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Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..
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Bandit Bill
Posted 10/28/2003 7:20 PM (#1334)
Subject: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..



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Posts: 95
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Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Originally written by Sahagan on 10/28/2003 11:36 AM

Hey Bill;

So, you're putting a Hannigan sidecar on your Bandit huh? I'm putting a Hannigan on my '02 Concours....I'm just 12 miles from Hannigan's and have been able to get some helpful information from him. Unlike many, he's eager and willing to help anyway he can.


I did drop a single email his way, a month or so back, and didn't receive a reply. I haven't bothered to get on the phone with him, since the questions i had were relatively minor in nature. I gather that he prefers telephone contact over email contact anyway.



Its a first for me, but I'm one of those guys who enjoy working on a bike almost as much fun as riding the bike. So I'm restoring the sidecar from scratch (well, several scratches actually, including a small crack or two....repainting it and so forth). I could probably finish it in an easy week or two, but I always try to pick a winter shop project, so I'm stretching it out to give me some fun over the course of the next few months. Hopefully, I can turn that extra time into a better finished job at the end of the matter.



I too find just as much, if not more enjoyment out of being in the garage, mucking around with something or other, usually making a fine mess while i'm at it. Since i got the project sidecar in early August, my seat time on the bike dropped to about 250 km's total since then. Mind you, my Hannigan, needs all the time, and attention it can get, before the weather deteriorates to the point where life support is unmaintainable in the unheated garage I'm a social worker by trade, so getting mechanical doesn't come naturally, but it does come as a form of recreation.



Anyhow, I'd sure enjoy hearing about your progress, the obstacles you've faced and overcome (I had a real bear with the fact the Concours doesn't have a frame to speak of around the engine, with the engine actually being a stressed member of the frame....) and how you did so, or plan to do so. I suspect the Bandit also offers some particular difficulties.

I'm not wanting to impose upon you of course, but if you're inclined to share I'm all ears.

Thanks!

Sahagan


I spent a fair amount of time 'googling' on the internet looking for various methods, through photo's by which people attached their chairs to the bike. I've spent the past few months going over the photos when the computer is in screensaver mode.. and i think i've come up with a simple, but elegant subframe solution for my Bandit, and i've started the subframe fabrication this past week.

While my Bandit has a traditional frame that adapts itself easily to sidecar fitment, it isn't easily fittable to the oversized bulk of the Astro sidecar frame. The mounting points as they are on the sidecar frame are spaced out to Goldwing dimensions, and unadaptable as-is (IMHO) to the relatively compact frame geometry of the Bandit. I'm going to be joining the two lower mount points of the sidecar frame together with a subframe, and locate the mount anchors inboard of the stock mount receiver locating points, using the 1 1/4" normal mounting receivers as the points where the sidecar subframe ties into. This will also have the effect of making the mount struts to the motorcycle shorter, in theory, stiffening up the rig's mounting geometry.

Even though the traditional collar and clamp method of sidecar mounts would probably have worked for three of the four mounts on my Bandit, frankly, based on my past experience with two velorex rigs (much lighter sidecar rig, but those collar and clamps slipped, and also scarred the heck out of the frame tubes on the bike frames they were mounted to..)
I don't trust them as a reliable or sound method of tieing in a heavy sidecar to the frame of a relatively high powered motorcycle, with all the attendant torsional stresses that come with it. I've decided to make a subframe for the motorcycle also, and on one site ( http://www.sidecarmike.com ) there is a good photo essay of the fab

Edited by Bandit Bill 10/28/2003 7:24 PM
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Posted 10/28/2003 11:52 PM (#1338 - in reply to #1334)
Subject: RE: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..


Hey Bill;

Well! First, you have a wonderful web-site, and your photos are worth lots more than a thousand words. Needless to say, I picked up many great points and ideas from your mods, mounts and system overall.

My sidecar is a 6 or 8 year old SuperSport model. It has the electrical camber adjustment (a $500 dollar option), but no brake (it does have the rotor and mounting plate). So I'm beginning to think seriously along those lines (Hannigan's Brembo option is $625 bucks, ouch!). Someone here (PMDAVE or CLAUDE, I believe) suggested an independent system such as yours and I suspect I'll go with that.

