I'm new here and I don't have a hack...

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by KaHOnas, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. KaHOnas

    KaHOnas One big piston

    Mar 17, 2011
    Wherever I wanna be...
    ...but I really, really want one. I was looking at vintage BMW hacks when I was deployed in '09, drooling all the while. I couldn't afford what Blue Moon Cycle wanted for some of them but, man, were they pretty. I'm still gathering information about what's out there so when I finally do make the jump, I make an informed one.

    I live in Chattanooga, TN. I know of nobody around here who has a hack so I have nobody to bounce questions off of. I guess I'll just throw out all my questions here in hopes that I can learn a bit more.

    First, how difficult is it to turn a motorcycle (such as a new Triumph Bonneville) into a hack? If I were to buy the sidecar, would that be all I'd need, or do I still need to buy the frame, wiring, etc?

    Second, I had read somewhere that a leading link front fork is better to have with a sidecar than a standard telescopic fork. Is this true? How important is it? And, say I were to add a sidecar to the above-menioned Bonnie, who could I get that suspension from?

    Third, I've never even operated a hack. I've been a bike rider since I was 14 but never had a sidecar attached. I know it's different, but is there any suggested reading about the dynamics involved? Does the MSF do a special sidecar class or am I just thrown onto the road to learn on my own?

    Fourth and last question, do hacks really kick as much ass as I think they do? I'd love to go for a ride through the country here in TN with my wife on the back and my son in the car. It just sounds like a blast.

    Thanks all!
  2. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

    Dec 2, 2009
    Winterpeg - site of flatness beyond belief
    The United Sidecar Assocation (USCA) has some free download books on the subject written by Hal Kendal:

    The site: http://www.sidecar.com/default.asp

    The books: http://www.sidecar.com/links3.asp

    A "must read" IMO. The driving dynamics of operating a rig are very different from riding a motorcycle (now there's a big understatement!), but once you get over the shock of no countersteering, and can safely and proficiently handle it, you'll probably find it grows on you - sure has for me... I put on about 12,000 kms total this year on my 2 hacks, my first year of the sidecar experience.
  3. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

    Sep 5, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I'm trying to figure out the obsession over "the yellow book". I got a copy with my rig last weekend and have read through it. The bulk of the book is just basic "this is how you operate a motorcycle" (and I'm talking "this is how you start your motorcycle" and "this is how you turn it off" basic) with some basic safety advice added in. After that, it's a handful of pages with drawings of some driving courses laid out in it. I was excited that I actually got a copy with my rig until I read it. Then I was like :huh
  4. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

    Sep 26, 2008
    We build a lot of sidecar rigs around the Bonneville, Doing two of the Steve Mcqueen editions at this time. For bikes that proper bike specific mounts are made for such as the Bonneville adding a sidecar is not all that hard, We ship out many sidecars in crates that people in stall at home. Our most popular sidecar for the Bonneville is our M72D. At this link you can see a photo on the Bonneville http://www.dmcsidecars.com/sidecars/m72d/
    When ever you add a sidecar to a bike you end up with heavy steering. A leading link is one way to reduce trail on the front for lighter steering and when forks use to be a lot smaller diameter this was the only way to go. Now that fork tubes are getting larger another good way to go is with triple tree's that change the angle of the forks. We make new from billet tree's for the Bonneville. The one in the photo on our site has had this done. The tree's keep a stock look to the bike and still lower the steering effort.
    Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
  5. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

    Jun 17, 2009
    Tacoma, Washington
    One word................ URAL and be done with it.
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Oct 1, 2007
    Chambers Bay, WA
    Some training and knowledge is important. Like, for instance, if you want to go out with your wife riding pillion and your son in the car then your wife is petite and your son outweighs her, right? Because if your son is a child, and your wife outweighs him, then you got it backwards.

    As for kicking ass, some like hacking and some don't. There's a guy on this forum who lives pretty close to you who spent about $40,000 putting together his first rig last winter. Really really nice rig. He hated it. His wife hated it. He's back to two wheels. On the other hand, you got guys like me who think that hacking is way more fun than solo biking.

