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  #1  
Old 10-21-2009, 03:09 PM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Why do I ride a sidecar outfit?

Why do I ride a sidecar outfit?
Well, nostalgia. In the 1950s UK cars were expensive and getting a car driving licence was a hassle but you could hang a chair on your bike and get a 50% insurance reduction. I had a pregnant wife and a mortgage before I had a car.
But after 44 years on 2 wheels I find the big bikes I like to ride are getting a bit heavy to hold up at stop signs and are really scary on gravel roads. Especially the short lengths of gravel you unexpectedly find when they are fixing the main highway and you hit them at 60mph. Plus my wife hates to ride pillion. Plus she needs to take all manner of stuff with her as she rides. So 6 years back I started to think about another sidecar rig, then I bought a very used Spirit of America sidecar and had the following conversation with the seller as he dropped it off in my driveway.
“Where can I get the attachments I will need to hang this on my bike?”
“ Got a welder, dontcha?”
After much work, here is the result:-

More to follow.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #2  
Old 10-21-2009, 10:46 PM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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What needs to be done to the bike?

The XS11 will haul a sidecar "as is". OTOH you can spend thousands on leading link forks or many thousands on an integrated spaceframe chassis with hub-centre steering and a one-piece dropover body shell but we are not going there.
We are going cheap. You need not spend a single dollar so long as you have good shoulder strength to steer with. If you are putting a sidecar on a Special you won't be going very far from a gas pump with only 3.9 US gallons of fuel neither.
What I did on my XS11SG is to swap in the triple trees from a Standard. This moves the front wheel forward to reduce the steering trail. If you are putting a sidecar on a Standard you can swap in the fork tubes & sliders from a Special to get the same trail reduction. The Special forks + Standard 'trees is the only parts combo that reduces the trail and you are stuck with using the Special's Weird Harold front calipers. This is Yamaha's "parts swap like LEGO" policy really working for you. The necessary used fork parts can cost less than $100 while the least costly way to reduce steering trail on other marques is a ~$700 Steerite conversion.
Be warned but don't panic. Some sidecar rigs can display an extreme steering shimmy. This can usually be fixed by reefing the steering head bearings down really tight.
Any remaining shimmy can be fixed with a steering damper. I used a WER damper but only because Dennis Kirk was selling them off at a 75% reduction. The regular price of those suckers is nearly $400! Linear dampers cost far less.
Living in Saskatchewan means that outside of major Cities it can be a long way between gas stations. I put a Standard tank on my Special just to carry that extra gallon of gas.
OK, now there's the XS11 with reduced trail and enhanced fuel capacity. It is sidecar-ready. Except there's nowhere to bolt it onto the bike.
More to follow.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #3  
Old 10-23-2009, 04:21 AM
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Steptoe Steptoe is offline
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it's not always costly

hi Fredintoon, and fellow xsive outfit runners.
leading links don't need to cost the earth, I built my own for less than $200, that includes special chrome-moly hollow pipe,and shocks,, swing arm was made from 2x1 3mm wall box section.

Once you work out what they do ,how they do it, & what angles you need, they fall together .

Not sure how your rules work o/s, but here we can build & ride our own with out engineer cert[ which don't cost a whole lot anyway].

Click on my signature and have a look at mine, was on the machine for 4 yrs & is now on the shelf waiting for the next time, it is coming
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never ride faster than your gaurdian angel
can fly

1981 rh 5N5
MIDNIGHTSPECIAL
1188cc
4 into 1 pipes with a transac muffler,
as the motorcycling gods intended everything else stock std

http://s856.photobucket.com/home/steptoexs11
http://steptoexs11.webs.com/
http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhum

1982 vf750 sabre
  #4  
Old 10-23-2009, 10:57 AM
Special Ed Special Ed is offline
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About those pipes...

Ve-r-r-y interesting! I haven't seen that variation before. Looks like they all go straight over to the left. Right?
We have a metal worker here who specializes in building custom sidecar riggs complete with "earls fork" front ends.
The president of The Vampires ( a local everythingbutharley bike club) has a street legal racing "kneel-er" that he likes to take on runs. I've never seen a bike get so much attention at stops. I tried to take a picture of it but there were too many people crowded around it.
Yea, I've thought about adding a car when I get tired of holding my Special up. Happy trails!
Special Ed
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Old bikers never die, they're just out of sight!

