Adding a Watsonian Grand Prix Classic to a 2007 Triumph Bonneville

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by propforward, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Bobmws

    Bobmws Curmudgeon At Large

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    No sidecar brake, 200 lb pendulum pushing you to the left! Just one of the things you will learn to adapt to.
    Nice work overall, enjoy it.
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  2. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Thanks everyone for your comments and input, very much appreciated.


    :rofl I do need to clean up a bit. Actually that connector looks worse than it really is, but it's still a bit furry. It's mainly from dust getting on the dielectric grease, but needs sorting out when I make the junction connector.

    I'll check the brake out anyway - it's due a complete flush, and likely getting close to needing new pads, so I'll give it a service. Best to just do it at this stage and have it right.

    Great advice. I have some experience of sidecars, but really not much. I bought a Suzuki GS850G and spirit eagle combo, which I rode around a bit last year. Pic below. It was put together by a local chap who has built many outfits, and does a good job setting them up. It handled really well, only needing ballast in the chair because it was so light. I deliberately bought it as a short term intro to sidecars, to see if I would like to really own one, and get a feel for how a properly set up rig handles, as reference for this build. After a successful season last year, I pulled the trigger on the Watsonian and sold the Suzuki on. Your advice is spot on - having that bit of experience is really helpful for setting this Bonneville rig up. And happily, if I do get stuck, I have someone local I can go to for opinion and input.

    [​IMG]
    #42
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  3. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Yes, very true, and thinking about it last night I realised I was already turning left when I started braking hard, which of course made matters worse.

    At this point, I just need to get to some pavement and do some real world testing before drawing too many conclusions.

    Unfortunately, a cold front came through last night and we potentially have some snow today, so the next test will be next weekend. Supposed to warm up again by then.
    #43
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  4. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    Did you own Metallic Waste?
    #44
  5. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    I still do. But it will need work to make run. It was easier and cheaper in the end to just buy another outfit. :fpalm

    Maybe Metallic Waste will yet ride again. That would be a good thing.
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  6. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

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    Looks good! Where you at in Minny if you don't mind me asking?
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  7. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    About an hour North of the cities.

    Well, today is looking nice - I think it's first road test day. My connectors did not show up from Japan yet, but international mail is certainly slower at the moment, but I don't think that need stop me going on some quiet back roads for a little test, see how the rig handles in normal use. Exciting and initimidating all at once. A few more laps around the garden first I think.
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  8. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Took it out for a very short (12 mile) test ride. Did a few laps round the yard first after making sure the tires were aired up, but decided that laps around the yard are largely pointless now, so after a couple of straight runs up and down the drive just to test out straight line braking, I went out on the back roads to fill up at the local gas station.

    The only thing I can really say negative about it is that at low speed the headshake is fairly pronounced. I can control it easily enough, but I feel like I need to reduce that. Otherwise though, it seems pretty good. By which I mean as far as I can tell, the rig is tracking straight. I am not feeling like I have to pull it one way or the other while on a straight road. I only went up to 55 mph - plenty fast for now - and it seemed pretty stable to me. Steering around left handers was not at all scary, and on right handers seemed fine too. Right handers I was taking really easy and slow at this point. Seems like the outfit really settles down as soon as you go above about 25 mph, and the head shake minimizes and gets less the faster you go. I felt perfectly comfortable reaching up to adjust my visor while travelling at 45 to 50 mph, and the bars did not suddenly wrench out of my right hand.

    Braking did not pull hard left as I described before. Yes, there is pull to the left when you brake in a straight line, but predictable and manageable. Acceleration certainly produces a pull to the right as you would expect, but again not an amount that you are not ready for or able to compensate for.

    So, I think the only thing I have to work on is the head shake. I think at this point it makes most sense to leave alignment as is, and observe tire wear for abnormal wear rate, and perhaps have my experienced side car driving buddy test it for his opinion.

    :dunno

    Was not expecting to have it quite so close right off the bat, so I need to ride it more and make sure I'm not fooling myself. Obviously it's not an immediate death trap, so I can start doing some longer rides and look for signs of wearing out my shoulders one way or the other, and things like that.

