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I rode a sidecar!

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by MV, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. On the weekend a mutual friend had a sidecar at a party I went to, so I had to take it for a blast! It was attached to an kwaka GT750, really nice old bike, shaft drive, very UJM.

    Here are some pics (phone pics, sorry)

    It was really fun, once I worked out that leaning didn't do shit, up till that point it was bloody terrifying!

    It wasn't registered so we just rode it up & down a dirt road, the stability was a definite plus, you could really swing the back end out without fear of reprisals, turning around at the end of the road was

    Then we swapped & I had a go in the sidecar itself, that wasn't very fun.

    Not sure if it's a sidecar thing or not but the bars would shake violently unless you held on really tight, even with a steering dampener! I guess that's why they use leading link front ends?

    Anyway, twas good fun, I recommend having a go if you get a chance!

    Attached Files:

  2. As you don't appear to be posting from an inverted position in a ditch, well done!

    Yes, the headshake is a characteristic of tele-forked outfits. I think it's a combination of flex in the forks and the excessive trail that most of them have (ideal trail for an outfit is maybe half that for a solo, but most tele-forked set ups keep itstandard; makes the steering heavy too). It should go away at speeds over 20-30 km/h. LLs don't do it (generally).

    Outfits are great fun on the loose. A feature of their geometry is that they cannot corner at any speed without at least one wheel slipping, so there is no sudden breakaway, just a progressive drift, controllable with the throttle, whilst the bars wave around pretending to have an effect on the direction of travel.

    Once again, well done and tell your mate to get the bloody thing rego'd and on the road.
  3. I'll have to get into the sidecar business. I used to bag it out but a guy I met who lives and breathes sidecars explained that I should try it first - it might be this whole aspect of motorcycling that I'm missing out on.
  4. Touche.

    This worries me, it was still doing up to about 80, which was as fast as I was game to take it. Headstem bearings maybe?

    I don't know if I would go that far, but it is certainly fun, & a very different outlook from regular motorcycling I reckon. There's even room for a picnic basket & esky ;)
  5. There certainly shouldn't be headshake at 80. Headstem bearings, wheel bearings, swingarm bearings, worn fork sliders, wheel balance? Could be any or all. I doubt if it's a problem with the basic geometry of the outfit, though. The toe-in measurement is about the only dimension I can think of that might affect it and I don't remember headshake being one of the standard symptoms even for that.

    On the subject of outfits in general, in spite of superficial and legislative similarities to motorcycles, you have to regard them as a type of vehicle in their own right. Not one that has broad appeal, but great fun to play with.
  6. Mmm... tops fun that spearing into oncoming traffic when you hit the brakes!

    Nearly as much fun as making a left turn then gassing it up only to find you are still turning left and heading for the gutter.

    Give me two wheels or four and I will leave 3 for the freaks.
  7. The art of chairmanship is to learn to use those characteristics rather than fighting them. It doesn't come overnight (after 3 years on outfits, on and off, in a wide variety of conditions, I consider myself to be a competent novice) but when it does, there are few vehicles more manouverable, especially in slippery conditions.
  8. After getting frustrated at the negativity I met too often when I mentioned sidecars around mainstream riders, I came to realise what you're saying Pat.

    The other way to conceive of them that I find attractive, is as something combining a range of things you want from different vehicles, in one package. I want the visual aesthetic and moreso the open air experience of a motorcycle (on a sidecar I'll still view myself as motorcycling, because it fits with what I value in riding); with the stability to ride upright without care on any road surface (dense gravel, Mallee sand) for hours, days; with the safety to tackle conditions that sooner or later will likely put the rubber side up (twisty roads in a storm awash with greasy mud); as well as the ability to take any passenger in comfort and safety (my partner has strict designs for her little perfectly suspended comfy cockpit). The sidecar offers me a combination no other vehicle does, which I guess is why people get drawn to them (just like most riders were drawn to bikes without ever having ridden, despite being told how scary (to a newbie) and impractical they are - the same things they later say to sidecarists). And parked alongside can will be a solo, too.
  9. +1 Pat B once you learn how to use those traits then sidecaring becomes much more fun, then you have to learn to 'fly the chair ' because one day you will need to know how to safely.