My recently re-built, hopped up '79 Special caught fire and burned everything from the top of the engine up: gas tank, wiring, seat, & melted my windshield all over the front of the bike. Just bought a 1980 Special that has been non oped for 9 years. My Skoot will rise from the ashes and be re named "The Phoenix!"
I've been riding since 1959.
  #5  
Old 10-23-2009, 11:11 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
hi Fredintoon, and fellow xsive outfit runners.
leading links don't need to cost the earth, I built my own for less than $200,
Click on my signature and have a look at mine,
Hi Steptoe,
I never considered building an LL fork as I supposed it to be well beyond my skill range. Feel welcome to tag on an LL "how to" to this string or start your own.
An LL fork does make it easy to reduce the front wheel trail but you can set one up with normal trail for solo riding (or have an alternative pivot point like a BMW)
LL forks are better than teles, as they only have two ways to flex where a tele-fork has six.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #6  
Old 10-23-2009, 11:44 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Sidecar attachments

We'd gotten as far as having an XS11 "sidecar ready" but still with nowhere to bolt it on.
Here's how I made my XS11 attachments and how I later made attachments for my son's XS750. The XS11 attachments work OK but I'd say the XS750 attachments are an improvement.

This shows the XS11 upper and lower front attachments. The upper attachment bolts onto the existing tapped holes that are just below the steering head. The lower attachment sandwiches both pairs of front engine mounts using the existing holes with longer bolts. The 1/8" flats are Y'd together to fit between the exhaust pipes. I switched away from my favorite square tube to 1" sch 40 pipe for the cross-tube because it's a bitch to cut square holes while a metal-cutting hole-saw makes round ones very easily.

This tilted up view shows the XS11 lower rear attachment. It is a 1" sq tube weldment that plugs into the frame's centrestand mounts and hangs from a 1/8" flatbar that's held by the passenger footpeg bolt. Lots of file-work to remove 1/8" off the back of the footpeg casting so the flatbar would fit in there.


These views show the XS750 mounts that integrate the lower front & rear attachments into a subframe. The frontal view also shows a homebuilt "George Clamp" that the XS750 set-up uses for an upper front mount. One of these is the upper rear mount on the XS11. The XS11 upper front is a better deal but the XS750 don't have the tapped holes that make it possible. We put the XS750's clamp as close to the frame cross-tube as it would go to hopefully minimize the stresses.
More to follow.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #7  
Old 10-23-2009, 11:57 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Another Y photo

The previous photo of the XS11 lower front mount didn't show quite how it fitted.

Hopefully this photo does.
The Y's don't quite fit between the exhaust pipes, they need a gentle tap to spring them through there.
More to follow.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #8  
Old 10-23-2009, 06:21 PM
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Steptoe Steptoe is offline
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handling?

hi Fred, does yours get the wanders at about[you guys talk in MPH] 55 -70.
Is there a reason the chair is sooooo far away from the bike.

As for the links, they actually decrease the amount of trail, if you push the wheel far enough forward you reach the point of no trail .

put your bike out in the open & turn the handle bars, you'll find the chair tyre rolls forward if turn left, backwards if you turn right, might be vicey-vursa, point of no trail the chair tyre won't move at all.

At that point they become very light at speed, meaning the slightest direction change at the bars is doubled at the wheel but very easy to manoeuvre in town at low speeds, mine was set-up with an inch trail,that way it was shoulder exercise in town and like a power steering on the open road.

keeping in mind every time you adjust the wheel back or forward you change the geometry of the wheel base.

I'll get SWMBO to help me set up some photo's with lines & arrows,that will help explain things.
__________________
never ride faster than your gaurdian angel
can fly

1981 rh 5N5
MIDNIGHTSPECIAL
1188cc
4 into 1 pipes with a transac muffler,
as the motorcycling gods intended everything else stock std

http://s856.photobucket.com/home/steptoexs11
http://steptoexs11.webs.com/
http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhum

1982 vf750 sabre
  #9  
Old 10-23-2009, 11:53 PM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
hi Fred, does yours get the wanders at about[you guys talk in MPH] 55 -70.
Is there a reason the chair is sooooo far away from the bike.
As for the links, they actually decrease the amount of trail,
mine was set-up with an inch trail,that way it was shoulder exercise in town and like a power steering on the open road.
I'll get SWMBO to help me set up some photo's with lines & arrows,that will help explain things.
Hi Steptoe,
we Canadians have been officially metric since the mid-1970s "Which is when these 400mm closets go on these 16" studs"
Two official languages, one legal measurement system!
My rig was set up with a 54" (1371.6mm) track because that's what the (now defunct) California Friendship 1 site said was their minimum recommendation.
The wider the track, the more stable the rig is.
My XS11 has a hybrid fork, (Special forks on Standard triple trees) which reduces the trail from 5.12" (130mm) to ~3.5" (88.9mm)
I reckon reducing the trail to a mere inch would have something to do with your rig's vague steering at highway speeds.
But WTF, sidecar set-up dimensions are more art than science, your numbers can be as right as mine.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #10  
Old 10-25-2009, 12:43 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Sorry, wrong photo

My post "sidecar attachments" had a photo of the front of the XS750 rig which I claimed showed the home-built "George Clamp" upper front mount. That photo was of an earlier set-up which used a big ol' flatbar. I did better in this photo:-

The clamp is a wraparound of 1/8" x 2" flat bolted to a steel block that is tapped for the swingbolt http://www.mcmaster.com/#swing-bolts/=47jdgx
that screws down onto a curved slipper to tighten the whole thing down.
I copied this clamp from the propriatory one that came with my sidecar and that is acting as the XS11's upper rear attachment.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #11  
Old 10-25-2009, 11:31 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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What chair?