    I'm not ready to rush out and put a steering damper on yet. I know a lot of folks swear by them, and many of the Bonneville rigs I have seen pics of have them, but I want to check everything else is set right - I don't want to hide something by immediately going to a steering damper set up. But it may ultimately be what I do if it just takes away that last bit of concern.

    I know, I know. TL;DR.

    :lol3
    #48
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  9. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

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    Check, I'm about 2 hours NW of cities.......gonna follow this thread for a bit as I've considered doing a hack on my T120 so your info is very useful. Thanks and keep us posted.
    #49
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  10. claude stanley

    claude stanley Claude

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    Simple things....for headshake play with air pressures. More air in the sidecar tire many times cures it. Tighten head set bearings...if they are tapered roller bearings they can be a little tighter than for a solo bike with no issues. However if you go back to solo use reset them. IF it isn;t bad you may be able to just get used to it as typically it only comes in at slow speeds. Of course adding a damper can be done but it may increase steering effort some. Sounds like you are on the right track though. Good job.
    #50
  11. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    :clap
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  12. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Excellent! Thanks Claude, I really appreciate the advice. I will make those couple of tweaks and keep riding. :thumb
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  13. PaulRS

    PaulRS Dutch fool

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    Too much toe-in can also be a cause for the head shake.
    How much have you set it at?

    Paul.
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  14. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    I was trying for 1/2" to 3/4". I'll need to measure it again to see where it ended up after tightening everything down. I'll do that, be a good idea to verify things anyway.
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  15. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    You are in good company.

    Steve McQueen Sidecar.jpg
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  16. claude stanley

    claude stanley Claude

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    watsonian flying.jpg
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  17. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    I think the helmet and gloves are on the wrong person in that photo.
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  18. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    So, bit of an update.

    Last weekend, I added some air to the sidecar tyre (tire), and lowered the pressure in the front ty(i)re, and went for another ride.

    The headshake was either worse, or no better. I want to say it was worse, I couldn't bring myself to let go of the bars, although it still didn't seem like it was trying to dive hard to either side.

    Anyway, I decided not to tweak anything without doing some measurements. Since there is a fair amount of time and money into this project, I thought spending fifty bucks on a pair of aluminum 80/20 extrusions was not unreasonable, as those things are really straight. Way straighter than 2 X 4's for example. I just got 1" X 1" extrusions, with two flat sides. I figure when I'm done I'm bound to need some frame or table or stand or something and I can use them for that. Or sell them to some other local sap who thinks installing his own side car is a good idea.

    So, here we are today:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now this set up is not perfect, because I cannot get the straight edge on the bike side as high as I want without hitting the side stand. So this week I think I'll remove the side stand and do this all again, and get both straight edges on the level, and maybe bungee each one to its respective wheel so that it can't move (two bungee's, one each side so to speak, to keep the edge pulled against the tyre / rim). At the moment I have them wedged to try and keep them stationary, which seems to be working because repeated measurements come out the same.

    I am freaking embarrassed at how much the toe in is. So much so, I am not going to tell you what the measurement actually is, and I want to repeat it. I'm so shocked, I actually want to repeat it every night this week, re doing the set up of the straight edges each time, and rotating them to make sure that I'm not getting error.

    But to be honest, I'm surprised this isn't diving me into oncoming traffic, which may mean that the lean out is so off that it's sort of compensating for that part, leading to instability elsewhere.

    So, there's more to setting up a sidecar than meets the eye, which is why we're lucky to have good expertise around.

    More soon. Looks like next weekend I'll be slackening off all the mounts and making some adjustments.

    Haven't even checked wheel lead again yet.

    More soon!

    :fpalm

    Well, sometimes you just have to have a go at things.
    #58
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  19. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    Is your straight edge against the rear wheel only?

    When you are on the Bike is the Sidecar frame level side to side?

    heavier fork springs?
    #59
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  20. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Yes, straight edge is on rear wheel only. I still have to check that the side car frame is level. Basically, I'm going to take the tub off, and go back to fundamentals and check all the parameters again.

    The bike does have heavier fork springs than stock, although that doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit from heavier ones yet. But - check all the mounting parameters first, get those right, then I'll get in to other adjustments.

    Learning a lot along the way, which is why I'm doing it for myself. Not planning on becoming an installation expert at all, just wanted to go through it for the experience really.
    #60
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