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Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Aug 29, 2015.
Looking that bloody unhappy at this point in marriage does not bode well?
I feel sorry for the bridesmaid,, that 2nd pic's not a very flattering angle.
That bridesmaid story sounds familiar except for the sidecar part..........
Was that the bridesmaid that wanted to eat the bouquets?
The care & feeding of an Adventure Riding Addicts wife
(or a ride in the sidecar to White Rock Station). Sun 10th Apr '16.
Back in the day, Mrs Box’a’bits was on the back of the bike everywhere we went. We didn’t own a car. I taught her to ride a scooter, & she still doesn’t drive cars to this day. A large chunk of our social life was bike based. Eventually we even toured off shore by bike. But once our daughter was born, for risk management purposes much of that stopped, except for the occassional sunny day short jaunt.
Some years ago, I got into Adventure Bikes, & tried to recreate the joint enjoyment of touring. But unfortunately she’d moved on, & didn’t especially enjoy gravel, where the bike moved around underneath her. I blew it with an over ambitous trip one Easter. The last trip down south suffered because, with camping gear & luggage, the rear shock was overloaded. Even I was struggling on anything loose. Standing to help shift the load was strictly verboten.
Last August, I thought I’d try an adventure riding rig instead. Seduction by stealth...
This has definitely been a winner for short trips on sealed roads, or trips into town, but we hadn’t yet explored any gravel or anything loose (aside from a quick squirt & slide in carparks).
A few months ago we did a sunny day trip over to Martinborough for coffee, picked up a kg of mushrooms at Parkvale, & she enjoyed an hour or so’s shopping at Gladstone. She enjoyed the Rimutakas at speed (well, as fast as I was prepared to go in the sidecar, which is still a heavy steerer anyways..). Happy days.
Yesterday we decided to have a day trip to White Rock Station. Saturday was supposed to be the day, but she deferred because she wanted to see the rehersals for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ ballet at Te Papa. Sunday was supposed to be wet, but with the magic of transient NZ weather forecasts, by Saturday night it was looking like patchy cloud, & a little NE breeze. So it was decided...
By morning, the enthusiasm seemed to have waned somewhat. She wanted a sleep in. Then she needed to go to the farmers market to pick up the weeks veges. She was supicious of exactly how many kms we were commiting to. And how long it would take. Given I am pretty much a ‘jump on the bike & go now’ kind of guy, my patience was eroding, so I decided to vacate the premises, & go organise a picnic lunch.
We left Casa del Box’a’bits at about 10.30am, pretty much in silence. But the Rimutakas improved things, despite being able to see that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate from ½ way up the motorway. A fairly clear run, once we dispatched the cars at the bottom. By mid way down the Wairarapa side I eased off a bit. Wrestling sidecars is hard work. And as if to ensure that my ego was totally crushed, the van we passed at Upper Hutt had caught us.
A coffee was in order. So we stopped at the Everest Cafe in Featherston. This was totally refurbished last year, & I can recommend it. A watery sun appeared, the coffee, hot chocolate, & scones were excellent, & all was good in the world.
Extra gas at Martinborough (still getting used to the ‘limited’ fuel range of the ‘little’ tank on the BMW tug), then on the road to White Rock.
At the summit of the Range behind Martinborough, we had a brief pit stop to take in the 15 turbine (though I really only saw 5) Hau Nui wind farm. Looking at the weather, we had showers over towards Ocean Beach, & possible showers heading our way. It was cooling. We debated changing the destination, but I made an executive decision to continue with the plan.
At Tuturumuri (at the beginning of the gravel) I was advised that there had been no mention made of gravel in the ride briefing, & just how many kms of this could she expect? She didn’t appreciate the jarring of these types of roads you know. You could almost see a certain body language adopted to say, well I’m stuck here now, & I’m not going to enjoy this.
We had a couple of stops along the way, first just outside Riversdale Station, at the confused sign, & again at the ‘pass’, where you get the first views of the Ocean. I was careful not to go nuts with the slides.
At White Rock we discovered that the milo container (which was riding in a larger container in a pannier) hadn’t survived the corrugations, & had redistributed itself all thru that box. A sticky mess, but not the end of the world.
Picniced, then wandered along the beach. No seals. Very disappointing.
I reminded Mrs Box’a’bits we’d been here before, for the ‘Not the Leeming Run’. That was back in the mid 90’s, when we rode the XR350 down to White Rock Station, across Ngapoki Station, & around the coast. That ride included crossing a steep & active slip face, & over a sand scree. We camped closer to Cape Paliser, in amongst the scrub. Good times...
