USCA Sidecar Forum

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Newbie looking for info!

Howdy all!

I have been thinking that the wife would ride more if she were more comfortable. I have had various touring bikes in the past and we have had some great trips!
I've been thinking about getting a sidecar. I have so many questions I don't really know where to start!

Where do I start learning? I found this forum and I expect ya'll have lots of knowledge to share. How do you know what is a good rig? I'm sure there are some brands that are thought of more highly than others.
Thats enough to start me off I think!

Thanks!
Tray

2012 Patrol

OK, I'll start. Welcome to the sidecar community. Seeing you're from MS. I would start you out going to Sturgis MS. and check out Bench Mark Works. I don't know them, but they have a good reputation for building vintage BMWs and I assume they have done quite a few sidecars.
I'm partial to BMW and Chang Jiang sidecar rigs although I love them all.
The BMW types are a bit lighter than the Harley rigs. I prefer the lighter weight, but opinions can vary.
Regds,
Jim

Jim,

Thanks for the quick response! I know the owner of Bench mark works. He is a member of our local BMW club. (Actually one of the founders I think.)

I've had several BMW's. The oldest was a 93 K75RTA. Newest is my current F650GSA. I'm partial to BMW's myself! I don't know alot about the Chang Jiang's though.
Essentially I want something that is reliable and can maintain safe interstate speeds with a passenger. Can you point me to some good info on the Chang Jiang's?
Thanks,
Tray

2012 Patrol

Originally written by Tray on 2/11/2004 6:54 PM

Howdy all!I have been thinking that the wife would ride more if she were more comfortable. I have had various touring bikes in the past and we have had some great trips!I've been thinking about getting a sidecar. I have so many questions I don't really know where to start!Where do I start learning? I found this forum and I expect ya'll have lots of knowledge to share. How do you know what is a good rig? I'm sure there are some brands that are thought of more highly than others. Thats enough to start me off I think!Thanks!Tray

Jim likes light weight rigs and I do too if you for short trips, but it depends a great deal on how you ride. I'm about 260lbs and tend to carry close to that much weight in the sidecar. Most of my riding is done at Interstate speeds of 65-75 mph. Once I get to my destination I then do my sightseeing and general putting around. For me, the Honda Valkyrie and Dnepr sidecar is the perfect combination. These days it can be assembled for under $10,000.What I'm leading up to is your riding habits. What is a full day's ride in your opinion? How much weight will you carry? Do you do your own repairs, or do you take it to the dealer? What is your budget?

Howdy SidecarMike.

In answer to your questions. I'm around 200 and I will probably carry that or a little less in the sidecar. I really think that this would be our touring rig. A full day of riding for me by myself is anything up to 900-1000 miles if I'm really trying to get somewhere.
A usual day of riding with the wife is around 300 max. So I can see where I would want the sidecar rig to use for riding around town, weekend trips and sometimes a nice vacation tour of 500+ miles.
I do some of my own repairs. New bikes these days limit what you can do in regards to maintenance. Fuel injection is usually a dealer service only item. I have done throttle body sync's, adjusted valves, rebuilt carbs, etc on bikes in the past. That being said, I really like warranties!
Budget, hmmmm. I think I would like to spend the least and get the most! But who doesn't. I really have no idea what to expect as to price. I will spend what I need to to get a quality rig that is safe and fun to ride. Can you do that for say $10000???

2012 Patrol

Tray,
With the weight you intend to carry (guess) and the usage you describe I would suggest a bike with a displacement of around 1,100ccs or more for a sidecar platform. A smaller bike would work for your local putting but wouldn't handle work on the superslab for 500 miles as well. There are a lot of bikes produced in the '80s that make excellant sidecar tugs for touring purposes. 1100GLs, 1200GLs, Yamaha Ventures, KZ1000 Kawasakis and /6 and /7 Beemers for example. Most of these are readily available for budget prices and parts are easy to find. You can match one to the sidecar of your choice and probably stay close to a $5,000.00 budget with a little shopping.
Some of the things I look for in a tug are: Good parts availability, Low speed torque and tractability, Good disc brakes (3 if available), Air assisted anti-dive front end suspension, Shaft or belt drive for smooth power transfer(although a chain drive is easier to adjust drive ratios).
I also prefer a conventional double loop frame for ease of installation (less sub-framing equals less expense).
For a smaller rig like your present ride, take a look at the F650GS Bavarian Classic outfit in the albums; Hack'ns Hacks.

Hi,
Yes, I agree with everything said on this post. If you want to stay with BMW one good place to look is http://www.IBMWR.org in their marketplace section. I think there are 6 sidecars for sale right now in there. If you go to e-bay and click on motorcycles and then type in sidecars you can get what's for sale on there.
Also this page and the yahoo groups SCT and click on the "un-Classy Fieds" There are a few rigs there for sale. I'm headed to Daytona in about a week with my latest rig, a 1969 BMW R69S powered by a BMW R100S motor. I just bought a Jawa hack off this site, but I doubt I'll have it in time for this trip. I am planning a cross country trip this summer with it, which is the reason I bought such a big motored conversion. Good Luck and fun riding.
Regds,
Jim

WELCOME Tray...I sent you an e-mail! "SKULL"

Skull,

I think your mail was a victim of my mail "spam" filter. Can you resend please?

Thanks

2012 Patrol

Good info Hack'n!

I am particular to Beemers. It seems that they may require more frequent care. Not sure just an assumption from reading about them on other sites.

I hadn't thought of the older KZ's. those are really strong bikes and pretty maintenance free. If I remember correctly they also have the doubel loop frame you suggest for ease of install.

Thanks!

2012 Patrol