    One thing I'll say, though, and this includes the $40,000 guy, is that the guys who try it and hate it are also the guys who did not do a steering mod. A rig without a steering mod can be driven OK, but nobody would call it fun. And no rig without a steering mod kicks ass. If you want the rig to kick ass you got to get right the steering, suspension, and setup.
  7. Alaskahack

    Alaskahack Adventurer

    Apr 27, 2009
    March 2012 I took delivery of my new sidecar that I purchased from DMC. I still had three ft of snow on the ground, the sidecar and the bike was separated by three miles. I had a month of jury duty and was finally able to mate the car and sidecar together in May. Since I didn't have anyone around to talk about sidecars, I think I read everything that was ever posted on this forum. Bought the Yellow Book read it and throughly enjoyed it.

    But nothing takes the place of riding your new rig to learn what to expect, I went through about two tanks of gas practicing starting, emergency stoping, left and right turns.

    Before I let my wife get in the car, and then we went for a 3,000 mi shake down ride.

    When we got back from the ride I noticed I was scrubbing the inside of the sidecar tire.

    This was caused by my excitement to drive my new rig I neglected to really check my alinement and was running the rig with a 2" toeout
    Reset it to .75 toe in steering is great and I have no steering mods.

    Decide where you might want to go with your new sidecar buy the bike, talk to Jay and order the car

    I'm going to attach my build report


  8. KaHOnas

    KaHOnas One big piston

    Mar 17, 2011
    Wherever I wanna be...
    The first response to this thread was from GreatWhiteNorth. He linked to some PDF manuals and reading material which showed me the error of my ways regarding the ballast effect and all that. I realized now that I misspoke. Thanks for the correction, though! Because, last week, this is exactly how I would have done it.
  9. hensmen

    hensmen Been here awhile

    May 17, 2010
    Dear David,sorry for my pidgin english, after some day`s working, my pidgin English is not the best.
    First count on your budget and then on your reflexes. In Germany, we have some dealers, fixing a rig to your Triumph, the price is very high.
    Keep your solo and take a used rig. When you have a Dealer in your area, this will show you the direction off your best brand.
    Is it a Ural dealer, try it but not higher than 3 k`ays.
    Ernest, by the cheapest and drive, drive and enjoy. A hack takes money but spend so a lot off joy, you won`t believe.
    On the other hand, are you cruising alone, if not you can take the sandbags, when your partner is on your right side, take themore comfortable hack.
    It is so theoretical. the driving, that the best thing is, ask your bank counsellor and fill the gas reservoir.
    Whe have in Germoney so problems with uilding a new hack, we are jeaulous with your products,
    It is a question off the price, on the other hand, it is worth each dollar, compared to all cost after, mechanic, psychologists and so on.
    Ask the inmates for a used one and believe them, there are no other honest people, than under hackist`s, ore how they are called, overseas.
    Never thought to met more nice people, then with a Honda.
    Beside, driving an air head, daily. Hans
  10. DavePave

    DavePave Been here awhile

    Aug 2, 2008
    Jacksonville, Flatistan
    1. there are a couple of guys here that have Bonneville hacks you should check with them about Bonneville specifics, but from what I've read they appear to like them a lot.

    2. Leading links are much better to have as opposed to standard moto steering, but as others have said raked triple trees are an available option that many people like. Leading link mods can cost upwards of $2K and trees can cost upwards of about $800. Write some dealers like Jay and he can talk more specifics about prices.

    3. There are some good links about sidecar dynamics and steering etc. While you can learn on your own ..... it might be best if you looked into an S/TEP class in your local area. It's sidecar and trike training. I took a course at a local Community College as there were no commercial outlets here in North Florida offering the course. I am very happy that I took the course. I got to try out driving a hack before I ever bought mine. I confirmed I liked it, and I also picked up some necessary skills and safety tips as well. I also met some fellow hackers in the local area while doing so.

    4, I think hacks do kick ass. I can carry all kinds of things with me while still being in a moto envirnment. I can also take my young daughter for rides.

    As for steering mods... my 2 cents..... I think the need for steering mods is somewhat proportional to the weight of the rig you end up with. I've driven a Harley with no steering mods and it was a beast to handle on crowned roads. I own and drive a DR650 with sidecar and the whole rig weights maybe 500 pounds. Though I can see that a LL front end might be nice, I don't feel it is at all necessary for my bike and I love it road, off-road, makes no difference to me - I still immensely enjoy driving it. Once you install a LL front end it would be unwise to drive the bike without the sidecar. So, if you do it - it's effectively a sidecar bike only....

    As for sub-frames and wiring .... wiring is generally the easier part of that question. I did mine in less than a day using a 5 wire trailer harness - no problems. This allows me to disconnect the sidecar with 4 bolts and one electrical connector. Sub-frames are another matter altogether. Some bikes need them and some don't. My DR650 needed one - which I bought from Jay @ DMC. And glad I did too, it went on easy and is a very well though-out design and hasn't failed me yet.

