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Torsion Bar
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claude #3563
Posted 4/19/2006 5:52 AM (#15312 - in reply to #15300)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Which is better a swaybar or a leading link? I agree the comparison is an apples and oranges one in a way but we are talking about which choice will give th ebest or most benefit for the money spent right?
In a nutshell a swaybar will enhance handling and a leading link will make the rig easier to steer.Without getting into the splitting hairs mode a leading link will not help handling. If a rig originally handled like a softly sprung wallowing pig it will still do so with a leading link but will be easier to steer. If the bike/sidecar suspension is stock the rig will benfit greatly on all fronts from a swaybar as Bill described. A swaybar will also benefit the feel even on straight roads as it will compensate for road camber changes etc to a certain degree.
There are many ways to make steering easier other than forking out bucks for a leading link. These low buck mods will be more effective on some bikes than others. Wider bars for more leverage. Bar backs also give more leverage. A smaller rolling diameter front tire will reduce trail some. Running the front forks up into the triple trees a little helps reduce trail. Raising the rear of the bike helps too.
In over 20 years of owning sidecars I have yet to own a rig with a leading link on it. I have rode them and even built them. I am building two now. But so far have not owned one MYSELF..maybe someday.
The cost of a swaybar is about a fourth that of a leading link. So which gives the best value related to costs incured? I would have to vote for the swaybar.


Edited by claude #3563 4/19/2006 5:55 AM
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Beemerchef
Posted 4/19/2006 7:11 AM (#15315 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Very interesting... Personally, riding a GS, I have wide handlebars and, this might sound strange to some, being that the effort in the curves is a bit less than a narrower handlebar, I like the effort... please don't laugh, but it is building up my upper body strenght!... and my posture is already better than what it has been in the past... the bottom line is I look at it as a work out at times, specially going up the twisties to Two Wheels Only or any of the tight twistie roads that surround me here... my upper strenght building up I am finding it easier and easier to ride up those roads... or down! Maybe I see things differently... my theorie was the same when living on sailboats for 28 years never wanting electric or hydraulic winches!... At 57 I am lazy regarding physical exercises... which I should not be... this situation gives me a chance to enjoy it!
The handling of a motorcycle has always been my primordial need... always having Ohlins or Penskes and the torsion bar has given me and more the handling that I am happy with... not to mention meeting Claude and his Armenian friend (as I am also) Harry... two very deranged individuals... Artists and Geniuses... I mean... who in their right mind would put a Subaru engine in theit BMW motorcycle! (laugh)... or should I say... "kids will be kids"... and then again "it is never too late to have a happy childhood...".
You be well... and glad that some of you's have enjoyed the pictures...
Ara
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Mark in Idaho
Posted 4/19/2006 9:23 AM (#15320 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Intresting indeed



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When I was a firearms instructor, I heard a saying, "Beware the man who owns only one gun". That man will know the quirks and deficiencies of that one weapon and has learned to compensate and excel. That applies here as well. I too do not have a leading link front end, or for that matter a sway bar. I am new to sidecars and have no complaints about the performance of my rig, but I don't have anything to compare it to at this stage. This lack of experience does not diminish my enjoyment in the least. Enjoy what you've got or can afford and get good at it. If you have to enter that curve a little slower than someone else, don't let it rain on your parade. On the other hand, it seems that there is also a great deal of satisfaction to be had tinkering with any machine to make it better. What ever blows your hair back. Buy the way, I have noticed that my physical stamina has improved since that first month of riding.
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Bandit Bill
Posted 4/19/2006 10:07 AM (#15323 - in reply to #15320)
Subject: RE: Intresting indeed


Originally written by Mark in Idaho on 4/19/2006 9:23 AM

When I was a firearms instructor, I heard a saying, "Beware the man who owns only one gun". That man will know the quirks and deficiencies of that one weapon and has learned to compensate and excel. That applies here as well. I too do not have a leading link front end, or for that matter a sway bar. I am new to sidecars and have no complaints about the performance of my rig, but I don't have anything to compare it to at this stage. This lack of experience does not diminish my enjoyment in the least. Enjoy what you've got or can afford and get good at it. ... it seems that there is also a great deal of satisfaction to be had tinkering with any machine to make it better. What ever blows your hair back. Buy the way, I have noticed that my physical stamina has improved since that first month of riding.



