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Topic: How to Ride (drive) a sidecar outfit  (Read 17870 times)

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Papa Lazarou
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« on: November 05, 2011, 03:33:54 pm »

First thing to remember is this-a motorcycle and sidecar has the worst of bikes (poor weather protection, etc) and the worst of cars (you get stuck in traffic).

That said, they are a complete hoot.

first thing is to make sure that your bike can take a sidecar-better, just buy an outfit. Sidecar tugs need a certain amount of torque to pull the extra weight. Good sidecar tugs include:

Most Moto Guzzis,
Harleys
Goldwings
Some BMWs.

Most modern Triumphs lack the frame for pulling a sidecar but it can be done.

You get the picture. although CZ Jawa did a 350cc two stroke sidecar outfit that worked fairly well. Also, never forget the classic Russian Dnepr/ Ural/ Neval /Cossack -there are two basic models, a 650 and a 750 two wheel drive sidevalve, both based on a 1930s BMW design. The Chinese make a similar machine.

Some people have put small chairs (Brit speak for sidecar) on Vespas and on small bikes. Even mopeds can tug a chair.

The classic sidecar tug was a Panther sloper-600 or 650cc. In good nick, these things are brilliant. In bad nick, you will buying oil every few yards. It was the ownership of a Panther that led me to buying my first Japanese bike.

Next, they need to be set up properly. I refer you to this site: http://sidecarland.co.uk/SidecarFittingbasics.aspx

I have experimented with toe in and lean over the years and sometimes, depending on the bike, I've found that leaning in has helped handling-the usual advice is to make the bike lean away from the chair.

Driving an outfit. This will take years to learn properly. It took me about two years to be utterly confident and in control. You will not be able to jump on an outfit and be in control, first time. Mind you, the first time I rode one, it was not properly set up, the bolts holding bike and chair together were loose and I hit a wall. In front of a police car. How they laughed.  Angry3

Essentially, a sidecar outfit is two vehicles tied together. Probably unwillingly. So-one has an engine and brakes, the other has no engine and usually has no brakes. If the chair has brakes, that is a good thing and a considerable bonus.

To drive forward, keep the bars on the bike steady and accelerate. Easy, eh?

To turn-remember one vehicle has power, the other does not. Now, here in the UK, we drive on the correct non-Napoleonic side of the road. Just reverse this if you live in a country where you owe your freedom to the French.  Razz

So. To turn left, accelerate around the chair (opposite if your chair is on the right). To turn right, brake the motorcycle to allow the chair to overtake (opposite for a right hannd chair).

Next, all your sidecar stories and mine. Here endeth the basic-and I do mean basic-tutorial. These things are much harder to drive than cars or bikes but are utterly hilarious.
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 03:43:08 am »

I don't understand why nobody has replied to this, sidecars are cool and your words contain much truthiness regarding them. Shrug
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 12:20:39 pm »

Great summary.  

I can now say I appreciate just how different of an experience piloting a hack can be.  It's more difficult to control than a trike (two wheels in back for front like a Can Am Spyder).  But, it's twice the fun IMHO.   Embarassment
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 03:03:19 pm »

so it is.

All the disadvantages of a car and a bike rolled into one. But utter fun.
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 12:27:35 am »

Got an older Ural sportsman with a /8 (yes a BMW power plant). THe rig is a pile of bolts and rubber, not a trustworthy ride in any way shape or form. That being said it brings a smile to my face each and ever time I get on board. THe kids love it as well.

Yes it is not a motorcycle and not a car. But some where in between. It drives like a unsettled ready to flip small car that is 20 feet tall but dam sure is a blast to drive.  

Sometime the ride is the destination, sometimes the ride is the reason  Bigok
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 07:35:22 am »

Congrats on the rig Andrew.  

I agree, while the rig isn't quite a car and it doesn't ride like a bike, you do really need to toss your weight like a bike.  But, there just isn't any leaning.  

