1. ADVRIDER Print Magazine!
    We're doing two more print magazines this year. July & November. 144 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase both for $35.
    Dismiss Notice

[Actual] LBS-Sidecars USA | Adventure Sidecar Build Thread #1 | 2013 BMW R1200GSA + URAL

Discussion in 'Hack Vendors' started by LBS-USA, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Hmm, all I needed to do was shift the end of a clevis 2.5mm. Hammer is not elegant, a $150.00 hydraulic tool enabled me to align with precision and keep powder coating intact.
    #21
    SLACKER and DRONE like this.
  2. brstar

    brstar Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,779
    Location:
    Shoalwater Western Australia
    Hammer not elegant?
    You've never done any blacksmithing then.
    #22
    MGV8 and Bobmws like this.
  3. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    So, last we left you, we had the hardware essentially assembled, and were ready to dive into the wiring mess, the standard parting gift I find on every used bike I work on from the PO and dealer. In fact, this one looks better than most:

    20210220_134754.jpg


    With a long list of electrical farkle to install, deconstruction is the order of the day to expose all factory harnesses:

    20210221_204036.jpg

    20210221_203808.jpg


    With the offensive bits removed, we're ready to begin a full-on re-wire. If you look closely, you can see we've already routed in some marine-grade, fully-tinned, fine strand wire from the cockpit backwards, all gathered in woven split loom:

    20210221_203751.jpg

    20210221_203742.jpg


    I tried to love the heavy-gauge Euro steel fender that Ad sent in the kit for this build, together with a fender rack with pre-installed LED running and brake/tail lights, but I just couldn't stand it. I know many are happy with the inexpensive/plastic-bodied LED light assemblies one can by from China, but not on my watch. The good old URAL fender and light took 5 hours of messing around to modify and install, but it just looks right, the paint finish is far superior, the individual bulbs are automotive LED replacements, and if needed, parts are available from any URAL dealer:

    20210222_133804.jpg

    20210222_133742.jpg


    The only downside of the URAL assembly is that they depend on chassis ground, which is about as undependable as it gets. We'll lace discrete ground wires from both light assemblies all the way to the fuse/relay/power distribution block we've installed in the trunk (more on that when we get there). For now, we at least have a rolling chassis:

    20210222_142731.jpg
    #23
  4. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Finally received the tub's suspender from Touratech-USA today! Their most excellent Explore Front Shock (for the Oilhead R1200GS/A). Our chassis/trailing arm can accept a standard GS TeleLever shock, an ESA shock, or a DESA shock. How well the latter two work on a hack, and with the ESA/DESA firmware, sensors and settings is something we're still learning, but this unique chassis feature gives us lots of options. As for the Explore shock, it's a thing of beauty:

    20210224_141044.jpg
    #24
  5. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    We're deep into the wiring phase. Here's a bit of electrical farkle that I've fab'd up to upgrade the accessory outlet in the URAL tub:

    ural_bluesea_dash_01.jpg


    I had five blanks made. Material is rosewood, and simply fine sanded and rubber with pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil. Super easy to refinish, brings out the color in the rosewood, and waterproofs it with nothing more than a soft cloth. Here is the dry-fit install of the complete dash for the tub. I know you can buy a similar product from some dealers, but I use a marine-grade Blue Sea Systems Below Decks panel, top-shelf product, and they're headquartered here in my home state of WA:

    ural_bluesea_dash_02.jpg


    The Blue Sea panel is configurable. Dual 2.1V USB charge ports, standard 12V cigarette light socket, or a waterproof, sunlight readable OLED 12VDC panel meter is available. All components come with rain-proof weather covers. And OF COURSE, the panel is secured with stainless steel screws:

    ural_bluesea_dash_03.jpg


    That's not simply a lighted power switch, it's a sealed, resettable Carling Technologies 15A circuit breaker as well:

    ural_bluesea_dash_04.jpg


    As always, wiring is all marine-grade as well, ANCOR fully-tinned fine-strand wire, double-crimp, insulated terminals. All you need to do is run one +12V power wire to the open terminal in the breaker, and a ground wire to the doubler on the 1st socket from the right:

    ural_bluesea_dash_05.jpg
    #25
    We're Here, MGV8, Motoblag and 4 others like this.
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,900
    Location:
    Tacoma - ish, WA
    Very cool, especially that circuit breaker. But what's this about a doubler on the 2nd socket from the right? Your right or my right? Looking from the front or the back? Wait a minute! Zoom in. Zoom in some more. A little more. AHA! THERE IT IS - behind that yellow wire going to that one socket. Which socket is that one? Oh, yeah, the 1st one from the right, next to the circuit breaker. :lol3
    #26
    LBS-USA likes this.
  7. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It was a test.

    You passed :rayof!

    Corrected . . .

    Thanks!
    #27
    DRONE likes this.
  8. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Got the Touratech Explore shock installed on the chassis today. Note this is the standard front shock for an R1200GSA (Oil-Cooled), thus, we can supply a 100% Touratech suspension system for those who want super robust suspenders, especially if they venture off-pavement on a regular basis:

    20210228+tt_shock_01.jpg

    20210228+tt_shock_02.jpg


    The spring initially supplied is a 90-205 TT 23 20, and I find it overly stiff, even at minimum preload. Fortunately, Touratech will swap the spring for a lower rate at no additional charge:

    20210228+tt_shock_03.jpg


    Although many rigs (if not all) that I've seen from sidecars builders here in the States install a sub-$150 (retail) Hagon, IKON or Progressive entry-level shock on builds costing $10K to $20K, my experience on GlobeRiders tours on five continents have clearly proven the value of good-quality, properly set-up shocks for both highway and adventure rigs. Fortunately, BREMBO seems to own the market and aftermarket for brake calipers, and like most builders here, we use a correctly sized BREMBO caliper:

    20210228+tt_shock_04.jpg


    Our fabrication facility in Holland has the tooling to build top-quality, custom stainless steel braided brake lines, fully swaged, utilizing tooling and components from GOODRIDGE in the UK, one of world's foremost manufacturers of fluid transfer systems:

    Attached Files:

    #28
    MGV8, SLACKER, High Octane and 3 others like this.
  9. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,493
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Stopped by today with my hack. I must say. Mike is running an impressive operation. Got to see this build in person. There is passion and love in this build and it shows.
    #29
    MGV8, LBS-USA and DRONE like this.
  10. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    So far, the majority of builds I've received commissions for have our leading link front suspension on the build sheet. Like most fabricators that offer leading links for TeleLever-equipped Beemers, LBS-NL includes a rigid strut to replace the motorcycle's front shock, as the kit also includes twinshocks installed on the stanchions and leading link.

    The result is that a very costly, and in most cases, highly-serviceable BMW OEM front shock winds up being Flea Marketed or collecting dust on the take-off shelf. Since the take-off front shock is a somewhat unusual stem-to-eye configuration instead of the more common eye-to-eye, or eye-to-clevis, the OEM shock couldn't be re-purposed as a sidecar shock, as fabricators built chassis designed to accept eye-to-eye or eye-to-clevis shocks since there cheaper. To keep costs down, builders would usually install an entry-level IKON, Progressive, EMGO or Hagon shock on the chassis - an inferior shock compared to those on the bike, as if suspension on the tub wasn't important.

    Suspension is EVERYTHING! As an adventure sidecarist, I've travelled around 80 countries across five continents with GlobeRiders and MotoDiscovery. The most common "catastrophic failure" I saw on these tours were shock failures - I could write a book.

    As our first design project, I convinced Ad (LBS-NL) we should collaborate on an all-new LBS GS+URAL chassis. To save our clients their hard-earned money, reduce the waste of take-off components, and give the chair a suspension system as good as the tub, we designed the our shock tower and trailing arm to accept a TeleLever's front stem-to-eye standard, ESA or DESA front shock for those client's who opted for our leading link. We could re-purpose an otherwise costly take-off shock, and save the cost of having to buy a quality shock for the chair.