It's taken me over three years to get my rig to the point where i'm happy with it - thats 3 years of 3 successive winters with absolutely no social life, and a very intimate knowlege of a hacksaw.


Unless you are deep-pockets rich, there is no way you can do this all at once IMHO. Learn how to drive your rig the way it is, enjoy it for what it is, learn about the mods that make a rig better, and prioritize what (if any) you want to do - have a plan of action.


It may even shake out that what you have now, is not what you want as a long term rig - it may or may not be an entry level rig - in which case, make maximal use of what you have now, enjoy it, and when the time comes, buy or build what is the next level for you as an ideal rig.



Edited by Bandit Bill 4/19/2006 10:11 AM
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Mark in Idaho
Posted 4/19/2006 11:21 AM (#15327 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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I've watched Bandit Bills project progress with great admiration, even a little envy. However my wife and 6 year old son would never let me spend that kind of time on a project let alone the money. I'm content with my 1983 Honda GL650 with Dneper sidecar for which I paid what most people spend on just the chair alone.

Edited by Mark in Idaho 4/19/2006 11:23 AM
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Beemerchef
Posted 4/19/2006 7:30 PM (#15347 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Location: On the road... period!
You are a wize man Mark and I admire that... so right... we all have our limitations... I work in Downtown Atlanta and I see the Armani suits and the 75+K cars passing by... followed by hefty montly payments!!!... I smile...
I live at the foothills of the best twisties this country has to offer... from here to NY including TN, NC, SC, VA... my only reason for living here including plentiful of primitive camping... the torsion bar has elevated my riding to what I feel is a safer mod... I will always maintain that it should be a standard on cars... so is the TILT... a comfort process that I could not live without now... they are little affordable (I am single...) compensations since I do not drink or do drugs! (my favorite saying!...).
Hope to see you down the road... in the meantime take good care of your family, they do deserve you.
Be well. Ara

Edited by Beemerchef 4/19/2006 7:31 PM
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redfrogtango
Posted 4/21/2006 9:59 AM (#15383 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar


Thanks to all for the responses. The opinions and info have been extremely helpful. Since I am still in the planning stage for my sidecar rig, the advise has given me a better idea as how best to proceed. With that said, my current plan is to pursue a Ural dual-sport rig similar to Beemerchef's. I will hold off on a leading link modification for the time being, but I will probably add a sway/torsion bar fairly quickly.

Now if I can only find a suitable tug.

Mike
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Mark in Idaho
Posted 4/21/2006 10:25 AM (#15385 - in reply to #15383)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Location: hailey, Idaho
Mike,
Take a look at the KTM bikes. They cost less than the BMW's but still have a good parts and service network. If I had deep pockets, I would buy the 900 for the Idaho dirt roads. Half the state is Federal land(Forest Service, BLM, or wilderness designation.) Therefore, half the roads are dirt.
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claude #3563
Posted 4/22/2006 7:17 AM (#15410 - in reply to #15383)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Beemerchef wrote:
>>I live at the foothills of the best twisties this country has to offer... from here to NY including TN, NC, SC, VA... my only reason for living here including plentiful of primitive camping... the torsion bar has elevated my riding to what I feel is a safer mod... I will always maintain that it should be a standard on cars... so is the TILT... a comfort process that I could not live without now... they are little affordable (I am single...) compensations since I do not drink or do drugs! (my favorite saying!...).<<

Mike wrote:
>>I will hold off on a leading link modification for the time being, but I will probably add a sway/torsion bar fairly quickly.<<

