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New to the World of Sidecars

Hello all, thought I would introduce myself first. I've been on 2 wheels for about 50 years and have toured most of the USA on a wide assortment of brands and loved everyone of them and every mile. I retired back in 2011 and out of boredom and the need to stay busy, I had the idea to start up a small Motorcycle dealership/hobby at my home. Being a Dealer has given me access to the wholesale side of the  motorcycle business which lead me to the Sidecar rig I just added to my inventory. I'm not trying to plug my company just looking for info on Sidecars. I've always wanted one but never came across any late model, low mileage ones that caught my eye.

I picked up a 2015 Harley Davidson Road King with a Champion Legend Sidecar attached. I've only had a chance to put about 100 miles on it due to the weather here in SW Missouri this last week. I have a couple of questions. It tracks down the hwy/road great, corners to the right very easy at speed, a bit harder to corner left at speed. When I throttle it up it  pulls /torques to the right,  back off the throttle it pulls slightly to the left. Is this normal Sidecar behavior hooked to a Harley?

Thanks for any info yal can share for a Sidecar Rookie.

Broncryder

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Broncryder welcome to the off-set world of sidecars.  Congratulations of getting a beautiful HD rig.

Your experience of pulling to the right on acceleration and to the left on braking or slowing down, yes is indeed normal for most all sidecar set ups. Though in Australia and England it's the opposite since their sidecars are mounted on the left. In a couple hundred miles it will start to feel normal. Your arm muscles will automatically adjust the pressure to compensate without you thinking about it.

A new strange feeling is the machine is about to buck you off on rough pavement. On two wheels, it's you and the machine against the road. On three wheels, it's the machine and the road against you. Learn to relax the grip and enjoy the ride. It's not really going to throw you.

Sidecar rigs look like a motorcycle but once you hang that tub on the side they become a whole new animal. Takes a new skill set to handle safely. Not difficult to learn, but some two wheel habits have to be erased and new habits acquired. The best way to do that is take the two day sidecar school. There are several offered around the country. A list is published in the Sidecarist magazine which all USCA members receive.

I don't see where you are located, but the national USCA rally will be in Mena, Arkansas, the first weekend in June, 2020. A couple hundred rigs and owners will gather for rides, bike games, bike show and fellowship. Is a great time to meet others who ride a rig similar to yours.

Jan aka CCjon

USCA Secretary

 

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... I have a couple of questions. It tracks down the hwy/road great, corners to the right very easy at speed, a bit harder to corner left at speed. When I throttle it up it pulls /torques to the right, back off the throttle it pulls slightly to the left. Is this normal Sidecar behavior hooked to a Harley?...

Bronc, the right pull/left push is referred to as "yaw."  The rig is harder to steer left as a result of pulling the inertia/weight of sidecar around the outside and the trail designed in the Road King for tracking stability on two wheels.  Steering effort, as well as "road feedback," can be greatly reduced by reducing trail by placing the triple trees with a set designed for sidecar/trike applications (often referred to a 5-degree "raked" triple trees).  You're welcome to call me to discuss further.  /Lee 31eight-39three-745four.

 

More info from page of 18 of http://welcome-ural.ru/documents/HowToRideUral.pdf:

...If you are an experienced two-wheeled motorcyclist, steering a three-wheeler may be difficult at first. Remember that two-wheelers are balanced and steered by"counter steering". That is, to initiate a left turn, the rider of a two-wheeler first leans thebike over by pushing on the left grip. But rigid three wheelers don't lean into turns, so the habit of counter steering or "push steering" turns a sidecar outfit the wrong way. So long as all three wheels remain in contact with the ground, the front wheel of a sidecar outfit is immediately pointed towards the direction you want to go. To put this another way, two-wheelers steer backwards from sidecar rigs. You may need to unlearn some two-wheeler habits.Since sidecar outfits are not symmetrical, the technique for left turns is somewhat different from right turns. The outfit won't lean into the turn like a "solo" bike, but instead rolls slightly towards the outside of the turn like an automobile. The sidecar driver compensates by leaning body weight towards the turn and by applying extra force to the handlebars.Sidecar outfits with single-wheel-drive tend to veer towards the right when speeding up and veer left when slowing down, because the driving and braking forces are not centered on the rig. The driver must compensate for this veering or "yawing" tendency by adjusting pressure on the handlebars to keep the machine pointed in the right direction....

 

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Lee Summer Grove, LA Ural cT, CJ750, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L, GTV300
Quote from CCjon on December 13, 2019, 10:32 pm

Your experience of pulling to the right on acceleration and to the left on braking or slowing down, yes is indeed normal for most all sidecar set ups. Though in Australia and England it's the opposite since their sidecars are mounted on the left. In a couple hundred miles it will start to feel normal. Your arm muscles will automatically adjust the pressure to compensate without you thinking about it.

 

Once you get comfortable with the steering you can actually use it to help you get through the twisties...

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smitty901

Thanks for the responses. The Sidecar is a completely different experience but I am loving it! Good to know that what I am experiencing is normal behavior for a Sidecar Rig. I did figure  out that  it can be used to advantage corning, scared the H*ll out of my first passenger though.

Getting in and out of the sidecar is a bit difficult but I'm thinking maybe a step would be helpful. Anyone know where, what brand of step would fit and look good?

The Mena Rally next June is only 4 hours south, i'll put it on my calendar.

Broncryder

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Just get out and ride it. Take it easy try to ride in places with light traffic. Keep speed down . Practice turns in a parking lot if you can. As other said the pull on breaking and acceleration will fade as you learn to work with it. It is not a motorcycle it will not handle like one. In time you will be right at home on it.  Ride it with and with out weight in the sidecar as your experience grows .

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Quote from Broncryder on December 15, 2019, 10:40 am

Getting in and out of the sidecar is a bit difficult but I'm thinking maybe a step would be helpful.

Broncryder,

Harley sidecars, at least the older ones, had a step like this. You will probably want to check the website for your sidecar manufacturer to see if they have an accessory step designed to fit your rig properly. Once you do have a step, you'll next find you need a handhold of some sort, and naturally folks want to use their right hand to grab at the top the of hack windshield to steady themselves. I'm still trying to figure out something to remedy that!

 

 

 

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Looks like somebody makes one for your rig! Found this on Champion site:

http://championsidecars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/3996146_orig.jpg

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Quote from Broncryder on December 15, 2019, 10:40 am

Thanks for the responses. The Sidecar is a completely different experience but I am loving it! Good to know that what I am experiencing is normal behavior for a Sidecar Rig. I did figure  out that  it can be used to advantage corning, scared the H*ll out of my first passenger though.

Getting in and out of the sidecar is a bit difficult but I'm thinking maybe a step would be helpful. Anyone know where, what brand of step would fit and look good?

The Mena Rally next June is only 4 hours south, i'll put it on my calendar.

Broncryder

SeaDog makes a chrome over Brass or 316 SS folding mast step that Motorvation Engineering uses for their Spyder. You can get them for under 30 bucks I think - web search "SeaDog Mast step."

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