    Here is the install (I posted this photo previously):

    20210216_171645.jpg


    For those on a more limited budget, we install our trail reducer lower fork cross brace on the bike, and a high-quality Touratech, Tractive, Wilbers or other manufacturer's TeleLever stem-to-eye front shock on the tub:

    20210308_172338.jpg


    For anyone selecting a shock for their tub, there is always the question of spring rate. From what we've learned, and thanks to recent posts by @MVG8:


    . . . and others, we've confirmed it's pretty safe to assume the weight distribution on a sidecar outfit is: 30% front, 50% rear, 20% side. And the corollary is, if you've dialed in the spring rate for your bike's front shock, a good starting point for the tub's shock is 2/3rds that of the front shock. For this build, the front shock's spring rate is 90Nm, so I've selected a spring rate of 60Nm for the chair. And if I need to adjust, a great reason for buying a Touratech shock is they will re-spring a new shock for you!

    Another common sidecar failure we see is the tub's fender mounting. In selecting materials for sidecar bodies and fenders, there is religion in FRP/GRP vs. steel. Both are suitable, it's how they are mounted that matters.

    We provide some level of shock isolation that some builders forgo. I love the URAL sidecar body and its forward pivot bushings and rear snowmen mounting system, which decouples the body load from the chassis. As you can see in the above photo, for a highway rig optimized for low CG and handling on paved roads, we install shock-isolating machinery mounts.

    Unlike the body, the fender is normally supported on the inside wall, and lower front/rear edges only, the bulk of the weight is cantilevered over the wheel, the outer edge is unsupported. To prevent fracturing and stress cracking, we mount the fender to our shock tower with $27.00 worth of stainless and rubber hardware. The fender is sandwiched between a rubber washer on the inside, and thick rubber bushing on the outside. Both are backed with large diameter fender washers. Flanged button head socket head screws secure the assembly, with a flat washer and lock washer used under the acorn nut. All threaded fasteners used in our builds are metric, just like the bike:

    20210308_151604.jpg

    20210310_105213.jpg
    #30
  11. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,900
    Location:
    Tacoma - ish, WA
    ^^^All excellent info.^^^ Thanks, Mike.

    One question, though -- the lock washer under the acorn nut. I've mounted my fenders in a similar way but I skip the lock washer in favor of blue locktite inside the acorn nut. I'm sure you debated this choice with yourself at some point. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this tiny detail? (Note: I carry a tube of blue in my onboard tool kit for field repairs.)
    #31
  12. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Hah! Loctite 242 Blue is liquid duct tape! As we are still in build mode, all fasteners are only loosely installed to make it easier to remove and re-install stuff as needed for whatever task is at hand. From my experience in working with marine technicians, we "dry fit" only during a build.

    Once a build is complete, we'll first "smoke test" all of the electrical circuits and accessories. If all is good, we'll then go through and apply 242 Blue everywhere it makes sense, then torque per spec, then mark each fastener head and washer with a paint pen to note it's properly torqued and provide a quick visual reference mark as a rotation check.

    In the case of the fender hardware, no 242 Blue yet, as we still have to install brake lines and an inline proportioning valve. The threads are under some tension from the locking washer, and also from compression of the rubber isolator. When we do the bolt check, we'll apply 242 to these, no reason not to.

    20210310_111232.jpg
    #32
  13. steam powered

    steam powered just a regular punk

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,087
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Mike, your spring calculations haven't allowed for the leverage ratio of the telelever or the angle that the shock is mounted in the original configuration.

    The effective spring rate of the telelever front end will be (actual spring rate X cos angle of shock from vertical) / (leverage ratio ^ 2).

    Once you have the effective spring, multiply that by 2/3 and add or subtract 5% for the effective spring rate desired at the sidecar wheel. Then multiply the effective spring rate by the sidecar swingarm leverage ratio squared (looks to be less than 1, i.e the mount is behind the axle?) and divide by the cosine of the angle the shock is off vertical.

