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Ballast?
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Texas Red
Posted 6/4/2007 2:21 PM (#25872)
Subject: Ballast?


Posts: 5
Location: Henderson, Texas
Rookie here. I really enjoyed the "Handling" thread, and have a question for the veteran riders. I saw one post that said he carried 15-20# of weight in the SC, but how much weight do most of you carry in your day to day riding?

I have a 97 Electaglide and HD SC. Thanks! Don
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Hack'n
Posted 6/4/2007 7:11 PM (#25885 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
'03 FXDL with Velorex 563 Tour sidecar, 65# ballast behind seat.
'83 GL1100 with Velorex 700 Cruiser sidecar, 65# attached to outer sidecar frame.
'98 HD FLHRCI with TLE sidecar, 65# behind seat plus factory weight bolted to sidecar spring perch.

Lonnie
Northwest Sidecar
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ditch
Posted 6/4/2007 7:15 PM (#25886 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 144
Location: Pittsburg Kansas
95 lbs. Lab named Rusty.
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Texas Red
Posted 6/4/2007 8:29 PM (#25888 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 5
Location: Henderson, Texas
Ditch, the thought of getting my german shepherd pup, Loco, in the SC scares me almost as much as right hand turns!

Lonnie, I've been running with no ballast 'cause I thought most experienced riders rode that way. I'll try some weight, maybe steel plate that'll lay low behind the seat.

Your help is appreciated.

Don

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Hack'n
Posted 6/4/2007 11:53 PM (#25893 - in reply to #25888)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
That pup will take over the hack in a hurry if given a chance. I haven't seen a dog yet that wasn't a potential sidecar dog. Just make sure you have a good harness with a short enough leash so it can't jump out of the car if he/she gets excited.

At 74+ with a bad back, shoulders, elbows and one sheet metal wrist I like to have just enough ballast in the empty car so I can just lean a bit and don't have to try to "Hang off" or do other gymnastics to stay on the road.
If my Bride of 46 years (130#) is aboard then we're really solidly on 3 wheels.

Lonnie

Edited by Hack'n 6/4/2007 11:55 PM
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gnm109
Posted 6/5/2007 12:33 AM (#25894 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
I use a 46 pound weight bolted on the outer frame of my HD sidecar. It's a replica of the 45 pound cast iron ones that HD used to sell. Mine is 1/4" steel plate filled with lead. It's more than enough set out so far.

The slower you ride, the less ballast you need.
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Ron Campbell
Posted 6/5/2007 12:34 AM (#25895 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 136
Location: Tucson Arizona
My rig has pretty good balance so I realy dont need the ballas, but when I cary my normal load it is about 300# with my scooter on board . Buy the way it is 65" wide
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Bob in Wis
Posted 6/5/2007 11:27 AM (#25910 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 690
Location: milwaukee, wi. area
actually, most 'seasoned' SC drivers use ballast..it's the newbies who try without it.
with that said, my K100/motorvation FII rig need no ballast. it is a fairly heavy SC, and my track width is 60". with overall width of the rig 82 ". no leaning required on turns, with or without a passenger, including my 2 dogs.
of course, I have the usual 'stuff' in the trunk...tool box with tools, scissors jack, small compressor, SC convertible top, jumper cables,rain gear [for 2]rig cover. might add up to 20 pounds or so.
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Egor
Posted 6/5/2007 12:22 PM (#25915 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Have 02 Suzuki Intruder with Champion Escort sidecar. When running empty I put three 25lb bags of shot in it. Also carry various tools, covers, etc. in trunk. Egor
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Lunatic
Posted 6/5/2007 1:58 PM (#25916 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 184
Location: Watertown, SD
I run car batteries in all of my sidecar rigs. Behind the seat of the sidecar. I suppose thats a solid 40 lbs of ballast there. But its USEFULL ballast. Car batteries cost less than motorcyle batteries and work VASTLY better. I have jump started many cars and pick up trucks off of my sidecar in the wintertime.
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RichardMc4
Posted 6/5/2007 4:17 PM (#25919 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
I ride a Honda Shadow 1100 with a Velorex 565. I started with a 5 gallon water jug but that was a pain but having the wheel come up two times when I was not ready I add 50# of bird shot. It was under the set till about a mouth ago when I put it in two 2” PVC pipes and hung them under the car.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f6/Richardmc4/DSC00404.jpg

Edited by RichardMc4 6/5/2007 4:25 PM
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gnm109
Posted 6/5/2007 4:27 PM (#25920 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.

