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Sidecars 101
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solo1
Posted 7/24/2007 9:47 AM (#27602)
Subject: Sidecars 101


I read most of the posts here, never can get enough education on rigs.

It took me the better part of a year to decide to go the sidecar route for physical reasons. Hal Kendall's CD, Hough's book,and the friendly folk of the USA, have all contributed to my education.
However, it seems to me that there are a lot of potential sidecarists out there that have no idea of the limitations and capabilities of a rig. I know that the capabilities far outweigh the limitations but many don't.
I'm thinking of possibly trying to contact local chapters of various rider organizations to give a brief talk and overview of the sidecar world. I wonder how many would be sidecarists never try it because they know nothing about it. What's even worse is the ones that try it and give it up because of wrong expectations or just plain fear.
When my son and I first started installing the sidecar, I sent an email to Christa Neuhouser of ROAD RUNNER magazine, asking her about possibly publishing an article on sidecaring. I knew that her husband lost his life in 2005 driving a Ural rig. Her reply was that sidecaring is dangerous and she had no intention of publishing anything on sidecars. While I certainly saw her point, it also brings up the question "Does sidecaring have a bad rap?"
As we all know, the average age of motorcyclists is creeping up. Will riders simply quit riding because of age and physical problems or will they try an alternative like sidecars? It appears that the trend is trikes though. I beieve that trikes have definitely a better, safer, image, which I don't believe is truly warranted. Would exposure to the sidecar scene change that?

I have a history of voluntarily giving talks about things of interests. I think that if I showed up at chapter meetings with my rig and just talked about sidecars, including the warts, I might generate a change in attitude or am I just nuts!
My almost 60 years of riding (albeit only one on sidecars)my white hair, and my 79 years of implied (hah,hah) wisdom, might help educate.

What do you think?

wayne
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Hack'n
Posted 7/24/2007 11:29 AM (#27607 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Wayne,
I think the basic concept of the short sidecar seminar is OK.
However, speaking as a retired teacher, one must have a presentation prepared that is factual and interesting enough to grasp and keep the attention of your audience and be prepared to correctly answer their questions later.
Some or many of our intended "students" will already have different levels of experience and acquired lore regarding sidecars and no doubt will want to air this as it comes to mind. Therefore your presentation must be closely formed so you can deliver it in toto if interrupted and be equipped to handle a Q and A session when done.
I have done a few of these in years past at Abate and MMA meetings and found that in some venues of hard core riders it can become almost a yelling match so you must keep control of your group. Stay on track.
I've found that printed handouts containing magazine articles, pictorials or sidecar magazines are also handy to distribute to the crowd.
I've done this at Motorcycle events and left a "Take One" box on my rig full of handouts and brochures and outdated Hack'd or Sidecarist mags.
At the end of the day they are all or mostly all gone and I've not found them on the ground, so folks will take them to peruse later.

Lonnie
Northwest Sidecar
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Bob Madigan
Posted 7/24/2007 11:52 AM (#27609 - in reply to #27607)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 130
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Same here. When I've given my spiel about the world of sidecars my magazines are gone and I never find them on the ground nor do I usually find my trifolds trashed either. Lonnie's right about some hardcores and 1%er wannabes thinking that a sidecar is a public admission of "lack of manliness" or inability to handle a "real" motorcycle. Others are convinced that a sidecar is just a deathtrap. All bullsquash, of course, but I persevere. I try to mix in enough humor to keep people interested and tell stories of my own learning experiences. usually seems to go over well and I almost always end up answering questions for hours afterwards followed by phone calls and emails.
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solo1
Posted 7/24/2007 12:38 PM (#27612 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Lonnie and Bob, you both have very valid points, especially about "manliness" My personal observation on that is the same ones that speak about manliness, trailer their bikes to within 10 miles of an event, then ride the rest of the way, LOL.
I'll give it some thought. I've taught enough home firearm safety, gun marksmanship and hunter ed classes to know that there is a variety of opinions out there, some good, some outrageous.
Two things that I've learned 1. Never consider yourself an unquestioned expert and 2. If you don't know the answer, simply say "I don't know, but Ill find out" That's where a layman teacher might have an advantage over a professional.
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Hack'n
Posted 7/24/2007 1:29 PM (#27621 - in reply to #27609)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
The "Manliness" thing usually ends when a skeptic tries "Steering" a sidecar rig the first time, after years of just a minor push on the bar to turn a solo rig.
Many don't realize that Sidecar piloting is actually a whole new riding discipline as opposed to a cop out.
I've watched many seasoned solo riders try to lean their way into a turn, end up going straight ahead, stop and say: "How in the hell can you control this thing, I thought it was real easy and just for old geezers who couldn't handle a real bike anymore".

