Playing with the chair

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    What's this thread about:
    This thread documents my experiment in sidecars. Sidecars are an area that I've wanted to dabble in for some time. In summary -
    1. In 2015 I bought a naked 1986 BMW R80TIC (ex NZ Police bike) fitted with a 1988 Velorex 562 sidecar. That was relatively cheap, & allowed me to put a 'toe in the water'.
    2. In late 2017 the R80 mono tug was taken off & sold to fund another bike purchase.
    3. In 2018 I converted my 1991 R100GS to tug duties, coupled to the Velorex tub.
    4. The Velorex sidecar tub was sold July 2019. This was replaced with a Chang Jiang M72 tub, coupled to the R100GS.
    I was originally keen on a sidecar in part because they are too cool for school :lol3, & also to help my wife become a more active participant in my riding. She now definitely prefers the sidecar over pillion riding. Her preference is a more enclosed sidecar, & not to be an active monkey (so an Enduro Sidecar is unlikely to appear in our household).

    I'm entirely comfortable with the tug side of the sidecar equation, having owned & maintained a number of BMW Airhead Boxers since the 90's.

    The R80 had seen seen a bit of life - I was the 11th owner.

    The R100GS (Gus) is an ex rental, & now has 270k+ kms on him. I'd converted him to make my version of an all roads bike. Any sidecar attached to Gus also need to meet that criteria.

    The first tub was a Velorex 562 sidecar. Prior to the R80, that had been on a Royal Enfield in Thames. Otherwise it's backstory is unknown. It came to me already attached to the R80 Mono. It was fairly lightweight, which caused some issues if not loaded. That also meant it was less robust, & I did wonder how long it would last without additional strengthening.

    I've no idea of the age of the M72 Tub, but it was brought into NZ 2008 & had previously been run on a R80 G/S.


    R80/Velorex - Modifications:
    - Eddie's original build thread. Note that the front subframe & clamps Eddie used weren't exactly what I would have done. I changed these in later iterations.
    - Fitting the Coriman upper triple clamp (to give less trail)
    - Installing an upgraded sidecar axle & wheel (25/20mm compared to the standard weedy 15mm)
    - Replacement Brake Lines
    - Changing the shock on a standard Velorex 562
    - Adding float bowl leashes
    - Replaced the left (US) switch gear with a (RoW) unit. Gained a headlight on/off switch


    R80 - Maintenance:
    - First Draft Jonah & The Whale. Replace headlight, maintenance of the front suspension, engine & final drive swap
    - 18,442 kms. New Mitas Ho6 front tyre. Flushed front brake lines.
    - Link to sidecar alignment video. Identifying issues with
    sidecar suspension, Velorex 15mm axle, purchased another rear rim, & more aggressive tyres for the tug etc
    19,934 kms. Replaced the rear tyre with a Heidenau K60 Scout. Shortened the sidecar screen. New LED lighting for the sidecar. Replaced the sidecar swingarm bearings.
    - 21,338 kms, engine oil & filter change, gearbox & F/D oil change. Noted some movement in the F/D. WoF. Replaced front brake lines, & front tyre (350-18 Golden Boy SR244). Replaced the RHS pushrod seals. Painted starter cover, & some touch up painting to the battle scars.
    - 23,916 kms. Swapped the LHS inlet rocker for one off the R80, attempting to resolve an annoying intermittent rattle from the head.
    25,512 kms. Made up a sidecar dolly. Replaced LHS pushrod seals. Checked bore & valves for wear. Painted the timing chest. Replaced cam chain, crank cam chain sprocket, crank nose bearing, & cam chain tensioners. Engine oil change.
    - 26,664 kms. Replacing the rear suspension bottom bush, replacing the sidecar shock preload ring, replaced the rear Heidenau K60 scout with another. Replaced internal & external fuel filters.
    - 27,650 kms. Engine & gearbox oil change. Replaced clutch lock out switch. Replaced stripped RHS fuel tap. Replaced oil pressure switch. New speedo cable.
    - 29,388 kms. Reset the front top sidecar mount as this had slipped. New front tyre TW18 100/90 18.
    30,289 kms. Replaced the left switchgear. Purchased 2x TW18 100/90 18" tyres (new OEM off a DR200).
    - 31,1xx kms. Engine oil & filter change. Changed the LHS pushrod seals. Changed the tub wheel bearings - there was play. Tightened all of the sidecar linkages. Replaced the clutch lever pivot bush
    - 32,xxx kms. Refitted the carbs back (back from Gus). New K60 rear tyre. Flushed the throttle & clutch cables. New battery, Registration & WoF.
    - 32,450 kms. Front wheel hub machined for bronze inserts, new bearings fitted. New front top mount for the sidecar. Completed sidecar realignment.
    - 32,620 kms. Engine, gearbox, shaft drive, & final drive oil changes. Oil cooler fitted w new filter. Fitted new rear rack. Fitted new sidecar tyre - Kenda 350-16
    - 35,525 kms. Engine swap & putting the R80 back to stock pre sale.

