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Building a Harley softail rig

Took the bike for about a 40 mile urban run with some highway and I feel hat I may have a little too much lean when I looked at the front tire and at where the sand is worn off and shows the actual footprint strip. It was definitely about 1/4" more to the left so when I got home I took some of the lean out and tomorrow I will take the bike to a job and see what has happened I can still see a little lean just to look at the bike. I use the back disc as my datum point for all my alignment measurements. I am not really measuring simply tweaking and seeing what happens. When I get it right I will measure it again very accurately and make notes as well as take some measurements to various different points so I can make field adjustments if necessary with a tape measure It does seem like the stationary turns are a bit easier and not very different left or right. Of course the bigger the amount the higher effort is required.

I am fortunate in that I have a pretty good infrastructure and experience base even tho I am a newby Side Carist with the hope that I may make other newbies even some old hands life a little easier when dealing with problems also to try to pry some knowledge from the herd experience. I am sure my problems are not unique for anybody who cannot employ Professional Sidecar Meisters so they do not have to deal with them, themselves or have to stretch funds to enjoy the sport. I have always been a one bike rider and have never had the where withall to support a stable of machines. That is why my machines are always Road Warriors that can go to the end of the road and come back on their own wheels     Chuck

we have been busy working on the tig and now have made and installed a power camber to the sidecar suspension that gives about an 8 to 1 camber range and with a little sophistication will end up with 2 ranges HI&LO with about a 33% o/lap in the middle I may make the O/lap less but we will see , for now i am going to ride it for a while..

I discovered a set of heritage Softail trees with Zero rake so we put them in and found that the Dual disc wheel went in but only one caliper matched the disc. i looked online and found the solution , "lots of money"  So we went to work and did a pile of pondering developing a working solution because i love the dual disc black spoke mag front 16"wheel. Well eventually I found a solution and its perfecto.

Getting to the S&S carb bown was a pain so I moved the 

Quote from Neville L Te Brugge on March 15, 2021, 3:03 am

...discovered a set of heritage Softail trees with Zero rake so we put them in and found that the Dual disc wheel went in but only one caliper matched the disc. i looked online and found the solution , "lots of money"  So we went to work and did a pile of pondering developing a working solution because i love the dual disc black spoke mag front 16"wheel. Well eventually I found a solution and its perfecto.

Getting to the S&S carb bown was a pain so I moved the 

Hi Neville:  Please explain a little more re: the triple tree and the mis-matching brake parts.  Did you use remount the original forks?  Or use another set of forks that come with the triple tree?   And what about that carb?

Lee Summer Grove, LA Ural cT, CJ750, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L, GTV300

Hi Been busy

The Softail heritage trees are 1/2" narrower than the glide trees and so the left side caliper will line up with the disc but the right side does not. The disc will just only clear the lower slider by about 0.62" however the caliper and the caliper mount conflict unless you get the lots of money solution. So that is what I am talking about. I got that worked out and the brakes are just fine running the double disc front wheel. They make a single performance machine front look like nothing when I go to my front anchors

We solved the problem and are running double dark now  the front tire is very snug under the fatboy fender but it all clears likewise the back wheel. Now we are still running the 1 1/2 drive belt and with nice clearance. the disc went right into the caliper and the tire went up in the fender with about 3/8" of stretch to the right. Now we are talking tight like I moved the tail light wired to the left side because the hold clips were just touching the side wall at times ,but it is in there and no problems now. With the 66 tooth pulley the bike runs like a long legged camel on the Interstate and the work on the motor makes it pull like a mule on steroids.

We also engineered up a camber trim system and can now dial the lean right in to the particular hiway and also have a second range that allows me to deal with excess negative camber if I anticipate the need. Right now I can accommodate 7 degs of positive camber anda few degs of negative  camber as well. Its controlled by a switch on my dash.

I got caught in a Southern  Gulley washer on the interstate day before yesterday and let me tell you there were cars off the road in the ditch but my scooter ran like it was on rails and my brakes etc were amazing. I did have my 4 way flasher quit on me. 

I have been looking at creating a tow bar for the bike and one that will fit right under the tub when not being used. This will allow me to extend my range as my wife is disabled and cannot really go over about 4 hrs max in a day. Me I ride sunup to sunset and longer if need be.

I seem to get about 140 miles before I need to go to reserve Is this about right??? Thats about 35 mpg.

Right now everything on the bike is prototype and is subject to change till it proves itself equal to what I want out of my ride.

I was hoping to learn from the long term wise heads but it seems that they are not very forthcoming of their experiences and do not share knowledge with the newbys who are struggling to get good rigs up without going thru a lot of trial and error (very costly). I am fortunate in that I have the resources and ability to take care of myself ,but there are very very few folks that fortunate

                                                Later Chuck

Well I am well into road testing and this is what I have found.

1 The camber trim does help and the bike steering is pretty neutral provided you have enough toe in to start with

2 I need to trim the long legged camel's legs a bit. It is super on the Hi way at 60-70 mph but not so smooth in heavy city traffic or urban roads with a lot of corners. Now changing ratios using final drive belts is a pain as you have to pull the entire left side off the motor and the  options are limited to very few choices so I am going to put a chain drive in and use sprockets. the new chains running on aluminium sprockets just about last forever and that variety of back sprockets is unlimited. Not cheap but it will achieve the end I require.  

3 I believe that Moving the lead to the most advantageous point is really the  only major step I still need to take after #2 to have a very nice rig.

