Ballast

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Trippin, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. Trippin

    Trippin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    42
    Taking Chocho's lead I am puting 100lbs ballast in my Velorex frame will this keep the wheel on the ground? Any advise? Thanks Trippin
    #1
  2. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Long timer

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    Jul 3, 2007
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    Asheville NC
    Seems a little over the top, but yes- it will sure help.

    The most important thing that will keep the wheel down is lots of practice.
    Slow down before you hit the turn.
    #2
  3. Scott Davis

    Scott Davis Which way did they go?

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    657
    Location:
    Concord, NC
    I used a 50 lb bag of gravel and you know what, it's still in the trunk. I take it out from time to time just to see how the bike handles and I like it better in there. I have been riding a hack for just over a year and this is what I have figured out. First off read the book on hack riding. Better yet go to a school if you can.

    There isn't an easy way to get comfortable on the bike until you go out and pratice. You just have to know what the bike will do under every situation. You have to build up the judgement so you will know when you are getting into trouble out on the road.

    With some Ballast you can ride at normal Bike Speeds in turns without too much worry as long as you are close to the posted speed limits.

    First things first ride the proper line for the turn!!! Task One! If you are not sure what this means, read: Total Control Book and or Ural Riding Manual.

    Second you simply must learn how to properly lean into turns on a hack. This isn't just leaning over some with you butt on the seat, it's getting your ass off the seat and your body leaned into the turn.

    I have two basic stratigies that I use for Right Hand Turns:

    #1. First one is right out of the Ural riding book, slow before the turn (while you are going straight) and then use the Front Brake and GAS, keep enough front brake to keep your speed down while powering through the turn.

    If things don't feel good or the chair starts to fly squeeze on more front brake while holding the power on! Don't Panic!!! Don't let the bike go into oncoming traffic! Front Brake!!! Power!!

    This takes lots of pratice using your right hand for multi-functions at once and this must be praticed until it becomes natural.

    After awile you will find that you use less and less front brake, now I just brush the brake for a few seconds before turning in. Then follow below #2.

    #2. After about 8-9 months of riding I started to figure out the Slide Method of turning. This is done first by slowing BEFORE the turn, then followed by lots of power through the turn. You will find that the rear tire will power slide through the turn and disipate all or most of the rolling forces that are trying to lift the car. This allows you to take turns at higher speeds overall, but can get you into real trouble if you mis-judge entry speed. Being that the Ural has limited power, I tend to use this only for short turns that I can see all the way through. When in doubt, use #1 above.

    Sorry for the long winded post!!

    Scott
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Threewheelbonnie

    Threewheelbonnie Long timer

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    Are you new to this Trippin? In that case half the weight of person might be about right, but only until you get the feel for it. After that I'd drop it down to something like 20kg (40-odd lb?). You'll find the extra power to weight and slightly more exciting handling probably gives a better ride.

    I prefer the ballast to be something useful. A nice big tool kit is IMHO more practical ballast than sand/bricks/fishing shot (unless you go fishing, want to uild a wall etc.) :D

    Andy
    #4
  5. sacndogy

    sacndogy Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Scotia,NY USA
    I use my wife as Ballast for the sidecar ( she thinks I want her to come a long) :lol3
    #5
  6. Trippin

    Trippin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    42
    Yes I am new to this and I am Handicaped and can not balance the bike at stops the reason for the car I did have the Voyager trike kit but did not like it. I thank everyone for the help for I am lost.

    Bill
    #6
  7. sidecarkeith

    sidecarkeith Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    157
    Bill
    try to keep the weight secured over the sidecar wheel, that will help and don't turn too sharpe into corners on the sidecar side.

    Keith
    #7
  8. Trippin

    Trippin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    42
    I pretty well understand about the sharp turns what I worry about and really dont know how to explain it is say you are at hwy speed and have a curve to the right will I have trouble with the car coming up. I know from using the trike kit that it does not take very much stear to move you through the curve. I do Thank all for your help. I am 66 yrs old and have been riding for 53 yrs and will do anything to keep in the saddle.
    Bill
    #8
  9. Concho

    Concho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    While I'm a relatively new sidecar owner, I rely heavily on Hal Kendall's
    sidecar manual. Kendall is widely respected as an authority on the subject
    and he states, "The sidecar should weigh between 25 to 35 percent of the
    weight of the cycle."

    A Velorex 562 weighs in at around 155 +/-. I added 81 lbs. of ballast to my
    Velorex frame bringing the total weight of the Velorex to about 236 lbs. My
    tug, a Honda VTX1300, weighs about 700 lbs. wet. Do the math. In my case
    80 additional pounds puts me right in the ballpark according to Hal Kendall.

    In the year and a half I've owned and ridden the sidehack, I've yet to carry
    a passenger and my rig couldn't handle better.

