Jump to content

Our Official NAGF Flags

are now available in the NAGF Online Store in TWO Sizes! Don't miss your chance of being one of the first to fly the new high visibility NAGF Flag!!!

 

Click Here To Go To the NAGF Online Store!!!

 

Snag_1ffcf50.png

NAGF Admin NAGF Admin
NAGF News Ticker
     
  • Happy New Year and Welcome to 2019!!!
  • New Members are always welome!!!
  • NASR 12!!!
Sign in to follow this  
papasmurf

Learning to drive a sidecar rig

17 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

papasmurf

We. as motorcyclists, are among the luckiest of the bunch, when it comes to our choice of touring steeds: The Honda Goldwing!  I can only speak, from long experience, for the GL1500, which has a steel frame, making it a perfect tug for heavy sidecars [ like my 300 lbs. empty Friendship III ]. It has been the  MOST predictable, comfortable, and confidence-inspiring of all my rigs.

To those folks who own a GL1800, w/ aluminum frame: I'd personally be leery of attaching a sidecar to one but this has been done successfully by many, through use of a sub-frame, which spreads stress over a larger area. And a slightly lighter sidecar would also be a BIG asset, as it would not subject your Wing to the stress of a heavier mounted unit. Reputable sidecar dealers/installers know all about the pro & cons of

 

When I entered the World of Sidecars, back in 1968, with a 1958 BMW R-69 I'd rebuilt from wreck, mounted to brand new BMW Hollandia all-steel sidecar, it was a long but interesting journey. My first impressions: The rig felt like a large garden tractor, which had a mind of it's own. When I accelerated from a stop, it pulled slightly to the right...when I braked, it pulled slightly to the left and more-so if heavy braking was necessary. The brakes did not stop the rig as well as when I rode solo but that was to be expected. Back in '68, there was nowhere to obtain a sidecar brake [ or better-stopping aftermarket brake pads or shoes, in my case ]. THAT would have been a Blessing, as it would have cancelled left pulls out, allowing straight-line stops. A sidecar rig is driven/ steered through arms & shoulders, not leaned into turns like a solo machine. Hot-dogging with rig & showoff starts from a dead stop would really pull sidecar to my right, so I avoided them!  At first, I drove my outfit WITHOUT passengers, to become very familiar with handling, turns, stops. Taking it to work daily, helped speed up learning curve. Wife and the kids started riding with me about 2 weeks after I first put rig on the road. It took a few months before I was doing every move automatically, like a sixth sense. This is the MAIN reason I will NEVER go back to riding solo, as that's now a whole other world to me.

 

People generally SMILE at sidecar rigs, as they don't intimidate them so much. And kids GO BONKERS when they see our rig, no matter where we are! Also, I NEVER have to put my feet down at any stops, so that's a BIG PLUS. There's plenty of room for LOTS of different clothing so we have what we need to wear in most all climatic conditions. The king-size truck battery I use is also a BIG PLUS, as once, I actually jump-started a car with it, plus a few cycles w/dead batteries, too. Can carry a LOAD of tools with me everywhere, including a hydraulic jack [ their weight helps hold down car on right-handers ]. When we go on a long day trip, the wife packs a BIG lunch, w/ HOT meals...we have plenty of COLD drinks in our ice cooler, I bring my favorite desserts, so who could ask for anything more!              TTFN.....papasmurf in NH

 

FYI:  sidecar.com   is web address of the United Sidecar Association [ USCA ]. This is a National sidecar group, with Reps in various areas of the Country and local Chapters, also. 

Annual rallies are held all over the lower 48, with one BIG National meet each year. There's plenty of info at site, along with folks happy to answer questions. And it's FREE to join!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebel Girl

Great information. Thanks for sharing. Going out to that website right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jobe05

You know, now that you have mentioned it, I have never seen an 1800 with a side car on it.....  Is it possible?  do they make a kit for the 1800?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
papasmurf

That information is available through sidecar dealers. The dealer list @ sidecar.com would list those in lower 48. If you need help there,

am sure a lot of folks will answer your inquiries. I always thought they treated me well, when I had questions.     .....papasmurf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pipewrench

You know, now that you have mentioned it, I have never seen an 1800 with a side car on it.....  Is it possible?  do they make a kit for the 1800?

I had a Hannigan GTL sidecar mounted to my 2007 1800. Loved it and had no issues with it. Had to sell the complete set-up, but have just bought a 2008 goldwing and am considering getting another sidecar for it. I was going to trike it, but I liked the advantages of the sidecar better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubs

What are the advantages of a sidecar over a trike?

Thanks, Dubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pipewrench

What are the advantages of a sidecar over a trike?

Thanks, Dubs

I like the advantage of being able to remove the sidecar and ride as a bike, being able to have room for additional riders, having something a little different than just a bike or a trike,, depending on sidecar model the wife can enclose herself in sidecar to stay out of bad weather while riding (also for pets).  The cons: having more surface area to put chrome on and more to keep clean, and more storage area for wifes shopping.LOL

Note: This is just my opinion as I have never had a trike. I really liked the sidecar but I might really like a trike also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bob Myers

I have ridden since 1969, only 2 wheelers. We bought a 95 with an Escort sidecar little over a year ago, and as Papasmurf said,, at first it was like a garden tractor with a mind of its own, but as I grew accustomed to it the feeling was more refined and relaxed. I had been riding this for only about 6 weeks when we took our first real trip. Over 2k miles in 5 days. Comfy? YOU BET! Confidence inspiring? YOU BET!! In less than 6 months we racked up around 11k miles, and have literally loved every foot of it, well except for the rain storm in Pa/Maryland. A couple months later we went to Sault St Marie Mi on another 2k mile ride. Yepper, we are hooked.