I do know this, I did my longest day ride yesterday with 200 miles on the clock.  At the end of the day, I was wore out!  IMO, every 1 mile on the rig is like 1.5 to 2 miles on my motorcycle.  Of course, not having any wind protection and constantly fighting wind blast doesn't help.  I'm going to look for a small fly screen to help in that department.  That said, making the rig take corners at speed requires body movement and upper body strength.  My shoulders are kaput right now.   Lol


FWIW, the chair in the Ural must be very comfortable as Sheri feel asleep twice yesterday.  
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 03:01:34 am »

I can't imagine a Russian soldier during WW II saying, "I'm going to look into getting a small fly screen."  Bigsmile

Wuz it over when the Germans bomber Pearl Harbor??  Bigsmile
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 07:41:24 am »

 Lol

I don't believe the army guys had to travel down paved roads at 50 MPH+ and face windgusts all day long.  The seating position on the Ural is straight up and down.  I LOVE nothing more than to be on a totally naked bike (e.g. Thruxton) with no wind protection as the ergos have me leaning into the wind.  It's a pleasant experience.  But, to be situated in a position to act as a wind sail, no thanks.  

(do I need my man card or sport-touring licence removed?)   Embarassment
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 10:56:20 pm »

Once you go hack, you'll never go back.
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 07:24:11 am »

 :popcorn:
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2014, 08:22:45 am »

People who don't ride motorcycles - when they find out I ride - constantly suggest that I should get a hack.  

Why is that.   (No need to reply.).  But really, why is that?

I can remember the expression on Bean's face as he rounded the parking lot with Doug in the chair.

Shure looks like fun to me!  OK, it was stinkin hot and we hadn't drunk much yet, but still.  


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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2014, 08:50:49 am »

So how are they really in the snow? Does the electrical system has capability to power full heated gear?
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 10:04:24 am »


So how are they really in the snow? Does the electrical system has capability to power full heated gear?


Are you talking about Urals???  If so they handle GREAT in the snow. and yes, they will power two heated jacket liners, gloves and and extra 55w headlight. I think the alternator is out of a chevy or somethin.  

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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2014, 12:58:58 pm »

The Ural has a Denso alternator; they can power a small city.

Also, I use a lap robe in the winter and am toasty warm.
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2014, 03:15:37 pm »








 That is one good looking machine!

 I've been doing a fair bit of test riding a Harley Softail outfit that I put together for a friend...my girlfriend loves riding in it. I think I am going to build a sidecar for my GoldWing for winter riding.
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2017, 01:29:22 pm »

@Papa Lazarou:

Yes, it's an old post but a good one.

If you want to learn to ride a motorcycle with a side car in the US, you can sign up for a state-sponsoring training course (MSF) that ends with a written and riding skills exam and a completion cards.

You can take that card to the Dept of Licensing and get an endorsement to ride all 3-wheelers - trikes, bikes with sidecars and Can Am Spyders.

If you have basic motorcycle 2-wheel skills, the course is only moderately challenging once you figure out the physics of a sidecar in tow!

I just earned my 3-wheel endorsement in 2 days with 8 hours on bike training.
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2017, 12:45:32 am »


@Papa Lazarou:

Yes, it's an old post but a good one.

If you want to learn to ride a motorcycle with a side car in the US, you can sign up for a state-sponsoring training course (MSF) that ends with a written and riding skills exam and a completion cards.

You can take that card to the Dept of Licensing and get an endorsement to ride all 3-wheelers - trikes, bikes with sidecars and Can Am Spyders.

If you have basic motorcycle 2-wheel skills, the course is only moderately challenging once you figure out the physics of a sidecar in tow!

I just earned my 3-wheel endorsement in 2 days with 8 hours on bike training.


Not going to help Papa much, as he in in the UK
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« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 06:49:56 pm »

Ain't no 3 wheeled license requirements in the US of A

Nice URAL  Thumbsup
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2017, 04:30:04 am »

I think I would need a lot of confidence in the driver.
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