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| Ballast question|
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|I am still waiting for my mechanic to go through my new (to me) Suzuki/Californiia sidecar rig. So all I have done to this point is dream of driving a sidecar rig. AND lots of reading. My question is, what to you generally do for ballast when there is no passenger? Much of my riding will be solo. I was thinking of using the five gallon clear water containers from Kmart (and other camping places). They collapse when empty, are heavy weight to not spring a leak. Five gallons would be about 40 lbs, so three of them would be 120 lbs. If I was to need to carry a passenger, I could dump them out, fold them up, and they could be refilled most any place (gas station). Of course the midwest is in a drought, so I would be careful to not deplete the resources|
Location: Boise, Idaho
|For an easy to handle, cheap ballast, when sending off a new rig that the customer thinks needs ballast, I will put 4 or 5 one gallon plastic milk jugs filled with spent sandblast abrasive behind the seat. I put about 1 1/2 inches of water in first so the sand will be a more or less solid mass (and the sand won't sift out)then duct tape the lid on. They weigh around 18# each, have a handle, so they are easy to lift in or out and are soft enough that they won't harm a fiberglass or steel body if they bounce around a bit. |
Another advantage is that as the rider gets a little more experience they can remove the jugs one at a time till they feel comfortable with none at all.
When you are all done; The sand goes in the garden and the jugs go to recycling and help save the planet (?).
|Another method is buying an old car inner tube and cutting it in 3 foot sections then filling the middle with sand and folding the ends up and over each other to create a handle. Secure the handle fold overs with several heavy duty cable ties. Easy to make, and use in and out.|
|I don't know that this is right, but I learned to ride without any ballast right off the bat. I wanted to be able to know how to handle that hack wheel off the ground in any circumstance. So I spent a lot of time with it up in the air going around right turns, doing firgure 8's, etc. Now when I'm out ridin', I like to pick it up just for the fun(when it's safe to do so)of it. The only time I use ballast is when my son rides with me. He weights 220 lbs. and it's easier on me if he rides behind me on the bike instead of in the sidecar. So, I'll throw a bag of driveway salt in the floor of the hack and away we go. A buddy of mine that rides a Harley Factory hack did something a little different. He took out the factory seat and rigged up a touring motorcycle seat in it's place with backrests for his 2 girls that ride in the hack. Anyway, when he took the factory seat out, he said it weighted about 75 lbs. Sounds like good ballast to me.|
Edited by Skin 6/11/2004 8:05 AM
Location: Fairfield, VA
It sounds to me like what you did would be the smartest thing, but I guess I learned a bad lesson about no weight in the sidecar when we tried it out. And my first time driving the rig my husband was in the sidecar. Going from 2 wheels to 3 was not a pleasure for me. I hated it with a passion and determined that as soon as I got it home, I would never touch it again. Only the money invested in the rig and my husband's constant dogging me to drive it, resulted in me actually learning (through trial and error) to handle the rig. I never move it without a 75 lb. weight (the kind weight lifters use) and a 20 or 25 lb (not sure which it is) weight. Lots of people ask to take rides and I always tell them, "If you go with me, you stay with me until I get home!" You should have seen me riding in the sidecar on top of the weights a couple of summers ago when one of my 2 wheeled friends failed to negotiate a turn and we had to take him to the hospital. My husband drove my rig back to the accident scene (with me in the sidecar) so he could ride the friend's bike back to the hospital for him. It would be a definite advantage if I felt safe to handle the rig without the weights.
It is a bit difficult to get the seventy-five pounder out of the sidecar, so I'm going to check out some of the ballast suggestions.
I'm hoping to take the sidecar safety class in October at Rally in the Valley in Salem, VA. I'll see what the "experts" think about ballast.
|Ursa da Grizz|
|When I picked up my EZS rig planning to ride south from Seattle to my home in Los Angeles it was suggested that I add balast for stability with the lightly loaded rig. A sandbag was suggested as a simple temporary solution. I thought about plans I had for using the rig. It would often be loaded only with a little camping gear and basically driven solo so I decided to use a balast that would not take up to much space and be adjustable for weight as needed. This meant dense material securely packaged. Lead birdshot seemed ideal. It is available from most sporting goods stores that sell reloading supplies in sturdy bags. Generally in 25lb. weights they are easily handled. Being about 10"l x 4"dia. they are very compact. Sand or other building materials have about 3 times the bulk for the weight of lead. If one should break there would be a small cleanup nuisance but no damage or damp bottom. |
Location: pasco, wa
|i always thought the best ballast is a cooler full if ice and beer |
easy to fill and fun to unload
but remember not to drink and drive
you don't want to spill
|If you want ballast, another idea besides lead shot is SCUBA weights. They're coated so you don't get the lead dust and have slots for strapping them down. Or gym free weights. |
Haven't tried this, but an idea would be to put a threaded bolt from the underside and a wing nut inside and slide the weights onto the bolt. That way they don't shift around while cornering.
|Here's what I did for ballast.. First off, let me say that my hack is downright dangerous without any weight in it. It is a Velo 562 hooked to my Kawasaki W650. The chair is so light with no weight. So, I usually ride solo but occaisionally my 115lb wife or 50lb dog might ride along. I bought a piece of steel 1 foot by 3 foot by 3/8 inch thick. This piece is right at 50lbs. I coated it with truck bed liner paint and bolted it with u-bolts to the bottom of the sidecar frame. You don't really see it, the weight is low, and it stiffens up the frame of the rig a bit. I also use a 25 bag a lead shot (as posts above) that I can remove if I need to. This seems to work very well. Let me know if anyone would like a picture and I'll e-mail you directly... Good luck! |
|I have a 700 Velorex on a 2000 Roadking. I put a 50pound bag of sand in the hack that never is taken out. My dog weighs 55 pounds or if she isn't with me I add my husbands 55 pound anvil. I can lift that in and out as I need to. I would never ride without the weight. It has taken me three years to enjoy the ride but with my husband keepiung after me to w\ride with the hack I have finally gotten the cornering and driving down. I think you continue to learn all the time. I read everything I can find about Hacks and how to drive them the best is the books I ordered from this site.|
|This is Vince again. I want to thank all those who responded...there are several good ideas. The water containers worked somewhat well in their maiden voyage tonight (read about it in another post to come), but I think lead shot, in maybe a small duffle type bag with a handle to lif in and out may be my next experiment. That is after I get over my initial ride/shock. |
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