Just let me clear the air here before some new readers get confused over the term 'torsion bar'. In the cases here what is being spoken of is a 'swaybar' and not a 'torsion bar' as related to usage. A 'swaybar' connects the bike rear suspension to the sidecar suspension and creates a better handling rig by providing more stable and flatter cornering.It can be easily unhooked when off road. This is what beemechef has been referring to as a 'torsion bar'. (technically it is a torsion bar but not used as one).
When the term 'torsion bar' is used as related to suspension it is actually a suspension member or a spring so to speak. Many cars have used torsion bar suspensions for years (VW, Subaru, Dodge etc). Motorvation sidecars have used torsion bars for suspension for years on their Formula II sidecar. They work very well for sidecars. I have done many torsion bar conversions to various sidecars that did not come with them. Velorexes in particuler work great with a torsion bar conversion. I think the first one I did weas back in '86 or maybe before.
There is a two fold benefit a torsion bar suspension. One, you have a cost efective suspension that is easliy tuned for softer or harder ride. Two, you get a tilt adjuster built in that is not an extra cost to you. Not a bad bang for the buck.
Yes, a torsion bar suspension can be used in conjunction with a swaybar setup but the two are seperate intities.

Edited by claude #3563 4/22/2006 7:21 AM
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Chubbo
Posted 4/30/2006 1:38 PM (#15633 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar


Hi,
I have been reading your discussion on torsion bars. I have a KZ1300 Kaw./EML rig. The steering on this rig is super sensitive, so much so, that there is little feeling in the handle bars, and you do most of the steering with body english. This rig has, as you probably know an Earls type fromt suspention, and very narrow handle bars, from a BMW GS model. The steering is so sensitive that the rig will follow road grooves, and if you put any pressure on the handle bars it gets skitterish. You must let all pressure off the handle bars, in this situation, and the rig will correct it's self. I wonder what the steering would be like with a torsion bar also? I have just started to read about the torsion bar and do not even know what one looks like. Is there any input to this?
Thanks.
Chubbo
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claude #3563
Posted 4/30/2006 2:13 PM (#15635 - in reply to #15633)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Chubbo,
Go back to the early part of this thread and see the post with the writeup by Bill Ballou.
I think your steering concerns are simply a matter of a much reduced trail, the narrow bars and to a lesser degree the car tire wanting to follow the imperfections in the road. If this rig is new to you then you may get more used to it as you go. If not increasing trail slightly may help some. Also playing with tire pressue of the front tire may help.
A swaybar is more so used to help a rig corner flatter and provides more secure handling. It really is not something that will directly help steering.

Edited by claude #3563 4/30/2006 2:15 PM
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Hack'n
Posted 4/30/2006 4:14 PM (#15637 - in reply to #15633)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Chubbo,
Flat tread autombile radial tires have a tendency to follow road seams and even rain grooves. On some rigs the steering pressure needed to overcome this will cause the tire to "hop" over the seam or groove and with very narrow handlebars this can sometimes even cause a tank slapper of a shimmy. Usually a steering damper will control this, but the addition of wider bars will allow more sensitive control by slowing your steering input somewhat.

Lonnie
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claude #3563
Posted 5/1/2006 12:15 AM (#15643 - in reply to #15635)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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For a picture of a swaybar click on live link below. It is th elong silver colored member running across the sidecar frame on an angle. The parts on the ends that run from the bar to the link areas are called 'arms'. Many of us build them in difent ways and mount them diferently but the idea is the same...linking the sidecar swingarm to the motorcycle swingarm through a member that acts as a torsional spring. This makes for a more stable handling rig and allows flatter cornering. It also will automatically compensate to a degree for road camber changes , sidecar loading etc. It will work with a tilt adjustor or without one. On a dual sport rig one end can be easily unhooked to let the bar 'float' in it's mounting if going into the really rough stuff. On most dirt roads it can be left hooked up and will allow one to slide through the turns wih more stabilty than without it.
It will do a lot more on most all rigs than changing to aftermarket shocks and or springs and the cost less. The cost /value ratio is very high on a swaybar installation compared to many things.
http://hometown.aol.com/sidebike00/swaybar.jpg