Had a slightly more flowing ride back. Noted the chair slides easily on the throttle to the left, but with the additional weight of a passenger it understeers, & doesn’t drift to the right as easily. A brake slide transitioning into a throttle on drift would likely do it, but decided not to practice that this trip.
The stock on the road behaved themselves – Mrs Box’a’bits was somewhat concerned about them.
Re-traced our tracks back to Martinborough, topped up with coffee & hot chocolate at the Village Cafe, then back over the hill. Home by 5.20pm. Mrs Box’a’bits declared herself tired but happy, so it seems we had a success. I’ve suggested we camp at Martinborough or Gladstone one weekend, to give a base for exploration, so there is some hope for future rides. Certainly Mrs Box’a’bits is keen to get across to Parkvale Mushrooms again, so there is a potential motivation there...Some cheap intercoms would help I think.
Nice tale mate, sounds like the sidecar is winning it's hearts and minds mission.
New wheel on the hack looks good and solid.
Sounds like some diplomatically chosen wording....
Great to see Mrs Box'a'bits enjoying the ride.
I made sure to have Mrs Box'a'bits proof read the first draft, so that if she objected to anything then she could negotiate for a revision before it was published. She laughed a lot (which was a good sign) & no revisions were made.
Changing the shock on a standard Velorex 562:
One of the issues when I got the rig was that the sidecar shock had no appreciable damping. The shock shaft was rust pitted, & had the residue of the rattle can paint job on it. It was evident that most of the shock oil had abandoned ship some considerable time ago. I guess it was comfortable for the sidecar occupant riding on soft springs though. But as a result of the total lack of damping in the sidecar shock, the whole rig rolled in corners like a big old american car (and likely for the same reasons). So not good for stability or rider confidence. And not something I was prepared to tolerate long term.
I’d already replaced the chair axle with a much more sturdy one (as the stock 15mm one was bent & didn’t inspire confidence), & also replaced the sidecar wheel, as the GN250 one that was on the chair when I bought it had lost all of the spokes on a ride a few months ago (way too light for how aggressively I ride this thing).
The stock shock length is 285mm eye to eye, with the pivot bolts all 12mm. The original Velorex shock is quite skinny, & has no damping or preload adjustment capabilities.
The swingarm is also quite rudementary, basically two steel plates, with a shock platform & bump stop welded into the underside. The bottom shock mount results in a pinch point which restricts the width of the shock body which you can use.
My research indicated some Harley shocks would work, & so I looked for some discarded or upgraded shocks. But I was a month or so late enquiring about this. Wellington Motorcycle (the former Harley dealer) dumped a large number of these when they shifted to Gear St.
I did manage to pick up some fairly newish ‘Progressive Suspension 412 shocks off a ‘90 FXR. But it turned out there was a number of issues with these:
The shock body was slightly too large to fit into the swingarm. I could have relieved the swingarm slightly to manage that – the large, proud welds to the bottom shock mount were the major issue;
The preload adjusters fouled the swingarm. I was prepared to cut the adjuster rings to lose this facility;
The Harley shocks use ½“ pivot bolts (effectively 13mm). That was pretty easy to remedy – my machinist was able to turn up some replacement shock bushes in the correct sizing;
The progressive shocks had chromed top covers, which wouldn’t work with the top of the shock tower. Easy enough to remove.
Unfortunately the deal breaker was when I realises that the shocks had an offset bottom eye to accomodate the Harleys unusual shock arrangement. This would have meant that they would have cocked as the shock travel was used. Perhaps another Harley shock would have worked, but once bitten...
Research also indicated that the Honda VT400, VT750, & VTX1300 & 1800 shocks would work, with work. These bikes are all fitted with convential twin shocks, which are not adjustable for damping, but offer 5 position spring preload adjustment. The shocks meet the 285mm eye to eye length criteria. The shocks are canted forward somewhat on the Hondas, & give circa 130mm of rear wheel travel. I’m unsure what the standard Velorex shock travel is supposed to be, but because of the stubby swingarm, & the shocks upright siting, it’ll be much less than that. The shocks are encased with chrome covers, top & bottom, which need to be removed to fit into the Velorex shock tower & swingarm arrangment. Underneath the chrome covers is a standard shock.
Motomart (the local Honda shop) was advertising a brand new VT400 shock for not very much (so the price was right), so I thought I’d give that a go. Once this was to hand I carefully cut the chrome covers off (cut off discs on a Dremell). I thought I’d buggered things up at one point when I got oil droplets flung onto the case – but that was only shipping oil from the red paper that separates the bottom case from the shock body.