The orange Spirit of America and the black Spirit Eagle were both made by the Spirit of America sidecar company back in the early 1970s. S-of-A was taken over by California Sidecar Co. in the mid 1970s and the orange sidecar body shell became the California Friendship Mk 1. Indeed, the orange sidecar was sold to me AS a CF1 with it's true identity only discovered later. My son bought his Spirit Eagle via Kijiji from list member Wally Frei which shows that it really is a small world after all, not just in a song.
But what sidecar will YOU put on YOUR XS11?
Go mad and buy a new one, spending at least $4,000 or as much as $10,000? If so, the supplier will hang it on your bike for perhaps $500 to $1,000 more which will save you a whole bunch of hassle.
This string is aimed at those who are still with the original concept of a sidecar as the affordable family transport of the working poor.
You will be searching the local market for a used sidecar at a price you can afford and be willing to make a non-optimal choice because it's both affordable and available locally.
Getting a $500 bargain sidecar that will cost you $500 in delivery charges is not really a bargain compared to $1,000 for a sidecar the seller will deliver as part of the deal or that you can fetch in a buddy's pickup truck.
But whatever sidecar you get will need to be attached to those 4 mounting points.
I use two 5/8" Heim Joints for the lower attachments, like this one on the XS750 lower rear:-



And the upper attachments are via the top ends of the diagonal struts bolted to the swingbolt ends of the frame clamps as seen in the previous post "Sorry, wrong photo"
You can buy diagonal struts but be sure to get them (or build them) with LEFT hand threads at one end for easy adjustment. I built mine from 1" pipe to the length they needed to be.
Most any sidecar will be attached kinda like this:-

But what you do to yours will depend on how IT looks rather than what was done to that one. This photo shows my first attempt on the XS11 rig:-



I went to all manner of unneccessary complication to make a "universal" fit-up system so the sidecar could be fitted to a different bike at need. Like, don't bother. Too much hassle, if the sidecar has to move, cut'n'weld then if it's needful.
More to follow
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #12  
Old 10-25-2009, 01:30 PM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Sidecar weight, set-up and adjustments.

There's a Golden Rule, well, more of a guideline, perhaps only a recommendation, about how much a sidecar should weigh in comparison to the bike it's on.
"A sidecar's weight should be AT LEAST ONE THIRD of the bike's weight." There is schism about if that means bike alone or bike + rider.
There's Hal Kendall's sidecar stability test:-
Right foot on left peg, grip the bars firmly and fling your body weight hard to the left.
If the rig don't move it's stable to the point of being stodgy.
If the rig's SCW lifts perhaps 6" off the ground, that's nice.
If the SCW lifts no more than a foot, that's sporty.
If the rig comes 'way up real easy, Hal sez find someone else to do the test ride.
Here's my Eric lifting his "sporty" XS750 rig up to it's balance point by hand for the photo- shoot