One of the things I like about the Hannigan is the ease of removal and re-attachment. And while I can get brake line quick disconnects from Hannigan I expect they'd be pretty high priced, and I certainly don't mind designing and fabricating my own independent brake. I would like to be able to hit both back brakes simultaneously, or individually, so I'll have to be pretty careful about location.

Unlike you, I don't have experience with sidecars, and so I feel as if I'm probably overbuilding my mounting system. I've virtually wrapped my engine in steel, with a 3/8ths inch steel plate, connected to two motor mounts and one radiator/frame mount on the right side, with both upper and lower sidecar mounting brackets welded on....and on the left side I have a smaller 3/8ths inch steel plate attached to two motor mounts. Those two steel plates are connected with a 5/8ths inch steel rod that runs clear across the front of the engine. Nuts on the inside and outside of both steel plates, on the 5/8ths inch steel rod, allows me to adjust so that pressures are evenly distributed.

My upper connect on the back is strongly frame mounted so no trouble there. And like you, I will use a sub-frame that extends under the muffler to catch the lower rear sidecar mount. Another hour of fabrication and I'll have that sub-assembly finished.

I've totally disassembled the hack; removed the body from the frame. I'll also be using steel backing plates for the screws holding the swing-open hackhatch (I love coming up with new words....) in order to eliminate future crack possibilities.

The body is nearly sanded, ready for some bondo patching on a few small dings and so forth. And I'll be fiberglassing a couple of stress cracks that have appeared around the 'trunk' of the body.

When all that is finished, I'll be painting the sidecar to match my bike....and will then tackle the accessories placed inside the car. I'm thinking first and foremost a helmet intercom system (have the Chatterbox HJC 50 now and may just add some length to the cords....), then a CD/radio player, an extra battery (that can be recharged in the motel room overnight if need be) and some kind of good disconnect in the sidecar wiring to match the bike wiring.

Switches on the bike will deal with the adjustable camber (my thanks to PMDAVE for telling me what kind of switch and how to wire it for that!), the back-up light, my heated hand-grips, and my sidecar halogen driving light.

I need also to have the seat re-upholstered (thinking about vinyl here instead of cloth), a new windshield (mine has been cut way down due to breakage from before I owned it) and a tonneau cover for those inevitable damp rides.

Another area I will pay careful attention to is the shock. Mine seems to possibly be leaking oil, and if I can find an 'air shock' replacement I'll go for it. Hannigan recommends at least a doubling of the bike's rear shock air pressure (if the bike has an air shock) so that while I usually ride my bike solo at 12 pounds or 18-20 pounds doubled, I'll set it up for the sidecar at somewhere between 30-40 pounds. An air shock on the sidecar would then give that whole system some extra durability and resilience (I hope).

Anyhow, I'm certainly looking forward to the next two or three months. I had planned a completion date to coincide with the USCA rally the third week of June....but have moved it up in case the thing with the Dragon's Tail comes together
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Bandit Bill
Posted 10/30/2003 4:19 PM (#1358 - in reply to #1334)
Subject: RE: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..



Regular

Posts: 95
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Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
I spent the day running back and forth from the machine shop, getting brackets and bits trimmed up, and sub-assemblies welded in place, and finally got the bike to the machine shop to have the whole subframe assembly welded into place. It bolts with two bolts each onto two engine mount positions, using the base plates from a set of GIVI engine guards that had done their duty and sacrificed themselves to protect the bike, and on the rear, bolts up to the centerstand cradle subframe with three bolts there. everything is braced at the mounting points, i know there is no way in heck anything is going to stress fracture. The welded subframe is basically complete, in terms of structure. I have to wait til i order and receive the attachment lugs from Dauntless motors before i have plates brazed in to mount those attachment lugs, and then i'll add 1 or two more triangulation tubes at the front portion to make sure it's fully braced.

I'm darn glad i'm a packrat. I'd saved the GIVI engine guards, even though they were pretty badly bent up and ground down from an accident over a year ago. If i hadn't saved them, and made use of the mounting plates, the cost and effort to make mounting lugs would have been much higher than the $100.00 CDN i've spent so far on materials and welding labor.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~wstrong/images/frameweld01.jpg
http://home.cogeco.ca/~wstrong/images/frameweld03.jpg
http://home.cogeco.ca/~wstrong/images/frameweld04.jpg

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Posted 10/30/2003 10:26 PM (#1364 - in reply to #1334)
Subject: RE: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..