    R100GS Modifications:
    There is also a sister thread running - Rehabilitating Gus, which documents my adventures & modifications on my '91 BMW R100GS pre sidecar tug duties. That now covers my solo riding on my 1987 R80G/S, 'the Supertanker'.

    R100GS/ Velorex build up:
    - The Resurrection of Gus as a sidecar tug. 25th Feb '18
    - Progress update 11th Mar '18 - breaking down the gearbox
    - Progress update 25th Mar '18 - gearbox overhaul cont'd
    - Progress update 5th Apr '18 - completing the gearbox overhaul, & shortening WP 4860 forks
    - Progress update 8th Jul '18 - discussion on donor bikes
    - Progress updates 22nd Jul - 22nd Sep '18 - new dash set up, seat recover, EI taillight, Barkbuster LED indicators Bosch electro magnet alternator, resister instead of alternator light
    - Progress update 29th Sep '18 - helicoils on the WP4860's, disappointment on sidecar mounts .
    - Progress update 16th Oct '18 - an initial attempt at stronger sidecar mounts
    - Making left side sidecar mounts for an R100GS. 4th Nov 18
    - Progress update 2nd Dec '18 - fixing damage from the Slidecars In The Top Of The South Ride. Modifying forks & brakes.


    R100GS/M72 build up:
    - 265,717 kms - new sidecar subframe
    - 266,231 kms - torsion bar fixed female spline welded. Bronze swing-arm bushes installed
    - 24th June 20 - Low Volume Vehicle Certification

    R100GS/M72 maintenance:
    - 256,299 kms - Changed the gearbox oil, lubed the clutch levers & assemblies, basic wheel alignment.
    - 257,394 kms - Polished front & rear wheels, disassembled, cleaned & reassembled the front brake master cylinder to resolve a sticking brake, scraped shit out of the front suspension seals, painted the rear top to bottom brace, change the rear brake shoes.
    - 258,650 kms - New Heidenau K60 110/80 18 front & Motoz GPS 130/80 17 rear. Swapped in Pivot pegs. Skimmed the front disc mounts again in an effort to get a smooth brake. Swapped back in Gus's twin plugged high compression motor w Enduralast alternator. HPN Tank & modified R100R seat. RHS Hardhead Valve cover. Oil cooler delete.
    - 263,609 kms - Valve clearances, balanced carbs, gearbox oil change, repaired the sidecar mudguard step. Replaced a rear spoke. Repairs from the 'Carvan of Fools Tours - Changed the bottom plugs to B5HS (from B6HS). Repaired the sidecar suspension. Welded the sidecar mudguard stay. Loctited the Paralever pivot. Switched back to the SV exhaust.
    - 263,818 kms - Installed a RHS sparkplug timesert, fresh pushrod seals, & resealed the RHS Barrels. Replaced the rear Motoz GPS tyre with an Anakee II, repaired the Mosko Moto pannier mounts.
    - 265,717 kms - Change the front Heidenau tyre for a part worn TW18. Swapped the bald sidecar Tyre for another marginal TW18. Changed the sidecar hub bearing 6204 & re-greased the bigger FAG bearing.
    - 266,231 kms - Carb clamps installed. Disc mounts skimmed. Fresh calliper mounts made. Fresh front brake pads, lubed front brake lever pivot, replaced 21w halogen pilot light, replaced sidecar brake light. Remounted the stock horn.
    - 266,885 kms - 267,819 kms - Engine oil change, replaced front disc with a spare used disc (to remove a warp), changed front tyre to a Metzler Enduro 3 rear 400x18", Bridgestone TW18 swapped from the front to the chair wheel, new calliper mount bolts, sidecar alignment. Kill switch & start switch disassembled & cleaned. Sidecar boot latches oiled.
    - 268,413 kms - Lubed the sidecar torsion arm suspension. Changed the sidecar side-light.
    - 270,032 kms - Checked the tappets, replaced the bottom plugs, changed the engine oil, switched the rear tyre from Mitas E09 (6mm) back to Anakee 2 radial (4mm), greased the rear shock bearings/bushings, switched the front guard from the YZ250F to a 19" UFO guard. Replaced some Mosko Moto pannier frame screws.
    - 271,057 kms -
    Fitted an indicator idiot light. Bought a Motz Tractionator Adventure 130/80 17 for the trip. 12mm tread depth.