Lonnie
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Manitoba Manny
Posted 9/2/2007 11:46 PM (#29152 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 7
Location: Gunton, Manitoba, Canada
WOW, now I am ROTFLMAO.. The manliness thing gave me a good giggle. I live in Manitoba Canada, hence the name Manitoba Manny.. Amazes me how the manliness thing comes into play. Ever try packing out a moose, or deer or bear oa solo bike. Hmmm, could mean a dozen trips on gravel roads. I doubt that happens very often.. I have had a sidecar since I was 17. Yup, a good old Watsonain Monaco and it could pack out a moose in one to two trips if you travelled real slow over the logging roads, or a deer or bear in one load. Let see the manly ones do that on a solo bike. I also travel logging roads back into real good fishing all over Manitoba and north western Ontario. Places the solo bikers wouldn't even think of going. I have 40 years riding and running a hack. Hey, if it goes on, it can always come off the bike and your back to solo again.. Can the RIDERS run a hack...Nope, not with out practice. Can a rig driver run a solo bike...YES.. It is only the perception it is for old timers until it is put to a specific use. Like making the beer run and carrying back a sidecar full of ice and beer. Hey, that's a lot of beer for the weekend.. Enough to make the manly ones think twice about a rig.. This summer I rode solo to Penns Creek Pennsylvania solo and back with an old Watsonian Palma. How many solo riders can do that.. Not many..Right Claude.. I was at a meeting of the minds here in Manitoba today. It was a bikers fund raiser for cancer. Amazing how many other people are considering rigs, and they are in their late 30's to early 40's. Hmmm, me thinks we need a dealer here in Manitoba.. There might be more hacks on the road.. As for someone losing their life in a sidecar accident. Well, there are more people, especially young people killed in solo accidents yearly, than on hacks in 10 years. So, which is safer.. Sidecarists are generally more seasoned solo riders.. Have a good week all.. Manitoba Manny
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solo1
Posted 9/3/2007 9:32 AM (#29155 - in reply to #29152)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


I just noticed your post Manny. You've most certainly a lot of experience in sidecars. It also looks like you've done a lot of hunting and fishing. Your sidecar was really put to use.
Your right on one thing. People tend to underrate sidecar drivers. In my group, the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser club, it is my perception that if you're a woman it's ok to ride a trike. It also is my perception that the members feel that if you have to go to another wheel a trike is acceptable if you're over 60 but a sidecar not so much. In fact, just about everyone in the VRCC told me to buy a trike.
As far as experience goes, I also agree. I've been ridng since 1947 and next year is my 80th birthday. I have nothing to prove any more except to myself and that's why I chose a rig. Many said that I'll kill myself before I learn how to drive a rig. They were wrong.
Thanks for your very interesting post especially the part about hunting. I bow hunted and pistol hunted white tail deer for many years and rifle hunted mule deer.

