Adding a Watsonian Grand Prix Classic to a 2007 Triumph Bonneville

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

  1. claude stanley

    claude stanley Claude

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    If you measure at or close to the 8 ft mark it is a good thing. Keep in mind that all bikes do not have the same wheelbase ( think on that). Not that a rig with too much toe in can handle quite well but tire wear will go up. However,,,toe our will create a pull toward the sidecar. ....It is lean out that creates good tracking with minimal tire wear. ....Anytime lean out is adjusted recheck toe in and visa versa. Lower mount placements can cause one adjustment to affect the other and each rig can be a little different so get to know YOUR rig. G ood idea to spin wheels to check for runout before setting toe in. Some set the wheels with the valve stem at the bottom to create a consistancy when rechecking. We go for 1/2" to 3/4" toe in at 8 feet. Less is best on most rigs . Make sure the mounts do not flex of course. Oh and yes use just the rear and sidecar wheel. Also make sure the sidecar swing arm has no side to side play(this is even more critical in a rear pivot swingarm). ....Some have shot for zero toe in and then keep adding a little at a time until the pull goes away .... kinda think this is more trouble than it is worth but it does have merit in thepry.......Exception to all of this is usually a HP rig with a huch tire on the front and center ub steering .
    #81
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  2. claude stanley

    claude stanley Claude

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    Good friend had a headshake seemingly forever. He just dealt with it and logged many miles on the rig including a couple of runs to the west coast from Pa.. Anyhow , from my experience not enough air in the sidecar tire is a common issue..So many times I suggested he add a little air and see what it may do. He refused to try this time and again. On a run down into west virginia to a rally ( The Hack'd Reunion years ago)..we stopped for gas and as he went in to pay his bill I noticed he was parked next to theair pump...hmm...yep, I snuck over and added air to the sidecar tire. When we go to the rally he bailed off his rig with a big smile saying his head shake mysteriously went away. After much brain storming and even a little concern the lightbulb in his head came on ....oh my , yes, I still harss him about that deal to this day LOL.
    #82
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  3. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    I often mark out things on the floor of my shop, mostly to imagine their size and shape. It helps to visualize them and how to approach them.
    #83
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  4. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    If nothing else, it helped me set up the wheel lead, by having nice centerlines to move things to.

    If I had saved all this info, and not published it in a live fashion, I could have distilled it down, posted only the pertinent successful bits after the project was complete, and then really created an impression of knowledge and wisdom.

    I think people would have seen through that thinly veiled deception though. :evil

    I am now very confident that I'll have this nicely tweaked over the coming evenings, and be ready for another test ride at the weekend. I am seriously excited about it to be honest. At first I was bummed out, but now I have these alignment bars and I am happy with my measurement technique, I don't think setting up again will be too hard, having worked through it a few times now.
    #84
  5. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    while helping yourself, you're helping the next guy :nod
    #85
  6. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Well, that was a big reason for making this thread, as well as soliciting advice along the way - which has been exceedingly helpful, and very much appreciated. :thumb

    Funny how crap chores always come up and get in the way. I did not get to adjusting the outfit until this afternoon.

    However, I now have between an 1/8" and 1/4" of lean out, 1/2" of toe in measured at the front wheel, a level garage floor (not that I adjusted that), a vertical sidecar wheel, a slightly nose up tub, and 12" of wheel lead.

    There was a lot of huffing and puffing involved, because getting down on the floor and back up again is a bit difficult since my accident, so I have cinched things up, and since the weather looks on the cool side over the coming days, I'm just going to remeasure everything a few times as I gradually tighten everything up, and make sure it all stays put.

    Weatherbug, which is never ever wrong, says it will dry up and warm up starting thursday, so by then I should be ready for another test ride. :thumb

    Incidentally, looking for a good weather app for your phone? If you haven't tried it yet, check out What the Forecast?