Hey Bill;

Well, you'll be on the road before I will for sure....but I'm certainly enjoying myself.

And I suspect others will be eagerly checking out your detailed photos and directions for future reference as well. That's the way to get the most out of what you do, when you document it and share it with others.

I spent much of the day sanding and welding, as well as cleaning up my brake rotor and repacking both the wheel bearing and the sidecar 'swing arm' bearing as well. I did note that my shock is from Progressive Suspension, and after looking much more closely have decided it doesn't leak after all. If I can't find a suitable air shock to replace it, I'll go ahead and use it anyway.

I've got feelers out for an independent braking system, but that will still take some research and digging in various used bike yards.

I do wish my sidecar were completely enclosed as yours is, but I guess that's why we have wet weather gear after all. I recall one ride on I-40 (on my Concours), 300 cold miles with a pouring down rain, high winds and 18 wheelers making a sport out of passing me, throwing serious water on me, then cutting in as quickly as possible in front of me. Out of that I determined to get some more conspicuity on the back end of the bike. I was required to maintain 70 mph, even in the pouring rain, just to keep from getting rear-ended, and worried the whole time someone would fail to see me from the rear and take me out. After that trip, I added pulsing rear parking/brake lights and believe the sidecar will add even more to my visibility, a good thing as I see it.

As I looked at your photos it seemed your frame not only lay flat, but had some uprights as well....mine's a flat four sided frame, with the exception of the wheel system, so what gives with yours?

Anyhow, thanks much for the info and fellowship. We'll catch you later!

Sahagan
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Bandit Bill
Posted 10/31/2003 1:16 AM (#1367 - in reply to #1364)
Subject: RE: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..



Regular

Posts: 95
252525
Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Originally written by Sahagan on 10/30/2003 10:26 PM

Hey Bill;

Well, you'll be on the road before I will for sure....but I'm certainly enjoying myself.


Don't be so sure A long, hard winter is the main barrier to riding, even if the sidecar gets done - at this point, i'm doing the 'little money' mods, i've got a few big-ticket things to buy, and i'm still figuring out which bank to rob, to finance them, lol



And I suspect others will be eagerly checking out your detailed photos and directions for future reference as well. That's the way to get the most out of what you do, when you document it and share it with others.



I hate re-inventing the wheel, so aside from documenting what i'm doing as a form of 'online project list', i do it as you say, to allow people to gain insight on what i'm doing, how i'm doing it, and some pointers on how they can do it. Of course, if anyone notes what i'm doing is way off in left field, i'm always open to suggestions on how it can be done right



I spent much of the day sanding and welding, as well as cleaning up my brake rotor and repacking both the wheel bearing and the sidecar 'swing arm' bearing as well. I did note that my shock is from Progressive Suspension, and after looking much more closely have decided it doesn't leak after all. If I can't find a suitable air shock to replace it, I'll go ahead and use it anyway.



The brake rotor, and wheel/axle bearings are also something i should give some attention to, my sidecar has sat idle for so long, it wouldn't surprise me if the grease in the bearings has solidified.

I think that when Hannigan moved the Biz down to Kentucky, he outsourced some of the components from US distributors like Progressive Suspension, because he was no longer working against the weak Canadian dollar, and high import costs to bring those components into Canada. While in Canada, he sourced parts that were basically readily available, and economical, at the local Auto parts store. Hence the Hurst aftermarket master cylinder, and the Volkswagon aftermarket sourced shocks on the early series Astro sidecars. This is pure conjecture on my part, it may be wrong or right if the info were checked with Dave Hannigan himself.

If your Progressive shock is leaking, as long as the shaft is not corroded to the point of chrome pitting/peeling, you could probably send it back to Progressive Suspension for a rebuild. I believe the Progressive shocks are rebuildable.



I've got feelers out for an independent braking system, but that will still take some research and digging in various used bike yards.



All it takes is a little creativity, welding, and a simple but effective linkage



I do wish my sidecar were completely enclosed as yours is, but I guess that's why we have wet weather gear after all. I recall one ride on I-40 (on my Concours), 300 cold miles with a pouring down rain, high winds and 18 wheelers making a sport out of passing me, throwing serious water on me, then cutting in as quickly as possible in front of me. Out of that I determined to get some more conspicuity on the back end of the bike. I was required to maintain 70 mph, even in the pouring rain, just to keep from getting rear-ended, and worried the whole time someone would fail to see me from the rear and take me out. After that trip, I added pulsing rear parking/brake lights and believe the sidecar will add even more to my visibility, a good thing as I see it.