wayne

Edited by solo1 9/3/2007 9:35 AM
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Manitoba Manny
Posted 9/6/2007 12:18 PM (#29302 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 7
Location: Gunton, Manitoba, Canada
Wayne, anyone that say sidecars are for old men and women has never pushed a hack around a race course at 100 plus miles per hour. Tell them to watch some of the old Isle of Man TT's, Nurnbergring, or any of the hack races all over England and Europe, or going over the mountain at 100 plus at the Isle TT. See if the chicken hearts would even contemplate that.. I seriously doubt it.. Or watch some of the old BMW movies from the 60's where the BMW team was world champion for years.. Ever watch those guys in action? I did, at Mosport when I worked with the CRCA as a corner marshall at Moss Corner. To see those guys go through the corner at over 100 mph and sliding all the way around and smoke coming off the rear tire.
Years ago I had a Honda trail 90 and it was great for hauling deer or other game out, but it took many trips. So, at 17 I got my first Watsonain Monaco and it was all for a specific purpose, my enjoyment of life, hunting, fishing and general riding and I have never looked back. I can always take the chair off and ride solo. I rode solo all the way to Penn to get my new *old* chair from Claude..Can they put a chair on and ride it like it is supposed to be used.. Doubt it... I got a kick out of Claude one night on our way back to his home.. He lifted the chair off the road for over 100 yeards. Shortly after he lost his hat, that I stopped to pick up, then he ran out of gas as we turned onto his road off the main highway.. What a fun night, hahahahaha, gottcha Claude.. Claude is a very good rider, knows his sidecars, set ups, balance and just about anything else anyone needs to know about sidecars. Just needs a little grooming on keeping his hat on.. or a hat pin... Don't let anyone tell you sidecars are for old guys. They were built for a purpose. Family transport in England and Europe and north america.. Also great for hunting. It is also a great chick magnet..Ya, really, even though I am almost 60.. Enjoy your combination like I do.. Doug AKA Manitoba Manny
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Big Sky
Posted 9/24/2007 6:55 PM (#29804 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
Hello, all. Thanks in advance for your time. I ride an HD Road King Custom, 2005 and am desperately trying to find the sidecar that I want. I like the Texas sidecar, simple and nostalgic. I am a little concerned of the cost, it is quite low. I understand it does not have a brake, but I have 2 front discs and I have heard both good and bad regarding having a brake on a sidecar.
This is for my 4 year-old daughter to ride with us, my wife and other daughter also ride at this time.
Can you give me some insight on this thing? What, in your opinion are the best for a Road King? Brakes or no brakes?
I realize that you have only an opinion, but one can ponder, since I have no history with sidecars.
Lastly, I do want one I can disconnect without too much troable and it looking too gaudy, for my bike is custome painted, etc...

thanks in advance!

Fred
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Hack'n
Posted 9/24/2007 11:18 PM (#29812 - in reply to #29804)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
Fred,
Your RoadKing will need a sub-frame to mount a sidecar since frame access is limited.
Installing one will more or less negate the easy on and off part since the added hardware isn't condusive to leaned turns without dragging metal on the ground. The sidecar itself will be easy enough to dismount but it will be a chore to remove the car and the sub-frame for a brisk solo ride.
One might consider a second bike for use as a sidehack rig for taking the family about and leaving the RoadKing as a solo. The other option might be to make a dedicated sidecar outfit out of the RK, complete with raked triple trees to make it a tractable easy steering rig.
You have three disc brakes, enough to stop most sidecars efficiently.

Lonnie
Northwest Sidecars
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Big Sky
Posted 9/24/2007 11:33 PM (#29813 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
Nobody has mentioned this subframe in 3 companies. They have all just said "just 4 pins (or bolts) to unhook it" I find this dissapointing news, fo it will be tight financially to get another rig and a sidecar.
Grasping at straws, but any other way besides a subframe?

Thanks again, Lonnie!
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solo1
Posted 9/25/2007 8:13 AM (#29819 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Fred. Being new to sidecaring as of last year, I, too, was hopng for two things: One, No sub frame to be needed and Two, I could take it off quickly to convert back to two wheels riding.
In my case, a Valkyrie/Motorvation Spyder, neither hope worked out. The sub frame (read expensive) was necessary and the thing steered way too hard for this 79 year old. I could still ride on two wheels with the sub frame attached but no way would I take the chance to ride with the trail reduced, as needed, for the Valk. Problem is solved. Sidecaring only. I'm not sorry.