Edited by gnm109 6/5/2007 4:31 PM




(Ballast1.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments Ballast1.jpg (84KB - 355 downloads)
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Texas Red
Posted 6/5/2007 6:09 PM (#25924 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 5
Location: Henderson, Texas
Guys, I appreciate the info. The pics really helped out a lot. I think I'll try to fab something using your ideas.

The rig runs ok empty. No wobble at low speeds, and smooth up to 60-65. 75 is as fast as I've taken her. I'll be back at the high school this weekend practicing my turns a little better prepared.

Thanks from East Texas,

Don

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joejcr
Posted 6/5/2007 9:22 PM (#25927 - in reply to #25920)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 17
Location: Simi Valley, CA
Originally written by gnm109 on 6/5/2007 1:27 PM

Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.


Can you give me the demintions of the weight? That is exactly wanted to put on my TLE.
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gnm109
Posted 6/6/2007 10:54 AM (#25939 - in reply to #25927)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 1370
Location: Sacramento County, California
Originally written by joejcr on 6/5/2007 6:22 PM

Originally written by gnm109 on 6/5/2007 1:27 PM

Here's a picture of the ballast on my HD sidecar. It weighs 46# and seems to work quite well.


Can you give me the demintions of the weight? That is exactly wanted to put on my TLE.


Hi,

It's made of 1/4" steel plate and welded only on the inside to give a cleaner appearance. It's patterned roughly after the former cast-iron weight that HD used to sell.

It's 12-1/2" long, 3" high, 3" wide at the top and 3-1/2" on the bottom. It has a plate of 1/4" steel that is welded across the bottom center. That is about 4" wide to cover the area where the four bolts go through and 3-1/2" across to cover the bottom. The ends are also 1/4" plate to cover the area. The empty shell weighs about 6 pounds.

I also tack-welded four 1" nuts inside the unit, one on each corner. These are used to lock the filler lead in place after it cooled.

After it was welded, we turned it over and leveled it on the ground. We used lead which was bead-blasted clean and cut into small pieces. The unit was heated with a roofer's propane torch and filled with the small pieces. When the lead melted, we put more lead in until the level of lead was close to the edge. It was then allowed to cool. This method is far safer than heating the lead in a pot and pouring it. There is no pouring, the lead merely melts in place. Because the lead was first cleaned of outside impurities, there was no slag at all when it melted. I suspect that the lead that I used was alloyed with antimony as most commercial lead is, since the resultant weight is very hard. I used some antique theater curtain weights that were given to me many years ago but you could just as easily get about 40 # of fish weights - although, you would have to remove the brass hooks when the lead melts if you go that route.

The usual safety and comfort precautions apply: face shield, gloves, long trousers, long sleeves, 6 pack of Budweiser, potato chips, etc.

The result is a very neat weight that came in at 45 pounds, only one pound less than the original style HD 46 pound cast iron weight.

After all was done, it was necessary to drill four 1/2" holes down through the top and through the bottom center plate. The pattern for these was the top spring plate that holds the right spring onto the sidecar frame. These holes clear some longer 7/16" bolts to hold the weight in place over the spring.

The older TLE's, had leaf springs and since 1998 they have had single leaf springs. This design should work with either style. I later decided to add a spacer under the weight to lift the weight clear of the springs. It probably wasn't necessary but I didn't want the springs to slap the bottom on the weight. The spacer was 1/2" steel plate but could just as easily have been aluminum.

In the alternative, if you could find an OEM Harley weight that would also be good. Harley used to make two other accessories for the sidecars that they no longer produce. One was a reverse unit for the earlier sidecars. it had a ring gear that mounted on the brake drum (pre-1998) and a mount for a starter motor and a relay. The lead-acid battery went in the back of the sidecar in the trunk with your $400 leather jacket. LOL.

Harley also used to make a parking brake unit for the sidecar. Apparently the weight, reverse and parking brake didn't sell well so they have been dropped.

