to be doing the job. My wife and i never plan on placing a live person in our rigs, but we are going to place some mannequins in them and dress them up with crazy wild outfits, for fun. I will also try to get the rig weighed and see if the balance is correct at the Corning rally. Thanks for the response and ride safe. I still get a little worried about those right twisty turns here in Pa. and take them right at the speed limit, but as soon as i get back to my home in Fl. i will feel better and can get the much needed driving time.|
Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
captdan - 6/26/2017 3:22 PM
My ride is a 2014 Harley Heritage softail with a Texas Ranger sidecar. I will try standing on my floorboard and grabbing the handlebar....
Captdan, my first sidecar was a Texas Ranger mounted on an 883R Sportster. I started out with 75 lbs ballast in the car, dropping to 50 lbs after ±500 miles. After another ±500 miles and a S/TEP class, I dropped the ballast to 25 lbs. I tried no ballast, but the sidecar was just too light for safe operation, particularly evasive maneuvers at 45+mph. I eventually mounted a 25 lb weight to the floor behind the seat which, along with ±15 lbs of tools, became the base ballast. The rig would often lift the sidecar in right corners, but typically handled most curves well at up to 5 mph over the yellow sign as long as I used appropriate driver weight transfer (plus a little trail breaking). The whole rig rode smoother and generally traveled better with an extra 100+lbs in the sidecar, such as passenger or dog & travel gear. The young lady that owns the rig now often puts a 50lb bag of sand in the seat simply because it rig is more settled on the road, with less "bounce."
Harley's are typically geared "tall" such that lowering the gear ratios can be beneficial. For example, we installed a one-tooth smaller front pulley on the 883R, but it's generally easier to change the the primary sprockets on a big twin. Also, the modified triple trees for sidecar/trike duty not only ease steering effort, but help eliminate the handlebar moving from when the sidecar wheel encountering imperfections in the road - making the rig much less tiring to ride. We installed 5-degree triple trees from Hawg Halters with excellent results. When operated within its proper limits, the 883R/Ranger combination became a great rig:
Paula let me ride the rig again at the recent East Texas Sidecar Muster.
Location: NJ The Garden State
|In my 25 years of sidecar driving I find weight transfer to the sidecar does little to nothing if the sidecar is already airborne. To me this weight transfer technique is only valuable to keep the sidecar wheel from lifting in the first place. |
Steering should remain constant, any steering changes or weight transfer may do more to upset the outfit. Speed should remain constant or slightly reduced and the attitude of the sidecar should remain up until the turn is completed.
Then utter a little prayer if you were going in really HOT.
Tell us where you live. There may be members near you who can provide advice/training.
Best thing you can do for your, your rig's, and the general public's safety is take the S/TEP class. Then practice what they teach. Classes are available in Florida; not sure about PA - you might ask Claude Stanley
Location: East Texas
|I've been riding a sidecar rig for about a month, also. Today I finished the S/TEP in Lufkin, TX. Take it. Marcus will have you flying the wheel - it's part of the class - everybody get to do it. |
I practiced the right turns on the East Texas back roads coming home from the class.
|Ya know, I've heard it said that you have an "level" on the bike, it will help with the ride. What I mean is that if I have a level (think RV) on the bike/car, then you might have a more stable ride. Anyone heard of this?|
captdan - 6/26/2017 8:13 AM
I am very new to sidecar driving, about a month, and am still a little scared of the right twisties in Pa. I have 50 lbs of ballast weight in the sidecar and have not lifted it so far, but they still have me worried. I have been reading all sorts of articles on the subject on what to do if the wheel lifts, but still am not sure if i really understand what to do. Can any of you tell me what is the proper thing to do and counteract if this ever happens? I know one of these days it will happen and i want to do the right thing and not cause serious harm to me or the bike, so give me all the info i will need to be prepared.
I am what I consider a 'newbie' and have a few hundred miles on the rig. That car looks about the same, maybe a bit heavier than my Velorex. The Heritage is the bike I had that I decided not to put it on. The Shadow is lighter. My sidecar, I am convinced but need mods before I reattach it and find out for sure, is much too light for the Shadow. Yours, if it is comparable, is even lighter for the Softail. I had the same problems you are encountering. I have calculated I need a MINIMUM of an extra 100# of ballast, on top of what everyone else uses. I tried lifting a Ural sidecar yesterday, it was at about the limit of my one-handed lift (without straining or going overboard, I'm talking sensible not showing off). I can do bicep curls with my sidecar, it weighs at best, half as much at the wheel. Considering the bike itself is considerably heavier, and the sidecar is probably a tad bit lighter, I'd expect it to be about the same. This means, as Jay mentioned, it's underweight and probably set too close. I set it as close as I could, on purpose, to pass through a specific barrier at work designed to allow motorcycles but not cars. I might rethink that and park the rig in cager parking, but first the mods need to be done & the car re-mounted.
Wingnut - 7/5/2017 1:43 AM
Ya know, I've heard it said that you have an "level" on the bike, it will help with the ride. What I mean is that if I have a level (think RV) on the bike/car, then you might have a more stable ride. Anyone heard of this?
As in, a bubble level to tell when you're leaning? Interesting idea, but not real sure it matters. I can tell pretty well where level is, I just had it on the RV for when I park it, not for driving. They don't seem like they'd respond quickly enough to matter, IMO, but never tried it. (And I have watched them while driving the RV, so I do have an idea how quickly they respond.) Anything drastic enough to be useful, and you already know you're off-level. Anything you might need it for, might be the last you hit instead of the current one.
Edited by Jeff_Online 7/13/2017 9:12 AM
Location: Longview. Texas
|I have tilt control on my Hannigan sidecar (adjusts the sidecar shock up and down). This helps level the rig with different loads and on cambered roads. Leaning the rig a little to the right helps prevent flying the chair.|
|Leaning the bike into the sidecar to keep the sidecar down while it does work by transferring some of the weight of the bike onto the sidecar this is not what it was intended for. If you are leaning the bike into the sidecar to keep the sidecar down then you are also choosing to run the rig out of alignment. Tilt was not intended to be used to transfer weight for cornering, it is intended as a trim device to trim for load, road, weather and speed conditions. If you feel that when the is trimmed to go straight down the road properly that the sidecar wants to lift to easy then you should be either adding ballast or increasing track width. Ballast is a lot simpler then changing track width. You can also transfer some of your own weight when turning to the right as out lined in the book "Driving a sidecar outfit" by David Hough. It is also covered in the sidecar trike safety programs classes S/tep. As a S/tep instructor I teach proper cornering techniques in class. If you are relying on the tilt for cornering to the right, what happens some day when you are heading into a right hand turn, needing the weight transfer to go around the corner safely and you find that the electric trim for what ever reason fails to work? |
In short, using electric trim to keep the sidecar down on right hand turns is a poor choice.
Location: atkins Ar.
|Load your front wheel a little at first till you get fell.( appling the front brake a small amount) . And just steer with your left hand, so you have good trotted control with your right hand with a high torque engine( down shift tight curves) plus the weight shift on the side car. You get that then we can talk about torque the Handel bars.Rudy|
Location: atkins Ar.
|I forgot the most important part, to do a right turn always go in high (on the center line) go to inside( shoulder of road) then back to the high side coming out of the curve now on wide sweeping 180 deg. Might need to do this twice.Rudy|
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