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Old 01-28-2013, 03:50 AM   #1
Sidecarjohn OP
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Best sidecar bike in OZ ?

This isn't a question to set off another personal choice war, more to gain insight.

Various build threads and views of sidecar activity in Australia appears to show that the popular models are big Suzuki GS variations, notably the 1400, and the old BMW Ks. At times have considered the Suzuki as an alternative to the current K, but it would be good to get some opinions from our colonial brethren.

Strengths, weaknesses, honest stuff, not simply waving the flag for a particular manufacturer.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:04 AM   #2
Agent Wayward
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This may be helpful.

I've run 2 Yamaha XJR1300s since 1999.

The bike is old tech, air / oil cooled, a derivative of the old XS1100 motor, refined in the FJ11 and FJ12, then finally the 1250cc motor for the XJR. It's been proven to be reliable and solid over many years of development.

My first example, bought new in 1999, covered over 130,000 miles and never missed a beat. It was home serviced, which is simple and easy. The only replacements other than stock service items were 1 set of fork seals and 1 clutch at 80,000 miles.

In 2006 I bought another one, this time only a few months old and with less than 1000 miles on the clocks.

I covered 50,000 miles on it and had an identical experience in terms of reliability.

The bike lends itself well to sidecar useage in every respect.

I can't recommend them highly enough.

Ask a bike dealer and they will use the word bulletproof, they sell them and they do not come back.

They changed to fuel injection in 2009, so if it were me, i'd buy a pre 2009 model. I like carbs.

I have no particular allegiance with any manufacturer and I don't have any kind of special relationship with my bikes, to me they are machines; I don't try to identify with them or anthropormorphise them, so I think my recommendation can be taken at face value.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
TouringDave
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V Strom....V STROM!!!!!!


Oh, a thousand, of course.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:18 AM   #4
dakdakdave
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From where I see things the larger capacity machines just make the standard long trips more pleasant. I'm sitting in Brisbane Queensland and can travel north for over 1800kms an still not leave the state! Travel those distances in Europe or England and you'll have run through many countries or hit a fishing boat!. Seriously though, it's not that there are not any small capacity units around,it's that they can seriously hinder your choice of road selection to complete a long trip trip safely without becoming a bug splat on road train with three trailers. I'm presently fitting a unit to an 88 GPX750R,so there not all air coolers you see!
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:19 AM   #5
Sidecarjohn OP
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One issue just cropped up, especially considering distances and possible road conditions down under, chain drive reliability and longevity.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:47 AM   #6
Agent Wayward
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Here's how I see the chain vs shaft issue.

A shaft drive is not affected by road conditions and has a theoretically longer life with very low maintenance requirements.

A chain drive is affected by road conditions, particularly sandy / gritty roads, it has to be replaced relatively frequently.

However, a chain drive is easily repaired anywhere in the world, a spare is easy to carry and relatively low cost. A chain drive can have it's life extended hugely by fully enclosing the chain, as was common years ago. This is not a difficult thing to achieve on any chain drive bike.

A shaft drive failure can be terminal for a trip. And expensive. Some modern shaft drive systems (BMW and Guzzi) are well known for failing multiple times.

Sand / dust / grit are not neccessarily chain killers. Take a close look at the bikes used in the Dakar race. Not so many shaft drive bikes there.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:31 AM   #7
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Question Of course?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDave View Post
V Strom....V STROM!!!!!!


Oh, a thousand, of course.

Or a 650.......

