ballast question

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Jimm Dandy, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Jimm Dandy

    Jimm Dandy Been here awhile

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    well, I have my Dnepr hack mounted on my dl1000.. still sortin things out.. I could swear I read somewhere on this forum that it would be beneficial to have ballast on the right rear corner of the tub to help with hack wantin to raise in right hand turns.. so I mounted a rack with a 2 and a half gallon gas can filled with sand and bolted it to the tub behind the rear fender.. a buddy of mine who has some hack experience told me that he thinks that's too far back and that the weight should be more like right behind the seat.. he seems to think it could affect the steering.. I,m guessin the sand weighs about 45-50 lbs.. plus my dog weighs about 45 lbs and is usually with me.. any thoughts??
    #1
  2. Flodder

    Flodder Flodder

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    Only carry esky or a female. Never carried a useless product like sand.
    #2
  3. SmellyGoatBoy

    SmellyGoatBoy Adventurer

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    You'll only need the sand until u get used to the rig. Once you get the feel for it you will be fine. I personally never used any ballast and have been fine. I to have my dog in the hack most of the time so it's like 60lbs of ballast.
    #3
  4. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    If you feel the need to carry ballast in the tub. You want it inside the imaginary safety triangle which is between the center point of the wheels.
    #4
  5. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    You are okay with it where you have it. The tip ove rline between the sidecar wheel and rear wheel is not much of a concern. You DO NOT want it too far forward. The challenge with teh stroms is their soft supension. Right handers will not be a huge issue once you get experience. Left handers ,however, can bite you as th erear of the bike unloads with the front to sidecar wheel tip over line being in effect. You can use body english which will help some but do so prior to getting into the turns. DO NOT ge tover confident early on in lefties! Ideally a stiffer supension and a decent anti-swaybar on a rig like you have would be like night an dday handling wise. Some may disagree which is fine..... anyone who does is more than welcome to come ride some twisties with me on pavement or dirt and we will see what happens...LOL. )
    #5
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I carry a lot of crap in my trunk which is mostly outside the triangle, but I agree with USGSER that ideally you want your ballast inside the triangle and, of course, towards the outside of the car.
    #6
  7. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

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    Jeez not the ballast thing again. :pep:pep

    Just get some tuition or read and absorb the plentiful advice on here or elsewhere then practice riding it as it is.

    If it was meant to weigh more than it does,it already would do.

    Furthermore,if you use ballast to 'learn' or 'get used to' the machine,you`ll still be back at square one come the time the ballast gets removed.

    The chair may well lift at some points...that`s the way of sidecars...but despite how it feels when it gets light or does actually lift it won`t go completely over,and you need to learn the point at which it`s about to lift and what to do when it does anyway.
    Hence tuition being ideal...you must be able to deal safely and controllably with a light chair and you`re really not proficient unless you can fly the chair on demand and control it when it does fly.

    Bin the ballast...learn the machine.
    #7
  8. Flodder

    Flodder Flodder

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    Fully agree with what Tarka says. All that is in my sidecar is a very small tool box. Have learnt to handle it without weight in the sidecar
    #8
  9. Jimm Dandy

    Jimm Dandy Been here awhile

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    I took an adventure hack class in Oregon last year and learned how to fly the car.. and since I will no longer be doing wheelies, flyin the hack will be something I will prolly do tooo much of in the future.my main reason for wantin to keep the hack wheel on the ground is I am haulin my dog almost everytime I go ridin and I don't wanna freak her out and have her bail. and I am not rally into tyin her down.. so I guess it'll all work out in the wash in due time.. thanks again
    #9
  10. XL-erate

    XL-erate Been here awhile

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    Of course it's entirely up to you but I would never have a dog in a sidecar or the back of a pickup without it being restrained.

    Those with a weak stomach may not enjoy the rest here so you'd best get onto another post, this is vivid and gory. Bad....

    Many years ago I was about a mile behind a pickup truck on a country road, both of us doing about 65-70 mph. His oh so well trained dog jumped up on the side of bed and next thing I knew he fell out! The sight of that poor dog rolling, bouncing, flopping and tumbling like a rag doll, and then the blood starting to spurt then gush in the air was sickening, The poor helpless creature finally slid to a stop, what was left of him, with a long red track behind him strewn with body parts, guts and pieces. One leg gone, some of the side of his head missing, snout broken and torn, stomach torn open and brains laying on the pavement.

    Your choice but personally, I'll always restrain a dog in a pickup bed or sidecar. Once was more than enough for a lifetime.

    I'll probably edit this later so as not to spoil people's day.
    #10
  11. Tarka

    Tarka Doesn't wave back.

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    What makes you so sure the dog won`t be begging you to fly the chair anyway? :evil :D :D
    #11
  12. Sidecarjohn

    Sidecarjohn Been here awhile

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    Sidecar outfits are very much about individuality, be it uniqueness, or application. In 40 plus years I've never seen the need to "fly" the sidecar save as a fun thing in a field. Equally, save for an early Russian import back in 1972, the power, configuration and weight of our outfits since has tended to reduce the propensity, or desire to "fly".