    I find it very hard to recommend a ballast weight to someone without full
    knowledge of the equipment involved. If Trippin's tug is a 350cc or a 1400cc
    machine it's going to make considerable difference in how much his
    sidecar should weigh. I'm sure if anyone is handicapped they aren't going
    to hang their a** off while going around a corner. I'm handicapped too
    and I don't.

    Trippin, I'd highly recommend downloading and reading Hal Kendall's books
    which are available FREE at: http://www.sidecar.com/links3.asp

    You won't get better advice than what's in those books.
    #9
  10. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Long timer

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    Jul 3, 2007
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    Asheville NC
    I've never been able to pull off a slide to the right. >sigh<

    The only times I got scared/lucky was when I went into a turn too fast.
    35mph can be too fast. Heck- depending on the angle, 20mph can be too fast.
    Play around in an empty parking lot.
    #10
  11. Threewheelbonnie

    Threewheelbonnie Long timer

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    Location:
    Yorkshire UK
    Having an issue with balance is undoubtably going to make this harder, but I'm thinkig there is no answer to dealing with a flying chair except practice. If you put 250kg in the chair there is still going to be some down hill, off camber corner with an incorrectly posted speed limit and vandalised warning sign that will catch you out. If you get the carpark time in with 20 kg in there, get used to the sensation (visual clues as well as balance remember) then ride on the street with 30 kg you've a lot better chance when it does happen IMHO.

    The trick to me is to ride a route with a few nasty corners over and over again, gradually reducing the ballast until the clues are telling you when the wheel is about to lift rather than trying to get it to stay down all the time. I'm not suggesting you should be lifting the wheel as a party trick, but I think some practice is vital.

    I'm no trick rider and when the chair does lift i tend to view it as my mistake in taking that particular left hander (in our case) too fast. I usually try to work out what clue about speed I missed. Ten years on three wheels and there are still some that catch me out.:eek1 Still, the only time I've crossed the centre line without meaning to was on day 1. I rode that particular down hill corner everyday for about three months until I worked out the feel of the exact speed the Ural could take it at with the chair spring just starting to unload :D

    Andy
    #11
  12. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,075
    Location:
    Middleburg, Pa. (Snyder County)
    The key in learning and even after that is not to get into a turn too fast. To pracice get into a turn at a spped you are comfortable with and then once you see through the turn then accelerate on through it. If the chair lifts you will be in control of it. Getting into a turn too fast or above yoru level of experience is what can get you in trouble.

    Sliding in a turn toward the sidecar is something that takes time to master and should not be a focal point when learning. One thing you can do to build up to it is to learn to use the front brake while accelrating oput of a turn. What this does is increase the slip angle of the rear tire when under power and give the feeling of drifting.

    I will see if I can find a couple of articles I had wrtten in Hack'd Magazine related to this and post them.

    Note that there is nothing macho about taking out ballast. If you feel it is necessary and the rig is stable leave it in. All ballast is is a means to make a light sidecar heavier.
    #12
  13. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,075
    Location:
    Middleburg, Pa. (Snyder County)
    Article I wrote that was in Hack'd Magazine. Note that this is NOT the way to practice sidecar operation but gives some hints about how things can be.

    Spirited Sidecar Operation

    Speed is still climbing as the sidecarist shoots down the short
    straight toward the upcoming right hander. The sidecar jockey knows
    the road well and is very familiar with the turn approaching. Can he
    grab another gear to keep from overreving the engine and still brake
    into the turn? The rig bobbles slightly as fourth gear is engaged
    under full throttle.

    Staying out toward the centerline to get a clear
    view through the turn the driver brakes hard and downshifts from
    fourth to third and into second. He gracefully slides off the seat
    towards the sidecar with his left knee hooked around a familiar place
    between the seat and fuel tank. Engine protests as revs climb and
    tires search for traction. Speed decreases quickly while the rig
    begins a slow arc towards the perfect late apex.

    Back on the throttle has the adrenalin flowing with right hand
    poised next to front brake lever. The front brake lever
    is squeezed slightly and skillfully and
    the driver can feel the rear tire begin to squirm within itself as
    it's maximum slip angle is approached.

    Close to full throttle with front brake applied harder as the apex
    looms closer very quickly. The sidecar tire is now hovering slightly
    above the inside of the road surface as the apex is met just right.

    The rider grins within his helmet. His grip
    on the front brake is lessened while still on the throttle and the
    sidecar wheel rises higher. More brake more brake the drivers mind
    screams. The sidecar wheel stabilizes inches above the surface. The
    sidecarist's mind races between sheer victory and controlled fear in
    anticipation of when to give the rig it's head by releasing the front
    brake.