"Look ma, no hands!"
OTOH my stodgy XS11 rig needs the shop crane to do that



You can see how wide our rigs are (54" track) and still the XS750 rig failed Hal's test until we put a lawn tractor battery behind the sidecar seat to help hold it down.
The XS11 also has a car battery, not that it needs one for ballast but they have many times the CCA of a bike battery and cost far less. You can also see the car battery on Steptoe's rig. His is sitting there naked while mine is modestly wearing a marine battery case.
Steptoe must be a far neater mechanic than me, I can see a big wrench falling from a careless hand and turning that naked battery into a de-facto welding machine.
Still, you may need to ballast the sidecar to keep it down.
Anything goes, not only a battery. Jugs of water, bags of lead shot, lengths of steel bar, extra fuel tanks, you name it and someone will have tried it.
Now the numbers:- With the caveat that sidecar installation is an art-form as much as a science and if it works it's right but if it don't it ain't.
Track:- the distance the sidecar is from the bike. At least 4 feet or it'll be too tippy no matter what. No more than 5 feet or the rig won't fit in traffic. The wider the stance, the more stable the rig.
Lead:- The distance the sidecar wheel is ahead of the rear wheel. Modern usage for swingarm bikes and suspended sidecars is between 7" and 12" For rigid bikes and rigid sidecars, from 2" to 4". The Harley sidecar still has a rigid wheel with the tub hung on semi-elliptical springs. I am not knocking Harley here, that set-up has theoretical advantages in hard left-hand cornering. Harley sets their sidecar on their swingarm bikes at ~3" lead.
These two dimensions will be more or less fixed once the sidecar is hung on the bike.
What can be (indeed MUST be) adjustable are the
Toe-in:- the angle by which the sidecar wheel points towards the rear wheel. It is measured by setting up two straight-edges at axle height; one parallel to the rear wheel and one parallel to the sidecar wheel. The differences between distances between the straight-edges measured in front of the front wheel and behind the rear wheel is the toe-in (the front number must be the lesser one, if the front measurement is the greater, that's "toe-out" and any amount of toe-out will make the rig pull right no matter what) A "good" toe-in number to start with is 1/2". Any toe in from 1/8" to 1" can work though saller is usually better. Note that even a massive toe-in setting, say 2" or more, won't show in the bike's handling but it will wear your rear & sidecar tires bald in a 100 miles or less. Note further, you will only do this once before instituting the "check it 3 times every time" adjustment policy.
The last adjustment is the lean-out.
This is the distance by which the bike leans away from the sidecar. About 1/2" at the handlebars is a good place to start. I stick a magnetic spirit level on the rear disk and set to a 1/2-bubble out. Make this adjustment with the bike rig carrying it's usual load on a road that's the same camber as the roads you usually ride on.
A test ride shows if the lean-out is correct. With correct lean-out the rig wants to go straight. Too much and the rig pulls left. Too little and it pulls right. And check the toe-in every time you adjust the lean-out; it might have changed too.
More to follow.
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #13  
Old 10-26-2009, 04:31 AM
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Steptoe Steptoe is offline
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and then there is riding them

g,day Fred, that should've made 'em sit down & think.
pretty good starting ground measures to start from.

get all that set up & wet weather is an absolute blast, & and mountain ranges take on a whole new dimension.

In the corners, lift the chair up, you've got mum on the back shaking her head [you just know she is] and you have the kids in the chair looking @ you when it lands with a bump, rolling their eyes, & of course a huge smile on the face. [only lifting it 4" or 5 "] it just something you've got to try to realise how much fun they can be.

MIND YOU IF RIDDEN WRONG OR TAKEN LIGHTLY THEY ARE A MACHINE TO BE RECKONED WITH and will make you pay
__________________
never ride faster than your gaurdian angel
can fly

1981 rh 5N5
MIDNIGHTSPECIAL
1188cc
4 into 1 pipes with a transac muffler,
as the motorcycling gods intended everything else stock std

http://s856.photobucket.com/home/steptoexs11
http://steptoexs11.webs.com/
http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhum

1982 vf750 sabre
  #14  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:44 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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It ain't a bike no more, it only looks like one.

Steptoe's post reminds me to write this one. It's important.
Remember as a kid how difficult it was to learn to ride a bike?
That's because you were transitioning off your tricycle and whichever parent or caregiver was running behind the bike holding the seat did not know that tricycles do NOT countersteer and that bicycles MUST countersteer. Not that technical jargon would mean much to the average 6 year old but saying that a bike steers backwards to a trike may have helped the tyke to understand things.
So, you are an adult now and have many miles of solo motorcycle experience and are about to take the first ride ever on your sidecar rig. Start it up, pull away, need to go right, give the bars that instinctive leftward twitch that would have leaned a solo bike right to turn right and the rig turns left instead. Hopefully not to bury itself into the radiator of an oncoming Kenworth. Like the headline sez, it ain't a bike no more, it only looks like one. A sidecar rig does not steer like a solo bike. It steers like a quad or a snowmobile and a lopsided one at that.
There are sidecar riding courses to take; good luck finding one in your area. What you should also do is very carefully ride your rig to a big empty car park and do figure 8s and donuts. Start slow and make a right-hand circle. Tighten the circle until the sidecar wheel lifts a bit. See how tightening the curve lifts it further while opening the curve drops it down. Learn how to controllably do this and more importantly how not to do this. You can steer with the throttle, too. Especially with an XS11's horsepower. Go straight and crack the throttle open and the rig will pull right. Slam the throttle shut and the rig will pull left. Use the rig's lopsided dynamics rather than fighting them. Enter left turns at highway speed and roll the power off to make the turn. Slow down before reaching a right turn and accelerate round it. If the right turn is new to you, slow way down in case it unexpectedly tightens up. Practice-Practice-Practice-Practice!
A final social note, referring to your wife as "the ballast" may be accurate but will not improve the relationship.
If you reallywant to sour things between you, refer to her as "the monkey"
__________________
Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
  #15  
Old 10-27-2009, 12:18 AM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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The last word

The above posts try to show that anyone with ordinary mechanical ability and a modest amount of equipment can attach a sidecar to an XS11 and have the rig operate successfully and safely.
One last photo



THE END
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Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
 

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