Bringing the three things I love most together
Bringing the three things I love most together
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SO, I was an easy decision to make over all. I started with being a single male, 1 bike, very poor driving record and averaging 16,000 km a summer going now where but doing it verrrrrry quickly. Six years later I’ve got a beautiful wife that I adore, a two year old son that I adore, a 2003 BMW Dakar (hers) and a 2006 BMW Dakar ( mine ), we sold a GSX1300R, RF600R, KLR650 and scraped another KLR 650 to make room for the two BMW’s.
The problem is my favorite riding buddy ( wife ), new baby boy, and a life long passion for bikes always go in different ways. I was never that guy that would hop on a bike early morning and disappear before they would get up. It was an easy choice to make, Saturday morning breakfast with baby and mother was far cooler than dirting with the boys, being home for supper and story time was way more awesome than pulling a Dakar out of a stream, but the entire time the background thought was “ I cannot wait till he is old enough to go with me, strike that, go with US”.
My evening idle time was spent pouring over pictures and reading threads on ADV and then I saw it, A thread of a guy who built a double side car for his two kids ( thanks man, and inspiration ). Selling the idea of a side car on my bike so we could go biking together was an easy sale for my wife, it had very few stipulations. It needed to be safe for the baby ( I’ll refer to him as LG – Little Guy from now on ), it must have a windshield, it must have a 5 point harness, he cannot ride in it until he can fit into a DOT certified helmet, must have a full roll cage, and last but not least, its gotta look cool.
So with no real knowledge of side cars I began the research, it’s not a wish or an idea, it’s an action plan with a dead line. I looked at used sidecars, none of which came close to the requirements. I looked at companies like CSM, DMC, and SideEffects for a model, they all do cool stuff but nothing that was in my budget.
When push came to shove I decided to buy a used sidecar and modify to suit my needs. Two weeks spent looking at Ebay, Craigs list, Kajjiji and Autotrader yielded a pretty good deal on an old Velorex that wasn’t to far from my house. Cash in hand I went to see it and came home with a 1980 Velorex 562, complete, body was in good shape, windshield was recently replaced, seat was in excellent condition, and it sported the most horrific red snake skin paint job you’ve ever seen.
This is where the story truthfully begins. ( I’ve been working on this thing since November so it will look like I’ve done it quickly, but it’s been almost every weekend, and most evening from 8:30pm LG’s bed time to 11:00 pm ).
Please be kind, I’m proud of this thing and I’ve never built anything like this. Possible version 2.o will be better who knows. I will say one thing, my tool collection has exploded because of it. My charming wife who spent lots of time helping me is the sweetest, she would tidy up the engineering department ( kitchen ) after I was done figuring out how I was gonna do something. Never once complained about the parking her car outside after it was evicted to make room for the Weld Shop ( Garage ), smiled contently as she helped me carry a pipe bender down the stairs into the basement, didn’t even flinch when I put 4 large lag bolts into the floor to hold it there. Casually mentioned that everything in the shed was covered in overspray from painting but didn’t dwell on it. Complimented me on the ever growing tool collection, stuff like “Cool pipe bender, Honey”, “ Wow, nice welder, can you teach me how to weld”, “ Hey a new drill press, great”, “Why do you need a pipe notcher?” . Its why I love her.
Love that paint, looks like a Snake, INSIDE-OUT
First Part Complete
It Looks pretty simply but was about a weeks worth of work, I've never intentionally bent a pipe. Wife came to help after the first three tryies went into the scrap bin. Who new a Fine Arts student could bend a pipe with such accuracy.
More properly bent pipe, courtesy of really sexy wife. This is also the day I decided I needed a pipe notcher.
Well that was easy. Wife helped again, I cut ( where I'm told to cut ) I bend ( where im told to bent ) then I use my new welder to melt it all together.
We think its starting to look pretty sweet at this time, start bending the rear section.
Excellent! I too got into sidecars because of my wife and two little girls - it's been a great adventure!
Beautiful bending job.
What kind of pipe bender did you use?
Great bending work!
Yout kind words about your wife reminds me of my charming child bride of 40 years now. Also there is a line in Johnny Cash's song about building a car "one piece at a time" that is so appropiate...when the car is finally assembled it has one tail fin, two headlights on one side and one one the other, as it had been built form parts "acquired" over decades....When the wife comes out and sees the wierd contraption :eek1 she says "Honey, will you take me for a spin?" It is trully grerat to marry above one's station! :clap
Great work and you are a lucky man!
I too have a 3 yo son and now a 5 month old son as well. It is because of them that I stopped being stupid and decided to go ATGATT, etc. It pains me to think of them growing up without a Daddy, so I really try to ride carefully now.
I love the sidecar idea and may have to investigate. Not sure my wife would allow it though. She doesn't ride.
Good luck with this and I would love to see the finished product (and smiles on LG). Oh...and awesome wife by the way!
Now you have me thinking...
I just found this...
Harbour Freight pipe notcher
Harbour Freight pipe notcher courtesy of Snow Bird parents arrived, upped my game, made my less than spectacular welding look allot better. Maybe I'm an ok welder, but a crappy fabricator.
Version 3 ( its a keeper - Safety Department Approved )
I cut that poor thing appart more times than I'd like to remember
Shameless Self Promotion
My wife, how cool is she.
Still more work, but taking shape.
Looks real now, not a bunch of bent up metal.
A front step and fender protector.
A front turn signal mount ( protection )
Rear turn signal mount and protection.
More fender mount pics
OOH YA, Stuff's getting painted
Feel like I'm making progress now. http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/...0410-00771.jpg
Fast foreward a couple of days and its painted.
A major day, odd sized drill bit has arrived, and the swing arm has been drilled for the KLR rear wheel axle and the wheel with resized bearings has been installed. Started building the caliper holder, this is a PITA. When I get annoyed at it i just go build some mounts and work away on the sub frame.
I've opted to use the Velorex front lower mount, on the car side, but manufactured my own bike side.
That's one big build you're doing there. A very serious crush protection system going on that little old Velorex. However I hate to knock your efforts, but do you reallise that all the extra metal you are adding will ultimately be just too much for the original very light chassis.
The Velorex was originally designed to be fitted to light weight 250cc and 350cc tow stroke Easton Europian Motorcycles. Altough they are now often fitted to larger bikes. I actually have the same one as you'rs fitted to my R80 BMW And I can testify just how light it is.
The very basic chassis of the Velorex by design is made of rather thin and probably quite poor quality matal (when compared to that produced in the US and UK). The extra metal you are looking to add will put extra stresses on the chassis which will probably seriously shorten it's life, possibly even catastroffically. Also the original (as fitted up to at least 2007) axel is only 15mm. The later (in the UK anyway) chassis are fitted with a 20mm axel which is much safer.
Looking at your photos, it seems you have the skills to reproduce the old chassis in newer better quality tubing. Thus ensuring that you give your little guy a really safe seat.
Snake paint job gone. :D
Wife has decided that the sidecar should go on her bike, the rational is, her and LG can use the bike during the week to run errands, I can use her bike during the weekend to hang with LG, or if I wanted to go do some heavy duty dirting with the boys my bike with the more agressive suspension, trackmasters, and blemished paint is more suited. Sounds reasonable to me, but in the mean time everything is gonna go together with the charcoal primer in place on the sidecar body, it will be a little ratty but acceptable. As she says, if you can't go stylish, stay the F home.
Speaking of variety parts and 15 mm axles, I've got two 15 mm axles the old wheel, the old tire, enough Velorex mounts to outfit 2 sidecars, and the fender sitting in a box. First local to come up with a reasonable take it off your hands number its gone.
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