    The reason that the the leverage is squared is that there is the leverage, but also the spring will only compress a smaller amount and springs are measured in N/mm. As an example, if we have a 90 N/mm spring and the leverage ratio is 2:1 and we compress the spring 1mm with a force 90N. Simple beam theory shows that that will take a force of 45N at the wheel. But to compress the shock 1 mm will require a vertical movement of 2mm at the wheel. So what the wheel sees is a spring force of 45N over 2mm of travel, or 22.5 M/mm effective spring rate.

    The adding or subtracting 5% is so that you don't end up setting up a harmonic resonance between the front and rear of the outfit, particularly on washboard. With cars, having this happen can lead to the car rolling end for end.
    #33
    LBS-USA likes this.
  14. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Noted, and thanks for the info, much appreciated! You are totally correct, the geometry is different.

    Two of my clients are the chief instructor of instructors, and a certified instructor, for the WA State STEP Program, (Sidecar, Trike Education Program), the learning and skills school for our mandatory 3-wheeled endorsement, required to operate a hack or trike on public highways.

    I have them available as test pilots. The initial spring rate was insanely high. Once the rig is street legal (final wiring this weekend, then sidecar hydraulics, then wer're good to go) they'll put it through its paces and provide me with feedback on how it handles. As I'm located 30 minutes from TT-USA, I can run down and have a different spring rate swapped out while I wait.

    If this isn't sufficient, I have a tuner/builder who has maintained and moded my vehicles for years. He tunes everything from Porsche track cars to 1,000HP+ 1/2-mile drag cars. He actually has a shock dyno, and best of all, is a motorcyclist.

    We'll get it dialed in.

    I would be (pleasantly) surprised if any other sidecar builder has these affordances available to them. I take suspension seriously. Depending on test pilots may seem a bit old school, but hey, even Boeing uses feedback from them to improve and certifyh the final design <g>!

    Here's our top-of-line leading link as an example:

    WhatsApp Image 2021-02-12 at 7.08.35 AM.jpeg
    #34
  15. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,326
    Location:
    +47.352472, -121.941635
    But, but....my Wilbers 642's are feeling a bit jaded...just kidding. They work REALLY well on this LL frontend, as I expect the TT/TracTive's will too.

    BB02FE1F-E582-457B-9160-39C7E445DE4A.jpeg
    #35
    Strong Bad, Bobmws, zookster and 3 others like this.
  16. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    You have one of, if not THE most sophisticated front-ends on an adventure hack in the Americas. Your Wilbers TS-642 Blackline suspenders are a gold-standard, and I'll freely admit that the quality of the surface machining and finish exceeds that of the Tractives. And your rig and graphics is just cool:

    FB_IMG_1563254125909.jpg

    20190714_184700.jpg

    20190714_184714.jpg

    20190714_184754.jpg

    20190715_145908.jpg

    But everything has a reason . . . .

    I was a huge fan of Touratech shocks before becoming a dealer. But Touratech only has monoshocks, not the lighter sprung/damped twinshocks our leading link is designed for. If TT offered suitable twinshocks, I'd buy theirs, but they don't, so I've put Ad and Tractive together with a request for special configuration twinshock set for our leading links, because as you know, but perhaps not everyone does, the TT shocks are manufactured for TT-AG by Tractive, so for those wanting an all-Touratech suspension package, I can at least offer twinshocks from the same manufacturer, Tractive up-front, TT in the back and on the side. The only difference is the Tractive orange anodize, and the TT-spec'd yellow/gold anodize.

    The Wilbers and Tractive twinshocks are twin sons of different mothers. Tractive is a Dutch company, they're about 15km from LBS-NL, so they actually went to meet with Ad in his shop, not theirs. Super great company to work with, and they too love sidecars. And, perhaps not such common knowledge, although Wilbers is a German shock, the founder and owner, is Dutch. He moved the manufacturing facility across the border from the Netherlands to Germany to escape the stiffer business taxation levied by the government in the Netherlands.