    One Day ride reports:
    - The Distinguished Gentlemens Ride, 27th Sept '15
    - Beyond the Bridge Ride, Wairarapa, 4th Oct '15

    - Wairarapa Wanderings. 29th Nov '15
    - Wanganui Cemetery Circuit (ride to watch Street Road Racing), 26th Dec '15
    - The care & feeding of an adventure riding addicts wife (or a ride in the sidecar to White Rock Station, South Wairarapa), 10th Apr '16
    - Takapari Rd, Ruahine Ranges, 21st Apr '16
    - North Range Rd, Northern Tararua Ranges, 22nd Apr '16
    - Waiohine Gorge, South Wairarapa, 28th Apr '16
    - Ocean Beach, South Wairarapa. 1st May '16
    - Hubert Kreigel - the timeless ride. 4th May '16
    - BMWOR run thru Summerhill & Admirals Rds. South Wairarapa. 17th Jul '16
    - Homewood & Packspur Rds, Wairarapa. 21st Aug '16
    - Distinguished Gentlemens Ride, Wellington, 25th Sept '16
    - White Rock & Tora, South Wairarapa 2nd Oct '16
    - Wellington Pink Ribbon Ride, 16th Oct '16
    - The Airheads Run, Wairarapa Loop, 23rd Oct '16
    - The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017, Wellington, 24th Sept '17
    - The Pink Ribbon Ride 2017, Wellington, 15th Oct '17
    - The Great Mushroom Run, Wairarapa 22nd Oct '17
    - Mushrooms & the shakedown run, Wairarapa 11th Nov '18
    - The Birthday Run, Wairarapa/Manawatu, 16th Dec '18

    - Pohangina West / Ridge Rd, Manawatu, 13th Jan '19
    - Hinakura/Admirals Rd Loop & Castlepoint, Wairarapa 19th Jan '19
    - Wairarapa Wanderings (a Motomart Ride), 10th Mar '19
    - Backroads to Woodville (a Motomart Ride), 31st May '19
    - Pukaha National Wildlife Reserve, Wairarapa, 28th April '19
    - Takapari Road, Manawatu, 4th May '19
    - Hinakura & Admirals Rd Loop, Wairarapa 22nd Sep '19
    - Lunch & a Paddle, Kapiti Coast 19th Jan '20
    - Heart Kids Charity Ride, 16th Feb '20
    PNth & Pori Rd, Manawatu, & Wairarapa, 19th Mar '20
    - Dannevegas & Beyond, Wairarapa, 14th June '20
    - Admirals Rd & Glendhu, Wairarapa, 30th Aug '20. A TSS group ride
    - Ridge & Peep'o'day Rds, North Manawatu, 20th Sept '20, a BMWOR ride


    Multi Day ride reports:
    - Sidecar collection from Hamilton - 17th to 19th Aug '15
    - Cold Kiwi (40th), Central Plateau, North Island. 4th - 6th Sept '15
    - The demise of the sidecar wheel. Taupo. 20th Oct '15
    - Cold Kiwi (41st), Central Plateau, North Island. 2nd - 4th Sept '16
    - Sliding into Smash Palace, South Island - 2nd - 8th Nov '17
    - Slidecars in the Top of the South, South Island - 15th - 18th Nov '18
    - 44th Cold Kiwi, Waiouru, North Island - 30th Aug - 1st Sept '19

    - Of Carterton Scottish Country Dancing & Other Activities - 2nd - 3rd Nov '19
    - Carvan of Foods - The GS Rally Tour - North Island - 6th - 12th Nov '19
    - Carterton Again - 6th & 9th Feb '20
    - Not a Straycation - Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, Motu Rd, Lake Waikaremoana.
    10th -13th Aug '20
    - ADVRider Eketahuna Weekend - 17th Oct '20 - Wairarapa

  2. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand


    Flew up to Hamilton to collect the sidecar. Decided to do a fly drive - not ideal, but the cost of transporting it back to Wellington by other methods was uneconomic

    I didn’t realise that Hamilton was such a backwater. There are only 4 flights to Hamilton a day, its comparatively expensive to fly to (better to fly to Auckland then bus back to Hamilton – albeit not as convenient), & the plane was a turboprop. You have to walk out onto the taxiway. Primitive…

    Sat next to Kevin Milne briefly – then they moved him a row back. Probably trying to keep him from infection. Bloody bikers.

    Because it was a night flight I didn’t expect to be able to see much. It was only a crescent moon, so not a lot of light. But you could see all the towns, even at 21,000 feet. Couldn’t identify which ones, but it was fun trying.

    BTW, why do they still talk in feet? We’ve been metric for several generations now?

    Eddie & Jennifer were generous enough to not only arrange to collect me from the airport, & but also to allow me to stay at their home, in the Princess Suite no less.


    The next morning, Eddie took me for a brief spin in the sidecar, & then we loaded it up with the spares that went with the sidecar. I did brief tour of the suburbs cul de sacs to try to acquaint myself with the steering characteristics of the sidecar. This involved finding out the width of the sidecar using the box.a.bits patented braille method, & also terrorizing myself doing left turns & finding the sidecar uncooperative. I’ll talk about sidecar handling characteristic later.