Which model is yours, exactly? The sport model, thats semi enclosed only by a windshield?

I've been rear ended once, by a Dodge Ram pickup. Despite clear skies, good visibility to a red light at a controlled intersection, and a bike modified with early series Yamaha Venture tour packs making it larger and better lit, the turkey still sent me sailing into the intersection.. once i'd scrambled out of the way of oncoming, screeching traffic, i had the pleasure of Mr. Ram come running up to me with
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Posted 10/31/2003 4:22 PM (#1382 - in reply to #1334)
Subject: RE: Sidecar mounting, my method of madness so far..


Hi Bill;

You may feel free to ramble with me anytime, anyplace....I'm an avid motorcyclist and look at sidecarring as just another opportunity to add versatility and fun to an already exciting activity.

I have Hannigan's SuperSport model. It isn't enclosed, but has a fairly long windshield, and of course there is the tonneau cover as well. The SuperSport is made for sport/touring bikes, at any rate, up until the latest bunch of more powerful and smaller sport/touring rigs. In fact, you ought to see Hannigan's Hayabusa/sidecar outfit. He tells me (I live just 10 or 12 miles from the Hannigan 'factory' and have known David for ten years or so....) it will do 90 mph in first gear, and that as of yet, he hasn't feel really good about red-lining it in ANY gear! I first saw it when just a couple of months old....the back tire looked about like a balloon by then. I never would have thought I might like a Hayabusa, but add a sidecar to it and I like it, I like it a lot....

The Hayabusa sidecar is fairly small and looks very sporty, with spoiler and so forth, not to mention an awesome paint job. He also has a BMW K1200 (I believe) with yet another sporty style of sidecar. The paint job on it even beats the Hayabusa and is awesome.

David has obviously had his finger dead centered on the pulse of modern motorcycling, for he sold the fairing business (which I believe he started with), and has now branched out into trikes, sidecars, trailers and even hybrids. It looks ridiculously easy to tie up 50 grand or so with one of his Gold Wing hybrids, what with trike and trailer combo....bloomin' things look as big as a pickup truck! And all of it painted to match the incredible Honda paint job, including the illusion types.

I obtained my sidecar from one of David's employees....it had been first mounted on a BMW but was involved in an accident. Insurance paid for it and David gave it to the employee in return for some extra work and so forth. I then traded a pair of Gold Wings (one, a '76, a great bike, with the single carburetor modification and painted the original yellow color....and the other a '77, in Wal-Mart bags). I suppose I had a thousand bucks in the two bikes, and ended up with a sidecar with a current retail price of $3995 plus the electrically adjustable camber, another $500 bucks. Of course, being used, the book value wouldn't be much, but heck! its what I wanted, so I'm happy as can be.

I will have to replace the windshield, or else live with it cut down, and to tell the truth it looks really good that way. I have just now finished fiberglassing the major crack in the bottom of the car, ten inches long, but easily fixed (it wasn't damaged in the BMW accident, but the fellow I got it from flew the car one time, without previously thinking out all the implications therein. He ditched it, literally. And generated the three cracks I've noted). The only cracks remaining do not go all the way through the fiberglass and neither is longer than a couple of inches. Unfortunately, they are both in the curves at the top of the trunk....so I'll just have to be careful when repairing them so as to keep the appearance really up there.

My Concours is an '02, so its painted "Pearl Cosmic Grey" on the bottom (which you or I would simply call a very dark navy blue or even black) and metallic silver on the top. The lower 'black' portion starts out low at the front and rises toward the back of the bike. It happens that the sidecar has a (plastic) Chrome strip around it, doing just as the bike, starting low at the front and rising to the back. I plan to match both the lower and upper portions of the sidecar to the bike. I think it will probably look okay.

I've rebuilt all my struts, re-welding them to the proper lengths for my set-up, and fabricated everything on the bike itself, as far as connections are concerned. I managed to make only three very inconspicuous and small 'cuts' in my plastic, and as you know, the Concours has lots of plastic. I also plan to continue using my travel truck and both my saddlebags, but wil
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