I did go too far in fully removing the bottom case completely – In hindsight I realised I needed the adjustment ring in place, given this provided the spring base. If I was to do this again I’d carefully cut off the top & bottom portion of the bottom case & leave the adjustment ring intact.
As a result of that error then I needed to create a shock spring compressor to disassemble the shock head & spring, to allow me to recreate the adjustment ring. I did this using part of a preload adjuster off another old shock.
Once the shock was reassembled I offered it up to the shock tower & swingarm. To fit it properly it was necessary to:
Grind down some of the weld joint between the swingarm & shock mount. This is purely a cosmetic & fit adjustment – there is plenty of residual thickness in the swingarm;
Wind the shock spring preload up, so that the preload adjuster didn’t foul the swingarm. I may consider cutting this back a bit later.
The shock feels to have a higher spring rate. It’s progressively wound, so I am unable to calculate the rate based on spring width & coil measurements. The sidecar sag is less & the chair sits higher, which increases tug lean out.
Solo, on the motorway, the chair is more lively, reacting to bumps that the previous shock would float over. I also took it over the tight Paekakariki Hill Road. It was good in there, given the reduced roll, especially on right hand bends. Even did the stream ford at Battle Hill Park a couple of times just for fun. The Motorway nervousness might improve with:
An chair realignment to take account of the chair side having less sag;
Reduced preload on the shock (which would require cutting the preload adjuster);
Ballast in the sidecar (I don't generally use that - it's more fun for me without).
Took Mrs Box’a’bits out for a ride to Eastbourne Sunday afternoon. She reports the shock hasn’t impacted on comfort, & it feels as if the rig is much more stable because the roll is much reduced. From my perspective, the shock has made a big improvement when the chair is loaded.
marks for perserverance in hunting down parts to fit i reckon.
thought there mighta been one or two workshops around sympathetic to the cause that would have a small list of shocks known to fit? obviously not.
Not that I have come across. My experience is that sidecars are a small percentage of the riding population. There doesn't seem to be much resource out there.
And also this was a budget fix.
There has been an annoying rattle from the left head since I put the the GS motor in the rig. It’s been intermitant, but more prevalent when the oil is hot. It’s not the cam chain (timing is rock solid).
I decided to look at the shimming on the rockers, & also the condition of the rocker bearings. The rockers did have vertical play of about between 0.15 - 0.20mm. The only shims on hand were 0.30mm, & so I left these as is. Potentially the easiest way to check / remedy rocker bearing noise was to swap the rockers from the R80 motor across to the R100 motor. The R80 motor was known to be quiet. Given I thought the play was in the inlet, that's the side I did. The exhaust appeared okay. Reset the clearances & test rode. Result! Noticeably quieter.
Newlands access track:
As part of the test loop I thought I’d ride down the Newlands / Ngauranga Access track. This runs from Newlands down to Ngauaranga Gorge. Unfortunately this track slopes into the hill on the right side. This puts the chair somewhat above the tug. Given the tug isn’t ballasted, this was an issue, as the chair approached tipping point a few times in the ride. I was riding it with my bum well over towards the chair to try to shift the balance point left.
I’m intending to have a go at Takapari Rd tomorrow with support from DazzaDM. Maybe I need to look at this. We’ll see.
Thats where the leaner comes into it's own... the car has very little efect on the bike
the car can be below or above the bike but the bike is still vertical....
(my cars frame is about done.. hope to put it up to the bike this week end..
& see if i got the numbers right....)
What time are you going up tomorrow Steve? Do you need a cameraman on site? Is one cylinder acceptable instead of two?
I told Darren we'd meet him at Takapari Rd at 12.00 noon, but maybe should shift that back to 12.30.
Aim to leave here at 9.00am. Mandy wants a coffee somewhere on the way up, probably the Horseman. I'll drop her at her mums in PNth, then head for Takapari after that.
Should we stop by your place to pick you up? Say 10 / 10.15? Or we can meet you at the bottom of Takapari Rd?
Stop by here and I'll make a brew of Havana five star if you have time otherwise we can just press on. I'll fuel up first thing.
We knocked the barstard off...
We just have to wait now for Steve's ride report.
Somewhere down there is Dannevirke
Yeah, I was down there somewhere doing firewood (probably an inch above your mirror in the cloud shadow). Looked up at the hills a couple of times but didn't see ya.
Might head up there with the boy tomorrow. We'll be doing it the hard way though.