Hack commuting gameplan

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by ceejengine, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. ceejengine

    ceejengine Adventurer

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    This may be a strange question, or I may be overthinking. After taking an MSF course, I rode a little for a few years, but wouldn’t say I ever got past beginner, and I don’t have a bike right now.

    If I was considering getting something to commute on (HOT lanes make a huge difference commuting in the DC area), and wanted it to be a 3-wheeler to cover as much weather as possible, what’s the most ‘sensible’ way to get there (yes, I know, it’s not the most sensible question to start with!)?

    A Can-Am feels like the most direct route, but also more than a little bloodless, and Urals (save maybe the newest ones) don’t seem to be up to 30 miles at 70+ that the HOT lane would involve.

    Failing either of those, I’m considering either going back to square one with a 250-500 and looking for a hack rig after getting my sea legs back, or buying a cruiser or standard big enough to be a tug from the get go, and either reselling if I find a good rig, or adding a hack later.

    Any other possibility I’ve missed? Or any potential tugs I should give particularly hard looks at? Or should I just hold out for the fabled E-Ural?
    #1
  2. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    We have a thread here you should consider adding to your Watch List --
    If you check it every day and look at the sidecar rigs in the posted links, you'll get a good idea of what's available.

    If I was not a hardcore lifelong biker guy I'm not sure I'd want to start commuting by motorcycle in an urban environment. Too much traffic, bad weather, deteriorating road surfaces, poor visibility esp. in winter, bad drivers--the list is too long to overcome the HOV thing.

    But, a sidecar rig that could handle 70mph, get good gas mileage, easy to park, ABS brakes, easy to maneuver--I think I might start thinking about a Burgman 650 rig or Honda Silverwing. Not kidding.

    http://www.texassidecars.com/texas-sidecars-scooters.html

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/mcy/d/gig-harbor-honda-silver-wing-sidecar/6813645207.html
    #2
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  3. ceejengine

    ceejengine Adventurer

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    Thanks for the reminder- what’s out there seems to be pretty skinny at any one time, but that just means patience is more rewarded :) on the watch list it goes!
    #3
  4. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

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    Can you define “Can Am... bloodless” ? That’s one I never heard!
    #4
  5. Sneeze Juice

    Sneeze Juice Been here awhile

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    Just get a 2 wheeled bike, and park it when snow and ice hit.

    You’re not going to save any money over a cheap fuel efficient car with a bike anyways.
    #5
  6. ceejengine

    ceejengine Adventurer

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    So it’s not a perfect comparison, but a while ago, my daily driver was a manual Mazda3. I swapped it for a Prius which is actually a MUCH better small car, but way less fun.

    Heart vs head kinda thing- a Can-Am seems like a very well executed machine, and maybe even more practical, but sidecars just make me smile more.
    #6
  7. ceejengine

    ceejengine Adventurer

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    The ONE complicating factor on that- tolls for the HOT lanes. I don’t have to go in every day, but when I do, the toll lanes save 90+ minutes. A bike is free, and otherwise they hit $30 (one way) some days.
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  8. Sneeze Juice

    Sneeze Juice Been here awhile

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    Oh wow!

    I wasn’t aware of that.

    Ural owner here, and the new ones appear to have some nice upgrades to the motor. The warranty is great with them, if you have a dealer near by.

    But... You will still need to be handy, as valve adjustments and full fluid exchanges will need to be done fairly frequently. All of that is beyond simple though, and takes an hour max.

    It would do 30 miles of 65-70mph without much of a fuss. I’ve ridden 18+ hours of freeway speeds before... Not what it’s made for, and absolutely brutal but 30 miles would be fine. Having reverse is a nice touch, storage, and that unlimited mileage warranty.....
    #8
  9. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    DO NOT GET A URAL FOR COMMUTING IN THE DC AREA!! Would you really like to have a mechanical issue in the HOV lane in DC's commuting traffic??? It is just about the worst (if not THE worst) traffic in the US. I grew up on a motorcycle on the freeways in Los Angeles and I have driven a bunch in the DC area. To be exposed to that traffic on a bike or sidecar, you better have your shit together or someone will take you out. Having something that is quick handling with the ability to accelerate or decelerate rapidly will help keep you alive. Having something that is as responsive as a John Deer Tractor is not a good idea in that kind of traffic. Keep an eye out for a good used something other than a Ural.

    Playing on back roads in rural USA on a Ural? Absolutely!! Playing in commuting traffic in the DC area? Absolutely NOT!!

