Monday, December 31, 2012

Almost Made it to the Road

Happy New Year!


I spent much of Saturday getting the sidecar frame attached to the motorcycle subframe. Thank you to Dom for looking at the picture and giving me a little confidence as to what I was doing. This is a shot of the rear mount with the names of the parts. There are quite a few parts and the trick was to get everything level with the motorcycle at ride height. I measured the distance from the rear subframe mount to the floor while sitting on the bike to get a rough starting point. Then after putting the bike on the center stand, I measured the distance again. The difference is the amount I raised the sidecar wheel above the floor with wooden blocks. After a lot of dinking around with the pieces, I finally pushed the 70 degree clamp as far as it will go into the new rear crossmember to get the sidecar as close to the bike as possible. Then with the sidecar frame on jackstands, leveled the sidecar frame side to side, threaded the heim joint all the way into the 70 degree boss and adjusted the boss so that the heim joint is parallel to the ground. I then did the same with the front mount ensuring the sidecar frame is close to level front to back. Actually, I tilted it up a couple of degrees to account for the forks compressing. The rear strut was installed just to keep the bike from falling over when it was moved off of the center stand.

At this point the body was placed back on the sidecar frame and the bike pushed off the center stand. At this point, the sidecar was pretty close to level in both axis so my procedure seemed to work. A line was marked on the floor and the center of the bike tires were wheeled onto it. The sidecar book known as the "Yellow Book" by David Hough describes a procedure to set toe in using a straight edge set against the front and rear tire. This procedure won't work on my bike unless I made a spacer as the rear tire is wider than the front. I then placed a 2x4 against the sidecar wheel and measured the distance from the 2x4 and the line on the floor in front and behind the motorcycle. I adjusted the front sidecar mount to get the toe-in close to what I wanted then used the threaded front heim joint to get it exactly to 5/8" in. Once toe in was set, I bolted the body back onto the frame. I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be replacing the cracked rubber body mounts. This turned out to be challenging as they are pretty stiff rubber rings. I finally came up with a method using a turnbuckle and a chain to stretch the rings on one side so I could bolt up the other side. I then set the lean out of the motorcycle by adjusting the rear strut with the front one removed and putting an magnetic angle gauge on the rear disc. It is initially set to 2° lean out with me sitting on the bike. Finally tightened up all of the bolts and looked for the Ibuprofen. Too much bending and lifting for me.

This morning seemed like a good day to take it out to see if it all works. This was taken while the engine was warming up but I didn't get much farther. The temperature has warmed up to 31°F and the driveway was pretty slippery. I made it within a couple of feet of the road but the driveway gets a little steeper at the very end. It felt weird to be backing down the driveway on a motorcycle. The rear tire (Shinko street tire) didn't have very good traction and would slide if you braked. The front (Heidenau K60) had pretty good traction and did a good job controlling speed and direction even while backing up. For this initial test, I used a car battery in the trunk and half a bag of this stuff used to clean up oil spills in the garage. quite a bit of weight.

I still don't have the wiring done and now plan on borrowing a trailer to take the rig to a parking lot to see how it handles and learn how to turn. Especially turning right. With the ballast in the car, I can hang all my weight on the handlebars and the left peg completely off the bike and not be able to pick up the sidecar wheel. Even if I throw myself trying to pull it up, I can get it to bounce up maybe an inch off of the ground. I think that this may be a good starting place though I want to put the battery into something to prevent acid from getting on the paint. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could still mount the right case to the bike and still be able to almost open it fully.

24 comments:

redlegsrides said...

Looking good Richard!

Sounds like you've got the right tools and ideas re sidecar alignment and adjustment! Interesting note that you left the sidecar's nose up by a couple of degrees to account for front fork compression....is the nose level when you're sitting on the tug?

Re the ballast, great idea. With such a light sidecar, it's better to start with it and wean yourself from it as you gain experience and confidence.