    BTW the head shake should go away at about 40 kph if it remains after that then there are other issues.
  10. True. My first outfit, 'cos the sidecar weighed nothing, would come up easily with a little flick of left lock, and could be held there for miles, round both left and right handers, which was always entertaining if I was stuck in slow traffic.

    MrsB's Ural, having a much heavier sidecar, is less easy to lift and hold, and I tend to get a bit paranoid about spoke breakage if I overdo such party tricks, so flying tends to be confined to a bit of showboating when pulling out of t-junctions etc. It probably counts as hooning though, as would a great many perfectly normal and safe sidecar handling techniques.
  11. dear Pat

    I don't doubt that once mastered they may be fun but kite surfing looks like fun till you try it too, but leaning that just takes way to long.
  12. I love chairs so much.

    What sort of business would I go to if I wanted a chair, specifically regarding getting a frame made and secured to a bike?
  13. What bike? You might be better of speaking to local enthusiasts, one of whom might be competent enough to do it at backyard rates, or at least who can recommend somebody good. This is an excellent idea given you'd want somebody to teach you if that's possible. You can buy a Cozy for $2k off eBay if your bike's small enough for it, then you've just to worry about mountings.
  14. Well, you could take the approach I did with my first outfit. A mate and I locked ourselves in the garage for 24 hours, with my bike, a cheapo stick welder, half an MZ, several hundred metres of square and rectangular steel tube and a few offcuts of 6mm plate. Considering neither of us had even sat on an outfit before, it proved surprisingly straightforward to come up with a chassis and mounting system that was robust, adjustable for all important aspects of geometry and buildable given our rather limited resources. It wasn't perfect but it worked acceptably for nigh on two years as my sole means of transport.

    Admittedly it was terrifying and lethal and it looked like a refugee from Mad Max 2, but the first two didn't really stem from its backyard genesis and the last was partially intentional and partly down to laziness on our part. After all, rust is the only surface finish that starts out blotchy and ends up uniform.

    I'm still very proud of it.
  15. You forgot to mention the drugs.

    (And welding your bike's subframe into two pieces! :) )
  16. I spent the afternoon learning how to weld with a mate, on an unrelated project.

    My other good mate is a qualified carpenter.

    Yes, it's all coming together nicely now...
  17. Am I right in thinking there's basically no legislative requirements governing sidecars?
  18. Wasn't just the subframe, it was one of the front downtubes. A really committed cock-up :cool:

    More or less. Here in WA, you can bolt a sidecar onto your bike, take it for inspection to get the rego category changed and, as long as the mudguarding and lighting are up to scratch and there aren't any obvious problems with the frame or mountings, it'll be approved. The need for a handbrake is a bit of a grey area at the moment, but that's easy to rig if the tug has a drum rear brake (not sure what disc braked bikes do).

    It gets a bit more complex if you do anything like welding to the bike's frame, fit leading links or small wheels. Then you start having to look at getting engineering approval for the modifications.

    But a basic sidecar with clamp type fittings (which is what pretty much all proprietary set ups have) is easy.
  19. After reading this thread's discussion I got to musing, and the more I think about this the more I think it wise to revert to my original plan of fitting my sidecar to my SR500 with it's 27hp (400cc), rather than the CB600F with it's shtload of power and ability to get me into trouble as a learner! The trouble with being a learner is you take easy for three months, get confident...then you overcook a corner. It only takes one over-cooked corner.... Made this decision last night, then saw on eBay today - a crashed sidecar outfit for sale; was a fatality! SR should be ok because, for the same reason, I'll not be taking passengers far on it for a good while.
  20. That's very sad. Very unusual too. In spite of the "upside-down in a ditch", the "crossing oncoming traffic with inches to spare" and the "getting jammed with a tree/lamppost between chair and bike" incidents that typify the first experience of sidecars for many, the gods of motorcycling appear to watch over sidecarrists with a benevolent eye. Presumably because it's their equivalent of Funniest Home Videos.

    Anyway, for whatever reason, serious injuries appear rare and deaths even rarer.