1200 Bandit, and the twenty year search for sidecar perfection

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Jeff 8, May 20, 2020.

  1. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    The story begins in 2000, when I had two young kids and a Triumph Sprint with a single HRD sidecar, it was adequate and very pretty, but with bike wheels and tele forks was heavy steering and hard on tyres. I was tossing up whether to spend up on leading links and car rims, but with the growing children, would soon need a bigger sidecar. A chance encounter in a local bike shop saw me cross paths with a crashed 1999 1200 Bandit. The forks and front wheel were wrecked, but it had low kilometres, and was almost new. I chased it to an insurance auction and bought it for much less than I thought it worth, got a John Marshall double sidecar from a good friend who had bought it but not used it and we were away.

    I sent the lot to Bob Martin Engineering in Melbourne to have the sidecar fitted, leading links and 15 inch wheels made, then picked it up a couple of months later. I had wanted car tyres all round, but was convinced by Bob Martin to go with a 15 inch bike tyre on the front. It was far from finished and probably still isn't, so it took a bit to get it ready for registration. I sold the Triumph HRD combo in February 2001 which gave me the money needed to finish the Bandit, so I never had the two on the road at the same time.

    My 1994 Triumph Sprint with HRD sidecar, one of the last sidecars fitted by the late Ron Hurdis.
    WP_20141221_026.jpg The unfinished Bandit, with my son, who is now considerably bigger.
    WP_20141221_023.jpg Nearly ready for registration, just need some lights on the sidecar.
    WP_20141221_024.jpg
    #1
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  2. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    Seven front tyre combinations I have tried over the years.


    I never rode this, it was just to move the bike about, but it looked pretty with the gold wheel.
    17-120t.jpg I never rode this one either as the tyre was borrowed from a friend's race bike and he didn't want it flat spotted.
    17-120.jpg This set up I rode for about fifteen years with the rear tyre from a Virago 130/90-15. It was good unless you wanted to stop in the wet. Tried different brands, but all very similar.
    15-130m.jpg
    After buying my wife a Suzuki Swift to replace her own Bandit, I played around with her spacesaver spare and found it would fit, then found a Nankang the same size, 135R15. It was great, a different feel to the bike tyre, almost as good on fast dirt, but way better stopping in the wet.
    15-135.jpg Next was a 145R15 Nankang, possibly the best I have tried, as good as the 135 Nankang, but lasts longer.
    15-145.jpg After getting flat tyre near home, I stuck this 140/90-17 on, it was ok, but was only temporary until I could get the 15 inch rim to seal. I also bought a 17 inch spacesaver as an experiment, more on that later.
    17-140.jpg
    Jeff
    #2
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  3. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    The 17 inch spacesaver took a bit to seat, needing a ratchet strap to get it to seat the bead. It looks great in the photo, but once I pumped it up it ended up as rounded as the bike tyre it replaced. I rode it around the block, then went back to the 145 Nankang.
    17-145.jpg
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  4. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    As seen in the above photos, I replaced the original calipers as I was never happy with them, they were good with new pads, but once half worn they felt rubbish. I scored some ZX12 calipers at a good price and they bolted straight in. Add some new HEL lines and front was sorted. When I got the sidecar from BME, it had the Mini drum plumbed into the rear master cylinder which resulted in excessive pedal travel. When the slave cylinder went I bypassed the sidecar brake and ran without for a few years, as I was taking the kids less this wasn't a big issue, but I liked the better feel from the pedal. After a while I was wanting the sidecar brake back, and copied the set up from a disabled friend's SV650 with two master cylinders and two pedals. I can use either or both pedals, but it is easier with shoes than bike boots. WP_20160106_002.jpg WP_20160109_007.jpg
    #4
  5. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    I came across a radial caliper on ebay and thought it would be a good upgrade for the rear, the only problem was the huge chunk of 7075 aluminium, most of which hit the floor costing more than originally planned. Brakes are great all round now, just need to replace the fluid in the front as it's been two years and starting to get a touch spongy. WP_20161203_002c.jpg
    #5
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  6. High Octane

    High Octane Long timer Supporter

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    My 1200 Bandit. I call it the Bumblezookie. I also run a 145 Nankang in the front.

    913096A1-F4CC-413D-87A2-E0414E95EB92.jpeg

    14B3B261-347B-4CDD-8A0F-E220743B0FDB.jpeg
    #6
  7. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    After many kilometres and many repairs to the swingarm mount I took it apart and had a friend do a proper job of stopping the cracking. I also replaced the body mounts with anti vibration blocks. WP_20161120_003.jpg WP_20161120_007.jpg WP_20161231_001.jpg WP_20161231_008.jpg WP_20170108_017.jpg
    #7
  8. WILL_S

    WILL_S OUTLAW POSTIE 001

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    @DRjoe might be a solution
    #8
  9. brstar

    brstar Long timer

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    I noticed the side that cracked was the one without the long triangular gusset.
    Interesting to try and work out which way the stresses are coming from and going to.

    [​IMG]
    I'm sure you had your drink cups... er thinking caps on.
    #9
  10. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    The triangular gusset was from when the other side cracked.
    #10
  11. brstar

    brstar Long timer

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    Thought as much.
    #11
  12. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    Nice tribute to Aussie exceptionalism :clap I've said forever you guys where the highest users of ADV style chairs :-)
    #12
  13. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars Supporter

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    Love it ..........................but I would move that brake line to above the frame. Wouldn't want that catching on rocks etc.
    #13
  14. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars Supporter

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    BTW DJP sidecars used to crack at the same point all the time. The channel was very thin on the original chassis. Forever welding and gussetting them until I built my own however I like what you have done for a fix to yours and I reckon that should fix the problem ( I hope ).
    #14
  15. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    That was my first one, going to the TTT Rally guess what happened. I have a new one and will reroute it above when I replace the park brake cable.
    #15
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  16. Jeff 8

    Jeff 8 Been here awhile

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    When I registered the Bandit, it had a park brake that met the legal requirements, but was a pain to use. At some point the cable broke at the drum end and I didn't miss it until this year when I broke my foot. I would start the bike and warm it up with my foot on the rear brake when it was on a slope, but with my right foot in a cast, wasn't able to do it. I wanted something that I wouldn't forget, and something I could reach without removing my hands from the bars. At last years Alpine Motorcycle Rally, I saw someone with a lever from a Yamaha Raptor so that was what I wanted. Fitting it was a little awkward, as where I first wanted it fouled the tank, then the second attempt it fouled the tank bag. WP_20150919_003.jpg 20200530_154520.jpg 20200530_154529.jpg 20200530_154548.jpg
    #16