    Do I feel inadequate because I can't wheelie a solo, or "fly" the chair ? Not really, but don't lose sleep over those who so do. However, I know of disasters, even tragedies, when things have gone wrong, but often other additional factors have contributed, some self inflicted, others due to outside influences.

    Do I consider ballast to have merit ? In our battleship heavy Saluki attached to the BMW K1, absolutely pointless. In the lighter sidecar alongside our full power Vmax it does help. It's an option that should be seen as a choice, and certainly not an indicator of inadequacy.
    #12
  13. SwampFox883R

    SwampFox883R Been here awhile

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    Maddie enjoying flying in the chair (pic from when we were learning to ride together):

    [​IMG]

    I do carry 25lbs of ballast fixed on the floor behind the seat. I've ridden without ballast, but the rig is just a little too "tippy" when the sidecar is empty.
    #13
  14. SmellyGoatBoy

    SmellyGoatBoy Adventurer

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    If you ride off road flying the car is very handy. You can avoid a lot of the bumps by flying the car over them.
    #14
  15. vetsurginc

    vetsurginc Been here awhile

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    I'm riding a Ural GearUp so I had a 10L can on the bike side at the back of the car. I removed the shovel mount on the right rear of the car (goes in the boot just fine) and added a second 10L can (I tend to wander far away from gas stations). Between those and tools/rainsuit/water/oil/scissor jack that normally reside in the boot with the shovel, the car is pretty stable. I can tell the difference once I've emptied both the fuel cans, but no biggy for the heavy car.

    Have a ball!!!:smile6
    #15
  16. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    Maybe a little off topic but it would be a good thing if at some point in time th esidecar comunity could seperate what we now call flying th echair from simple agressive cornering. No, I do not want to get into another 'steering reversion' discussion but sidecar wheels on many outfit do leafve th eground if you are cornering with any agression at all. This is not abnormal. Adding ballast if on edesires to do so will keep the wheel down until a greater speed is reached but that is about it. It should be thought of as being in th ebest interest of every sidecar jockey to raise his or her skill envelope to at elast th epoint of knowing when th esidecar wheel comes up and how they need to react to it. None of us can raise our skill levels by reading alone. We need to practice a little above our comfort zones in a safe place to raise our personal skill envelope a little higher. Why? No, not to show off and not to hot rod the things but to benefit ourselves and our passengers when that emergency situation raises it's head.
    Ballast is only a means to make alight sidecar heavier. No big mystry. ther eis aqlso no feather put in anyones hat if they do not run ballast. It all depends on th eoutfit at hand and what makes the operator comfortable and safe. However , it is a benefot for anyone to practice with a lighter sidecar as the handling traits they have will surface as lower speeds.
    FOOD FOR THOUGHT I suppose . take it for what it's worth, but ..... what do I know.
    #16
  17. kailuasurfer

    kailuasurfer Dreamer

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    I have been riding sidecar empty lately and couldn't agree more with Claude. On my heavier rigs (e.g., Claude's creation), the sidecar wheel rarely leaves the ground but, on my lighter rigs (e.g., fiberglass Watsonian), the wheel is guaranteed to be off the ground on most right hand turns. For me, shifting my seat position, throttle control, and one-finger tapping of the brake lever ensures just the right amount of control during turns, particularly during higher speed turns. I try never to "fly" on purpose unless practicing...
    #17
  18. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    Hello kailua...The technique YOU MENTIONED of using the front brake and throttle at the same time is a good one. Not true drifting but it does increase theslip angle of th erear tire and does help to keep the sidecar down in right turns.
    Shifting weight and/or hanging off is also a good thing if on wants to practice it. Basically it is a way to get a little more weight over toward the sidecar and insde the so called tip over line between the front and rear wheel in turns toward the sidecar. This should be done prior to entering a turn rather than when already in it as that can sometimes make things worse in some cases.
    It is all about practice and getting to know one's outfit. All outfits have the same basic dynamics to a point but they come in different flavors..:wink:
    #18
  19. stromsurfer

    stromsurfer Stromsurfer

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    I very much appreciate the words of the wise men regarding ballast. Being new to sidecars I absorb all the knowledge through reading that I can but, as Claude said riding is really how you learn. I just turned 1,500 miles on my new Dakar set up and every mile was a learning experience. I started with a 70# bag of sand and have now cut that in half. I substituted some of the sand for usable weight like extra gas, tools, Kermit chair, etc. In the end i will probably end up with 20-25# more weight then the empty tub. I continue to practice being on the edge......meaning the feel of being close to the balance point. Much like sailing (for that matter many movement related activities) it's knowing the "feel" of the tipping or control point that helps you avoid capsizing or uncontrolled movement. As I reduce weight the feel also changes as does my steering, throttle, weight shift, and brake inputs.

    I know you guys all know this stuff and as a newbie I'm probably not adding anything new, but just thought I would add a virgin hack riders two cents, which basically is.....ride.......learn.......have fun.


    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    good post stormsurfer. ballast if added that can be useful in other ways makes much more sense than just a blob of weight that serves no purpose,
    #20