GPz1100 Sport Utility Hack Build

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Feedback Cycle, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    I'm building a sidecar rig on a budget.
    I'm visual. I will keep it to the point. Hopefully you like it.

    First the back story.
    Decided to build a hack this Fall. Sold some toys to fund it (no family money)

    Buy existing? Find a sidecar? Use a old frame? I decided I wanted muscle. I wanted sporty. I wanted modern. When a 1982 GPz1100 cam up on Craigslist, I made the deal.

    <a href=";current=GPz1100RightSide.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=GPz1100left.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Scary. About 1/3 of my budget. It was converted to carbs, aluminum swingarm, repainted. Ridden daily. I would make it work. Steel frame. Good brakes.

    I really had to evaluate the type of riding I would do. Mainly, it would be daily errands. Garage sales, Groceries.
    So, I am going the Universal Japanese Motorcycle direction with my sidecar. The great part is that I removed a bazillion options from the table. I like to have some rules.

    These images were previously posted on Adventure Rider. This is what I am going for (but with a removable seat)
    <a href=";current=silverball013.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=sillverball2010008.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=SUC51504.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=Vincentsidecarracer.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=Mar2906.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    So I have the bike. The sidecar hunt is on. I can't went but I am fairly mechanical. I wanted to find a frame. Looked at one Hannigan that was in a crash. To expensive. No mounts. Every time I find something, there are several insurmountable issues. :huh I realize I might have underestimated the sidecar cost. My huge 580 lb 110hp bike means that a little Velorex frame isn't going to work.

    I reconsider DMC. I consider their base platform.

    <a href=";current=frame1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=frame2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I think of the many ways I could re-engineer the frame to fit my needs. I use different colors to represent round and square tube. I learn. I start to understand the triangulation of the mounts, etc.

    Still, when priced out and shipped, I have nothing to work with. (BTW I just want to say I still think this is a great option that Jay was quick to reply to emails.) :eek1
    I need a cheaper option. I find a person across the state who will build a frame. I am scared the project will spiral out of control.

    :clap Then there it was. An project at Northwest Sidecars, in Idaho. Idaho? A long long way away. Hmmm.
    I send an email and I call. We discuss the frame.

    <a href=";current=Reworked_HDCP_chassis_004.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=Reworked_HDCP_chassis_003.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=Sidecar_mounts_001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=5Y25W35P03m23p23l8bb5832c6e4905551ebf.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=HDCP_rig_001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Lonnie Cook is the builder. The sidecar was being built for a wheelchair. It had gone so far as to be hooked up tho the Harley. The owner changed direction for personal reasons and it needed a new home. Some Google and Forum searches proved Lonnie a respectable (and experienced) fellow. He needed it gone and we struck a deal.

    This was the large platform I really wanted. I would still need to get frame mounts and have some fabrication work done but I believe it is going to work.

    I used to quote shipping the frame. Not too bad considering how far it will go.
    I expect the shipment to arrive at a local dock within a week.
    More to come soon.
  2. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    While I’m waiting. I design.
    I am going to attempt to make a sidecar that can transform it’s function as needed.

    I use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. These are not CAD programs and are only for visual planning.
    They do however allow you to draw to scale, merge photos and duplicate images easily

    I originally was planning to use a motorcycle suspension and have the rider straddle it.
    Very racing inspired design. Lots of room to haul stuff. Really needs ballast.

    <a href=";current=Topview1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Since I bought a frame/wheel set up, I have to make some changes. I draw it all to scale so I can plan.
    This is my working layout. It is a large rig.

    <a href=";current=Basiclayout.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I use my photos to do a sketch. Nice but a bit too conservative. To many hard angles. Yes, strong and easy to build but I need to push it.
    When designing, it is best to go as far as you can. You find the best ideas then.
    Eventually you bring it back to reality.

    I started to consider all the cool fenders that were out there. Some of the old truck step side fenders are sculpture.
    But I decided I wanted to be progressive.

    <a href=";current=unnamed1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    <a href=";current=GMK-4143-608-68R.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    These were too ‘hot rod’ for this project.
    So I went forward. I drew up a scale drawing of the frame with wheel placement and mounts.
    I considered the different ways I could cover the tire using simple sheet metal.