Is there a brake on the sidecar wheel?

dom

redlegsrides said...

one more thing re ballast....if you take that right turn fast enough, tight enough, you can pick up the sidecar even with a full grown man inside....

practice picking the sucker up and being able to complete your turn with it up in the air....guys get hurt when the sidecar comes up on a curve, and they steer into the oncoming lane....just saying.

don't mean to sound like it's dangerous, it's only dangerous if you don't know what to do....you're on the right path to try it all in an open parking lot.

looking forward to your first reports!

dom

Erik R said...

Looking good! I'd have a hard time waiting for the roads to clear before I could go for the first long ride on it. Hmmm, maybe a sporty number hooked to he side of my zx-14???

Happy New Year!

Erik

RichardM said...

The sidecar body is level though the frame is still about a 2° nose high. I now have the stock Nivomat self leveling rear shocks. I don't know what effect they would have on ride height yet.

I know that this is supposed to be a pretty light sidecar but comparing it's weight with others, it's nowhere near the lightest. The empty weight according to the importer is 200# which is more than the weight listed for many other sidecars.

I have no plans for simply taking off down the street.

RichardM said...

But it would have to be lime green, right?

I don't want to mess things up by not learning as it seems to be completely different from riding.

Troubadour said...

Congrats, I can't wait to read about your new adventures. Now you have to swap out that sport tire.

Happy New Year!

RichardM said...

And no brake in the sidecar wheel. I guess I should replace the pads on the Beemer's rear brake, eh?

RichardM said...

Unfortunately, it's hard to find anyone around here with tires in stock and even harder to find anyone willing to ship.

Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Richard:

Your Hack does look good. You procedures sound too technical for me but it must be right as it passes Dom's approval. I notice that your next project will be to paint your Beemer white

Happy New Year

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

Not very technical just a lot of head scratching and guessing. The real test comes when I try it in a parking lot. No training opportunities up here but there are a lot of exercises to go through in David Hough's book. I think I've read through it at least half a dozen times in the last couple of months.

SonjaM said...

Amazing progress! Looking forward to your three-wheeled adventures.

Happy New Riding Year 2013!

SonjaM

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Richard, good luck getting the last details sorted out. Again, I'm an envious someday?-hacker.

Happy New Year and all the best now that '13 is here.

VStar Lady said...

Well done Richard - take it easy as you learn a whole new game. But really, I still don't understand why anyone would want to ride in -31 (except for there being little other choice.) Look forward to hearing of the new experiences.

Erik R said...

Yes on the lime green... Haven't I seen side cars that lean with the bike?

Trobairitz said...

Pretty cool to see it all mounted Richard. You are a very patient man to get it all set up the way you did.

I bet it will be fun for you to ride around in the snow.

Good job!!

RichardM said...

Yes, I believe they're called leaners. The subframe hangs so low that it would really limit leaning on right turns.

RichardM said...

To me it seems like it's taking a long time since I'm doing things sequentially instead of in parallel. I should have been looking for tires while waiting for the mounts for example. And I still need to remove the sidecar to service the transmission input shaft and replace the fork seals. Tasks that I could've been doing last month.

RichardM said...

Thank you and Happy New Year to you and your family. One of these days we'll see a car on one of your bikes.

RichardM said...

It's not that much different than riding snow machines in the winter. You just dress appropriately and have fun. I'm looking forward to the new experience.

RichardM said...

I am pretty happy with the way it turned out but I still need to get it out of the driveway. The street tire just doesn't cut it at all especially with just one wheel drive. I must admit that it was fun just getting it out in the driveway.

Dar said...

Richard it looks awesome! I dream of having a side car rig someday. Happy New Year!

RichardM said...

Sidecar mounts are available for many bikes and scooters. I'm amazed at the variety out there.

Happy New Year to you and your family as well!

Conchscooter said...

Those pictures are enticing. Especially in 29 degrees. Put the collected works of Hemingway in the trunk as ballast.

RichardM said...

The books may be slightly less corrosive than the car battery I have in there right now. It's been floating right around freezing for almost a week now.