Powered wheelchair sidecar build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Agent Wayward, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Conceived in May 2011 for a customer with a very special set of requirements, this build has been exciting, fun, extraordinary and rewarding.

    The young man in question spends most of his time in a powered wheelchair, his Dad is a lifelong biker, he's a huge bike fan himself, and especially loves sidecar racing.

    Here he is at a young age, with his Dad's Z1300

    [​IMG]

    He was basically fed up with being transported in the back of an MPV and just wanted to ride with his Dad, out in the open. After some discussion we decided that we could build him a sidecar that would fulfill his brief.

    The brief was to build a sidecar outfit that would be fun, fast, look cool, not look like a disabled wagon, last a long time and basically, give him the feeling of riding a bike, so far as possible.

    We started with a Triumph Rocket III. Massive 2300cc engine, loads of torque, very strong chassis, shaft drive.

    A suitable donor bike was bought and registered in his name.

    Here he is picking up the bike.

    [​IMG]

    So, we had a bike and a brief, time to build a sidecar!
    #1
  2. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    One part of the design brief was "make it fat" !

    We decided to use wide car tyres all round, the first one went on the standard Rocket rear rim, due to the space limitations there wasn't enough room to fit even a custom made wheel on the rear hub. This is a 245 section tyre.

    [​IMG]

    This was the first of many modifications to the bike.

    Here's the subframe, which was made to take the lower two sidecar mountings and also the rear set foot controls which were to be made to replace the standard footboards.

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    And here's the subframe in situ. At this stage, the bike still has the standard front end and is otherwise unmodified.

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    Threaded plugs are welded into the tube, to take the sidecar mounts, which will be FAT and made from stainless.

    You can see a platform on the right, which is what was used to work out the final height of the sidecar floor.
    Given that a certain amount of ground clearance is required, plus the height of the seat on the powered wheelchair, we needed to get this right. We also had to allow room for the loading ramp to stow underneath the floor of the sidecar, so that it would be out of sight when on the road.
    #2
  3. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Here we are working out that critical height. As you can see, that wheelchair is a beast!
    The rectangular section steel tube is what will be used to make up the base frame of the sidecar.

    [​IMG]

    The base frame needed to be considerably stronger than most sidecars, due to the weight of the wheelchair, also, the fittings needed to be immensely strong. The plan was to build this most important part of the sidecar first and get it onto three wheels as soon as possible.
    The base frame had to also carry the loading ramp, which again had to be very substantial.
    Here's the base frame, complete with suspension mounting point, swingarm pivot and sidecar mountings. The sidecar mountings on the far side are part of the welded construction, although they do have limited adjustment of course. This sidecar was built to be permanantly attached, this will always be an outfit.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a close up of the fittings, the upper arms are built out of tube with welded, threaded plugs which take the stainless fittings. These upper arms have one left hand and one right hand thread, to make for easy adjustments without removing them. The stainless fittings were all machined from solid. FAT!

    [​IMG]

    Here's another shot of the lower mountings:

    [​IMG]

    and one of the clevis bolts that fits into the base frame:

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    OK, so we have a subframe, some fittings and base frame.

    We're going to need something to hang that third wheel off.

    Here's the swingarm. Stainless tube of course, incorporating mounts for the mudguard, hub and brake caliper.

    I like this so much I want to keep it and hang it on the shop wall!

    [​IMG]

    Here's the swingarm in place on the frame. The hub was machined from aluminium alloy to suit a Ford brake disc. The fully adjustable suspension unit was built for the outfit with what we decided was the correct load spring. Those suspension units will be used all round on the bike as well.

    [​IMG]

    I guess we need a wheel now, here's a FAT one!

    [​IMG]

    And from the inside:

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Neat break down to a great build for all the right reasons.
    #5
  6. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Lots more to come, more tomorrow!
    #6
  7. ADV NY

    ADV NY unsportsmanlikeTAGER

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    Kick Ass, This thread really rocks, Thanks for sharing I am looking forward to the updates:clap
    #7
  8. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Your right that swingarm is pure art, awesome workmanship. Nice to hear the lad will be able to ride with his dad! :clap:clap:clap
    #8
  9. RushmanHD

    RushmanHD n00b

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    #9
  10. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    So, we had a rolling chassis, next up, change that front end.