Wayne
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Hack'n
Posted 9/25/2007 12:21 PM (#29829 - in reply to #29813)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
For the same price as many sidecars cost including mounting and sub-frames one can get a turnkey sidecar outfit complete with the motorcycle already setup. Then you can choose whether to ride the solo bike or take the sidehack rig for family rides, taking the dog (dogs), camping, shopping, touring or whatever.
I have a sidecar shop just down the road in Boise and I usually try to have a Turnkey rig available built for sale.
If you are interested, drop me an e-mail at: nwsidecar@aol.com

Lonnie Cook
Northwest Sidecars
Boise, ID

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Posted 10/4/2007 11:11 PM (#30079 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


All,

First of all, this is my first time on the forum. I was directed here by several other local sidecar guys, and I have to say, I really LOVE the sense of "community" here and in the sidecar world.

Fred, I know exactly how you feel. I came to Hacking by way of my wife mentioning how nice it would be to be able for her, me, and our 9 yr old daughter to get out on the bike and enjoy rides all together. I own an '04 Road King Custom and, as it is my "daily driver", I didn't want to add a sidecar. I brought up the Ural online (fell in love with them at the local Int'l M/C shows) and she thought it very worthwhile to discuss. I ended up finding a used '05 Patrol and, since it was in excellent condition (w/extras, INCLUDING the "How to ride a Ural Sidecar" handbook)and the asking price was LESS than some sidecars w/mounting subframes, I jumped at it. It's been a wonderful time for all of us and I can barely get my daughter out of the chair!

Speaking of "manliness"...yes, even though I'm just a BIT younger than some of you guys (hehehe), having been a licensed solo rider for over 28 years, 5 of them as a road racer, another 2 as a road racing track marshal/instructor, I really had to buck up to the fact that I'M NEW AT THIS and my EGO could get my family hurt. So, I snuggled up with the handbook, went to the local church parking lot (the same parking lot where I had worked with other riders to help them to pass their M/C licensing tests), worked the exercises and PRACTICED riding the combo. It has paid dividends, as my next time out, I was much smoother in my right-hand turns and didn't panic when the chair got light. I've had a lot of advice and support from some local guys that I met on a charity ride, and they've all taken "the new guy" under their wings. As for "manly", I had a group of guys around my Ural at work the other day, and even the hardcore guys had to admit how much they loved the whole concept of it. Yeah, my 42hp opposed twin isn't going to rattle their teeth as I go by, but with my 2wd engaged, I'll be parking up-close in the snow while they're walking in from the nether reaches of the parking lot in the dead of winter while their solos are tucked up in garages and sheds!

Best--

Bruce
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crawf
Posted 10/6/2007 9:59 AM (#30108 - in reply to #29813)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 344
Location: smithville ontario canada
the sub frame thing shouldn't scare you,..my '02 marauder/cf1 rig was clamped to the frame last season,,..this allowed flex in 1 mount point which cracked over time,..this past winter I fab'd a sub frame which secures to the bike with 3 bolts along the bottom motor mounts, and the two vertical supports up top, this tightened you the rig signifigantly...I can remove the subframe mounts and risers in about 20 min for solo riding and install within an hour. after 15 000 miles it seems to be working well,....just try to keep my 5 year old out of it, hehe good luck crawf
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Big Sky
Posted 10/10/2007 1:46 AM (#30253 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 3
Location: Missoula, MT
Have not been on for awhile and thanks so much... any other points of view on this?
Lonnie, I will be calling! I am also going to get a straight answer out of texas sidecar as far as hooking and unhooking the subframe as well, my bike may be a little low for I sometimes scrape floorboards at this time already...