    I'll go ahead and let the Uralestas (aka: Foil Heads) attack now, but I highly doubt any of them use their Ural for commuting for that distance in that kind of traffic.
    #9
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  10. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    If you’re going to ride year round I think you’d appreciate the weather protection and weight (keeps you planted in the rain and wind) of something like a goldwing (or K bike rig). I haven’t ridden a Burgman, but that as suggested above looks like a good fit as well.

    Lots (relative term here) of goldwing rigs come up for sale and the older ones often are not asking a lot of money and could likely be actually bought for even less.

    I toured the country on a BMW K bike rig - rode full days in temps from the 20s to 110+ without heated gear or anything like that. It was easily comfortable from 40 up to about 85, and with a heated jacket would be comfortable at the lower end or below. Not much to be done about the hotter end.
    #10
  11. BMWBUD

    BMWBUD This isn't my first sidecar rodeo.

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    Having a small amount of experience on 2 wheels will be an asset when learning to ride a hack.

    But there is still a learning curve which can not be ignored. The are different than a motorcycle, trike, or Spyder.

    I would not advise taking it on the freeway w/o a lot of time spent at lower speeds.

    VMMY
    #11
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  12. Happytrails63

    Happytrails63 Adventurer

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    I like the idea of a Goldwing or a BMW sidecar rig... its definitely not Ural's happy place.
    #12
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  13. ChiliPepperGarage

    ChiliPepperGarage Spork

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    Sidecars make everybody smile!

    Forget what you learned in the MSF course (except for looking out for the other guy) as driving a sidecar rig is completely different from riding a motorcycle. It may take you a while to get comfortable going 70+ MPH.

    As others have said, a bigger bike would be better for what you want to do. I had a GL1500 with a CA Friendship III which is a big heavy car and it was fine at the speeds you want to go as are my current Harley and BMW rigs.

    I think a CanAm would give you a much shorter learning curve than a sidecar rig.

    That said, I have over 10 years experience on sidecars (and over 45 years on two wheels) and I don't think I'd want to commute in an urban environment on one. Too many idiot drivers and I'd be constantly concerned about getting rear ended.
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  14. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Does 3 wheels qualify?

    It's already been said, and I'll say it again. Riding a bike is nothing like driving a sidecar (or Spyder). You can go ahead and rule out the Ural, as even the newest ones aren't the weapon of choice for sustained 70 MPH rides.
    I looked at having a rig built, for a couple of years, using my '07 R1200GS as a tug. Then an F800GSA, until I bought a used Bonneville outfit with the intention to move the sidecar to the F800. That was over 3 years ago, and the F800 is long gone. I replaced it with a new R1200GSw in '16, but the Bonneville sidecar rig is the one that gets the most seat time.
    Don't get too hung up on exactly what you think it needs to be. It needs to make that 70 MPH commute. Other than that, it should be something you like, and that's about all.
    #14
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  15. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    Prius?
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  16. Dynamick

    Dynamick It wasn't me... Supporter

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    I'm a moto commuter in Baltimore, some highway (I-695 & I-83, JFX) and then red-light to red-light city blocks but no HOV lanes. I do this on my R1200gs and Harley FXDX. With some practice I'm hoping to hack downtown but my 3 wheel skills are no match for the lack of concentration my fellow road users regularly display. The point I want to make is whatever you decide to go with, you will need some practice time to build your skills. Best of luck, picking something is the beginning of the hard-part :D.
    #16
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  17. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    The Prius doesn't get him the HOT discount.

    FWIW @ceejengine, I've driven my BMW R1100GS sidecar, my BMW R1150GSA sidecar, and my R1200GSA sidecar in heavy traffic on I-5 at speeds from 70 to 85 mph, changing lanes at will, ducking, dodging, braking, passing, exercising the neck bones right and left, hitting my holes, and getting cut off (boo), and I've always felt "solid". Only exception is I never allow myself to get boxed. If some cager tries to invade my personal space I always have an escape route. But, BUT . . . once I get into the city (Seattle) on surface streets I feel very vulnerable. DON'T LIKE CITY TRAFFIC! That's why I suggested the scooter rig - small and skittery - sometimes being quick is better than being fast if you know what I mean.
    #17
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  18. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    Mini Cooper !
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  19. norton(kel)

    norton(kel) He’s my President! Supporter

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    As JustKip asked “ does three wheels qualify?”. Some states consider the # of axles and they consider a sidecar to have 3, so it does not qualify as a motorcycle in the commuter lanes.
    #19
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  20. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    #truestory

    [​IMG]
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