    It's free, and a bit amusing.
    #86
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  7. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Another boring update - last night I remeasured as I started tightening everything up, and things did go out of alignment. Not by much, but now I am better set up to partially tighten the connections, measure all the settings, and go around and tap the car back into position as I really secure everything, so following that escapade I achieved the 3/4" toe in I was after, 1/8" lean out, and a very nicely vertical sidecar wheel. I had to jack that back in to position after setting the toe in. As a result that pulled in the lean out, which had become a little too much in the process. All the settings basically tie together - change one by a lot and others are likely to change, and certainly need to be checked.

    I like the "beefiness" of the connection bars and blocks and brackets Watsonian provide, but not being turnbuckles they are not quite so user friendly for the fine adjustments. However my block of wood, shop towel to prevent paint marking and a lump hammer work very well for tapping and tweaking the car about once into the fine adjustments, and it doesn't take long either.

    TL; DR. But long story short, I'll have this all solidified tonight and ready for a test ride, and should I need to tweak settings based on the ride quality, I'm now not so apprehensive about doing that.

    :happay

    I'd post a picture, but really it's still a sidecar outfit with long bars either side.

    EDIT: Ah hell with it. Here's a picture.

    [​IMG]
    #87
  8. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Quick 15 mile test ride before the monsoon comes today.

    Greatly improved! I found myself just feeling "very comfortable and relaxed" while I was riding, which must be some indication that things are going smoothly. Rig tracks very nicely. Possibly is pulling the to the right a bit - but hard to say and only seems to be doing it sometimes, so could perhaps be varying road conditions? Overall very stable. I did not let go of the bars, but at elevated speed on straight road sections I forced myself to relax my grip, and the rig seems to stay straight and the bars stay put.

    Very low speed there is still some head shake. But more test riding needed, and play with the tire pressures a bit to test effect.

    Also, see if my more experienced sidecar riding buddy will test ride it and render an opinion.

    If it wasn't for the pending rain, I felt the urge to keep going.

    I'm only pussying out on the rain because I want more dry road testing before adding another variable. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
    #88
  9. Kiwi Mo

    Kiwi Mo Long timer

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    Thank you for this thread Prop.

    I am semi-seriously considering adding a sidecar to my Scrambler.
    Learning heaps.
    #89
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  10. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    OK - follow up. I went on a 40 mile test ride today. I have to say, I feel very good about this outfit. It feels very stable at cruising speed. head shake at 30 mph and below is certainly present, but as long as both hands are on the bars, even lightly, it's no problem. One hand on the bars can be difficult to control the head shake.

    Maybe it's pulling lightly to the right at steady speed on a straight road - maybe not. At times I think I can feel it, other times I don't feel anything. Bike accelerates well, slight pull right when doing that, but not much at all. Bike pulls left under heavy braking of course, but again not by much. I still feel very comfortable with it.

    So I'm not going to change anything yet. I'm running 43 psi in the sidecar tire, 38 psi in the rear tire, and 33 psi in the front. Front and rear are stock tire pressures, so I might lower the front a bit and see if that helps the headshake. I'm not sure what I should run in the sidecar tire, but I feel like 43 is as high as I ought to go - interested in what other people run there on similar outfits.

    I'm not going to fit a steering damper yet, or adjust the geometry, I think just riding and getting more feel for it is the right thing to do, and watch tire wear.

    So I may not add much more to this thread for a while, until I get significant miles on, but I think I'm at a very good starting point.

    :clap
    #90
  11. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    very cool!

    43 in the chair seems kinda steep unless you're carrying a bunch of weight imo. On my Sputnik I ran below 30 iirc with just some gear and no Monkee, any more than that and it would bounce around a bunch.

    You'll get a pull here and thee depending on your Roads.

    How's steering effort?
    #91
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  12. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

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    Maybe I should try less pressure...........I'll do that.

    Steering effort does not seem excessive at all. Very nice to steer on sweeping bends. Tight corners I'm still exhibiting "an abundance of caution", so not really pushing it. Going around a roundabout this morning didn't seem difficult though, so nothing in the steering alarms me at this point. I'll be interested to see how I feel after a longer trip. :thumb
    #92
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  13. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    Carry lots of weight in the sidecar and reduce the weight as you get used to it. Getting used to the rigs idiot-syncrassies will take some mileage but heck, it's the start of summer. You'll be an old hat by fall!
    #93
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