1st Time At Bat- A Hit or an Error?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Hookalatch, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    After 50+ years of being sidecar curious I finally have my 1st rig together. An Airhead/Ural combo that many of you will find boring but it has been an exciting project for me. The bike started life as a 1984 R80RT. A couple of years ago I went through it upgrading to a 1000cc top end and converting it to an S fairing. The paint may offend some purists but I like it. It has a gold pearl midcoat so the color changes depending on the light and viewing angle. Hard to capture the effect in a photo but it is pretty cool if you like that sort of thing. I only finished it yesterday and already have a list of the Good, Bad, and Ugly.


    Ural 011.JPG
    Ural 005.JPG
    Ural 010.JPG
    Ural 015.JPG
    Ural 024.JPG
    Ural 026.JPG
    Ural 045.JPG
    Ural 065.JPG
    Ural 054.JPG
    #1
  2. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Gorgeous!!!
    #2
  3. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Hit?? Frigg'n HOME RUN!!!
    #3
    Qwik likes this.
  4. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    First The Good.
    Overall I am very pleased with the aesthetics.

    The Bad (or at least not so good).
    I am editing my original post to reflect some of the issues and challenges I encountered during this build. For the Bad I show a few pictures of what I started with. I found the sidecar starting to rust away on the coast. $1200 and a 300 mile round trip and it was mine.
    Ural 015.JPG
    Ural 024.JPG
    Where it wasn't rusting the paint was cracking and I had to ultimately take it all down to bare metal. It was old enough it still had a made in the USSR tag in it.
    Ural 034.JPG
    It had been attached to a Harley before I bought it. Rather than modify the Ural frame to fit his bike, the previous owner just bolted the Ural frame on top of another frame.
    Ural 023.JPG

    The body had more than a dozen extraneous holes drilled in it that I welded up. Although the body didn't really have any major dents, the original body panels could have flowed together a little better so a thin layer of body filler took care of those areas.

    Ural 008 (3).JPG
    Ural 001.JPG

    Getting primer on it made it start to look a lot better.

    Ural 020 (2).JPG

    Bottom and inside painting done first.

    Cowboy Dressage 4-26-15 005.JPG
    Sidecar frame and all black parts painted with a hard, durable, industrial single stage paint.

    Ural 020 (3).JPG
    Body parts painted as previously described, a 3 part process. Color coat, gold pearl midcoat, and finally a clear coat. Painting isn't really my forte but they came out pretty good.

    002.JPG

    Edit: The other thing I thought was Bad was the track width. It looked excessively wide to me and I had it set up with the sidecar as close to the bike as possible. It worked out to a 51" track width- that was measuring center to center. Outside tire width measurements add a few inches. 5+ years later I haven't changed it.

    The Ugly
    I was also concerned with the length of my brake lines and the way the brakes were working. Because I am editing a 5+ year old post I need to put that info further down this thread which makes some of the comments I received seem to be out of order.
    #4
    moffit virtue and Carl Childers like this.
  5. jlong64

    jlong64 Adventurer

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    That bike/combo looks AMAZING!! Love the color and the detail work! Right on HOME RUN!
    #5
  6. ANKOF

    ANKOF Been here awhile

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    Nice rig and far far away from boring. If the track width works its ok.
    #6
    5x4 likes this.
  7. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Love the tastefully done (as in not too much) pin striping. Nice outfit.
    #7
  8. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars Supporter

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    Looks fantastic. Width is about right. You may want to go floating caliper. That will fix the brake problem.
    #8
  9. Carl Childers

    Carl Childers Ghost in the Machine

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    Ya knocked it outta' the park!
    #9
  10. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    those ATE brakes are marginal at best on a solo bike..... id be cutting off the caliper mounts and fitting some brembo calipers up front. I'm sure chris can help ya out with that. he's a wizard.
    #10
  11. Sidewise

    Sidewise Been here awhile

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    #11
  12. Sidewise

    Sidewise Been here awhile

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    Get them front brakes sorted and start having fun.
    #12
  13. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    RIDE REPORT
    Keep in mind I am a complete Noob. I have read everything I could find. Theory is one thing, actual field experience is a whole new experience. I was very humbled to say the least. I had to take my solo bike out just to assure myself I still had some skills.
    I have a very stiff shock spring on the Ural. The roads around here are in poor condition and that is being charitable. Lots of unevenness, hills, and tight turns. The first thing I noticed was the side to side rocking due to the road surface. At first I thought the rig was weaving but realized if I kept it straight ahead it stayed that way. At first I was nervous about going over 40mph and really slowed for the corners. I was going so slow I actually did a lot better on the right handlers due to the help I got accelerating thru the corner. More good news than bad. I have zero headshake at anything from zero to 60 mph- the fastest I have gone so far. Despite somewhat narrow bars the rig seems easy to steer at least at slow speeds. The leanout must be pretty close. It pulls a little to the right on high crown roads but is neutral or a very slow movement to the right on everything else. Really very little pull in any direction- I have to let the bars loose to feel it at all. There is almost no yaw when accelerating. When I test drove a new Ural the yaw at each shift was very noticeable.