    Once I thought I had a vague handle on things, I stopped to text my friend Kevin, who I was going to meet for coffee. Just as I was finishing the text, he pulled up in his van. Small place the ‘Tron.

    Anyway, a quick wobble across to his place on the otherside of town, then coffee & a chinwag.

    Kevin offered to see me out of town (I think of this as a public health service – perhaps he has other friends in town he didn’t want tangling with a barely in control sidecar), so I attempted to keep his van in sight thru’ the traffic.


    Off to Cambridge to deliver a rocker box cover someone had bought via Trade me. The bike ran onto reserve at Cambridge, but I thought I’d have sufficient to drop off the rocker box, make it to another gas stop, & then trundle on. I had checked the address before I left Wellington, which I thought was rural & just south of Cambridge. I stopped just south of Cambridge to check again, only to have Google Maps assure me, no, north of Cambridge, just south of Hamilton. So did a u-turn, back the way I came. Checked again just north of Cambridge, & it gave me a new navigation, thru minor rural roads. And then just as I thought I’d finally cracked it, the bike ran out of gas. It was still running on one, so I thought I’d switch across to 2nd reserve. Oops, the fuel lines don’t have the cross over. So gas in one side of the tank, not the other. Okay, lift the tank & slosh some across. Nup. Won’t feed. So rode a 400cc single across to the address. Embarrassing. And begged some additional fuel.

    Reuben & Lewis (Earhead). Top guys...

    Then Lewis observed I’d got a flat sidecar tyre. I had been thinking the sidecar was unusually belligerant for the last couple of kms, but was too new to the handling characteristics of this rig to pick that up.

    Pumped the tyre up to see if it was a slow leak, or a complete blow out. Pumped up okay, but in the 10 or so minutes of chatting to Lewis about his projects the tyre went soft again. So tube repair time.

    I can say that that 16” wheel is the tightest, most difficult to take off or fit tyre I have ever come across. It didn’t help that I didn’t have my bigger tyre levers, so had to work with the stubby BMW items.

    The tube had abrasion marks on one side & a pin hole in one of these. Also, it looked like I wasn’t the first to struggle with that tyre – the bead was separating along one portion of the tyre. There was no damage to the tyre from the sidecar being run on a flat tyre - this was old damage.

    Lewis offered to run me into town to get a new tube. Against all expectations, the 1st bike shop had a tube. What runs a 3.25 x 16”?

    4.30pm by the time we got things sorted & remounted. An hr & a ½ to Taupo. Stopped just as it was starting to go dark, after Tokoroa, to send my wife a text, to assure her I was still living, & expected to be in Taupo 6-ish.


    Dominos for dinner – a whole pizza to myself, & no wife to ration it out.



    Drizzling on & off. McCafe for breakfast.

    Riding up the Napier Taupo to meet with my brother, Michael. The idea was that we’d both ride from Taupo & Napier respectively, & meet in the middle. I think he may have left early.

    Heading for Rangitaiki, up a long uphill, stuck behind a truck, the engine starts squealing like we’ve run a bearing. Shit. Shut the engine down & pull over to the side of the road. Lucky I’ve got AA+ & a spare engine at home. A quick inspection. No stones in the brake pads, the engine exterior seems fine, the engine starts & runs fine, & the squeal has disappeared. Should I head back to Taupo? Nup, lets see if this recurs. Could have been a stone between the disc & pad. A few minutes later, then the same thing happens. Crap. Eventually diagnosed it as the starter randomly activating, with the solenoid pushing the starter into the flywheel. Makes a lot of noise, but not doing too much damage. I have a spare starter. And I can stop the racket by hitting the starter button when the thing starts to squeal. So the faults probably in the button. I wonder if the spring has broken. It did this on & off most of the way to Napier & then resolved itself. Maybe a bit of grit in the button?

    Met Michael shortly after, then rode with him to the Tarawera café for a break & coffee. He declined my offer to take the chair for a spin. Wise man.

    Shortly after leaving the Tarawera café, the day brightened & the drizzle stopped. Michael followed me to Bayview, where we filled up. I’d warned him he’d be bored behind me. I was travelling 80-95 km/hr, with a peak 104 km/hr! GPS verified. Michael has a Triumph Explorer, so probably just idling for that whole trip.

    SH50, and I started to push a bit more. Average went up to 100 – 110 KM/hr, with things being pushed in the corners a bit more. Michael flipped ahead to grab a couple of photos.


    Around Norsewood the day packed up again, & got fairly miserable. Another stop at Dannevegas BP for another pie & coffee & then Michael decided to bail, & head back for the better weather.

    Given the rain radar showed the Manawatu / Kapiti area completely deluged, headed home via Masterton. Just before Masterton, I ran out of gas again, went to switch to reserve on both sides, & one side wouldn't flow. So I'm guessing that there is an issue in the fuel taps. I'll pull that apart at some stage. 400cc single into the gas station on the bypass.