    We decided on leading links in stainless, wide new aluminium yokes and a FAT car wheel to match the sidecar.

    The yokes were machined to take all of the original lights, bars and horn etc.

    The front hub was machined from aluminium and once again, used a Ford disk, this time a ventilated one with a four pot caliper. The links use taper roller bearings in the linkages. Those fully adjustable shock absorbers match the sidecar.

    Here it is: (all that stainless will be polished later)

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    Here's a close up of the other side:

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    And the brake side:

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Lambo

    Lambo Been here awhile

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    :clap:clap:clap

    Really nice fabrication...good on ya. Any info to share on the shop/equipment used?
    #11
  12. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Thanks Lambo, my company is Motopodd, we are based in England, UK.
    #12
  13. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    So, now we need the body. This was built as a one piece aluminium welded construction, which bolts down onto the base frame which has tapped holes to accept it.

    Here's a shot of the body on the frame, the top section is not yet in place.

    [​IMG]

    And now we need the top frame, built from stainless tube, here it is in place.

    [​IMG]

    Inspiration for the top frame design came from the Ariel Atom sports car.

    Here's the frame with the completed body and showing the front mudguard (also aluminium).
    The rollover bar forms part of the back gate, which opens to allow access. Pics of the back and inside later!

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. downunder123

    downunder123 Adventurer

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    One of the most awesome builds i've seen! Will you have reverse?
    #14
  15. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Thanks, we've enjoyed building it.

    We did offer reverse, but the customer's father decided he didn't need it after years of riding a (different) Rocket, he is used to parking carefully.
    #15
  16. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Moving to the inside, we have a loading ramp built from checker-plate on a steel tube ladder frame with nylon rollers. This stows underneath the floor of the sidecar when not in use and is held in place by the rear gate.
    There are electronic seat belt type devices that when powered are free to unroll and when not powered, lock.
    By pressing a button on the sidecar's handlebar, they become free and are pulled out and hitched onto the front of the wheelchair. The rider drives the wheelchair up into the sidecar, by which time the power is cut to the belts by a timer relay. Once in position the rider reverses slightly to tension the front belts.
    The rear belts are then put in place, (they slide over the discs you can see on the floor towards the rear, and tensioned.
    The ramp is stowed and the gate closed - ready to ride!

    Here's a shot of the inside: (not complete, much work to do on the interior, but the clocks are mounted on the bars)

    [​IMG]

    Here's a test loading sequence of the powered wheelchair:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    The number plate was chosen to symbolise the Rocket, the number 3 (which was a design cue from the triple engine) and the customer's initials.
    #16
  17. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars

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    Adelaide,South Oz
    That is one excellent build. I wish all parents were like you. Just a small tip though. I've noticed you welded the bottom mounts to the sidecar chassis. I used to have a chair many years ago with mounts just like that (with gussets) and the chair was a lot lighter than yours but one day riding along a dirt track the body decided it wanted to get a closer look at my left leg. Both front an rear mounts tore, yes I mean tore away from the chassis leaving 2 neat little holes. The weld didn't break, the host metal tore around the welds so keep an eye on it every so often. I ended up making new mounts using a dirty great big bolt. Never broke again.

    3legs
    #17
  18. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward Been here awhile

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    Thanks, but I'm not the parent, I own the sidecar company doing the build!

    Thanks for the tip, to be honest I'd be amazed if those mounts broke, they are heavy guage steel tube with heavy plate gussets. The load is spread well.

    Always wise to keep a check on mounts regularly though! It doesn't do to be complacent in this game.
    #18
  19. miggins11

    miggins11 Been here awhile

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    Wow - what a great outfit that will be on completion! Did you make the front end?
    #19
  20. sh0rtlife

    sh0rtlife Been here awhile

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    thats a hell of a build going on there...being my mothers dissabled and raced dirt bikes for a time long ago..shes been begging me to build a sidecar that i can transfer her into for the side of my xl600 lol
    #20