    <a href=";current=scaledesign1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=scaledesign2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    My Kawasaki GPz1100 has a very 80’s design feature. There are broad sections of slightly twisting 2D flat surfaces.
    The fuel tank, the tail section, the fender, they could be reasonably recreated using pieces of cardboard.
    I decided that I was going to exploit this feature.

    <a href=";current=push.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I plan to use sheet aluminum for the bodywork.
    I can trim a panel in any shape easily. This gives the sidecar an organic look.
    I can also flex the panel for a gentle curve. I can’t however make compound curves. That is fine. This is my ‘theme’.

    Sure there are many details that need resolving.
    I take a slightly different angle and draw some ideas freehand (isometric doesn’t show perspective and looks fake)
    Sometimes my sketches aren’t in sequence. I bounce between different versions.

    <a href=";current=proof3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    <a href=";current=proof2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    <a href=";current=proof1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    As you can see, I introduced a clear bluish plexiglass. It started as just a small wind blocker for the rider but I really like the visual space it lends to the bodywork.
    Also, I narrow down to a single piece of aluminum wrapping over the tire. I feel this is progressive, simple, functional yet still fits with the characteristics of the GPz.

    Who is yelling! What about the rider? What about the support frame? What about ballast?
    It’s screaming in my head also. I just haven’t mentioned it.
    My wife doesn’t want to ride in or on a sidecar. I prefer to have her behind me anyhow and I don’t want to loose that.
    I see this sidecar as a outrigger. I do however want to have a spot for a rider just in case. The seat is going to be removable and unimposing.

    I begin to refine the body framework. I don’t weld. I can cut and drill and bolt and rattle can paint.
    I plant to purchase/rent a pipe bender and make my unique parts.

    <a href=";current=Bar.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I could make a rigid, square frame with right angles and sharp corners. I feel I can make a more unique, biomorphic shape by layering pieces of tube steel.
    This will be difficult to bend but I only need to do it once and there are no rules.
    Most importantly, it has to be strong. It has to give a support for the body panels. And it has to support my modular concept.

    Man, if I fail I am going to feel like an ass. Stay tuned.
  3. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Focus on hardware. It is so expensive.You can easily drop $300-$400 on four clamps.
    A very important part of the structure and currently my biggest unresolved cost.

    For my sidecar, I have four connecting points. The GPz has two good locations on the bottom frame. Cool.
    The mount nearest the steering head and down tube has a welded steel corner bracket in the way.
    I think I will drill out a hole and mount my eye bolt directly to the frame. Saves cash also.
    The rear upper mount has several options but I may need to modify the bodywork.

    <a href=";current=GPz1100Tank.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    But, I need three frame clamps.
    I'm not here to bash anyone. I've seen several versions that I like. I believe the Velorex strap clamps are too light duty for my rig. The other manufacturers are asking from $75 to $100 per clamp.
    Truth be told, the off the shelf parts could add up to $40 alone so no one is getting rich.
    I may end up just buying some. But first, I had to see if I could make one less expensive and better!

    <a href=";current=frameclamp.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    This design is very similar to other bolts with a few improvements to make it easier for me to make:nod

    I would need to bend a strap from steel bar. 1/8"
    I would use a cross section of a closed square pipe for the body.
    I would use two nuts for the eyebolt to connect to. (often, this is the custom made threaded block that adds $$)
    The 1/4" bolts (2 total) would connect the strap and the box section and supply support for one of the nuts.

    So, will I build them? Not sure yet. When I try to buy bolts, ther are often only sold in packs of larger numbers.
    I visited a couple local hardware stores and an auto parts shop. No luck getting the forged/machined eye bolt.
    With a little more research, I may do it. If I ca keep the cost to $25 each without using lesser components.
  4. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Mar 7, 2009
    The Lost Coast of California
    Very nice work on the drawings. That bike looks incredibly clean for 30 years old. Best of luck with the build.
  5. TouringDave

    TouringDave Tri Moto Veritas

    May 17, 2005
    Frankston, Vic, Aust.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished outfit. Great drawings! :clap
  6. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Thanks for the kind words!

    Today was a BIG day.
    The sidecar frame arrived at the local dock.
    Beautiful sunny warm 40 degree day. Couldn't be better for a Michigan January.