                                                                                                 Later  Chuck


If you want to shorten the gearing the easiest way, change to a smaller compensator sprocket.  I have a 23 that I took out to install a 22 from Baker Drivetrain.  The 23 I have was made form a shovel head sprocket, with a center portion from an evo sprocket.

Will drop right into yours, let me know if you are interested.

Quote from Neville L Te Brugge on March 27, 2021, 2:53 pm

I was hoping to learn from the long term wise heads but it seems that they are not very forthcoming of their experiences and do not share knowledge with the newbys who are struggling to get good rigs up without going thru a lot of trial and error 

                                                Later Chuck

I find just the opposite.  The folks here are more than eager to offer guidance, assistance, and even parts to help others maintain their sidecars.  However, it appears to me you are not only putting together a hack rig, but customize a bike as you go.  I live by the rule, "never change something until you get the existing problem resolved."  Seems you have multiple project going on at the same time.  I'm not being critical, You are coming up with some state-of-the-art solutions for your build, maybe surpassing the abilities of some of the "long term wise heads?"  Have you considered applying for patients for camber trim you developed?

I am a big fan of H-D motorcycle (which is not a popular acknowledgement of character, but I think they make a Great machine).  Owning many and having the resources and ability to take care of myself and my machines run mostly trouble free.  Haven't had an oil leaker since I rode a '73 Shovel.  I do understand your challenges when mixing parts from one model to another - sometimes things just don't fit and that's when we find how resourceful we can be.  During these times my friends set on their hands and watch.

Keep posting your build.  I find it very interesting.  When you get it finished (which never really happens) you'll have one awesome machine, and the pride that goes with your accomplish. 

Later, Bud... 

smitty901 has reacted to this post.

Thanks guys .  I am interested in trading for that sprocket.

Maybe I get my head up my butt a lot because I forget that not many folks have the facilities that I can access or the ability to get things done on the side if I need to. I also live outside the box mostly. I am a perfectionist where function is concerned and will modify anything to get the level of performance that I consider acceptable. I believe beauty is in the function and if it works right then that is what it is supposed to  look like as long as it has a workmanlike appearance. Its like the double disc front brakes. I started out with a bracket to make the right caliper work, then I pondered and pondered until I had the right inspiration  which was to shave the insides of the caliper mount points of the front lowers till the calipers matched the discs on both sides. I had to really split hairs with the wheel spacers to get the wheel dead center. Lots of hand fitting. Now the calipers fit the disc like they were made to that alignment all along. It was just a picky no cost job using hand tools mostly. I have the speedo drive in as well. I had to turn the outside of the drive away to achieve a 0.6" spacer to go in and then chamfer the lower leg inside corner a fat 1/16" to allow for the speedo cable drive bulge. 

Jay did a camber trim for Helge Pederson and I saw it in a pic so I just back engineered it with I think about a $60 1320 lb actuator from EBay. Its controlled with a double pole double throw toggle switch. I made sure that i had my 1 deg lean then fitted the actuator while it was positioned dead center. I do not think the reverse is original but merely a simple hill billie solution to the problem of rolling that heavy sucker backwards. It is operated by a small momentary button on the right handle bar control group and run thru a 30 A relay. It actually does not ever kick a 10A heater it was cheap and works. 

I am beginning to like this rig very much and if I can optimise my low speed turning I will have a very nice rig to ride. I made that Ural saddle into a very comfortable seat and am not even aware of it for 2 hr stretches. I had a 45cu HD at one time and it rides just like the post solo rode on that bike                                                          Later Chuck 

Jay tells me he sets the lead on Ural cars to 10-15% wheelbase so with a 62" w.b. I am at 18% which is not too bad for a rank amateur. I can live with it for now and when I take the rig down for paint I will remodel to 10% lead and I should be a very very happy camper. It is actually force feeding me how to ride sidecar as I am really learning when to apply power. Also to plan my moves ahead and not simply react to a corner etc. Its like you do Judo and it then mostly does what you want it to do.

I believe that mama is also biting her teeth less than at first. When I get the final chain thing done that is the last of big money out and then its mostly picking at cockroaches which will never end. I was given a very nice M Benz for a gift. Its a 1997 202 230S and its pretty impeccable etc except for very bad sunburn. At that price I can afford a really good paintjob and that will be our tow vehicle. Mama likes 4 star camping and really its a lot easier and cheaper than buying and keeping a motorhome.

We love our place here in a secluded little mountain valley so we are perfectly happy at home and amuse ourselves here along the East Coast doing together things or spoiling the decendants rotten,  like paybacks to our kids for their behavior. Revenge is a delicacy best eaten cold. Its simply delicious.      Later chuck

Thinking about reducing the lead. It may be easier to simply extend the car swingarm and move the fender back on the car. Moving the fender back will make entry and egress easier for mama who has a bit of a time with that. I would also put a small rack on the fender for her to use as a seat. I have a very rigid system between the car and the bike so I would not like to disturb that and its quite a lot of work as well. I will also go to a bagger air over shock as well when I do it. That should really be the end of the radical changes and my ride would be very efficient. I put a little more toe in on the car yesterday and when we went out to eat last night I think I may have hit the sweet spot. I do not know exactly how much but I would estimate probably just under 3/4" and the bike is very short W.B. at 62.5" like same Fatboy. Those progressive springs at the front really made the front brake a very go to brake and it pretty much stops straight with little dive when I get on the brake. Now I set up for turns by rolling off using the front brakes and simply getting to the right gear and then doing a gentle controlled roll on and when I trim the camels legs a bit that should become a very smooth as it will be lots more tractible at lower speeds like city riding. Later Chuck