Thinking about giving a sidecar a try....few ?'s....

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by leeinmemphis, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. leeinmemphis

    leeinmemphis Long timer

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    Hey everyone,

    I have been riding motorcycles for about 20 years. I currently have a HD RoadGlide that I really enjoy but I have two sons that I would like to be able to carry with me. I'm thinking about maybe putting together a sidecar setup and had a few questions. I'ld be interested in picking up a FJR1300, ST1300, Vstrom, or a GS1200 to hook it to. Is any of these bikes an acceptable platform for setting up a road worthy sidecar setup? I'm looking to be able to take maybe 5-6 trips a year(say 10k miles a year) so it'll need to have some windprotection for them. Also I've seen some that still allow the bikes to lean some when turning. Are these a proven design and reliable enough trust having my kids in it? The other thing I want to check is if there is any mods that have to made to the bike? I didn't know if it would be possible to unhook the SC and still be able to use it like a conventional motorcycle?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    #1
  2. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

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    http://www.sidecar.com/links3.asp USCA (That'd be United Sidecar Association) has downloadable books on sidecar use and installation.

    http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/SCT/ Internet Sidecar Owner's Klub - lot's of commentary; moderator (Claude) posts here too.

    IMHO (and I'm no installer) any of those machines would be okay as a tug. We had a leaner show-up at the Yakima "UNrally" this Memorial day - I was given the impression they (Flexit, I think, was the manufacturer) are somewhat rare, although there may be other brands. Owner of that rig was very pleased with it - there's commentary on that at the yahoo SCT list.

    There's a sporty with Velorex for sale here, on Seattle Craigslist going for a reasonable price... been up there for at least a couple months.
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/709031003.html

    Mod's run the gamut; Leading Link front end, modified triple tree, aux gas tank, car battery substituted for motorcycle, "square" profile or car tires, additional lights, etc...

    If you've already got a motorcycle, keep it. Buy another one, or a rig that's already put together and leave that as a dedicated combination... just my two cents. It is possible to separate the combination should you so desire, but why bother?
    #2
  3. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Long timer

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    Spend some time at www.sidecar.com and get to know some dealers / installers. (shoot, that reminds me I'm sposed to call Claude!) Anyway, the choices are mind boggling, and it would behoove you to lurk there. Bikes as small as 600cc can handily pull a tug, depending on weight and gearing. 1000cc is basic for most people who carry loads on the freeway.

    Seems like most newer bikes need a subframe. I recommend SC tires- especially of you're going to put that many miles on. Withthose 2 mods alone, it becomes a PITA to take the tub off because riding solo on square tread tires is vewy scawey.

    The main thing that freaks a LOT of people out is that when you add a 3rd wheel, it becomes a 2-track vehicle and is no longer a motorcycle. Read that again out loud. It handles completely differently.
    #3
  4. eastbloc

    eastbloc comprador bourgeois

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    It has about as much fun in common with a motorcycle as it does a helicopter :lol3
    #4
  5. dmobrien2001

    dmobrien2001 n00b

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    Yup. Different beast entirely.... I'm hooked. Bought a 2006 Ural Tourist LX and sold off my Zuke DL1000. If the tugboat goes TU, I'm pulling the hack off and putting it on another tug.
    #5
  6. hp2rider

    hp2rider Adventurer

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    Hannigan is in your neck of the woods great guy
    I put over 50,000 miles with my 4 girls on a hacked LT with a 2+2 from him My wife who would take one on her bike and 3 would go with me
    they still speak about it many years latter memories are priceless

    Steve


    #6
  7. MikeS

    MikeS For sure let's do it

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    As said above, I'd look for a rig already set up. In the used market, set up rigs are not a hot item, so prices are better. If you really plan to put on 10k per year, assuming a lot of highway travel, you also should learn about what makes them good for long travel.

    I do a lot of long travel on mine, and know other hack pilots who do the same. Almost exclusively, those rigs have a car tire on the rear drive wheel plus front steering with reduced trail. That can be a leading link fork or ez steer, or other similar systems. Those are the main issues I recommend for long travel. There are other issues and modifications that you'll need to consider.

    Depending on how the rig is set up, and whether it's set up for how you want to use it, you'll either love it or hate it. Do your research and talk to hack pilots at rallies so you make a good decision.

    If you want to cruise at interstate speed, a motor with 1100cc or larger is what I recommend. The ST is one mule I'd like to find combined with an EZS or similar set up rig. I know a fellow with a ST1100/EML rig, that is very nice. A MotoGuzzi is a good mule because of the frame on the bike. If you're happy puttering along at 55 to 60, the Ural is worth considering. I understand they are more reliable now, compared to 5 years plus ago.

    The United Sidecar Assoc. has their annual rally at Duluth, MN this weekend. Go to sidecar.com to get the details. Worth the trip to talk to hack pilots and see lots of rigs first hand. I'll be there on Saturday.
    #7
  8. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    Considering current model motorcycles produced in USA and Japan, it seem to be that only cruiser-type frames are suitable for sidecar mounting, without having to modify the frame; as in the use of a subframe.

    From Italy, the Moto Guzzi still retains a lower craddle . . .

    From Russia & China, the Ural, Dpnier, and CJ still use frames much as they were in mid-20th century- - although recently-built units have swingarms instead of plunger-mounted rear axles. Most CJs exported are the earlier plunger-type.

    http://www.motorvation.com/mntdiag1.htm
    (Sidecar Mount parts - Motorvation)

    http://www.dauntlessmotors.com/Mountinghardware/steering_mods.htm
    (several types of Trail-Reduction steering mods)

    http://www.sidecar-industry.com/techpages.htm
    (Sidecar Industry Council "Setting-up a sidecar")
    This page shows FOUR frame types with reccommendations for 4-point mounting positions.
    #8
  9. blkhrt81

    blkhrt81 Been here awhile

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    Why not just hang a TLE on the Road King? Factory mounts should be available, should have lots of grunt and can always be dropped if you want to go back to solo?
    I mounted a Velorex on my Scrambler, took a full day to build the subframe etc but I can drop the whole thing in about 20 minutes.
    #9
  10. horst

    horst n00b

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    could you put some pix on the net to show how you mounted the side car? I am thinking of mounting one on my KTM690SM. Problem is that I will need a support frame as the engine is part of the frame... Any good ideas? thanks a lot, horst

    #10
  11. blkhrt81

    blkhrt81 Been here awhile

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    Bowden Alberta, Buguruslan Russia
    #11