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Ron 71
Posted 8/25/2017 7:47 PM (#94837)
Subject: Intimidated!

New User

Posts: 2
My wife and I have been riding all our adult lives (I'm 71). A few years ago we got bitten by the ADV riding bug and currently own a KLR 650 and a 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer. I'm a small man and the last couple of years has been an increasing battle to manage the Explorer two up safely. I have dropped it several times and simply cannot pick it up.
So we are seriously considering putting a DMC Expedition side car on it.
Here's my concern: I just completed reading "The Yellow Book" and have come away from it somewhat intimidated by what I have read! It makes it sound like rolling the car over one way or the other is an ever present reality - just waiting to sneek up on you and put you on your head! It sounds like you can forget enjoying curving country roads and that dirt and gravel will be an exercise in shear terror. Please understand we have Zero experience with driving a sidecar and only a very little with trikes. We don't particularly care for the idea of a trike but do like the idea of the sidecar. But it doesn't seem like it would be all that much fun if you are constantly concerned with winding up on your head if you lose the least bit of concentration on managing the machine. Then there is the prodigious expense to consider!
I guess what we are hoping for is a little assurance that this will be a good move for us. Can't imaging life without being able to ride.
Ron and Jean on Kodiak Island Alaska
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Posted 8/25/2017 10:44 PM (#94839 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: RE: Intimidated!


Posts: 9
G'day Ron & Jean,

I too am not a big person (except for my stomach), Once upon a time I bought an 86 Kawasaki Z-1300 (brand new) and rode it solo for 12 months or so, I then fitted a DJP sidecar to her, at first I thought it was the biggest mistake I had ever done, I then put a couple of bags of sand into the chair and went down the local shopping centre car park on a Sunday (which was then completely deserted) and just practiced turning left and right, then purposely flying the chair in the air to get the feel of how far it takes to do this. I dumped the sand and continued the practice until I felt comfortable with her.

The following few years were the best fun I had ever had on a motorcycle

If flying around corners dragging your footpegs as you go is your thrill then an outfit may not be the thing for you.

But if you are just touring around being comfortable then you will be pleased, just slow down a little compared to two wheels, and never forget that you have a chair on the side which will not fit through small gaps in the traffic or bollards.

Happy and Safe Riding.
Peter, Perth, Western Australia.
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Posted 8/25/2017 11:35 PM (#94841 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 14
I'm a new rider and after reading up was quite intimidated too just like you describe. I've ridden a little over 900 miles now, mostly locally and I have to say I'm finding it more intuitive than I expected. I'm enjoying the handling quirks, it seems to be part of the fun.
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Posted 8/26/2017 1:27 AM (#94842 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 51
There is a learning curve to riding with a sidecar, but a few hours doing figure 8's, starts and stops in a big empty parking lot should give you a good idea of what to expect on the road. I'm far less concerned with gravel in a corner on three wheels than two. And don't be afraid of twisty roads, they can be a blast with a hack.
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Posted 8/26/2017 3:41 PM (#94846 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!

New User

Posts: 1
Learning to ride a bike with a sidecar requires you to ignore a lot of what you already know about riding a motorcycle because you drive a rig. A little bit of practice and patience will have you comfortable in a short time.
Personally I think the Triumph Tiger with a DMC Expedition sidecar would be an excellent rig, besides you already know the condition of the Triumpgh.
A sidecar rig will allow you to continue riding for years and in all likelihood become your daily grocery getter.
I live along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the VIRginia mountains and ride my sidecar on our curvy country roads with nary a second thought, though I do pay attention. I do slow down for gravel roads and dirt roads but mainly because they aren't smooth. Lane position is important.
I like your plan.
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Peter Pan
Posted 8/26/2017 4:26 PM (#94847 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 1951
Location: Now D-Bäk else San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
The Triumph as rig will have one huge advantage over the Ural I rode a few years ago through your neck of the woods....
It will accelerate much faster then the Ural, what might save you Your own fur when a Kodiak mama tries to protect her cub.
And when she sleeps you may have more fun all over the snow...Its a blast on 3 wheels pulling kids on their sleighs.
Rigs are THE perfect tool for to make family.
It is all about calculated risk. Who lives up there north should know that good enough.
Have fun.

PS: You neighbour Mickey and his dog Sophie swear on Ural for fishing trips.
Photo toggle. first view boat ok, second view (Click below) bike + people OK

Edited by Peter Pan 8/28/2017 11:59 AM


Attachments IMG_0793.jpg (273KB - 15 downloads)
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pago cruiser
Posted 8/26/2017 4:33 PM (#94848 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 40
Location: Tucson - its a dry heat
Its definitely a different skillset, with both plusses and minuses compared to a solo bike.

On pavement:
If you were a "fast" rider before (say, turns on mountain roads are best at 2x posted speed, less 10), you WILL be a slower rider on a hack ( ours works out to about posted plus a little on left handers, posted on right handers, and posted less a little on right handers with s, OR THE POTENTIAL for a rough surface in the middle of the turn.
Tar snake concerns are a thing of the past.
Riding in the rain is less stressful, knowing you will always remain rubber side down.
Compared to a solo bike, the rig will wander more - just the way it is with (2) front wheels that are offset. 600 miles on a solo bike is a long day. 600 miles on a hack is a longer day.

