Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Sidecar!

Photo From Here

Photo From Here

Bottom Photos From Here

The bottom photo is Frankie Flood's new outfit. It's a Ural, for those of you unfamiliar with factory sidecar rigs. I think Harley quit making sidecars in 2010, but don't quote me on that.

You used to be able to buy a BMW equipped with a Steib sidecar. But Steib is long gone. There are several sidecar manufactures around, however. Sidecars are a breed unto themselves. Originally they were purely functional - add room for another passenger or cargo. Since motorcycles got better mileage than most cars, they were more economical.

More like this here
Put a lid over them and you could drag the family around rain or shine, as in this Watsonian. Notice that this rig is from England, so the chair is on the left. Note also that Watsonian is still making outfits if you're in the market. Also, in spite of the fact that the handling characteristics are very different when turning left or right, before the advent of the snowmobiles nothing was faster on icy roads than a sidecar rig. If you're a brave laddie and want to ride a bike year round, this is the way to go.

I found a couple of slides of my old rig but I don't have a way to scan them. I did have a couple of photographs that were hanging on the wall of my garage before I moved to the country but they're long gone. I've got the negatives still. The slides are dated August '83 so that might help me narrow the search for the negatives. My 900 Kaw is the same frame as back then, so it still has the lugs on it. Someplace down the road, I'd like to build another sidecar for it. What I need is an engineer. I've got an idea for a torsion bar suspension that I think would work rather well but I'll never get around to getting that figured out. My old rig used an airshock suspension which worked pretty well. The heavier the load, the more air in the shock. Many of the older outfits had no suspension on the sidecar frame but suspended the chair on the frame instead. Some, no suspension at all.

I did a lot of research before building mine - relationship of the sidecar wheel fore and aft to the cycle wheels, toe-in, camber angle, etc. It was a fun project and Surly and I had a great time when we headed out on our big adventure. I never had the chance to ride mine when the roads were snow covered but it would slide nicely turning left on dusty pavement. It was also pretty cool when you banged second gear hard. The front wheel would come up off the pavement a little and the rig would veer right slightly, then straighten itself out after the front wheel came back down.

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