I hope this helps.

gnm109

Edited by gnm109 6/6/2007 11:00 AM
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Rotten Ralph
Posted 6/6/2007 5:06 PM (#25946 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 152
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Has anyone had any luck finding an OEM Harley sidecar weight?
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Hack'n
Posted 6/6/2007 6:01 PM (#25949 - in reply to #25946)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
The Harley spring perch weights are sometimes offered on Ebay.

Lonnie
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helliott
Posted 6/10/2007 1:44 PM (#26080 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 62
Location: Kissimmee, FL, USA
Haven't seen this mentioned but I use two 5-gallon collapsible water jugs in the trunk of my Hannigan Classic. That gives me 80# of ballast that I can easily get rid of if I want to give someone a thrill. Than I just fill the jugs back up at the next stop.

Hall
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papasmurf
Posted 6/5/2008 6:51 AM (#36297 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 82
Location: southern NH
HI FOLKS:
To have removable weights, stumbled on ample supply: old, large-sized brake rotors! My sons/yours truly did brake jobs on our respective vehicles over last 2 yrs.[full-size Buick, 2 pickup trucks]. Saved old rotors[about dozen to-date] which weren't too corroded and wire-brushed them. Use varying number in hack, depending on how much camping gear we're toting. Rig is GL1500/FSIII, so don't need many, but they DO make a difference in peace-of-mind on our terrible secondary roads up here in New England, after every spring thaw.
AND have 900cca truck battery in s/c trunk also! TTFN. Old Tom in NH
...member, NE 3 Wheelers
And THANK YOU LORD for bringing my son home safe from Iraq last month!
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Bob in Wis
Posted 6/5/2008 9:49 AM (#36301 - in reply to #26080)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 690
Location: milwaukee, wi. area
Originally written by helliott on 6/10/2007 1:44 PM

Haven't seen this mentioned but I use two 5-gallon collapsible water jugs in the trunk of my Hannigan Classic. That gives me 80# of ballast that I can easily get rid of if I want to give someone a thrill. Than I just fill the jugs back up at the next stop.

Hall


Helliot, just put 80 pounds of permanent ballast under the SC or in the trunk, and LEAVE it!...no need to ride around with the water jugs...big PIA.
the extra weight along with the passenger is a plus!


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solo1
Posted 6/11/2008 4:04 PM (#36452 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


I have a Valkyrie with a Spyder 'car. Track width, about 64"

I have three duct taped bags each with 17 pounds of wheel weights, plus a complete set of Craftsman tools, another 20 pounds, plus about 30 pounds of gas in my aux sidecar tank.
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epicmoto
Posted 6/11/2008 9:29 PM (#36458 - in reply to #36452)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Posts: 40
Location: Atlanta, GA
I have a Yamaha SR500 with a Jawa Velorex 560 sidecar. It's a pretty lightweight rig. The tug and the chair are well paired. But the chair will come up pretty easily in a right-hander when empty. I run with a little over 100# of ballast when you factor in my tools. I bought some 15# stainless steel shot bags used for light rigging. They are very well made, have handles and don't move around in the truck. They are not cheap but will last a lifetime. I'll be getting some more for my second rig. Here's a link.

http://lowinglight.com/products.html#shotbags
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dmobrien2001
Posted 6/15/2008 7:10 PM (#36552 - in reply to #25872)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


No ballast in my 2006 Ural Tourist LX hack. I can lift it up by hand, but when I set the hack wheel down on my wife's bathroom scale (shhhh, don't tell her), it puts 165 lbs on the ground. Pretty stable as is. Can lift on RH turns, but a little technique and body english keeps it down most of the time.
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Hack'n
Posted 6/16/2008 12:29 AM (#36561 - in reply to #36552)
Subject: RE: Ballast?



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Unless you are blocking up the bike to the same heigth as the scale so it isn't leaning away from the sidecar, you are getting a light reading on the scale. Part of the weight is being transferred to the bike wheels.
How much? Haven't got a clue.

Lonnie
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dmobrien2001
Posted 6/16/2008 7:43 AM (#36564 - in reply to #36561)
Subject: RE: Ballast?


Originally written by Hack'n on 6/16/2008 12:29 AM

Unless you are blocking up the bike to the same heigth as the scale so it isn't leaning away from the sidecar, you are getting a light reading on the scale. Part of the weight is being transferred to the bike wheels.
How much? Haven't got a clue.

Lonnie


The scale is around an inch high so the effect isn't that much.

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." -
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