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| Sidecar weight question|
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|Hello - I have a dilemna. |
I started riding my "new" rig last season. It is a 2005 Honda Shadow Spirit 750 mated to an American Eagle Easy Rider sidecar. It is mounted very professionally and all alignments appear to be correct. I am a 270 lb rider and the rig scares the heck out of me especially when turning to the right at speed. I'm not talking about 90 degree turns at intersections but more like sloping 30-45 degree turns on highways when the road veers to the right. I slow down to 35 mph or less and I still feel like the rig is going to tip to the left. I generally put about 50-75 lbs of cat litter in the rig and still feel unsafe. The bike has a dry weight of 495 lbs but I have no idea what the sidecar weighs.
I suspect the car might be too light for the motorcycle and the rider is too heavy overall with all that weight up high. Should I compensate by putting even more weight in the sidecar? I'm concerned as the tire on the sidecar is rated at 365 lbs max load.
I love the idea of sidecar riding but my current setup is simply too scary so I'm avoiding riding (and considering selling the rig). Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your help.
Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
|Greetingz Bob, welcome to the slightly off-center world of sidecars! |
A trick you can try to ensure you have enough weight in the car is to park your rig on level ground, then step on the left foot peg with you right foot. Grab the handlebars with both hands. Swing your left leg out. If you can pick the hack wheel off the ground "easily" you need more weight. If in doubt, go heavy.
Weight placement is also important. Load weight as far to the right (away from bike) as you can and behind the hack's axle if possible. A counter-weight leaver is both mass and distance.
Now, as for riding techniques for handling right hand "sweepers" which is the riding condition you describe, look for reading material here: http://www.sidecar.com/links.asp Shifting your body weight toward the car will help. Additionally, taking a class would be a good idea to if you decide you want to continue sidecaring safely. I'm also sure some experienced riders will be along soon with ideas on light rigs and sweeper turns. My rig ('82 Goldwing with double-wide sidecar) is a bit heavy so I don't have this technique in my quiver.
Edited by OldSchool_IsCool 2/6/2018 1:05 PM
Location: Inwood WV
|Welcome , Bob. Learning each rig is slightly different as posted above read and practice in parking lots to learn the lift point . I have an old Velorex on my Sportster( similar combo in size and weight and I am 6' 225lbs) . I have around 60-70 lbs of weight and most times a now 8 year old (Aiden around 50 lbs) so about 120lbs total. I can easily lift the sidecar on a straight stretch of road if I want and I can also keep it down in right hand turns by knowing the lift point and shifting my weight onto my right foot and leaning into it if necessary. Read , practice and ask questions.|
Edited by wvsporty 2/7/2018 10:02 AM
sidecar.jpg (17KB - 0 downloads)
|You aren't alone. You saw my post in the other thread. My friends suggest I be done with sidecars. My friends also think I'm psycho, and not doing that is probably one of the reasons. |
Option 1: See if you can't increase the track width. I don't see there being a lot of play, and still having room to do the adjustments you need, but it could happen.
Option 2: Add weight. I had my problems when I figured everyone should be able to ride a sidecar without ballast. I didn't quite get to no ballast, but that is absolutely not a true statement. There are so many variables just in which sidecar is mounted to what bike, we won't even go into how it's mounted. If you need ballast to make sure the seat has no pucker marks- add ballast. Every single person I've asked (in person) since that problem, has put a minimum of 75# of ballast in their rig (riding solo). I was quite flabbergasted to realize pilots who have years of experience not just on hacks, but on that particular rig, would do this. Especially when their rig was probably twice as stable as my contraption. It isn't a bad thing at all, and don't think you should try to ride without ballast because "you're supposed to" I guess is what I'm saying.
BTW I have a Velorex, like Doug, (hopefully re-)mounted to an 1100 Shadow, which is pretty close to the same weight as a sportster. I'm thinking about 100-120 pounds of ballast, so Doug is right about where I would be with my 'fixed' setup. Mine was WAY more squirrely, and apparently not a very good idea to ride the way I had it. It's these sorts of no-brainer things the experienced guys here are helping me with, too. I had no clue when I started, but I took one lift at a Harley sidecar and decided there was no way my stuff was right. Same thing later with a Ural. I suggest going to a Ural dealer and doing Old School's tip test. It really opened my eyes, because the Ural rig is about the same or lighter than mine (I think) but about 2 or 3 times as hard to tip.