    He can see past the apex and the clear road ahead. He knows if
    he lets the brake go too soon he will drift wide into an off camber
    situation. If he waits too long his exit speed will be
    down.....with mind racing and the throttle stretching the cables he
    finally commits to letting go of the brake. His hand opens quickly and fingers instinctively move around the handgrip in one fluid motion.

    Acceleration rivals being shot from a cannon as the sidecar wheel comes up a little more
    and the rig drifts wide toward the centerline. He knows if he crosses
    the line the road camber change can be his undoing at this speed.

    Decision time is here and with every skill he has acquired over the
    years being assaulted he stays with it . Full on throttle , engine
    singing a strong and familiar song and hand off brake the rig ever so
    gradually moves left toward the centerline. Steering is harder now as cornering forces
    act on all that the sidecar rig is made of.

    Just as the edge of the tires begin to flirt with the yellow line the sidecar
    wheel begins to settle down as the arc of the turn is reduced more and more.

    Milliseconds filled with fear compromised by experience and pure
    adrenalin seem like hours in slow motion. The old familiar turn has
    been mastered once more. The rider is smiling in victory...the gear
    box is clicked into third and then fourth gear as scenery becomes a
    blur of colors.

    Fifth gear is reached for a short time before the next turn approaches.
    He stays out by the edge of the road and on the throttle as the left hander
    looms closer and closer.

    He knows if he brakes late the momentum of the brakeless sidecar will
    help him through the turn. He waits and waits in anticipation of what is
    about to happen. His thoughts are coming at light speed now as decision time approaches at well over a mile a minute. He is confident that the extra wheel lead he recently dialed into his machine
    will keep the rear end down but will the front end break traction and steering
    be lost ?
    Finally he can take it no more. He slides off the seat to the left as His instincts born through experiences both good and bad take over. Breaking hard he downshifts with
    tires chirping in their song of protest.

    The sidecar pulls the rig left just as he anticipated as he dives toward the centerline.
    All is clear ahead and he crosses the centerline slightly to take advantage of any additional
    banking the road has to offer. Brakes are released gradually and throttle is rolled on slightly .
    The front wheel is holding it's own in it's battle with the pavement as he apexes the turn.
    The rider grins even while beads of sweat pop from his forehead. The decision for adding more wheel lead was a good one. The rig is still stable even though the jacking effect of the rear driveline is felt slightly as throttle is picked up. He drifts back toward the legal side of the road and begins to cross the centerline. All is well as momentum rises rapidly.

    Things go sour quickly as his front tire hits the yellow stripes that define the road center.
    Front wheel traction that was such a great thing just fractions of a second before is lost instantly. The front end being unloaded by acceleration in conjunction with the slick surface of the painted double line allows the front tire to lose all of it's grip. The bars turn left instantly due to pressure already applied to them. He is still on the gas as the front of the rig seems to develop a mind of it's own and heads out on a larger arc than survival will warrant. He brakes slightly with the front and instantly finds that was a mistake. He brakes with the rear while with a slightly subdued throttle hand and now a balancing act has begun between throttle and front wheel traction. He yearns for enough power to break the rear end loose to induce oversteer but knows it isn't there. The front is still sliding as he softly babies the throttle still near full open in an attempt to maintain his exit speed and control. His experience calculates how the exit arc of the turn is changing with and without more throttle. Finally he regains confidence that he will survive this brief encounter with power understeer. The rig runs right up to and even slightly over the yellow line at the right side of the road on exit and kicks up a little gravel from the sidecar wheel as it straightens out for clear sailing ahead.

    Down the straight he goes as he sits up slightly on the seat. Ahead is a familiar pull off spot and he decides he should take a break. He coasts in with the bike in neutral and engine off. The sound of his tires on the gravel seems strange as does the total lack of engine noise. The rig stops and he dismounts. With helmet removed the silence of this setting with the exception of the cooling down noises his engine is making seems surreal in light of what he has just experienced.
    Life is good.
    #13
  14. eastbloc

    eastbloc comprador bourgeois

    Joined:
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    1,359
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    Brooklyn
    Fantastic! That was like an excerpt from a pornographic sidecar novel :eek1 :lol3 :clap
    #14
  15. Stroker

    Stroker motorcycle traveler

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
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    184
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Bravo Senior Claude! Can't wait to try it.:evil
    #15
  16. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

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    secret owner of a Parmesan cheese factory
    :lurk thread subscribed... just so I'll know where to find that again. :lol3

    Tanks Claude!

    TT
    #16
  17. JohnTM

    JohnTM I suck toes

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2001
    Oddometer:
    29,206
    Location:
    Cornersville, TN
    This might not apply here but a nice little trick I was taught was to use 5 gallon collapsible jugs for ballast. One full is about 40 lbs. If you pick up a passenger, just empty the jug.
    #17