    Slow over the Rimutakas, but given the road works up there, that worked well – I let all the traffic go, & got a gap in traffic because of the stop /go lights.

    Home 5.00 ish.


    The things are inherently unstable.

    • Drive is on one side. Accelerate, & the bike wants to drive around the sidecar;
    • Brake, (or throttle off) & the car wants to come around the tug;
    • Because the sidecar is rigidly clamped to the bike, any road irregularities are fed into the bike;
    • Turn left, & the force of the turn unweights the sidecar wheel;
    • Turn right, & the force leans on the sidecar wheel, & will eventually lever the back wheel up.
    • It’s easier to ride if there is some ballast in the sidecar. Otherwise all of the weight is in the bike side.

    With this unit, the bike suspension isn’t set up for the weight of the chair, so the set up is compromised. It’s like those big old American cars, where the suspension has settled on the drivers side. I’ll need to sort that.

    The set up is also speed sensitive. Fairly neutral at 80 km/hr, pulls a bit towards the sidecar at 100. And hill ascents & descents also have an impact.

    Steering is heavy on the stock forks. Needs less trail.

    Hell of a lot of fun though, once you start to get to grips with the thing.


    • Engine swap for the spare R100GS unit;
    • Stiffen the front suspension by chopping the springs to increase the spring rate, & put in spacers to preload the springs & take up the gap left by shortening the springs;
    • Sorting the rear preload;
    • One disc is warped. I need to check what’s up with that;
    • Needs a new front tyre. I'm heading towards more adventure riding capacity;
    • Possibly putting in the R100R exhaust system that I’ve got in the shed.

    There are a myriad of smaller sort out issues I need to attend to, including resetting the set up after the suspension issues are resolved.

    Eddie suggested I also look at putting in the KTM forks & triples I had set aside for Rufas – I’ll need to think on that. I’d need to source a big disc – but I’ve promised Mandy I’m not going to spend on the rig.
    Te Hopo likes this.
  3. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand

    After the ride back from Hamilton there were a few issues I wanted to resolve.

    The bloody aweful mirrors fitted were the 1st thing to go. I now have a right side mirror, but not a left. Need to remedy that.

    Changed out the headlight reflector for the proper 8” light from BMW. There was a new second hand one amongst the spares Eddie had given me. Just needed to be mounted. Easy as. Good cosmetic improvement. And the 7” reflector is now available as a spare for Gus.

    Pulled the tank to check on: the lack of a reserve on the right side, &; the apparent fuel leak near the left fuel tap. Looks like the left tap just needed to be seated properly. Whew – I thought the tank may have been rusted out. The right tap had had the feed straws improperly seated in the tap when the fuel filter sock was last cleaned – and as a consequence they were loose & the fuel feed was directly into the tap.

    Also replaced the fuel lines with some off Rufas – the existing fuel lines were too large & didn’t have the balance pipe (which runs under the airbox) connected between the carbs. Both of the right fuel tap issue & the lack of a balance tube contributed to my running out of gas twice during the Hamilton delivery run.

    Jacked the sidecar up on a car jack, & pulled the front forks.

    The main issue was that the fork springs were so soft that all of the travel was quickly used up once I was onboard & riding, particularly loading up in left turns. My fear was of inadvertantly flying the chair at an inopportune time. These had also leaked badly from the fill allen bolts during the trip. Finally, Eddie had also put on gaiters, which were causing the forks to bind, mainly because all of the suspension travel was being used up. I’ll likely refit these once I know the forks are working properly.

    I calculated the spring rate (from the no of coils @ 36, spring wire width @4.3mm, & spring length @ 472mm, using a spreadsheet calculator) at about 0.40kgs/mm travel. For sidecar useage, a rule of thumb was to increase spring rates +20%, which would be circa 0.48kg/mm. But the BMW forks are already quite softly sprung, so I thought a little more would be appropriate, say 0.55kg/mm. I also checked to see that the loss of spring length wouldn’t cause coil bind.

    To achieve the increase in spring rate, I cut the spring circa 90mm or so, then heated the last coil with a torch till that portion of the spring glowed red, then compressed the coil (using a piece of wood as a form) to form a flat. That was then ground down somewhat to achieve a better flat. Also made a terrific brand (if any of you want one).


    Once the springs were dealt to, I made up 100mm preload spacers out of 25mm internal diameter steel pipe (28mm external), to replace the lost spring length.

    The left fork stantion had a slight ripple I could feel but not see, just underneath where the bottom triple clamp rides. I’m guessing that it has been bent & straightened. The left damper rod had quite a bit of aluminium swarf on it. It looks like the damper rod also had a ripple, & at some point in the travel, the damper shim would catch, cock sideways, & cause a further divot in the damper rod. As an interim measure I have reasembled everything, but will buy a good second hand fork stantion & damper unit to replace it.




