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Noob 1st sidecar barn find 71 CL350 and Bingham Mark II

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As the title says I'm a noob to sidecars. I have wanted one for a while primarily to take the grand children for short rides. Well I found this 1971 CL350 with an attached Bingham Mark II (I think that's what it is). With some tune up and mechanical work I got it running.

Now let me say I'm not a new motorcycle rider. But I've never ridden a sidecar rig before yesterday. My first bike was a 1962 Matchless 650 that was in 1966. Like most old timers I quit riding when I started a family but got back into riding quit by accident. My oldest son wanted a bike and took me to look at a 78 GS650 which hadn't run in years but it was cheap. Well I was hooked and ended up buying it and learning how to work on metric bikes in the process. That was in about 2005 and all the kids were grown. Well that lead to a GL1200, numerous GL's and Suzuki's, Kawasaki's, Honda's, Harley's. Really everything but Yamaha. No reason, just haven't found a barn find yet. I buy them, fix them up and make them safe to ride and then sell them. Usually to new riders so I am sure the bikes are safe and run perfectly and need nothing or I won't sell it. As near as I can remember this is about the 25th old bike I've bought. I have no intention of selling it until my 3 year granddaughter is old enough to buy her own bike....LOL

Kinda long winded but I wanted to do a little introduction to the forum. I am also very active on several forums and love to contribute to the new riders or new to wrenching on bikes.

I am aware that if there are no pictures, it didn't happen so here are some: (if the forum will let me post pics)

Still on the trailer when I brought it home:

in the shop and evaluating what needs to be done. It was not running when I bought it:

View of the shop. Other bikes I own are 2010 Ultra Classic LTD, 08 Dyna Lowrider, 83 KZ1100 and 81 GS750E. That is a Danmar 4 post auto lift that I use for both bikes and cars/trucks:

Getting ready to do some tuning, Ignition timing, cam tension, valve lash, pulled carbs and cleaned and synced them:

My alignment setup. A couple of 1.5 inch aluminum square tubes and 2x4

Currently have it set with 1/2 inch toe in and about 1 or 2 degrees lean away from the car.

Now my first test rides and the handlebars shook bad from about 5 mph to 20 mph. Checked the steering damper (old VW damper) and it's shot so I ordered a new Gabriel 14004 should be here next week. I tried to increase the car tire pressure to 40 psi (trailer tire sidewall say 65 psi) and it handled a lot better but still wobbled. Front and rear tire are 25 psi. Actually got it up to 30 mph and it kinda smoothed out until I hit some rough spots in the road. Not dangerous wobble but not fun either.

I'm open to any and all suggestions on how to make the ride more pleasurable.
Thanks in advance,
John

Welcome aboard John
that looks like a nice find. I had a little CL350 when I was in high school, great little bike
sounds like you have a good handle on things so far.
there is plenty of great info and experience to be found here from a lot of sources
I don't think I would want to replace the tree's on it so hopefully a new damper will solve the wobble, if not maybe tighten the stem nut just a little
I did the damper and it solved the shake but increased steering effort, then I tightened the steering stem nut and removed the damper
that solved the wheel shake and eased the steering effort some
I finally gave in a installed a 4.5 degree tree, but I'm dealing with a much heavier bike, not apples to apples

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

Welcome to the slightly off-center world of sidecars, John!

For the head shake, be sure the head bearings are in good shape (smooth operation, no notchyness and doesn't favor settling into any certain position). There should be zero side-to-side, forward-to-back and/or up-and-down movement of the handlebars relative to the triple. Proper torque on the head nut is critical! I assume the triple tree is standard. If you have the resources, you could swap out the triple with one that reduces steering trail (and thus steering effort) which may also reduce or cure your head shake.

As far as learning to drive a rig (yes, one drives or pilots a rig) take it slow and easy. Read all you can (there are documents here on this web site). Practice in the parking lot as much as you can, always leaving yourself plenty of run-out space in case you have to abandon any particular maneuvers. Left turns, right turns, figure-8's, panic stops, uneven pavement, etc. A wide open parking lot is much more forgiving that on-coming traffic!

Since you are in the US, I assume the tub is mounted to the right side (I can't see your photos while I'm at the office). That being said, right turns will be your most "exciting" (read: dangerous) turns. Take 'em slow til you learn where the sidecar wheel lift point is. You can control the lift point by adding ballast to the car. NOTE: while learning, humans and/or pets are poor choices for ballast! Also NOTE: at no time should you refer to your wife or significant other as "ballast."

Keep in mind that, on two wheels, it's you and your bike verses the road. On three wheels, your bike will switch loyalties!

Again, welcome. come back often with any questions you might have!

Thank you both. Yes I am in the US and the car is mounted on the right side. I have a large church parking lot about 1/2 mile down the road but I have to go at least 40 mph down the hill to the parking lot! Now 40 to you guys is nothing but I've not had this rig above 30 yet and don't have any idea if the wobble with get worse or go away at 40. So before I do that I'll lift the front wheel and work over the spokes and at the same time I can check head bearings and stem nut tension. Just using a screwdriver tip I was able to check spoke tension and as usual some are high pitched ting and some are dull thud. That isn't good for two wheels and probably horrible for 3 wheels.

