Value of Short Test Ride

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Hookalatch, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    I think a sidecar may be in my future but I am still learning a lot by reading and keeping my options open. A Ural is a possibility but so are the bikes I already own. I have been planning to go to a Ural Demo ride this weekend but now that the date is near I am wavering. Its a 350 mile round trip and will take my whole day to go participate in the demo.

    They say you can putt around in the parking lot and "experienced" sidecar pilots can go 4 miles as a passenger and 4 miles as driver on some easy driving road. My previous "experience" with a side car rig was very limited and quite a long time ago. Not sure why some stranger would want to climb in the chair with me driving and vice-versa but that is how they do it.

    My question is, even if they determine I am qualified to do the 4 mile test ride is that enough to really make any kind of evaluation? Do you think the basic experience would transfer well to other type of outfits or are they all as different as motorcycles are different?

    If the dealer was any direction other than south it would make for an interesting ride/drive but 350 miles of freeway/highway driving and my entire day off for a few minute test drive is starting to sound foolish. On the other hand, with virtually no experience with sidecars, maybe a short test ride/drive would make me an instant convert.

    Your input is appreciated!

    Chuck
    #1
  2. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

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    the more you can do and see the better off you will be when it comes time to make a decision. And if you do end up with a Ural, it is really a good idea to get to know and establish a relationship with a dealer. Even the parking lot putt can yield some valuable insights. You can observe how well the machines operate, get a feel for some of the low speed quirks, and observe how the dealer and his crew operate. You get to spend a longday or a weekend looking at and playing with motorcycles- I don't see the down side.
    #2
  3. MartyL

    MartyL Been here awhile

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    Having the opportunity to test ride a rig before purchase comes few and far between. If your planning on buying a new Ural the trip is worth it. Also, check out Sovietsteeds.com ask questions and use the search feature. Lots of Ural knowledge there.
    #3
  4. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I would do it if I were you. I had zero experience with sidecars. I bought my first one after given a two mile ride in the sidecar. I told the seller we had a deal so he brought me to a parking lot to try it myself. We probably put three miles on it between us. OTOH, my older brother who is also a long time rider rode my rig for a half mile, got off, and said "Absolutely NOT for me."
    #4
  5. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    IMHO I think it takes a while to know if you really like sidecars so I don't put much value in a short test ride.
    Again IMHO you have to own one for a several months to know if you are going to be a long term owner.
    Most people say "What have I done" when they first drive their new purchase.:rofl
    #5
  6. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    The day I bought my previous Ural was my first time riding a sidecar bike. A friend dropped me off, I hopped on and rode 130 miles home. The first half hour was scary but them I felt okay.
    #6
  7. Marine By Choice

    Marine By Choice Sergeant 0311

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    Take the trip. It will be worth the time. And, if you deem sidecars are not for you, you will have a day on the bike! Ride safe.
    #7
  8. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

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    The good thing of the 4 miles ride: it does not have the time to steer you away from buying! You go on the sidecar, run in a parking lot and around the block.... easy does it....part with your money... and start discovering how tuff reading a sidecar is!!! When I went trying mine (I was on my Can Am), I even thought it was easier to ride than my other 3 wheelers....Bing, bang, boum: a credit sign and I am the proud owner of a Gear Up.... that was in 2011 and I DO NOT REGRET IT for a minute! But, gosh, the 1st 1000kms were hard on my arms and back!!
    #8
  9. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    I'd take it and hope the Ural people have the rigs prepped, I first rode one at a dealers test ride at a BMW rally.It was an 2010 Ural and was spooky on pavement but kind of fun on gravel but I thought I could live without a sidecar but another gentlemen at the rally informed me it was ill prepared and he thought the dealer was remiss. Since then I'm on my second rig and they take a bit to make your own. But I'm sure Ural doing this big marketing drive has them well setup.DB
    #9
  10. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    "My question is, even if they determine I am qualified to do the 4 mile test ride is that enough to really make any kind of evaluation? Do you think the basic experience would transfer well to other type of outfits or are they all as different as motorcycles are different? "

    No and no (although my only hack experience has been in my Ural).

    Perhaps not even what you are considering, but I would discourage anyone from buying a new Ural (or any bike for that matter) simply on the basis of a test ride.
    But if you're coming at it from the other angle (I WANT (need) a Ural!), then a test drive may steer you away from making an expensive mistake.
    Certainly there are many others on this forum with far more experience with hacks than me, but given that motorcycles are a minority of motor vehicles, hacks are a minority within a minority. Does USCA have a 1000 members?
    If you're considering a Ural, I'd +1 Marty's suggestion to hang out at SS for a while. Post up that you'd like a ride and I'm pretty sure someone close to you will show up at your door. I know I would if you were close to me.
    Jim
    #10
  11. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    Hello ...you may also want to contact Doug Bingham. If you are not familiar with Doug google the name. Been around sidecars for about forever. Say hello for me.
    Side Strider 5838 Arminta St., Unit 25 - Van Nuys, CA 91406-1924
    (818) 780-5542
    #11
  12. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    :eek1

    That's like a trip from your place, Claude, to Virginia Beach.

