Help!

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by old brooklyn boy, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    469
    Location:
    West Midwood, Brooklyn NY
    Just got a sidecar. Knew it was different had no idea how different. Need help learning how to drive it. I feel as though a barrel.roll is in my near future. Does anyone know of a safety course in the NYC area. The closer the better. I don't know if it is the set up or me but seems very unstable.(then again some say that about me)
    Thanks
    Alfred
    Born again Noob
    #1
  2. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Dec 24, 2006
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    Location:
    Next to Rio Bravo
    What kind of side car have you taken up? Ural ?
    #2
  3. newellbc

    newellbc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    55
    There are a number of good sites, that describe sidecar handling and how to drive them. You can also do a google search on books about how to drive a sidecar. Now, sidecars that are driven by just the rear wheel of the bike, handle like nothing else on the road. If you accelerate hard, they will turn in the direction of the sidecar. If you back of the throttle or hit the bikes brakes, it wil turn away from the sidecar. If you don't have electric lean or someother form of tracking adjustment, you will find your rig will handle neutrally at only certain speeds. Above that speed, and the rig will pull toward the sidecar. Below that speed, and the rig will turn away from the sidecar. Most sidecars can be set up to handle neutrally over a pretty wide range of speeds. Most can handle from 35mph to 65mph, and go in a straight line. Other things that effect this is the weight of the driver, and load in the sidecar. If the sidecar is set up for a light person, and someone much bigger gets on the motorcycle, the sidecar will pull away from the sidecar. If it's set-up for a large person, and a small one gets on the bike, the rig will pull toward the sidecar. If the rig is set up to handle good with an empty sidecar, and you put a heavy load in the sidecar, then the rig will pull toward the sidecar. There is a lot to learn about setting up and driving a sidecar.
    #3
  4. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

    Joined:
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    I have an old Jawa attached to an R90/6. I have another R90 that I like and have ridden for years. I though it was strong enough to pull and stop and I am used to the bike. Think again it rides nothing like my bike. I do like the way they look together though.
    I have and read several times the "Driving a Sidecar Outfit" by the USCA Sidecar Safety Program. The book is informative but it's not enough to know how and why it's different I need some hands on training. I am a firm believer in the MSF courses and still take advanced classes every few years and go practice skill drills with the kids when the ridding season starts. Everything that I see online is too far away to go to. I would go for an advanced course but I don't think I could get this thing there safely with my novice skill level. Anyone know of anything closer to my hood.
    #4
  5. msblu79

    msblu79 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
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    Invading NewYorkastan
    Driving a sidecar really isn't all that difficult, practice what you have read in an open parking lot and learn to lift the car and get used to the pull from accel/braking action. Start slow and work your way up, tighten up the turns as you go and get a feel for when the sidecar wheel begins to get light. I got my Ural 10 months ago and had never driven one before, as soon as the dealer left, after dropping it off, I was on it and all over town, maybe it was easier for me having lots of MX & enduro riding experience. I've got 11,000km's on it now & I'm having a ball with it, my Sabre doesn't see much action anymore and the battery died from sitting there the last 10 months. :wink:
    #5
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Oct 1, 2007
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    4,201
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    I think the closest official training to you is up in Massachusetts here or in Pennsylvania here.

    They provide the sidecar rigs so you drive there in your car.
    #6
  7. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

    Joined:
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    I think it may be the car then. I tried to drive it at walking speed in a straight line with a fifty pound sandbag in it. The car flew. Turning took a lot of effort. I was just making a u turn into my driveway to put it in the garage. It is an almost perfect 25 foot radius turn. Slow speed full lean almost turn over. Had a 225 pound friend sit in the bike and it worked better but still lifted a little. There should not be too much weight over the tip over line since I only weight 145lbs. Any suggestions?
    Thanks for the site suggestions. I saw those but did not realize that they supplied rigs. I will be in Pa on vacation in a few weeks I will look into it.
    #7
  8. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    If it's that tippy, it sounds like your lean-out is way, way out of whack. You need to shorten the upper struts of whatever mounting system you have or lengthen the lower struts. Probably best to get some old-hand sidecar guy to come have a look and help you with the setup.
    #8
  9. Threewheelbonnie

    Threewheelbonnie Long timer

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    Can you post a picture of the outfit from the back with you sat on it, on a normal camber road? You'd be able to spot that sort of lean out by eye.

    Andy
    #9
  10. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Call your local Dept. of Licensing. If any safety classes are available locally they should know. As should your insurance company. If you can't find a class buy the "yellow book" aka "Driving a Sidecar Outfit" by David Hough and do the practice exercises till your comfortable.
    #10
  11. msblu79

    msblu79 Adventurer

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    Oct 25, 2010
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    Invading NewYorkastan
    I agree with the guys, something must not be right for it to be so touchy, it should take some effort to lift the car. I never had ballast in mine since day one and have had no problems. Have it checked out and readjusted if needed. :D
    #11
  12. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

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    Location:
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    I have the yellow book and it is great. I have a little time this Saturday and I am going to check the angles and basic set up numbers and see how they look. They have some rule of thumb setup measurements so I'll start from there.
    Alfred
    #12
  13. DirtyDR

    DirtyDR Dana

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    Edwards,Colorado
    #13
  14. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
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    Location:
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    Thanks guys. Didn't get to work on the bike at all this weekend. Worked Sat and had to take the kids upstate to sleep away camp on Sun. Will down load the specs and look at them.
    ThreeWheel, what do you mean by normal camber? (No camber camber to the left or the right) I would be inclined to go with a level surface a plumb line and a protractor, but open to suggestions.
    #14
  15. lemieuxmc

    lemieuxmc Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
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    3,360
    Location:
    East La Jolla... it's just Clairemont!!
    I laid out grid lines on my garage floor and pre loaded the suspension with sand bags before I aligned my combo.

    An inexpensive laser level, patience, and attention to detail should do the trick.
    #15
  16. old brooklyn boy

    old brooklyn boy Talking Dog

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
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    Location:
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    Measured the lean out instead of 2-3 degrees it is very close to 4.6. There is also a steering stabilizer. It makes it very hard to turn to the right and the position it is mounted in it pushes the bike up and away from the side car when making a right turn which makes the lean out worst.
    #16
  17. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,296
    Location:
    GoodLiver,Oregon,USA
    If I am reading this correctly, your leanout is changing when you turn because of the resistance of your steering damper? Your lean out should not be changing at all, period. The fault is not the steering damper, it is the mounts, or something is broken.

    If you are using clamp mounts I strongly recommend you pitch them and start over with a good subframe mount. The older Velorex/Jawa clamp mounts were notorious for slipping and damaging bike frames. The newer mounts are much better, but still prone to slipping and even if they do not slip, airhead frames are too flexible to mount a sidecar safely without re-enforcing with a subframe and/or bracing( in my opinion; as always YMMV ;-)

    if the issue is simply the steering damper prevents you from setting the leanout properly, just remove the steering damper. If you find you have a wobble that can't be dealt with by adjusting set up or attending to bearings, tire pressure and tire tread, re mount the damper, but mount it differently or use a different damper. It should not determine your set up or mounting points for the sidecar.
    #17
  18. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

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    Location:
    secret owner of a Parmesan cheese factory
    :thumb
    OP - here's a link to some info on subframes and airhedz, if you haven't come across it already... linky My rig was built by da 'bum and it is solid :nod
    #18