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Old 08-10-2004, 10:53 PM   #1
KL5A OP
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First ride on a hack today

I was riding along minding my own business today when I happened to see out of the corner of my easily distracted by shiny things magpie like eye a hack sitting in the parking lot of one of our local second hand stores. Well, had to turn around and check this out, so I only broke a few laws of man and nature getting turned around. So there it is, a Ukrainian BMW clone with a chair, Dneiper or Ural, couldn't tell which, basic black, speedo in KMH, 261 miles (or KM's) on the clock, for the princely sum of $2095. I hemmed and hawed, went home, forced KL5A Kitten onto the back of the Triumph at gunpoint and roared on back to show her. The guys at the second hand stop told me take it for a ride, you break it, you bought it, so off we went, Kitten in the chair and yers drooly at the bars. Took me a moment of lever flipping, finger poking and mitten grabbing to figure out where reverse was, we backed out, turned around and motored off really slowly while I got a feeling for the rig.
First impressions-reading about the differences between bike and hack and then actually experiencing them is illuminating. The steering is really heavy-forks, no links on this rig-and yep, the rig tends to drift as you get on the gas and let off. I kept it really slow, didn't get out of second gear. Once up to speed and on the road, it's much better, the twin jugs chuffing through the big clunky mufflers, and handled rough roads surprisingly well. The experience did not terribly excite the Kitten, and she was very underwhelmed by the whole affair-could be that having spent a fair amount of time as pillion, a slomo ride in a chair doesn't have the same excitement.
Since she doesn't seem very interested, and I don't know that I would enjoy it enough to do by myself, I think I'm going to pass. I do believe that the bike itself would be an interesting "toy" ride, a bike that you would take on a slow ride down a 2 laner on a bitchin day, a "gentlemans" bike if you will. Almost worth buying the rig and selling the chair, but that would defeat the purpose of the rig. Based on the ride, I don't think I will be adding a hack to the stable anytime soon, but at least, now I know. Maybe if it was the 2wd version, I could ride it in the winter, but I'm not sure that this one would be an ideal winter ride.
I'm glad I took the ride. It wasn't what I hoped it would be, but I found this out without dropping the big bux on a new Ural. I could be talked into the Wolf, though....
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:00 AM   #2
JBSmith
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I have this...well, thing for sidehacks. I put a few miles on a factory Harley rig in the mid-'80s, riding--sorry, driving it from Agoura, California, to Las Vegas for the Steve McQueen auction. Going around corners sucked, but it was a gas on straight, flat highways. Around town was fun, too, pulling up to a red light and not putting my feet down. I packed all my gear in the sidecar, which helped the weight distribution. After a while I got pretty good at getting the chair up in the air--even with a passenger aboard. I could keep it aloft for blocks. That alone was almost enough to get me to buy one.

Then I put some miles on a BMW hack based on, IIRC, a K100. This, too, was around the mid-'80s. Didn't like it as much. It steered funny, and roasted me, and generally didn't draw the same kind of stares as the Harley did. Riding--dammit, driving the Harley was like being on the lead wagon when the circus came to town.

I know intellectually that sidecars are the bastard children of bikes and cars, and manage to combine the worst features of each. I know that if I got one I wouldn't take it out very often. And yet I still crave one. Go figure.

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Old 08-11-2004, 04:06 AM   #3
Drif10
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The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking about a Ural. A Gear Up would do the trick.

Choppa got me hooked. Bastard.
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:23 AM   #4
ADKbeemer
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I'd really like to hear from hack rider/drivers about winter riding experiences. Especially the 2wd units....that really gets me thinking....
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:01 AM   #5
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If it was Ukranian it was a Dnepr. Most likely with the 2 wheel drive "differential" which does 70/30% main/side drive. As I said before, I think the Dneprs have prettier fenders. If it was titled and legal *and* running it's almost worth it. I just barely missed out on meeting the local Dnepr gurus last night. I was working on a bike and got a late start to the Ural cocktail hour.

Hacks are a blast, but they take some effort to hustle around corners. You cant just sit there and you have to manage the car weight and intertia with throttle and brakes. COunter intuitive if you have been riding solos for long. For example, if you go to hot on a right hander, naturally you want to roll off or brake to help tighten your line. Wrong answer on a hack as the inertia of the car will send you out further and into oncoming traffic.

