USCA Sidecar Forum

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Sidecar turns

When entering a right hand turn, with an American motorcycle/sidecar setup, (sidecar on the right side)is it safer to drop down early into the turn, following the inside track of the turn, or to swing wide initially, and cut down into the turn, later?? (Assuming a slow to moderate speed in the approach). Which way will yield the safest results without “flying the car?”

for me I have found that on right turns I go in wide and drop down then throttle out just like I did on 2 wheels in most cases. once you get comfortable and get some seat time you can use the throttle to help keep the car down on those right handers
best advise is to take it easy on right turns until you really know your rig, and practice in a parking lot, learn how to lift the car and how to not panic when it does.

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

I have heard a few times now, from different individuals, that you should learn how to lift your side car. Why is that important? Wouldn’t I want to avoid that at all costs?

I know it sounds counter intuitive but you avoid lifting or flying the car by learning how to lift the car. it is critical for you to learn how to lift the car and control it and get it back down safely and calmly
if your going around a sharp turn, lets say just exiting a store and you turn hard and the car fly's up, if you don't have some practice in what to do you might make a couple bad common mistakes
1 put your foot down to try to stop it from going over, this can likely break your ankle or leg and then your weight is now on the wrong side and the rig is going to go on over
2 panic and try to grab the front brake, this will most certainly make it go over as the wheel will just keep turning under the bike
3 turn hard left to force the car down, this will work but could at the same time throw you off the rig or at least enough that when it slams back down you will have minimal control if it

learning how to lean and make slow controlled movements when the car is up or going up is a must. it's easy to learn in a parking lot at slow speeds and it will transfer to normal driving conditions

I'm still kind of new to sidecars but I have learned so much by taking advise offered here and applying it to my set up

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

My 2 cents worth on learning how to handle a sidecar. I had no lessons until my first USCA rally in MO. I took lessons there and one of the things that we had to do was to learn how to fly the car.
We were on a large (chigger ridden) piece of grass. We drove in an ever tightening right hand circle until the car came up. We then had to mentally revert to our 2-wheel skills. You can hold it up with practice or you can steer left and let the car it down. If you steer left too hard and fast the car crashes to the ground. Not Good!! When this happens on the highway you pray that no one is coming at you in the oncoming lane because you may swerve into that lane.
I have ridden three rigs and I have about 100,000 miles accumulated and I have only had the car come up 3 or 4 times. The ones I remember best are when I dipped the car wheel of the inside of the turn and when I came out of the turn the sidecar wheel hit something that acted as a ramp and shot the car wheel into the air.
My first rig was an R90/6 with a Watsonian GP. It was close to what you have. I had to take care to not hit the right turns too fast. My second rig was a K1100RT with a Motorvation Formula. The car was so heavy that in order to do the training exercise I had to empty the car and really work to get the wheel up. That is the rig I remember lofting the sidecar 2 times. I have never lifted the wheel on my R1100RT/Hannigan rig but I am also older and wiser now.
One technique is to slide off the seat toward the car while in the turn. That is what you will see Dave Hough do in the pictures in the "Yellow Book" - I think it is called The Sidecar Training Manual. I think it is available from the USCA bookstore on this forum. It is a good resource - until you get a chance to take the training. Until then - be careful. Find a large empty parking lot to practice in.

I looked and the Yellow Book doesn't seem to be available at the USCA Store - but if you go to the Reference and Educational Links and Materials section in this Forum. You can download Hal Kendall's comprehensive treatise on sidecars including the earlier training material that was updated by Dave Hough. I printed it off, 3-hole punched it and put it in a 3-ring binder. There are other resources in this thread also.

Didn't read the answers yet.
Better look like over cautious and spleeny monkey, then react too late and make things worse due to the law of "conservation of momentum".

This is what I was looking for. I found it by doing an online search. It is titled Driving a Sidecar Outfit by David Hough. The picture on the front shows Dave negotiating a right hander with the sidecar wheel in the air. It is available at some pretty ridiculous prices - up to $150. Jay Giese has them for $34.95.

A Step by Step manual on learning to drive a motorcycle/sidecar combination These skills will also translate to Trike drivers too! A must have for any 3rd Wheel rider/driver
This manual was created and published by volunteers from the USCA Sidecar Safety Program about driving a motorcycle/sidecar combination. When it was originally published, this manual was intended to serve as a complete do-it-yourself training guide, in the absence of a three-wheeler training course.
Written by David L. Hough, under the direction of Ed Johnson, with production assistance by Hal Kendall, Ph.D.

Only $34.95! From:
DMC Sidecars and Motorcycle Accessories
2328 Roosevelt Ave
Enumclaw, WA 98022
(866) 638-1793 | (360) 825-4610

In the link section there are good books. Then there is floating a around in internet a manual called "How to ride a Ural" which is pretty well made putting attention on the riding and safety awareness while riding a rig. (I can send you a PDF via email because the links to this book disappears once and again. Someone seems to boikot the public exposure of this PDF)
Steve you read Spanish? Addititonal to the above on the Spanish forum we collected a step by step collection of training excercises for a new rider.
Myself I learned by try and error together with the original of the Book from BMVD "Gespannfahrerleitfaden" Guide to ride a rig in the download section.
Hope this helps.

Great stuff gang!! Thanks!!

I’m making a list (I’m s “Quality Assurance” person, by trade) to go over, when I’m there this morning, to pick up the rig.

Things like:

Choke? Why? It’s got an EFI System.
Full tank of gas?
Tire pressure?
Obvious flaws to have corrected?
Windshield (sidecar) status? (Had to be ordered seperately)
Kick start experiment
Parking lot test run
Spoke(s) tension
Chain tension
Loose nuts-n-bolts and parts
Plate transfer
Free T-shirt (RE of course)
Look over their RE “stuff” (like Leathers) I go!!!!

Considering I did an even trade, that gives me some wiggle room for buying some “crap” while I’m there (lol). After my 18 mike ride home (supposed to be 54 degrees and sunny today) I’ll park it, hook it up to the battery tender, and run the lawn tractor over the leaves.

Looks like “Sunday” should be a reasonable weather day, so some parking lot time will be possible.

I’ve heard that when you shift down to “first gear” on the RE, it doesn’t give you a definitive “stop” feel. Anyone care to comment on that, and how to best know that you are all the way back to first, other than watching for the “Neutral” indicator, as I pass by it, or feeling the motor tug?