Location: Michigan - Kalamazoo
|Hey Jeff, |
I have a quote I use often when asked if I'm crazy... "I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
|Love it! BTW I just found this (again) on Motorvation's website. |
As far as price is concerned, historically sidecars have run about 30% to 50% the cost of a new motorcycle. If you have a $15,000.00 touring bike, expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000.00 for a good sidecar for it. If you start looking at some small imported sidecar that is priced at about $2,000.00 for your Honda GL 1500 or your Harley FLHTC, you're kidding yourself. In fact Harley's factory sidecar for the Ultra Classic is about $6,000.00. Don't buy a cheap, used sidecar and try to get it on your bike with home made hardware to see if you'll like sidecars. I guarantee that if you have a mismatched, ill handling rig, you'll never like sidecars. Safety should always be your main concern in motorcycling, and motorcycle sidecars should be no different.
Location: Alberta Canada
|An example of my empty weights. Rig is a 1995 BMW R100RT with a Kenna sidecar. These weights are empty with no gas tank & seat ( working on bike during the winter ). Weight on Sidecar Wheel 175 lbs, weight on front tire 230, and weight on rear tire 265 lbs. I weight about 225 lbs. |
If I stand on the left peg and lean out, with a bit of wiggle back and forth I can just get the sidecar wheel to lift. I started out with 60 lbs ballast and now don't use any ballast. The rig is set up for a load with my wife in the sidecar and last year at a truck weight scales the total weight of everything was 1272 lbs. So in other words with that weight the bike is leaned out about 3/4" and rig has about 1/2" toe in and the car sits level front to back and side to side. The car on the road is not easy to lift and I have yet to do so in normal highway driving.
A couple of suggestions. Everything works better if the bike suspension is stiffer than stock and often a shock upgrade is required. Also somebody else mentioned increasing the track width ( this should be done in small amounts ) and not sure how your rig is mounted or how much room you have to adjust. As a guide on mine, there is about 2 " between the saddle bag and the sidecar body, so that I can just get the bag off easily.
I think what is happening is that your are a big guy and the 750 is a pretty lightly sprung bike, so that when the weight transfer to the left on right hand turns happens you get the feeling that the car is going to lift but it doesn't appear ( from your comments ) that it is lifting. So my guess is that everything is normal and you need to practise ( in a parking lot ), trying to lift the sidecar wheel. You could try a bit more weight in the car and see what happens.
Location: Orange County, CA
Take your rig to a public scale. You can weigh the weight on the sidecar wheel only as well as determine sidecar weight by weighing the entire rig and subtracting the known weight of the bike alone. Most of the public scales will charge you only a small fee since there won't be any paperwork involved.
|Some one your size really needs a larger stronger sidecar. Just because your sidecar was "professionally" mounted does not mean it was done right. There are many "professionals" that do not have a clue about what they are doing. |
|I feel you man. My Texas Ranger on the bandit is a similarly light rig with a tallish pusher. I carry 60lbs ballast and still need to approach right handers with care. |
In addition to reading materials provided by others:
*Get used to throttle steering - slow a little going in but then use the natural yaw of the rig to push you around the righthand corner. This works great most of the time, though I still occasionally have some sky under the wheel on the off-camber righthander into my neighborhood.
*Get used to having the sidecar wheel in the air. It friggin' happens on light rigs, and as long as it's not up so high your steering suffers it's just one of those things. Others have made great suggestions about finding your lift point.
There's no substitute for practice.
Location: Rapid City, SD
|On the subject of Right Hand Turns and flying the car - I took sidecar training at my first rally. We were required to purposely "Fly the Car" to get the feel of when the 3 wheeled vehicle suddenly becomes a 2 wheeled vehicle again. I have, on a couple of |
occasions, been glad I had that experience. In my case I was running a K11 BMW with a Motorvation Formula. I had to really work to get the car to fly but they wanted me to ride in a tightening right hand circle until the car came up. It is a good exercise to practice on some open space. When the car does fly you know what to do.
All of that being said Bob, the small Honda and the America Eagle sidecar, your outfit will fly easier than my K11/Motorvation rig. You will need to get used to how the rig acts in tight right handers.
Location: atkins Ar.
|If you think you might need a little more weigh in your side car try this. Get you a 3/4” pice of treated ply wood. Remove your seat and mat( if you have one). Then cut the plywood to fit in the bottom of the sidecar. Then reinstall every thing. Then know one is the wiser and you got 50 lb. +.Rudyr|
Location: Longview. Texas
|For sidecar weights, I bought photography weight bags on Amazon and filled them with sand. They are normally used to hold down light and umbrella poles for photographers. I have eight bags and each bag is about 15 pounds.|
Location: atkins Ar.
|If my plywood idea dosen’t melt your butter. Try a old motorcycle inner tube fill with sand, as big or as small as you like.Rudyr|
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