My soon-to-be Roadster + Monza rig -- DIY?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by TheOtherBart, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Tomorrow I'm making a run to pick up a Watsonian Monza that I'm going to hang (or have hung) on my 2006 XL1200R rubber-mount Sportster. The car needs some cosmetic work, but from everything I know at this point it's mechanically sound.

    I've called around to a few guys and gotten quotes of $1000-$2000 to do the mounting and setup. On the one hand, I know nothing about sidecars and would prefer to not have a dangerous, evil handling piece of crap. On the other hand, $2k is a lot of money out of pocket.

    Is there any chance of a reasonably handy guy getting a car properly mounted and set up? I see DMC has mounting kits for my bike but they're spendy ($775) and I'm not sure if they would be compatible with the Monza. Are there other mounting kit options out there? Am I being stupid to even consider doing it myself?
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  2. hahnda

    hahnda Been here awhile

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    The Watsonian sidecars used a mounting system that was a bit different than what is used now on most sidecars. Its not going to be a straight forward install. I mounted one once and decided to ditch the way Watsonian did it made more conventional pieces that were more adjustable between the sidecar and bike. The DMC mount kit may work but only if you modify all the mounting between the sidecar and bike. $1000 seems like a bargain for the amount of work, fabrication and parts needed. To me $2000 doesn't seem out of line if it gets done right.
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  3. Sidecarwilly

    Sidecarwilly Adventurer

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    I have a Monza fitted to Triumph Bonneville America - can take a series of photos of the way Watsonian fittings look like for a reference
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  4. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Thanks Willy, that would be interesting to see.
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  5. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    If DMC makes specific XL/Monza mounts I would spring for that. I'm assuming but don't know for sure the mounts instructions come with alignment procedures? If so follow the instructions. There are basic rules regarding toe-in, lean-out etc which sure any one can figure out with trial and error BUT if you're new to sidecar piloting which is a lot weirder/different than running a solo 2 wheeler, it's hard to determine if this new to you handling oddity is a function of bad set-up or just a normal sidecar handling thing you need to get used to and live with. Getting into sidecars whether you buy-in outright or lash up another tub is expensive compared to just buying a solo bike and riding off into the sunset. Unless you know what you're doing from previous experience I suggest starting with proper mounting rather than just lashing up homebrew mounts. Again sure with trial and error eventually figure out what works and what doesn't but I'm assuming to want you ride safely relatively soon?
    #5
  6. Sidecarwilly

    Sidecarwilly Adventurer

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    Some shots of Monza fittings

    Attached Files:

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  7. diverdown

    diverdown Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]Another Harley 1200 Roadster sidecar rig strongbad will be flipping a cookie. ha ha love it. diverdown
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  8. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    That's something I'm not sure about. The DMC website lists mounts for the bike, but there's no indication that there's anything about them that's specific to any particular car.
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  9. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    So I'm about 90% sure I'll have a pro do the mounting and setup, there's just too much I don't know and can't do (like weld, if that becomes necessary).

    So now my question is about the order of operations. The sidecar needs quite a bit of cosmetic work that I could be working on now until the shop I'm taking it to gets an opening in the schedule, but if the mounting process requires any fabrication or alteration on the sidecar frame then I'd be wasting my time doing paint and that sort of thing.

    So pretty it up and then get it mounted? Or get it mounted and then make it pretty?
    #9
  10. mikejjmay

    mikejjmay Been here awhile

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    Modifications will likely be on the inboard side of the frame so I would not yet powder coat or paint the frame, but you could certainly pull off and pretty up the whole tub itself before mounting.

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  11. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    That makes perfect sense, thanks. If I want some tips on the refurb should I keep it here or start a new thread titled "I know very little about restoring fiberglass, help!" :beer
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  12. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'll give that a try, hopefully the hacks forum gets enough traffic for some quality feedback. I'll post some detailed pictures in a day or two, but the top half of the tub has a white coating that's chalky, crazed, and flaking. Underneath looks to be a very smooth, shiny gray surface. My guess is that the gray is the gel coat and someone painted it white at some point without a lot of prep.

    So my plan is to use a fiberglass-safe paint stripper to get the white off, scuff sand it all thoroughly with 120 grit, then prime and paint (with plenty of washing, cleaning, and degreasing along the way). Seem reasonable?

    The bottom half of the tub is black, and I haven't been able to look it over as closely yet. I'm going to have that sprayed with a Line-X or similar truck bed coating so I'm thinking I could skip the stripper, sand to rough the surface and remove any flakiness, then clean and have coated.
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  13. mikejjmay

    mikejjmay Been here awhile

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    Seems reasonable. Paint will only look as good as your prep, so lots of wet sanding with fine (1500) following that primer and in-between layers of top will be key. Maybe something less abrasive than 120? Don't want to risk going through the gel coat, and if you are able to chemically remove all the white you shouldn't need anything too aggressive. Better to start light, and go more aggressive only if needed.
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  14. rodhotter

    rodhotter Adventurer

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    sidecar willy, wondering how much steering effort is needed on your triumph cruiser? i have a 2012 mag wheel model i thought about trading on a comfy cruiser but getting little trade in $$$ for my upgraded bonnie changed my mind + the preowned motorvation spyder i got was mounted on an earlier T-100 with the same basic frame. that 06 roadster is the best model sportster with longer suspension + dual discs, should tug well after being sorted. i am a rookie as well + although pretty handy with wrenches, would not tackle mounting a chair from scratch, better safe than sorry! i was lucky to get a very nice chair on a triumph forum i belong to, it needed little work but prolly none for most, good luck getting an install.
    #14
  15. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    It took me a while to get around to it, but I finally had inmate Stanimal mount the Monza onto the Sportster. Today was the big pickup and maiden voyage, my very first time riding a sidecar rig, 50 miles home from his shop.

    My impressions as a brand new n00b who has no Idea what a sidecar should feel like: First off, what a blast. I was grinning like an idiot the whole way.

    There are a couple of things that will either take some getting used to, or will need to addressed somehow (kind of hard to know which at this point with no experience). First, the bike pulled to the right quite a bit. I expected that to some extent because of drag from the car and the crown of the road. Second, the steering was heavy. I expected that partly because of the front end geometry of the bike and partly because of the relatively narrow handlebars, but it seemed REALLY heavy. Again, maybe that's just the nature of the beast, I just don't know. But the pull and the heavy steering combined to make the ride a little more physically demanding than I anticipated.

    I'll be spending the rest of the summer putting some miles on the rig and dealing with maintenance and mechanical things that I know need done, then maybe I can get it painted to match over the winter.

    The first thing is to get a new tire on the sidecar. What's on there now is a 4.00-10. Any opinions about whether something like a 90 or 110 width might work?

    20170806_173011.jpg 20170806_173021.jpg
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  16. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

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    I did put a newly made Isetta tire on my Monza... no problem so far


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  17. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'm seeing 4.80-10 being mentioned online as the Isetta tire size, is that what you put on your Monza?
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  18. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    You're doing it right!

    "First"; the rig should be set up to track straight on the roads you will ride the most. You shouldn't have to struggle with the car pulling to the side most of the time.

    "Second"; Do get wider bars, and I'm sure you can get triple clamps to adjust the rake and reduce steering effort.
    #18
  19. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Now that the hard work of fabricating the mounts and getting it at leat close is done I'm feeling like I could tweak the setup myself. I know it's a multidimensional geometry problem, but what might the necessary adjustment be to correct a pull to the right?
    #19
  20. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Either toe in or lean out. Have you watched one of the set up videos?
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