Edited by claude #3563 5/1/2006 12:27 AM
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outfit
Posted 5/1/2006 7:10 PM (#15654 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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claude. After beefing-up the sidecar suspension my fear now is that when cornering away from the sidecar at speed (right-hander's),I dont want the motorcycle to climbe above the sidecar.Would the swaybar idea prevent this from happening. Left-hand bend's are not a problem as I get a feel of what's going-on, but right hander's do prove a problem as I think the feed back is little.
Safe riding Karl
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claude #3563
Posted 5/1/2006 7:41 PM (#15655 - in reply to #15654)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Originally written by outfit on 5/1/2006 7:10 PM

claude. After beefing-up the sidecar suspension my fear now is that when cornering away from the sidecar at speed (right-hander's),I dont want the motorcycle to climbe above the sidecar.Would the swaybar idea prevent this from happening. Left-hand bend's are not a problem as I get a feel of what's going-on, but right hander's do prove a problem as I think the feed back is little.
Safe riding Karl


On some rigs the feeling of th erear wheel getting light or trying to lift when turning away from the sidecar is a very real concern. This was th ecase on the two GS rigs that recently had swaybars put on them. Does the swaybar help? Yes, by quite a bit it does. The idea is that when the sidecar suspension begins to compress on a turn away from the sidecar the swaybar tries to make the motorcycle suspension compress as well.
Note that running more wheel lead on the sidecar will also help the situation.
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outfit
Posted 5/2/2006 11:40 AM (#15684 - in reply to #14529)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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claude. Thank's for the reply,I guess I'd better start activating some used-up brain cell's as to how I'd connect up.
The sidecar wheel lead suite's me fine at around 8inch, it's just when the sidecar suspension goes down, I dont have any imput as to when the motorcycle rear wheel begin's to get light.
I've been riding the thing for 15yrs now and it's alway's been in the back of my mind "what if the rear wheel of the motorcycle suddenly goes light".
Anyway, enough of this rambleing and thank's for the advice
Safe riding Karl
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claude #3563
Posted 5/2/2006 7:02 PM (#15692 - in reply to #15684)
Subject: RE: Torsion Bar



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Karl wrote:
>>claude. Thank's for the reply,I guess I'd better start activating some used-up brain cell's as to how I'd connect up.
The sidecar wheel lead suite's me fine at around 8inch, it's just when the sidecar suspension goes down, I dont have any imput as to when the motorcycle rear wheel begin's to get light.
I've been riding the thing for 15yrs now and it's alway's been in the back of my mind "what if the rear wheel of the motorcycle suddenly goes light".<<<<

Karl,
All outfits have what has become known as 'tip over lines'. There is a tip over line between the front and rear wheel, between the sidecar and rear wheel and between the sidecar wheel and front wheel. These are imaginary lines that define where the pivot point, so to speak, would be if the sidecar rig tipped over.
In a turn away from the sidecar the tip over line between the sidecar wheel and the front wheel of the bike is the one we would be concerned with. You said you were satisfied with 8" of lead but are concerned with the rear wheel of the bike feeling like it is coming up when turning away from the sidecar. Yes, a swaybar would help but increasing the lead would help a lot too. More lead moves the tip over line to be more to your advantage in turns away from the sidecar. 8" is minimal for most rigs. If you have a light bike and heavy chair it way be very minimal.
Think of it this way. If the sidecar wheel was even with the front wheel of the bike (hypothetical of course) think how stable the rig would be in a turn away from the sidecar. Very stable right? So, where is the best compromise? Maybe if you increased your lead to say 10" or even 12" you would see a world of difference and maybe not even consider installing a swaybar.
Just food for thought,

Edited by claude #3563 5/2/2006 7:11 PM
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