    Good luck
  11. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Mar 7, 2009
    The Lost Coast of California
    I've been on motorcycles since 1973. A year and a half ago I saw an ad for an underpriced Ural an hour away from my house. I'd never even sat in a sidecar before. I rode over on my FJR and the owner gave me a ride. I said "Done deal" and he said "Your turn". We went to a school parking lot and I rode with him in the sidecar. I rode him back to his house, paid him and left the FJR at his house to pick up later that night. I've since ridden our newer Ural across the country without issue. I'm not saying that training isn't worth it, just that it really isn't such a big deal. I describe it as riding a very lopsided snowmobile more than a motorcycle. I'll never be a 3 wheel only guy, but a absolutely love my Ural Gear Up.
    edit- no doubt it is good to practice in empty parking lots. I did when I first bought the 1997 Ural.
  12. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

    Jan 4, 2008
    secret owner of a Parmesan cheese factory
    :1drink simple... you get to try before you buy. :deal Sometimes, multiple different combinations, even... :evil

    o Dunno' about that, but I'll answer another question you didn't ask... once you have it hacked - leave it that way. A "purpose built" sidecar combination will be a dream to pilot and if you want to go two-wheeling it's better to just go with another bike.

    o Somebody pointed you to the USCA - good organization. Check their website and elsewhere for rallies... go to one nearby. Ask lots of questions and scope out different rigs. We're used to it... look up "UDF" - as in "Ural Delay Factor" :*sip*

    :deal:pynd :thumb :lobby :norton
    o there's a little sumpin' sumpin for everyone. :getiton
  13. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

    Jan 4, 2008
    secret owner of a Parmesan cheese factory
    Hallo Hans! Nice rig you got there! :clap

    I got a pic of my airhead similarly snowy... someplace or another. :*sip*
    I don't know about the rest of us Stateside folks, but I'm mighty jealous of the many beautiful European combinations I've seen here in ADV and other forums... lots of nice engineering :tb
    Me - I kinda' like the term "Sidecar Pilot" myself...
  14. slowpoke69

    slowpoke69 Been here awhile

    Feb 2, 2010
    So. Jersey
    I've ridden since age 7, never had a hack, but after looking at some on here(WUMPA for one), I decided I NEED one.

    Check out this build,Yamaha FZ1 dual sport sidecar build, the guy that built it is kick ass! I felt inspired after seeing what he did, EXCELLENT VIDEO too!

    Watching him turn his bike into a hack sealed the fate of my 79 CB750F/SS, it's only a matter of fundage now.

    I agree 100% on the training though, for bikes or hacks, my brother-in-law didn't take my advice on that and wound up in a coma for a couple of weeks. That was only on a 2 wheeler, IMO some class is a must, personally.

    Make the leap, get the training, and ride the wheels off it!:evil Best of luck!
  15. Melrone

    Melrone Long timer

    Sep 5, 2009
    Cheese Head Country
    To make this easy the united sidecar natioal rally is being held in Mountain view Ar. June 20-23.This would be a great way to check out all different kinds oe rigs..If you show up look for a 2nd generation Bumble Bee(03 GSA)/ Ural with Wisconsin plates and I'll take you for a ride inthe tub and buy the first beer....:freaky
  16. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®

    May 4, 2007
    Your imagination.

    The Bokad of steering mods.

    If you weren't in the states I'd be tempted to let you ride my harley outfit just to get you to shut the fuck up about shit you don't fully understand yet.

    Set up , connection points and HOW and WHERE they transfer the weight onto the bike. Wheel lead , track , suspension fulcrum point locations ( take a look at Jay's basic frame - enduro ? and note where the swing arm pivots from - the very rear , thus throwing every last bit of weight onto the steering ) , wheelbase of the bike ... all this plays a critical part of whether the steering is within 90 - 95% of using a trail reduction.

    Get a length of heavy steel or a large log ... place a scale at the very ends and see what each one displays ... now move only one towards the center ... keep moving it until you reach the very center ... big difference. The weight of the steel/log hasn't changed but what the scale sees has altered dramatically ... just like the steering on an outfit.


  17. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

    Jan 19, 2004
    Give poor Drone a break I don't think he's an engineer, on the other hand don't HD rigs have very little or no wheel lead ? DB