    The rear Koni has limited preload, & the adjustment is stuck. I can remove the grub screw, but not wind up the preload collar. I’ll see how that goes.

    Decided to do a bit more work to the motorvation side of the equation, & to do that required the sidecar to come off. Just removed the bike side bolts (4) without changing the links.

    Pulled the final drive (thinking it had a higher RS ratio), to replace it with the stock R80 32:10 (3.20) final drive Igor had given Eddie at the time he sold the bike to him - this had resided in my garage since that time.

    And while I was there, decided to pull the engine & drop in the R100GSPD donk I just happened to have laying around. The engine swap is another easy 10hp (+20%), & quite a bit more torque. A word. Those engines are fricking heavy. I did the swap by myself, but I wouldn’t recommend it.



    The GS donk came with 40mm carbs (rather than the 32mm carbs on the R80 motor). Actually I’d have preferred to keep the 32mm carbs (better bottom end), but the intake stubs were stubbonly stuck in the GS heads. I may deal to that at a later date.

    Pulled the oil cooler off the GS engine, necessitating swapping out some internals in the oil filter canister. These bits may go back on in a later iteration, but the existing subframe precludes using an oil cooler at present.

    The clutch pack was in much better condition than expected. This measured 5.4mm thick. No real taper. The friction disc was multi pawl, so not stock. While I was looking at components, I lubed the clutch diaphram spring fingers & the surface that it runs against on the flywheel (makes for a much nicer pull on the clutch lever), & check the gearbox & motor sides for oil leaks. The gearbox input side was dirty, but not oilly - a good sign. The GS engine didn’t look like the oil pump or main seal were leaking, so I left the flywheel as is.

    After I refitted the engine, clutch, gearbox, swingarm & final drive, I discovered the drive shaft fill bolt was stripped – so I couldn’t fill thru that. I wanted to see if the final drive swap was worthwhile, or if I would drop to 37:11 (R65), so I kept this drive on, but filled thru the driveshaft boot, which required stripping the back end of the bike down again. Only problem was that the driveshaft boot started immediately leaking gearbox oil. There was a small tear in the boot, only visible when the boot was stretched, so I needed to pull that off again & put on a spare. Pissed me off when that leaked too, but I’ve tightened the clamps a bit more & hope that’s sorted.



    Did a bit of wiring work to clean up the taps Eddie had made to give the chair lighting.

    Put the valeo starter in off the GSPD. This was new 2004. But now it’s there I can hear that it needs a service. I was going to do that before I fitted it, but the cases weren’t opening easily, so I left it.

    Checked the valve clearances. Way out at 0.35mm intake & exhaust left, & 0.30 & 0.25 on the right. Adjusted to 0.20mm exhaust & 0.15mm intake. Noted the rocker needle roller bearings have some play.

    Didn’t retorque the heads. These have some splooge from leaks & the pushroad seals likely need a refresh at some stage.

    Changed the R80 cables for the GSPD ones. Quite apart from longer sheath length, the GS cables (for the 40mm carb) are longer in the operating (inner) length.

    The beancan gave better timing than the one currently fitted to Gus. Pleased with that.

    Tried the GS headers & R100R collector box. These fit, but I’d need to do more work on the R100R exhaust before that'll comfortably fit. So back to the R80 exhaust meantime.


    Bolting up the sidecar was a prick of a job. I need to build a dolly to take the weight of the sidecar, & to allow me to move it around. In the meantime inopportuned my beloved wife to come help. Words ensued...

    Took Katherine for a quick ride round the block. Aside from the idle being wrong, I was pleased. Later on, Andy Mac came round with his new ride, & so we did a circuit out to Makara & back thru' Karori in the rain. Katherine stayed pretty dry, using the tonneau cover.


    • Need to consider what tyres I'll run, given an intent to use this in gravel. The front is well tired.
    • Need to fit an LED tail light. The current rear is fairly dim.
    • Brake fluid change. The mastercylinder return isn’t as nice as I’d like;
    • Revamp the left turn signal & running lights;
    • Fit the GS bashplate (given I have a GS sump fitted);
    • Refit the sidecar grab bar;
    • Fit a mirror for the sidecar monkey;
    • Fit a sidelight & indicator at the front of the tub;
    • At some stage I’ll need to spend some quality time working on chassis set up. At the time I picked the bike up, the bike had some lean out. With the suspension revision, it’s a slight lean in – not desireable.
    Te Hopo likes this.
  4. Pete-NZ

    Pete-NZ Long timer

    May 8, 2011
    Stop posts like this....looks like to much fun...
    It will force to do something silly
    and get mine finished....

    How easy is the steering with standard forks

    tyres very smooth tyre on the car it
    needs to beable to get pushed sideways easly..
    the more lead it has the more scrub it will have...

    most 3/4 size dirt bikes use 100/90/16" rear tyre..
    CRF150 / KLX140 / DRZ125 and the like....