On dirt/gravel:
Lack of traction in a corner is (almost) no longer a concern. You will almost always be stable.
Sliding the rig in corners is really fun.
You will no longer have to pick up the bike when it decides to nap.
You can carry lots of camping gear.
Your dog will love it.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the ADV Hack is a Jeep. Or a quad. Riding, (or pushing, because you burnt your clutch) a hack up a sand wash will build character...
Spanning a center-of-road gulley on a fire road with the rig is great - if you can see the end. Spanning the gulley with your rig is not so great when the gully gets wider than the rig.
Unless you are absolutely positively sure where the road leads, make sure that every hill you go down you can climb back up. GPS maps and even paper topo maps sometimes lie.

After your mastery of the differences (does not take long), your enjoyment of the rig will be to large part, dependent upon how it is set up. Spend the money for front end mods - either raked trees or if you want to do it right (and/or you ride hard), a leading link set of forks. Trees are much cheaper (think $500 vs $2k), but seeing the raked trees forks side deflection on fast sweepers with s in the middle, or on major potholed dirt roads in corners will (or should) give you reason to pause.

All that said, your vigilance of situational awareness cannot be overstated. But as you have made it to 71 riding bikes most of your life, I would not anticipate anything you could not handle... its just... different.
If you really enjoy a solo bike, I'd suggest getting another bike - maybe the same - for the hack. Which is how we ended up with (2) KLR's, then (2) GL1200's, then (2) Valkyries. The solo and the hack scratch different itches...

Good luck! Lots of assistance available on this forum and over at ADVRider. Lucky for you Jay at DMC sidecars is (almost) just down the road... Hop on the Ferry, and get off when you hit the contiguous 48...

Edited by pago cruiser 8/26/2017 4:34 PM
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Ron 71
Posted 8/26/2017 5:40 PM (#94850 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: RE: Intimidated!

New User

Posts: 2
Ferry to the Loony (Lower) 48 is $3000+ from our location!
So, our plan is to ride the Tiger down to DMC early next June and leave it there for 4-5 weeks while Jay and his crew work their magic with whatever we can budget. It will give us one last two up on two wheels before we go with the side car. Just hoping I won't drop the darned thing. he bikes name is Babe after John Bunyan's Blue Oxe. It's blue and weighs as much as an ox! That's with two full Jessie panniers, tail bag and tank bag and my wife.
Speaking of which: and this may need to get shifted to a new thread but roughly how much of the weight a laden side car with passenger rest on the rear suspension of the bike? I assume it's less than with a passenger and stuffed panniers?? Any value in adding stiffer springs to the forks if I don't go with a leading link fork? Jay says he has a fork conversion that costs less and works nearly as well and possibly better than modified triple tree. LOTS of science goes into coming up with a good and safe hack I'm discovering!!
Thanks for all the information you and others have offered.
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Posted 8/28/2017 7:09 AM (#94864 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 125
Location: SE MI.
I am 71 and have been riding since I was 15, my wife and I have taken several camping trips and long week ends on our bikes and always enjoyed our little excursions. In 2010 because of my PD I felt I could no longer trust my knees and after trying trikes and sidecars decided on a FLH with Harley car and fell in love with it. Very different than anything I have ever ridden before, but very much fun. My wife also loves it. In fact last year between stops on a poker run she even ate a bowl of chili. Hit a deer a couple years ago, bike was out of commission for about a month, but I was fine as it did not go down. That was nice. I did do a triple tree conversion this spring which made it even more enjoyable to ride.

A little practice, some ballast when a passenger is not present, and make note of recommended speed on curves and you'll love it. So will your wife.

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Posted 8/28/2017 2:31 PM (#94868 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 1633
You could when you come to pick up your bike take the local sidecar class.
360 779 6378

Jay G
DMC sidecars
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Posted 8/29/2017 10:28 AM (#94880 - in reply to #94850)
Subject: RE: Intimidated!


Posts: 92
Location: NJ The Garden State
Ron 71 - 8/26/2017 5:40 PM

Speaking of which: and this may need to get shifted to a new thread but roughly how much of the weight a laden side car with passenger rest on the rear suspension of the bike? I assume it's less than with a passenger and stuffed panniers?? .

Weight distribution is approximately as expressed % of total weight. Front wheel 30%, sidecar wheel 20%, rear wheel 50%. A 1320 lbs. total weight outfit including ,rider, passenger and luggage. Front wheel 396 lbs., sidecar wheel 264 lbs., rear wheel 660 lbs. This has been verified at the recent national rally.
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Posted 9/1/2017 10:24 AM (#94917 - in reply to #94837)
Subject: Re: Intimidated!


Posts: 37
Location: Alberta Canada
I got my first sidecar about a month ago and they do take some getting used to. I put on about 400-500 easy miles, parking lots, local 2 lane roads and worked my way up to highway speeds, solo with some weight in the sidecar, before I put a passenger in the car. The previous owner had set the car up wrong, so it took awhile to get that sorted out as it handled terribly when I first got it, so bad if I had taken it for a test ride I never would have bought it. You won't have that problem.

After a couple of weeks of driving the rig my wife and I went to British Columbia, which has some of the best motorcycle riding ( twisites ) in the world. I had been over the roads in question many times on 2 wheels, but this was my first time with a sidecar. A lot of the roads have speed limits of 40-50 mph or less so it was easy to proceed at a slower pace and get the feel for the rig. The trip home was much better than the trip out, as I gained more experience with the way to handle the rig in the twisties. So go slow and add speed as you gain experience.

So if you can take the course, do so, none available up in this part of the world. I got into the sidecar because of the same issue as you had, getting older and much harder to hold a 2 up, loaded motorcycle in some situations. Have fun.
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