    All wrapped up
    <a href=";current=P1010009.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Lonnie Cook at Northwest Sidecar went out of his way strapping this down. He even included an actual tie down around the tire. He put huge plastic zip ties all over. He wrapped it in plastic wrap. Very much appreciated. :clap

    Time to unwrap!
    <a href=";current=P1010013.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Remove the metal floor. :nod
    <a href=";current=P1010017.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    It is much more massive in person than I imagined. Actually the overall size is a little smaller but the tubing and hardware is very stout.

    <a href=";current=P1010026.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Some hardware shots
    <a href=";current=P1010023.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Wheel Detail. I have no brake. I really struggled with this issue. But, it will try this without. If I find I can't live without it, I will find a way to make it happen.
    <a href=";current=P1010022.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Here is a shot with all of the mounting hardware. I don't have everything I need but it is a great start.
    Since it was being made for a Harley, their is a odd strut piece the was created to clear the bags and passenger foot rests. Lonnie included a second strut for me to work with.

    <a href=";current=P1010020.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Next step. Set it up on blocks in the garage so I can get it all hooked together! :D

    For me, this is a huge relief. My biggest concern is getting caught in a situation that I can't control.
    Now I have a bike and a sidecar here safely. It can set for as long as I want and it costs me nothing. No rush. Just fun.
  7. miggins11

    miggins11 Been here awhile

    Nov 18, 2009
    Cheshire, England
    This is starting to look good.
  8. Bobmws

    Bobmws Curmudgeon At Large

    Jun 6, 2005
    Same trailer, different park, FL
    Looking forward to your progress, neat drawings/ideas.
  9. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011

    Cleaned out and organized the garage.
    Strapped up the bike. Put the sidecar in place. Not connected yet but it is really fun to see!

    <a href=";current=P1010051.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=P1010052.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href=";current=P1010049.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
  10. toastmuncher

    toastmuncher I be new round here! Ello

    Jan 3, 2009
    Chepstow, South Wales, UK
    Nice wide platform that. Please be aware that the method of strapping the bike upright will have the suspension 'topped out', once all is done and the straps released the bike will settle and the geometry will change slightly. My first build was just as above, R100 airhead, took a while to get it right.
  11. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Oh yea, That's right. I need to strap the sub frame to the wheel/rim to load the bike. Thanks.
  12. Billtr96sn

    Billtr96sn Flange Furtler

    Nov 15, 2010
    Somerset, UK
    You also need to strap the bikes suspension down to the level it would be with your weight on it
  13. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Ordered my frame mounts yesterday. Hard to decide the right type and location.
    The GPz has gussets welded on the back side of nearly the entire frame. I may need to modify the clamps or the bike a bit. Not more than 1/8". Soon they will be here.

    My struts are going to be too long. They already have a bend but I either need to cut out a section and re-weld or make a bend that works. Since the placement collides with the passenger foot rest, I decided I am going to try a bend.

    Bought a 12 ton hydraulic pipe bender. The strut is 1" with 1/4" sidewall. Very stout. A nice radiused 90 degree bend should work and I wouldn't even have to shorten it.:thumb

    Not sure how far I could comfortably bend the pipe and maintain the strength? Lets find out.
  14. Qwik

    Qwik Adrenaline Addict

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ben Lomond, Highway 9, California
    Looks good so far.
  15. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Patiently waiting for my mounts.
    I've spent a lot of time standing in a freezing cold garage just staring at the hack platform.
    It is so hard to get a good feel for the scale of your project until you stand next to it.

    Some parts were much smaller than I had imagined. I've rethought my design.
    I had a bit of a design break through. I will do my best to exploit readily made items and quit thinking about making anything except what connects it all together.

    1. I need to have lockable storage. I don't want to lug my jacket and boots around any more. I don't want a wet helmet when I return. Turns out, these trailer tongue boxes are perfect for me. One that is 36" whde fits the shape of my hack perfectly!

    <a href=";current=ms00-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    You can see I've added wheels. I have this idea that everything should be modular and I should be able to remove this and leave it at home. I'll come back to this.

    2. My plan calls for a standard off the shelf steel fender. I may cut is down to create a slightly cooler profile. I will possibly use the pre-cut inner wheel well cover for the outside also. I will have to make it removable so I can access the tire. Finally, a welded grab/tie down bar along the fender.

    <a href=";current=ms01-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    This will be my basic setup that allows me to haul anything. My Pick-up Truck.