I actually like the way mine performs even without changing the gearing. There is an extra mount point under the engine as well over the thou.
For passing 3 trailer road trains bigger engines are better but its all a play off. The Wee is not as hard on tyres or the license and is quite a lot more powerful than the Ural. Oh I seem to run 300ks on 17 litres around town consistently. Havent been on a long trip yet though till I sort the trail reduction out.
It just seems to me now here in Oz that the powers that be in charge are paranoid about excess speed
(over 100kph/60mph) when they should be helping us to avoid violent variations in velocity so to speak.
Just pointing out that bigger may not be everything to everybody.
Have I added enough confusion? or should I ramble some more?
Cheers, Bruce
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #8
Precis
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The so-called Tonti-framed Guzzis (750 & 850cc from 1975 up to and including the current model Califonia 1100s) have a very strong full double-cradle frame that requires no sub-assemblies, bracing or struts to take most rigid sidecars.
Also, their patented linked braking system offers some interesting opportunities for custom braking setups.
Regarding shaft-drive failures: if you perform a quarter the maintenance needed by a chain-drive bike, a shaft-drive will last more or less forever - about every two years or so, take the rear end off (a 15 minute job on a Guzzi) and check/lube the couplings and check the (huge) internal bearing. If the rubber bellows gets cut, obviously it needs to be replaced. That's it.
There are some sports models that have an exposed Universal Joint - quite why Guzzi did this is a bit of a mystery, but happliy the touring models still have an enclosed UJ.
Of course, Guzzi motors have a wide torque band and correspondingly wide gear ratios; I confess that I rarely used fifth gear on my EV outfit. The downside is that first gear is often quite tall - so some clutch-slip is needed with a load; happily, the Guzzi has an engine-speed dry clutch - so at least you're not dumping abrasive frictive material into the engine oil and oil-change intervals are typically 5000km.
Finally, the newer touring Guzzis have "generous" trail, so if you're fitting a rigid sidecar, a set of leading links will probably be on the shopping list.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:53 AM   #9
Precis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Wayward View Post
Here's how I see the chain vs shaft issue.

A shaft drive is not affected by road conditions and has a theoretically longer life with very low maintenance requirements.

A chain drive is affected by road conditions, particularly sandy / gritty roads, it has to be replaced relatively frequently.

However, a chain drive is easily repaired anywhere in the world, a spare is easy to carry and relatively low cost. A chain drive can have it's life extended hugely by fully enclosing the chain, as was common years ago. This is not a difficult thing to achieve on any chain drive bike.

A shaft drive failure can be terminal for a trip. And expensive. Some modern shaft drive systems (BMW and Guzzi) are well known for failing multiple times. .
You can back that up, I assume? I have a Guzzi with over 250,000km on the clock; one $80 UJ kit, a bearing, a couple of rubber boots and some routine maintenance. My wife's 1978 Le Mans (87,000km) was neglected and needed an overhauled UJ; her '81 Monza (130,000km) has never needed any replacement parts.
In contrast, my Aprilia is on its third ($160) chain at 56,000km. With a Scottoiler than piddles oil onto the brick paving every time I park it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Wayward View Post
Sand / dust / grit are not neccessarily chain killers. Take a close look at the bikes used in the Dakar race. Not so many shaft drive bikes there.
No - but there are works-trained technicians tending to the chain-drive bikes at 500-600km intervals EVERY DAY; comparing Dakar 450cc single-cylinder race-bikes to road-going machines hauling a sidecar is nothing short of spurious!
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Precis View Post
You can back that up, I assume? I have a Guzzi with over 250,000km on the clock; one $80 UJ kit, a bearing, a couple of rubber boots and some routine maintenance. My wife's 1978 Le Mans (87,000km) was neglected and needed an overhauled UJ; her '81 Monza (130,000km) has never needed any replacement parts.
In contrast, my Aprilia is on its third ($160) chain at 56,000km. With a Scottoiler than piddles oil onto the brick paving every time I park it.



No - but there are works-trained technicians tending to the chain-drive bikes at 500-600km intervals EVERY DAY; comparing Dakar 450cc single-cylinder race-bikes to road-going machines hauling a sidecar is nothing short of spurious!
Yup! I'm talking modern Guzzis, I worked for a Guzzi dealer for many years until about 5 years ago. The latest generation final drive units were temperamental to say the least. I'm talking Breva/Griso 1100 onwards. Nothing wrong with the older units like on your bikes, nice and simple, well made.

