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Shoulder Strength

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I've ordered a new Motorvation Formula sidecar and will receive it during May 2013. It will be attached, setup, and tuned to my 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1600, an 800 lb cruiser. Part of the service will include showing me how to ride and get used to the different ways of taking corners and general driving safety. I am not planning on a front wheel modification to get easier steering, but I may not need it anyway. I've never driven a sidecar before and have read that some folks initially have sore or weak shoulders by the time they drive home. My ride home will take about 3 hours to north central Iowa.

I've got about three long trips planned for this summer as usual with the first ride to Estes Park, CO to attend a Vulcan Bagger Association rally in late June. I would attend the USCA Natl. Rally, but had committed to attend the VBA event long ago.

I've ridden MC's for over 30 yrs and want to extend the wind in my face for several more years if I can. I'm 67 now and this big ol' body and legs are not as strong as when I was a young stud. I don't really mind sore muscles that much but I am thinking that I should prepare to be a good long haul hack driver by starting strengh exercises.

Does anyone have comments about how to prepare through exercise? Thanks!

During the off season I work out at a gym 2 to 4 times weekly. Over an hour of weight training after a Qi Gong/Tai Chi warmup to keep my upper body strength and flexibility needed to tour with a sometimes 1,400# Harley/Liberty rig with a monkey.

Lonnie

First, Lonnie knows a lot more about this than I do, so I figure his advice is good stuff.

As you have figured out, the motorcycle experience doesn't really help condition you for sidecar steering, other than your arms will be in the same position at rest when piloting your rig. I also put my first sidecar on a cruiser (Honda Valkyrie) and the trail on cruisers is typically going to mean that you have to put in substantial effort on turning and curves. In addition to the exercise and stretching that you're going to do, I encourage you not to make the decision about whether you'll change the steering until after you have ridden it a while (unless you plan to ride the bike as a 2 wheeler sometimes, which means you won't want to change the steering). If it will be dedicated to sidecar duty, you can try it without the triple tree mods and if you decide that it is more effort than you want, you can always change the steering to make it lighter and still enjoy sidecaring in the wind. I have done both of those things and just enjoy the lighter steering and absence of low speed wobble. On the exercise side, using exercise bands and a twisting motion can be a good exercise for this. Also, you're likely to want to learn to shift your body position on the seat for twisties and some turns so you want to stay flexible enough to do that weight shift rather than just leaning, expecially if you'll be spending some solo time in the saddle.

I would ride the bike as much as you can and work on going around corners faster and faster. This will build your upper body strength. You may also find that the bike is a lot more fun if you do modify the front end. When I have bikes that I have not modified the front end on I also find that my wrists hurt at the end of the day. Usualy I only have bikes with out modified front ends only as we have ran out of time to get the front end done. I then modify the front end as soon afterwards as I can. We can make tree's for your bike but only do it in the slow season which has come and gone this year. So if you want tree's you should order them ASAP.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
http://www.dmcsidecars.com
866-638-1793

I agree with Hack'n. hit the gym, 3-4 days a week. Do an overall weight workout, an hour should be sufficient. Start out with light weights and work up to moderately heavier weights.
Ask your gym manager for instruction to get you started. I have been doing this for 31 years now and I am 77. Shoulders still get tired on long rides but not badly.

Thanks for all your comments and recommendations. I know what I need to do now!!

SideCar - 2/28/2013 3:01 PM

On the exercise side, using exercise bands and a twisting motion can be a good exercise for this.

Ditto. Also use bands fore and aft of each hand so that when you twist, one hand will be pulling while the other is pushing.

You can do this working muscle against muscle with no rubber bands.

Charles Atles used to call it "Dynamic Tension"

Lonnie

SideCar - 2/28/2013 4:01 PM
... If it will be dedicated to sidecar duty, you can try it without the triple tree mods and if you decide that it is more effort than you want, you can always change the steering to make it lighter and still enjoy sidecaring in the wind. I have done both of those things and just enjoy the lighter steering and absence of low speed wobble....

This has been my experience too. After installing sidecar appropriate triple trees after 2-1/2+ years, I wondered: What too me so long? Especially as the modification essentially eliminated the slow-speed wobble and the "bump-steer" effect on bumpy roads.

Lee Summer Grove, LA R1100GS/CSM Sidecar, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L

Jeez, you guys are hard core! I just drive the rig till the stiffness goes away and my wife begins salivating at the bulk of my shoulders.

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