The wolf is very cool. Makes you feel like some crazed russian chopper freak. But they are *small* Walk up to a Suzuki LS650 Savage....they are about the same size.

One thing you will notice with al but the newest Urals....gear noise. The alternator and timing are run on gears. But I talked with some folks who just visited the factory. A couple things on the horizon. EFI (apparently it will pull wheelies) Belt drive for the alternator. Hard nylon gears (a la cars) for the timing. And an external spin on oil filter. Apparently the belt/nylon bike is eerily quiet.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKbeemer
I'd really like to hear from hack rider/drivers about winter riding experiences. Especially the 2wd units....that really gets me thinking....

I prefer the Ural "On-demand" set up. 90% of the time you dont need it. and it *will* overpower the front end on hard surfaces. During the black dog, the 2wd was only used a couple times. I used it once on the SPokane trip whe I pulled over down a ditch to let faster traffic pass. The ditch was softer than I had thought (sand ) I had my 230 pound ass on it and another ~150 in gear in the rig. Street tires. The single wheel drive just dug a hole. I put it in 2w and it chugged up the shoulder without any effort.

For winter riding, I know there are lots of fellers who ride them in the snow. No need for 2wd unless you get in deep stuff. The sidecar makes it possible to ride when a bike has to be set aside. In fact around here, I see lots of rigs with electric clothing hookups so they can ride on the rare occasions it does snow.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drif10
The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking about a Ural. A Gear Up would do the trick.

Choppa got me hooked. Bastard.

Well you are what 18 days and counting? Lotsa hazardous pay in yer pocket?
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:20 AM   #8
KL5A OP
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Hey Chopperman
I would think that if the rig was 2wd I'd have seen a driveshaft from the final drive to the chair? No such animal that I could see, and I did look for it.
I'm not even 100% sure that it's Ukrainian, just assumed that from the tires (Made in Ukraine). Didn't see a DOT number on them anywhere, hmmmmm. It is licensed and tagged with a 2001 on the title.
Still thinking about getting it for the bike and leaving the chair off until winter, but that looks like a fair amount of work, especially all the adjustment stuff. The second hand store guy told me some dude from Talkeetna was all ready to buy it but hadn't produced the cash yet-I'm betting that if the guy shows up to take another look they'll tell him "some guy and his wife were here and she really liked it" standard sales guy talk and all that. If it's still there tomorrow I may take another look.
One question for you-it seemed to run fine, started first kick, moved out OK, but the generator light never went out. Big problem or something stupid?
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Old 08-11-2004, 11:03 AM   #9
Chopperman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KL5A
Hey Chopperman
I would think that if the rig was 2wd I'd have seen a driveshaft from the final drive to the chair? No such animal that I could see, and I did look for it.
I'm not even 100% sure that it's Ukrainian, just assumed that from the tires (Made in Ukraine). Didn't see a DOT number on them anywhere, hmmmmm. It is licensed and tagged with a 2001 on the title.
Still thinking about getting it for the bike and leaving the chair off until winter, but that looks like a fair amount of work, especially all the adjustment stuff. The second hand store guy told me some dude from Talkeetna was all ready to buy it but hadn't produced the cash yet-I'm betting that if the guy shows up to take another look they'll tell him "some guy and his wife were here and she really liked it" standard sales guy talk and all that. If it's still there tomorrow I may take another look.
One question for you-it seemed to run fine, started first kick, moved out OK, but the generator light never went out. Big problem or something stupid?
The tires could be from anywhere. But if it was 2wd it would have the shaft. Without seeing it I cant tell you. Sounds more like it was a Ural. If it had a leading link front end....dont take the car off. It isnt meant to run that way and is a rather scary experience, so I am told. With the telescopic it would be okay to run solo. But adjustments are a PITA unless you have the long straight edges set up to check the toe in and a degree gauge to do the lean out. Also, if it gets run for any lenght of time with the hack on it, the tires get a flat profile which compromises steering. WRT the gen light. could be anything from a bad alternator to a loose connection.
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Old 08-11-2004, 01:58 PM   #10
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I have a 1980 1100 Goldwing with an EML sidehack. It has an Earles style front end designed by EML that came with the whole , as well as 15" wheels that take automotive square profile tires.