    Given your experience and background, I look forward to you testing-driving my next rig: our leading link, Tractives up-front, and TT on the other two corners.
    #36
    Strong Bad likes this.
  17. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,326
    Location:
    +47.352472, -121.941635
    Mike, I do expect that your new build with work just as good as my Wilbers 642 (Front), TT D-ESA (Rear) and TT Explore (Sidecar). As you know, and others have discussed, it's all about the "tuning". After much adjusting, I have found that I will need to reduce the spring rate on the sidecar's TT Explore in order to match it better with the bike side shocks. Looking forward to checking out your new(est) build.
    #37
    LBS-USA likes this.
  18. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Dan, yes, comparing Apples to Apples Compadre <g>. I'll have the "LBS-USA" Tractive twinshocks up front, piggyback reservoirs, threaded spring preload adjusters, rebound adjuster, hi and low speed compression adjusters, but will go "old school" with plane Jane TT non-ESA Explore shocks on the rear and tub.

    FYI, the Explore front shock for the sidecar came with a 90-205 spring installed. Even with zero preload, as stiff as a rigid strut. I ran down to TT-USA this morning, and they swapped it while I waited, I requested a 60-205. I installed it, and at now when I step on the passenger step on the chassis, I get some shock movement. I'll wait until we can test ride the rig to decide is I should drop to a 50-205.

    We should both head over and check out Helge's MOBEC!!!!!!!!
    #38
    fujinator and DRTBYK like this.
  19. LBS-USA

    LBS-USA Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    273
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    How to Build a Sidecar in Five Easy Steps:

    1. Assemble the mechanicals/hardware
    2. Wire it up
    3. Sort out the braking system
    4. Align
    5. Tune suspension
    Easy peasy, lemonsqueezy (from the Cambridge online dictionary no less!).

    We're still in Step 2! In our process, wiring takes more time than all the other steps put togther. I previously posted a photo of the typical dealer/previous owner wiring job that we completely rip and and do anew. This one is far better than most:

    20210220_134754.jpg


    The usual terminal stacks on the battery posts. Those awful P-tap, Posi-taps, Scotchlok insulation-piercing/strand-breaking "speed" connectors. Many of you have realized that in most cases, installing a Hex ezCAN CANbus controller or gateway makes for a super clean/configurable accessory install:


    Here's another previously posted photo of the ezCAN install I did on my STEPLER:​

    109592501_1606595039510497_1234821913536807813_n.jpg


    However, the client for this build expressed concerns about having a "hi tech" prgrammable device controlling accessories on the bike and tub, and he lives a long way from the nearest dealership, so we decided on an all-analog install.

    Found a new, weather-proof, all-in-one solution for installiing a a power buss, relays and fuses for accessories. Kit includes a snap-on cover with a full seal, back seals for both fuse and relay wires. The terminals are single-crimp, burt we'll apply adhesive-lined heat shrink over each. Fuse/relay block will be mounted inside the trunk of the URAL body. If you're interested, here is the Amazon link:


    20210314_081328.jpg


    So, you saw the original under-seat wiring on the bike. We're now moving one set of Clearwater lights over to the tub. Of course, the tub has a forward white running light, a front turn signal, a rear turn signal (on CANbus-equipped Beemers, each turn signal is an individual "listener" or "node" on the network, the front and rear turn signals are not wired in parallel), a rear red runniing light/tail light, a brake light, an ignition trigger for the tub's power-enable relay, the auxiliary driving lights, a 10AWG +12VDC cable, and a ground cable. With all of the circuits laced in, here's what you see under the seat now. Also, note that one one cable has been added to each of the battery terminal posts:

    20210314_074700.jpg


    . . . because we hid all the bike's accessory fuses and power relays under the tool tray:

    20210313_181828.jpg


    Also, we now have a commercial heat shrink/wire sleeve label-maker:

    20210313_181726.jpg
    #39
    zookster, Tourist64, Bobmws and 4 others like this.
  20. High Octane

    High Octane Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,137
    Location:
    South Dakota
    You forgot the part where you actually build the sidecar. Ya know like the designing, bending, welding, machining stuff

    But your wiring is fantastic and the least fun part, for me.
    #40
    LBS-USA likes this.