    Makes for a very long day
    #12
  13. Kayaken John

    Kayaken John Adventurer

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    I took a short test ride and enjoyed it but I would suggest going to a sidecar meet, talking to people who have a sidecar, reading up on the subject and getting on the web site Soviet Steed. Soviet is a great site and for getting information about URALS and sidecars. I read up on sidecars went to meets and checked out web sites. Side hacking is not for everyone so take your time. I am 70 Years Old and wish I had got one earlier. Good Luck. Kayaken John
    #13
  14. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    in San Diego last weekend, I CAN say that the test ride was for me, enough to have first-hand experience of some of the handling quirks and differences indemic to sidecars. Very enjoyable and enlightening.

    This was my first time in/operating a sidecar rig with over 30 years of riding, so it was a big eye-opener.

    My take-away was that while I havent ruled one out (any sidecar rig) in my future, it has taken a different position on my bucket-list of bikes and vehicles wanted, as a result of having now operated one if only for a few miles. Errrr, "clicks".

    No regrets, and worth the effort to go. My advice though, get there early as the registration and waiting process was rather lengthy.
    #14
  15. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    You are looking to spend a lot of money on a rig and are willing to go 350 miles for a test ride, Why not before you spend the time to do this instead give your self a mini vacation, take the train or fly up to the Seattle area or any where else for that matter where you can take a S/tep (sidecar trike education program) class. While it is still only in a parking lot it is a couple of days of really good training where you will be able to ride several different rigs not just a Ural.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #15
  16. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    SHOCKING NEWS:
    Sidecars can be very additive and it can be terminal. If the bug has bitten it is what it is.

    Yes, there will be a learning curve. Yes, one may go through a window of time where they wonder what they have gotten themselves into. Starting off on the right foot with anyone's help who has experience is not a bad thing at all. Some have different views and some are good and some not as far as advice goes but weigh the info yourself and in time you will gain from it.
    So, a short test ride isn't a bad thing but It also should not be the deciding factor in purchasing a sidecar outfit. Getting with other sidecar folks is a good thing. Yes, we may all be wacked out a little but in the end a sidecar is a very safe and fun means to spend a day on once you get used to it and begin to realize it is not a motorcycle any longer.
    All in all, I think you have been bitten by the sidecar bug and it is time call It what It is and begin your journey into sidecar land. You will be glad you did and I am quite sure everyone here will be glad you did also.
    Feel free to give me a call if you wish. No, not going to throw a sales pitch on you at all but maybe can help smooth out some of your present concerns.
    #16
  17. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    I know who he is and a little about Side Strider. I started riding motorcycles in SoCal and had an interest in sidecars for a long time. I even attended a couple of the early Griffith Park Sidecar Rallies in the mid 70's or so. I have just never followed through other than a near disasterous test ride of a Gold Wing outfit that the poor widow sent me off on with no instruction. It was a very hilly curvy road and like someone posted above, I knew within 1/2 mile that wasn't for me. That was quite a few years ago and I would like to reevaluate the idea.

    I appreciate all the feedback I am getting. For everyone suggesting SS I am registered on that forum and have done a fair bit of searching on it. I think the members may be a bit more biased regarding my questions.

    Chuck

    Chuck
    #17
  18. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    This is probably good advice if I knew for sure I was headed for a sidecar. Hence the test ride, given just 1 time a year as far as I can tell. And my questions if a short test ride would tell me much and if that experience would be similar in other rigs. A quick check online regarding your suggestion- it would take 4 days and cost me between $1200-1400. Probably money well spent if I knew I was getting a sidecar. But I am not sure that I am "looking to spend a lot of money on a rig" just yet.

    I appreciate all the responses. Support among sidecar enthusiasts seems very strong and that is attractive in itself. I got enough feedback to realize I can't just keep reading about other people's experiences and need to take the next step- whatever that might be.

    Chuck
    #18
  19. hdgypsyman

    hdgypsyman Part Time Adventurer

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    My first sidecar rig was a CB900 with a Hitchhiker sidecar that I put together myself from information gotten from the internet. It steered fine, rolled down the highway o.k., I rode it some but I never really fell in love with the whole thing. I traded that for a KLR650/Sputnik sidecar rig. I had had a KLR650 before and liked the bike, and I absolutely have fallen in love with my KLR650 sidecar rig.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that it has been stated many times that the bike and the sidecar have got to be a good match size and weight wise to work well together. I believe that the bike the sidecar is attached to has to match your particular riding style and fit your needs. I would suggest that you test drive the Ural keeping an open mind that you may or may not like all of the qualities of the Ural bike, but try to evaluate the experience of piloting a sidecar rig separate if you can. You might love piloting a Ural sidecar rig, or you might like piloting a sidecar but not neccesarily like the Ural platform. You might also come away from the whole experience thinking that this crazy third wheel thing is not for you..............
    #19
  20. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    You pretty exactly spelled out what I hope a short test ride will tell me. You are also correct in pointing out test rides don't come along all that often. I am leaning heavily towards doing the test ride even though I am realizing my riding environment is fantastic for my solo bikes, but it will be very challenging on a sidecar. The straight and level sections are few and far between.

    I didn't mention an additional motivation behind all this. Its my buddy, Meatloaf. I am fairly certain he will take to a sidecar. His favorite thing in the world is to ride in the back of a truck. He forces his way onto the golf cart my wife uses for feeding against her feeble protests. I can't keep him off pretty much anything I am operating. I have had many dogs over the last 6 decades and he is one of the best. He deserves a sidecar. I hope I like them too.

    [​IMG]
    #20