    The rig does feel very twitchy. The slightest pressure on the bars will initiate a turn in that direction. However taking the turns at near normal speed does require some effort. The Ural I test drove was nowhere near this twitchy. Not sure what is normal so I will seek a professional opinion if I still feel it is not optimal after rechecking all the settings. I have read enough to know there is quite a learning curve. Of course I thought I would be better at this than most newbies. Humbling to realize I am normal and it will be quite a learning curve. It will help to have functional brakes but until I pick up the pace they are hardly needed.

    The Ugly aspect to the rig are the brakes. Going from Brembo brakes to the ATE I expected less braking power but hoped my careful assembly and alignment of the caliper would somehow make them great. It hasn't. They are new pads and doing better each time they are used but that is not the real problem. As long as the bike is going straight I still have front brake. Gentle turns don't upset them. On harder turns there is apparently enough flex in the Unit leading link forks that going for the front brake the lever comes all the way back and no brakes! Pumping brings pressure back. This is not something I am willing to live with since I do want to live.

    The Unit leading link forks were actually the very first thing I bought to start this whole project. I bought them from a fellow inmate that had never installed them. I felt committed at that point and started looking for the rest of what I needed. I found a used subframe for the bike before I ever found the sidecar. It took a while to gather everything because at the time my finances were somewhat limited.

    Banshee and Paragliding 001.JPG
    The fork setup didn't come with brakes. Since my Airhead was originally equipped with Brembo brakes and I needed ATE calipers I had to source a couple of those used and refurbished them.

    Banshee and Paragliding 068.JPG

    I continued having problems with having no front brake with the first pump of the brake lever after a series of turns. I first thought I was having an issue with air in the lines but it turned out to be a different problem. The solution is described a little further down this thread.
    #13
  14. ErictheBiking

    ErictheBiking Been here awhile

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    [

    Mentioning the brakes brings up the Ugly!
    Going from Brembo brakes to the ATE I expected less braking power but hoped my careful assembly and alignment of the caliper would somehow make them great. It hasn't. They are new pads and doing better each time they are used but that is not the real problem. As long as the bike is going straight I still have front brake. Gentle turns don't upset them. On harder turns there is apparently enough flex in the Unit leading link forks that going for the front brake the lever comes all the way back and no brakes! Pumping brings pressure back. This is not something I am willing to live with since I do want to live. I hope Chris can help with this too.


    This happened to the Tangerine Dream with Unit links. [Gus Bus thread]
    In the end Luke had to remove one of the disc rotors to reduce the flex.
    #14
  15. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    Thanks for that info. I spent time reading through as much of the thread I could find relating to the issue. Still don't understand if the issue is ultimately related to the BMW rotors and ATE calipers or the Unit forks since the Harley rotor and caliper apparently fixed the problem?
    #15
  16. DavePave

    DavePave Been here awhile

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    I think 51" track width is actually very good.

    Love that bike. Nice rig. Congrats - now go enjoy it.....
    #16
  17. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    Very nice it takes awhile to find out how and what you like sidecars are all subjective one mans perfect is another's disaster. You have some room out there for a automotive battery, an extra fuel tank or tool box.:clap:clap
    #17
  18. jgiacobbe

    jgiacobbe Long timer

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    Measured my Ural CT track to fit on a trailer yesterday. It is about 54 inches outside to outside. Your 51 inch track is about right. Rig looks good. It doesn't look wide to me. Your riding experience sounds about right too. Felt a rig was reeal twitchy until I relaxed a little. A steering dampener and some ride to e will fix that. Get you brakes sorted though. I like the rack on the car. I might need to steel the design to make myself an inexpensive rack.

    :clap
    #18
  19. 81twins

    81twins Been here awhile

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    Nice looking rig... Great job! A couple of things come to mind... First on the brakes. Could the soft brake
    lever be air in the system? On the rear brembo disc on the early 80's airheads the caliper often had to be removed and raised in order to bleed the system and get good pedal feel. Seeing the calipers as low as they are makes me wonder if bringing them up may release air that may be trapped. Have read of similar problems on other low mounted calipers where the bleed screw is very low. As for the twitchiness... I had an RT SCRig with unit forks and high bars that was stable... Went to a rig with lower wide "s" style bars and found the rig was twitchy. When I rode 2wheels with low bars I had some weight on the bars which I found was not necessary with the sidecar rig. Had to learn to let the rig have it's head with a gentle hand on the bars and found it tracked and was as as stable as the other rig. Perhaps....?
    #19
  20. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

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    Thanks for the compliments, ideas, and advice. I also am not sure I got all the air out of the brake system. Never had a problem bleeding brakes before but I did it several times before I had a consistent firm lever. I did the usual pump/drain about 3 times, gravity flowed about 3 master cylinders full of fluid, and back flushed. It was after the back flushing I finally got a decent feel. It was immediately after doing tight parking lot practice circles or going thru a series of twisty turns that the lever had no resistance until pumped.

    Edit. Repeated bleeding seemed to improve thing each time until I went thur a series of tight turns again. I was getting pretty good at automatically double pumping the brake lever but knew I needed a fix for the problem. I finally solved it by bracing up the Unit forks in 2 different areas. The brakes have worked very well ever since making those changes.

    Ural 012.JPG


    Ural 005.JPG
    Ural 009.JPG

    Ural 012.JPG
    Ural 011.JPG
    #20