Fair point re Dakar, just an extreme example. :)
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:26 AM   #11
ErictheBiking
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Wish list in order

Yamaha Super Tenere
Next year's Suzuki DL1000 with ABS
Suzuki Bandit 1250 with suitably modified [raised] suspension
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:53 AM   #12
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If BMW made a K1100 with a shaft drive, twin shock, double sided swingarm it would be the perfect outfit bike. Even though my diff or uni joint hasn't gone it's always in the back of my mind (and I carry a spare diff). Mind you in the not too distant future there is going to be an angry 1200 bandit that looks like a chookchaser with an ultra lightweight sidecar attached terrorising BMW and Suzi 1400 outfits here in Australia. As previous poster said a chain is probably more appropriate here in the more remote parts of Australia. Easy to repair and carry spares.

As for V-STROMS, pffft. Hi TD

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:48 AM   #13
Slade 330
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Western Australia

Western Australia
Side Cars in Western Australia is as varied as anywhere else in the world, but as far as offrading there seems to be 3 Brands Yamaha XS1100 now getting rarer, BMW /6s 7s Ks and others but the stand out brand is Suzuki. Why
when we were broke the GS 850 was cheap and bullet proof when we were still broke ge GS1100g was cheap and bullet proof, and now, you guessed it the GSX 1400 is cheap and bullet proof Suzuk's are cheap to buy ,easy to work on, parts are cheap and plenty full and they are strong. Some of the punishment I have seen dealt out on these bikes is incredible, yet you will see the same bike thousands of Kms from home untouched and still running strong.
for me Suzuki , for you ? Suzuki rear drive $50 thats all you can get for them becaus they rarely give trouble
BMW rear Drive ? I don't know you fill in the ............. my take on it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:17 AM   #14
Eaglebeak
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I'll ad my 2 cents worth.

I've always been a BM guy.
(75/6, put over 250,00 kms on it solo. 80PD, 90,000 kms solo and currently in the shed a R1150R with 85,000kms solo)

So when I decided to get a bike as a tug for chair I naturally thought of another BM.
But then I looked at a lot of K model outfits at various OCR's.
First you've got to build a frame, then you have the issue of sideloads on the single swing arm. Is it an issue ? I don't know but it got me thinking.
A lot of the K outfits had a second shock fitted along side the original.

And I noticed a few with air scoops over the rear diffs.

Now, I LOVE the K motors, (hated the look of the bricks when they first appearred in the 80's) but haven't they just proved themselves over time !

Those motors are bloody brilliant.

BUT, when it came down to putting my money on the line, I put aside brand loyalty and got myself a GSX1400.

Strong motor, (grunt ? oh yeah !)
A beautifully built bike all round, a FRAME, so straight away it was easier to stick a chair on.
DOUBLE sided swing arm, with the stresses and side loads of a loaded chair, in my uneducated way, I felt a lot surer about its' ability to handle the rough stuff.

20 litre tank, not bad. Even the stock bars are perfect for running around with the chair.

I wanted tubeless tyres and fuel injection. My 205/50/17 car tyre goes straight onto the rear rim.

At 30,000 kms I've just changed out the stock chain and sprockets for new, stock ones. I bought the bike second hand so the first 10,000 kms it was solo.
I figure that's pretty good mileage (kilometreage ?, ha, ha) for the chain and I'm willing to trade off the shaft of a K for the double swing arm and chain on the GSX.


Worst fuel consumption has been 9.9 kms/Litre (head wind and speed)
Best has been 14.9 kms/Litre (dirt road, slow . . . er and steady)


So far, for me, it's perfect.

This is not a "mine's better than yours", just my opinion.

'Cos, really, I just love looking at ALL the other outfits at rallies, be they on Duc Darmahs, BM K's, Yammy 1100's, single trailies or older airhead BM's.



Andrew.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:27 PM   #15
TouringDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3legs View Post
As for V-STROMS, pffft.


Oh, really?
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