    Box'a'bits likes this.
  5. Manakau.KTM

    Manakau.KTM Long timer

    Mar 3, 2012
    Horowhenua NZ
    How's progress on the house?
    dazzadm likes this.
  6. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Stopped 'dead in the water' for a couple of weeks.
  7. Voltaire

    Voltaire Titanium and Ceramic Hipster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Auckland,New Zealand
    Very nice,
    I used to run a sidecar on my R75/5 in the UK, it would not pull the stock FD so put a R50 one in. R100 motor would be perfect.
    It was set up for the UK ok but once in Europe it was a pig to ride.
    I can't recall the set up, 1/2" lean out of the bike, 3/4 " toe in of the sidecar so it follows the bike, otherwise heads off road.
    Did you see that /2 conversion a few weeks back, that looked like fun.
    I've been working on the house, sure makes the weekends feel long.
  8. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Needs a bit of muscle & technique to get the hack to steer. I have a revised triple clamp top to put in, in order to reduce trail, but haven't yet got my head around how this is supposed to be installed.
    Currently running a Pirelli 3.25 width tyre, of unknown vintage, so am fairly sure that meets the 'get pushed sideway easily' criteria. Was thinking about getting an R80 front rim, to match things up.
  9. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Stock R80 final drive. Thinking of dropping again to an R65 F/D (37:11). Definitely more fun at lower speeds.

    Did look seriously at the /2 conversion, but thought it'd be a harder sell to Mandy. I've actually looked at that /2 conversion twice - once the last time that it sold. I would have liked to have bought it, but...
  10. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

    Dec 28, 2001
    New Zealand
    What's that tyre sitting on the back of the chair ? Looks like an Avon New Supreme, a nasty NZ made tyre that was all we could get in the early '70's. I still had a couple when I fitted a JB chair to my Norton in the early '80's, a better use for them than a solo...they were a bit of fun in the wet, but ok in the dry.

    It's love or hate with sidecar - don't fight it, use that weight hanging off the side to your advantage.
  11. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Hi Motu. That's the Pirelli I fitted at Cambridge. The tyre it replaced was exactly the same, just slightly worn, & with bits taken out of the bead from someone else issues fitting it...

    Everyone here is loving the sidecar. So much so that the girls are competing to go monkey. Took it round to my brothers, & have now firmly converted my niece & nephew to monkeys too (though it wasn't so much of a stretch for them...). As I said earlier, it's a winner.
  12. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Adventurer

    Aug 22, 2009
    Mount Maunganui, NZ
    Sounds like a good rig. I have a 1990 R80 GS with a CJ chair. Live in Katikati and have gone to Lyttelton a couple of times and the Brass Monkey besides local riding. Wish I had done it years ago.
  13. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Sep 25, 2007
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Awesome, I'm a big fan of playing monkey on sidecars so as usual, I'll be following along with keen interest
  14. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Managed to get hold of a replacement fork stantion & damper unit, so replaced the previously bent & straightened left unit.

    Also spent some time fitted up the Coriman upper triple clamp. This is set up to kick the front end out, to reduce trail. The picture shows the difference between the stock item & the replacement stainless plate.


    Fitting it required a car jack between the fork brace & the sidecar subframe, to ease the bottom triple clamp into alignment. Have to say that was nerve racking stuff to achieve.

    The front brakes are better for a flush. There was a bit of air in the system. The mastercylinder pivot point was well gummed up, & responded well to be bit of moly grease.

    I also fitted the R65 final drive. Embarrassingly, I’d misread the ratio on the FD I’d taken off – I already had the R65 (37/11) FD fitted when I bought the sidecar from Eddie. Doh!

    Finally, I also fitted up a new square section front tyre. The initial attempt (Metzler 18x400 Block K Sidecar tyre) was too tall, so I ended up with a Mitas H06 18x350.

    One thing that the tyre switch did highlight, was the routing of the brake line under the front mudguard. I am very consious that this is exposed to a stone taking out the brakes – I’ll change that very shortly. I’m surprised that BMW designed it that way…

    The result of all this work is a sidecar that turns much easier, without the immediate need to spend money on a leading link front end. It’s a bit more nervous on the motorway, but controllable.

    The aim was to take the sidecar up to the 40th Cold Kiwi. That’s documented in a separate ride report.

    You couldn't ever say that getting into this chair was elegant...

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks to Michael Taylor for that sequence...
    Night Falcon and Te Hopo like this.
  15. Voltaire

    Voltaire Titanium and Ceramic Hipster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Auckland,New Zealand
    How will that reduce the trail, wont it just bend the top part of the forks from the lower casting? would you not need to modify that as well....just ask'n
  16. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    COLD KIWI 2015.
    Weather forecast was for crappy weather for the weekend, but with one fine day. Which day that was kept changing as we got closer to the event.