    3. This fairing would be an bent welded pipe with steel or plexiglas covering. It will fit into slots on the floor with lockable mounts. This will provide light wind protection and a grab rail for the riders if I have any.
    <a href=";current=ms02-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    4. Here is the lockable box turned around backward (opens to the back). it is held in place by bolts screwed down through the bottom from the inside. Also, If I have a rider, I can attach one or two seats (possibly lawn mower seats) from under the box lid. You can also see black side panels attached to the box. These are mainly aesthetic. I don't want the box to say "trailer box" I want it to look more custom.

    <a href=";current=ms03-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    5. If I am tooling around and see a sweet pile of junk, I can rotate the box to fit perfectly under the front fairing and secure it.

    <a href=";current=ms04-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    I haven't really addressed many large issues. I will soon.
    Not sure if this is where I will arrive but I am liking the flexibility.
  16. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    I received my frame mounts. :clap
    Due to limited frame space and existing hardware, I used two different types.
    Here they are all mounted up! I have even loosely attached my struts for placement.

    <a href=";current=P1010013.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The bottom two were very easy. I used DMC 1-18" clamps. I swapped out the eye bolts and used clevis bolts as my sidecar already has heim bolts and now they will fit together perfectly. (The removed eye bolts will be moved to the top of my struts)

    <a href=";current=P1010003.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The upper rear mount was difficult to place. It was hard to find a place that was not obstructed. I used a Velorex mount due to it's smaller size. Again I had gussets on the back side. I finally chose this location to avoid cutting the bike or the mount. It will work well but I will need to cut away part of my plastic side cover. Usually I have a hang up about cutting original parts but it has been repainted and I don't envision removing the sidecar.

    <a href=";current=P1010001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The front. Oh the front. As you can see there is no place to mount. The space above and below the header is gusseted on the back side. I seriously considered using a pad eye (an eye bolt welded to a steal plate) and bolting it to the gusset near the top. after considering strength and cost and my patience level, I settled on using a Velorex mount due to size of the strap. It is tapped into place snugly between the headers. I ground off about 1/4" of the strap.

    <a href=";current=P1010009.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Apparently this solution has been used on other bikes (Triumphs) with success although a tack weld is suggested to stop slippage.

    More to come.
  17. cleatusj

    cleatusj Dirt floor engineer

    Dec 17, 2010
    Granbury, TX
    On the upper front add a strap from bolts going trough the side up to the gusset too add support to stop slippage.

    Just my .02.
  18. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    Easy and functional. I will likely try it. Thanks
  19. Feedback Cycle

    Feedback Cycle Been here awhile

    Nov 25, 2011
    I made a crazy bend in my rear strut to clear the rider and passenger.
    It looks too extreme and I planned to revise it. Everything is now connected and hooked up.
    All for points with tightened. Pretty slick.

    <a href=";current=P1010003.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    And just like that everything blew up in my face. It has become horribly obvious that my sidecar could not possibly function.:huh The multiple Heim bold connections make it impossible to create a rigid connection. It simply cannot work in it's current configuration. I was sold a experimental platform.

    The seller and I disagree about where the responsibility lies.
    I've decided that I am going to try to keep the disagreement out of here. (don't provoke me)
    This is a blog about building a sidecar so, now I am going to focus on fixing it. This my be my first build but at least I understand how to make this rigid. I bought a welder. I can learn. Spring is a long way away.
  20. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®

    May 4, 2007
    Your imagination.
    First hand experience is a great teacher .
    The project is salvageable at no great cost .
    My 2c ... make a spreader for the bottom to widen the connection points on the bike as this will greatly stiffen it.I'd try for somewhere between the front and rear pegs . You'll need to only get a little creative to work around the muffler .
    Top rear ... try to utilize the top shock bolt and move the rear chair connection to suit . While you are at it , try to increase the rear vertical separation . That track width is going to exert some leverage on your clamp connections in left handers :evil
    Things to maybe consider if you haven't already ... unless you have built a similar rig , will the axle lead work for the amount of track ? . Try to make allowances for lead adjustment .As your two bottom connections on the chair stand , when you make lean out adjustments the chair will try to twist .
    When you test ride it , load as much weight as you can on the chair , somewhat more so than what you would normally as this will clearly show any tracking 'weirdness' or unacceptable steering traits .I usually strap an I6 short block car engine to the frame .
    It only looks bad from where you are standing because you do not have a reference from previous builds of your own .
    I like the chair swing arm . Neat and simple .

    When it's finished you'll look back and laugh at this episode .