It handles quite well, considering it has a sidecar. Left handers are fast, right handers let you fly the chair. My wife hates that - especially when she's in it

It's a lot of fun, and you can haul A LOT of stuff....
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Old 08-11-2004, 05:36 PM   #11
JBSmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
I have a 1980 1100 Goldwing with an EML sidehack. It has an Earles style front end designed by EML that came with the whole , as well as 15" wheels that take automotive square profile tires.

It handles quite well, considering it has a sidecar. Left handers are fast, right handers let you fly the chair. My wife hates that - especially when she's in it

It's a lot of fun, and you can haul A LOT of stuff....
Best thing I ever carried in a sidecar was my old dog, Steve. Shoulda seen us--wet pink tongue hanging out, big ol' ears flapping, goofy expression...oh, and Steve was having fun, too.

I'm told hacks with Earles front ends handle much better than those with telescoping forks. Have you ever ridden a tele hack for comparison?
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:43 PM   #12
gaspipe
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The earles type/leading link front end feels much more stable. The only other rig I ever rode had a regular telecopic fork and round profile bike tires. I had a bit of a time with it. It was was harder to steer, yet felt much busier at speed.

Maybe it's the square profile auto type tire. The nice thing, at least on the EML rig, is they alter the geometry enough that they are a lot easier to steer - my wife weighs about 100lbs, and she can drive the rig. 75 mph on the slab is the norm. The GL1100 engine has plenty of torque to push it along. Also, the 15" auto tires are significantly smaller in diameter than the bike rubber and wheels, so you get a gearing advantage.
Sounds like ol' Steve was a hoot . My dog is a bonafide wussy and looks like he's gonna explode if he gets near the bike.
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:07 AM   #13
JBSmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
The earles type/leading link front end feels much more stable. The only other rig I ever rode had a regular telecopic fork and round profile bike tires. I had a bit of a time with it. It was was harder to steer, yet felt much busier at speed

Maybe it's the square profile auto type tire. The nice thing, at least on the EML rig, is they alter the geometry enough that they are a lot easier to steer - my wife weighs about 100lbs, and she can drive the rig. 75 mph on the slab is the norm. The GL1100 engine has plenty of torque to push it along. Also, the 15" auto tires are significantly smaller in diameter than the bike rubber and wheels, so you get a gearing advantage.
Sounds like ol' Steve was a hoot . My dog is a bonafide wussy and looks like he's gonna explode if he gets near the bike.
Now that think about it, the BMW rig I rode was an EML. It had an Earles fork and a squarish car-type tire. It seemed to me a bit twitchier in corners, a trait I ascribed at the time to the square-shouldered car tire riding up on its edge to a tiny degree when I turned the front wheel. My memory of the Harley is that it was less work and more stable in corners, but it had a very wide handlebar, too, unlike the EML. But all that was many years ago, so I'm inclined to trust your observations.

Steve actually feared and hated motorcycles. It was probably the noise. He didn't much care for thunder or sonic booms, either. I was working for a moto-mag (Rider) in L.A. at the time I had the sidecars, and Steve would run every time I brought a test bike home. He didn't much care for sidecars, either, until I picked him up bodily and put him in the chair. That's when the little light went on over his tiny canine brain, and from then on all I had to do was pat the sidecar and he'd jump in. Wish I'd taken a pic of him in it. Good old dog, he was.
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:33 AM   #14
Different Drummer
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Sidecars and Dogs

A properly set up rig with the leading link forks,correct trail, toe in, camber etc handles like a sports car. Hope to do it again some day.
My 75 # irish setter loved the hack. Fact is he was the only living creature to ride in it. Whenever I started the bike he would immediately be in the rig. One day with the sidecar removed and the bike on the center stand, I started it to warm it up a little.(December) When I came out of the house there was one big silly looking setter sitting right on the seat of the bike. He was not going to be left behind with or without the sidecar.
Ride safe,
DD
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:19 AM   #15
Tim McKittrick
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What store was it at? I'd love to ride my R50/90 conversion outfit up to the Valley and take a look at it if it is still around.
I ride mine in the winter a lot- it works well with car studs in DP tires, although it would be cool were it 2wd. I find it is easier and more fun to ride when the rig can slide a little
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