fred
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crawf
Posted 10/10/2007 5:11 AM (#30254 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 344
Location: smithville ontario canada
I too encountered that issue,..the CF1 car axel height is aprox 9-9.5 inches from ground,..the marauder is 5.5 inches from road,..this made for creative mounting and suspension adjustments,..I am also running a car tire on the rear which limits my elbow scraping corners when the car is removed,..you are certainly going about this the correct way,...this group has the experience and the tecnical advantage in this field to answer any questions pertaining to cars,...find a car, find a bike, and you'll fully understand it,...hehehe it's fun, peace, crawf
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Bob Hunt
Posted 1/31/2009 9:01 PM (#41646 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 241
Location: Boiling Springs, NC
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading "Sidecars 101'! After riding solo for 50 plus years I'm a neophyte with the third wheel. When the knees went south I decided that if I were going to continue riding safely I needed to add a third wheel. I find that I enjoy riding the sidecar as much as I ever enjoyed riding solo.
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crawf
Posted 2/1/2009 8:01 AM (#41651 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 344
Location: smithville ontario canada
great to hear Bob,..let's all keep riding as long as we can,...'cause ya only ride this rock once,..hehe cheers, crawf.
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ckmart
Posted 8/5/2009 2:50 PM (#45568 - in reply to #29819)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 14
Location: Nutley NJ
Check out Trans-Moto in Canada www.Trans-Moto.com.
I just purchased a Bimmer model from them for my 2004 Road King.
They supply specific mounts for almost any Motorcycle and sidecar
they sell. They are also quick disconnet mounts. Just pull the 4 pins
and the sidecar is freed from the bike.( Dolly recommended )
Yes there is a subframe that is mounted to your Bikes frame but it is designed with maximum ground clearence in mind. The subframe attaches with only 3 u-bolts that can be taken off in no time if you are uncomfortable about solo riding with it in place. You can mark the contact points of the subframe to the Motorcycle frame with tape or paint this way you know exactly were to bolt it up again without having to set your alignment again. Good luck in your search.
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ckmart
Posted 8/7/2009 9:25 AM (#45595 - in reply to #41651)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101


Posts: 14
Location: Nutley NJ
Dear Crawf,
I am new to the sidecar world. Just purchased my first in hopes of
taking my family out for a ride. I could not help noticing in your photo
that you are riding two up on the motorcycle with a small passenger in
the sidecar. I wanted to do the same and have my wife on the Motorcycle with me and my two small chldren in the sidecar. I was warned that this is
not a safe way to ride that the adult should be in the sidecar with the
child so there is equal weight distribution.
Can you give me your on personal take on this. I am trying to gain as
much info as I can in order to make this experience enjoyable yet safe.
Thanks CM
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crawf
Posted 11/22/2009 5:19 AM (#47618 - in reply to #45595)
Subject: RE: Sidecars 101



Posts: 344
Location: smithville ontario canada
sorry CK I just found this post,..my wife is very small 4'9" and weighs 100lbs,..my daughter is now 7 and weighs 50lbs,..so weight differencial is not far off of a solo set up,..with my car battery and tools in the sidecar,..all is balanced well,..if my wife was a large woman,..I'd have to place her in the car with smaller child on back to balance the load,..if yo added a few balast plates of steel to the car floor, and your tool box,..you can load it any way you like,....go slow,..test ride first and see,..sorry again for the dela, computer issues here,..cheers crawf.

Edited by crawf 11/22/2009 5:20 AM
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Peter Pan
Posted 11/24/2009 1:11 PM (#47681 - in reply to #27602)
Subject: Re: Sidecars 101



Posts: 1904
Location: San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica
Manny, You make me yealous.
All local waters are poisoned and the next good lake is 100 miles north.
But on those days I have the mountain range on the left hand side I ask myself if the fingers are nervously shaking for expectance of riding nice bends or for the moment I am on the water....

Home we had the lake just 150m downhill. And snow in winter.....
Regards
Sven
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