    Arranged to meet Bart at the ‘Beyond the Bridge Café’ at Balance. Coffee & a sausage roll for morning tea. Originally I was going to ride up via the Wairarapa, but things change. Only a little drizzle round Shannon.

    Did a small magical mystery tour out Valley Rd, Zigzag Rd, Finnis Rd, Creamery Rd & Pollock Rd to get back onto Ridge Rd. The only hiccup out of the GPS this trip (getting better!).

    Sidecars & gravel! Who knew! They’re made for each other. They are the drift kings. Bart observed I was drifting into & out of corners. Such control. Such speed. More laughs than a barrel full of monkeys. Suddenly Bart’s pace was achievable. I might have found the limits a couple of times though.


    Exit out London Ford Rd, back onto the Rangiwahia Rd, then into gravel at Peep-o-day Rd. Had a wee break to check some mechanical issues (oil from the breather), then back into it.

    Out at Vinegar Hill Rd, down the road to hook into SH1, then out Kiekie Rd to hook across to Watershed Rd. This gets a wee bit of elevation, & is tight & a lot of fun.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Photo by Bart

    The sealed section from Tiriraukawa Rd though, I found hard work comparatively.

    Hooked back to Taihape to drop off a gearbox & meet DazzaDM briefly. No cup of tea. Very disappointing. So off to top off gas, then Maccas for a burger & coffee.

    Slabbed it off to the Cold Kiwi site at Horopito. Looks like it’d been very wet leading up to the rally, & there was a reasonable amount of mud. We snuck up the back track & camped on the top of the hill. I discovered sidecars without knobs don’t have traction in mud. But then they don’t fall over either…


    The view from my front door

    The Band was the same as last year. Very Austin Powers. Bed after 10.00.

    Saturday we spent at the site watching the events & looking at bikes. I thought about a ride out, but given how wet the site was thought we’d struggle getting in & out. When the sun came out the site steamed...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    How come there is less mud on the ADV bike than on the cafe racers?
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There were heaps of Guzzis this year, including one GuzziTony Esq. Few BMWs. Only the one Ural that I saw. That was runner up for the rat bike award. I don't think the owner was best pleased..

    Met MD & Norbet there, & got to crawl over Norbet's R60/6 & velorex sidecar. Some ideas for later...apparently there is another ADV sidecar being built up (Dnepr repowered with BMW), so I'm looking forward to a massed event

    Here’s some photo’s to give a flavour of things. Watching, mainly in the sun, soaked in a bit of rum. Perfect.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Felt sorry for the scooter. Ashamed to say I didn't stage an intervention



    Sunday was raining, my cooker decided not to pump up, so just packed up, & exited the site to Ohakune.

    Photo by Bart. Who said this wasn't adventure riding?

    Had a big breakfast at Utopia Café.

    Out to Turakina Rd, followed that to the road to Okaka Rd, Koeke Rd, then Tiriraukawa Rd, that then allowed me to hook back to Watershed Rd.




    Soup & toast at Hunterville, then back thru' Peep‘o’day Rd, & finally slabbed it to Palmerston North to catch up with Mum & Dad (Father’s Day).

    Think this old place might need some work on the piles...

    Slabbed it home from there, home just on dark.

    741kms for the weekend.

    The sidecar is completely covered in mud, & usefully, the remains of the Coke has been generously distributed all though my gear & the boot of the sidecar, so a bit of a mess to clean up.

    Very pleased with the weekend & how things went. The sidecar suffered a bit in headwinds, & is a lot more fun in gravel than on seal. I’ve a couple of minor issues to attend to before the next ride. The whole thing has only been slightly spoiled by a couple of teeth extractions I've had this morning. They'd given me grief all weekend. Painkillers & rum are a great mix...
  17. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    It replaces the top steel plate. Pulls the fork stantions back, kicks the fork legs out to increase rake 3 degrees, reduces trail, & therefore steering effort. The aluminium bottom clamp apparently has enough give to accommodate it.
    Voltaire likes this.
  18. Earhead

    Earhead n00b

    Aug 19, 2015
    Cambridge, NZ
    Looks like a great time! What caused the oil to come out of the breather? I only ask because this happened to me recently.

  19. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    The breather hose is split where it goes into the airbox. I've just resurrected that engine after a 12 mth+ hiatus (without opening it to check on condition), & it was being given a hard time in the gravel. So a small burp was acceptable, if messy. I suspect I'll need to freshen the top end.
  20. Padmei

    Padmei enamoured

    Mar 12, 2008
    Nelson New Zealand
    Great write up Nutso. Bugger about the weather leading up to the event.
    Not a question but a comment... it doesn't 'look' like an adv rig at the mo. It needs some more, more... je ne sais quoi. Perhaps some stickers or mesh over the headlites. A sand ladder strapped to the chair?
    Oaters likes this.