I have one question on alignment. I'm not sure where I put the ruler in relation to the tires for toe in. Do I measure behind the rear wheel and in front of the front wheel or try to get my measurements directly below both axles?

Also what method do you guys employ to hold the bike up while I set the lean? I can move the rig under my 4 post auto lift and hang it there with straps while I remove the upper tuning bars (not sure what they are called but run from the car frame up to the upper part of the motorcycle frame front and rear) to set lean angle.

Purchased the street version of that bike (CB350) new in 70 or 71. My first bike and I thought it was huge. Rode it to Alaska and back then thousands of miles more before selling after a couple of years. Vibrated so bad at highway speed the rear view mirrors were useless unless you coasted with the clutch pulled in. One down and three up. Good memories

Valkrider - 1/11/2017 9:09 PM

Purchased the street version of that bike (CB350) new in 70 or 71. My first bike and I thought it was huge. Rode it to Alaska and back then thousands of miles more before selling after a couple of years. Vibrated so bad at highway speed the rear view mirrors were useless unless you coasted with the clutch pulled in. One down and three up. Good memories

This is actually my 4th CB/CL 350. I've owned two CB and this is the second CL. Great motorcycle and Honda sold a bunch of them. Around this area they are still very much in demand. It's small. It's light and enough power to easily stay up with traffic all the way to highway speeds. Bullet proof engines and frame. Surprisingly few chronic problems plague the model. Last one I had, about 3 years ago, I sold it on Craigslist in about 4 hours and had 11 calls on it. Now this model is a 5 speed other than dragging a car along it seems to run pretty good. The new sprocket setup I just bought should help that as well. I went up 2 teeth on the rear sprocket while keeping the front stock.

I still have plenty of work to do on the bike. It is running and stopping but needs some freshening up. Charging system, new tires on the bike and car, install the new chain and sprockets and then it's what I will consider safe for the road.

I'm really looking forward to having it handle good so I can ride it more. It's just the ticket for errands to the grocery store or shopping. One of my friends said that it's my new "Parts Truck" for running to the motorcycle dealers and pickup up parts for my other bikes and cars. Mine and friends who's bikes I work on. We jokingly call my garage "Public Nuisance Garage". Even have a sign that says that.

Hope this video shows up in the forum here. Me an my granddaughter taking a ride around the block yesterday:

the url:

https://youtu.be/1ZpRz7JdbeU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gX5QBQ0tDw

OldSchool_IsCool - 1/11/2017 2:03 PM

Welcome to the slightly off-center world of sidecars, John!

For the head shake, be sure the head bearings are in good shape (smooth operation, no notchyness and doesn't favor settling into any certain position). There should be zero side-to-side, forward-to-back and/or up-and-down movement of the handlebars relative to the triple. Proper torque on the head nut is critical! I assume the triple tree is standard. If you have the resources, you could swap out the triple with one that reduces steering trail (and thus steering effort) which may also reduce or cure your head shake.

you called that right on. I just lifted the bike and saw the top tree move. I shook it and yes there is way too much play. I think this bike would shake even if there wasn't a sidecar in tow. I'll take the tree off and check/replace whatever is wrong. No notchyness and the handle bars are very smooth rotating. I may just luck out with greasing the bearings and readjusting the play. One nice, or maybe a curse, is that the bearings on a CB/CL350 are individual ball bearings and are cheap to source at the local bearing dealer. The curse part is that they are individual ball bearings and if dry, when you unscrew the top tree you get to chase them all over the garage. I guess I could use the cardio workout..

John,

Old BMWs had the same sort of loose bearings. There is now a replacement sealed bearing for that application. You might want to pull the inner and out races and take them to a bearing shop, there's a good chance they could come up with a sealed bearing to fit your application. Avoid the Chinese made bearings, they have been almost universally inferior in this application.

Even with good bearing, a slightly over inflated front tie and a light and true wheel, many sidecar rigs will give a small head shake or two when starting off. So long as it goes away immediately don't worry too much about it.

Regarding where to base you toe in measurements... Tere is no standard. That's one of the reasons that there's so much difference in how much toe in folks say they have. Whatever you start with, stay with it. The only measurements that matter are the ones you make on your own rig. And about measuring lean out, you need to measure it with the rig loaded as you would normally ride. That means that yu are probably in the saddle and you don't nee help holding it up.

Good luck.

Took the head apart and all of the beaiings were in perfect shape and had plenty of grease. So someone had to have been in there before me. I also know what they did wrong when they put it back together. I'm betting they didn't remove the forks first. Now you can do it that way but you have to make sure everything goes back into alignment as it should before you torque the stem bolt. It was out of alignment and that accounted for the excessive play. It's back together now and stem nut torqued and properly aligned. If the rain holds off I'll run it around the block and she how it does.,. it HAS to be better. That stem was really loose but not damaged. I may have just lucked out.

Happy to report that I have no head shake at all. I could only get it up to 30 MPH in the subdivision but the rig felt good. Turn right on accel and left on braking was more noticeable but I attribute that to no head shake so I didn't really feel it before. I also was accelerating more aggressively and braking harder because the bike felt so good and stable. I just have to get used to the twichy feeling a 3 wheel bike has and don't over control.

Thanks a million guys for your suggestions and support while I sorted this thing out. I'm sure I'll have more questions as problems arise but for now, I'm happy.

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