    I still ride 2 wheelers and wife still has her bike and license but after 20 years of riding she said that for now she has ridden enough of her own bikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubs

Thanks for the replies guys! I like the ability to remove the sidecar when I want and they have tons of storage. How many manufacturers are there, which do you

suggest, and what options are needed; ie, sidecar brake, steering mods etc?

Thanks again!

Dubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jobe05

How many manufacturers are there, which do you

suggest, and what options are needed; ie, sidecar brake, steering mods etc?

Thanks again!

Dubs

 

Would there be a difference in the Sidecar and of course the mechanism to attach between the Goldwing and a HD?  And then the different makes of bikes?  That would be a great alternative for you and Lois Dubs. 

 

I have seen some with A/C.  It's an ice bath type A/C but it works good I have read.  Just add a bag of ice in the water tank and you have a nice cool breeze!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubs

I really like the fact that it can be removed rather easily. I have seen them with trunks, windshields, tops, etc. And they are kinds of cool because they are old school and different.

Dubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
coffee pot

Had a rig on my '88 when I bought it. Wife has medical problems and cannot get up on a bike or trike. I was hesitant at first about the handling, but quickly got used to the quirks. I wanted to upgrade and move the car to a newer, maybe a 1800. I have a car made by Motorvation, and it is the Formula ll, which is a little wider than a normal rig. They did not make a conversion mounting kit for the this car as the frame of the 1500 and the 1800 are different. They did say they could do it in their shop as the sidecar frame had to be replaced. Way more trouble, and cost, than I wanted to spend. I found a 2000 SE with only 25000 miles and moved it over myself. The only thing is I need to have EZ steer rake kit put on the 2000 for easier handling. I had it on the '88 bike and it is still on it. If I keep this current outfit, I will have it installed. BUT, the wife is in lust for a 2008, 1800 with a Hannigan GTL. Have not decided exactly what we are going to do yet. But one thing for sure is we will always have the sidecar. We are hooked on the benefits. We even pull a trailer behind us on long trips so we have anything we need. (tools, food, extra gas). There is a reduction of gas mileage, but what the heck you need to stop every 100 to 120 miles anyway to stretch. Not running an endurance race, but enjoying the wind therapy. And as posted by 'papasmurf' it is the rage when kids of all ages see it. When we park somewhere it takes a while to leave again as we love to 'show-off the rig' and answer questions. It is a great opportunity to get the 4-wheelers to become more aware of bikes, and to dispel the common misconception that bikers are 'thugs'. Heck, we are no different than the cagers except that we don't have walls around us.

Ride on and ride what you are comfortable with. Find somebody that has a sidecar at a rally or a gathering and talk to them about it. many of them will probably let you try it out. I have let many people test drive my rig for them to get a feel for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
coffee pot

 ' Dubs', although removing the sidecar is possible, it is much easier to have another bike for those times when you just need the 'me time and lean' therapy. I am not sure how all of the rigs are attached but I know that mine takes about 15 minutes to remove but 30 minutes with help to reattach. Not worth the effort to me. I kept my '88 when I bought the 2000, and I use it to those times I just need to get away for a few hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubs

Thanks again for the replies.  I am beginning to think the sidecar option is a better choice although the trikes I have ridden were very nice and easy to ride.  I still am wondering about the possible need for additional braking for the sidecar, additional rake, etc.

Dubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
papasmurf

HELLO ALL AGAIN:    papasmurf in NH here....have not been on Forum due to my obstinate health issue....starting chemo in 2 weeks to see if this might fix things.  

 

FWIW:  This is simply MY personal opinion....up to each person to make up their own mind. 

California Sidecar Company of Arrington, VA went out of the sidecar business in 2012....ONLY make trikes now.  Sidecar parts are no longer available.

Since my Friendship III sidecar brake pads were worn out, was 'up the creek' on use of the s/c brake any more, so removed hydraulic line from Wing front

brake master cylinder to s/c brake. Was curious about how Wing rig would handle with this done. Turned out all my fears were unfounded in the matter.

Since I've used only EBC type HH brake pads on Wing for over 12 years, stopping power has always been there when needed. '95 GL1500 is my 11

motorcycle/ 4th sidecar rig tug [ had 7 solo machines, prior to entering the World Of The Third Wheel ]. My GL1500 handles, rides, brakes, steers, performs

BEST of ALL my previous motorcycles!

On Brake Rotors: Read/heard they don't last long. especially if using aggressive pads. like my EBC HH. My right front pad has 74,000 on it and it's close to

replacement time. Left front rotor still good. Rear rotor WAS good but dirt/crud jammed rear caliper pistons, which caused rotor overheating, warp and

gouging. Good used one from '96 Wing on EBay and caliper rebuild w/new pistons/seals/good bleed, fixed problem. Invested in good used 1" micrometer

off EBay so I can now my monitor rotor thickness on a regular basis. Turned out the GL1500 rotor wear scare was not as bad as it sounded at first.

I, personally, would NOT hang a s/c on an 1800, as even the Moto Guzzi dealer in Ludlow, MA [ where Northeast Three Wheelers Sidecar Club started in

1996 ] who hung s/c on his own new 2001 GL1800, pulled it off, due to early frame cracking, which launched Honda recall due to poor welds. 1800 also has

aluminum monolever rear swingarm/shock setup, which is aimed directly at SOLO Wing riders....Honda corporate was definitely trying to discourage 1800

owners from hanging hacks on their Wings....cancelled factory warranty on all new 1800's which showed up for service/warranty work with a sidecar

attached. THIS IS A FACT, as have seen many irate posts on internet, from GL1800 Wing s/c rig owners who had this done to them by their dealers.

As I've stated before: The steel frame Honda GL1500 IS THE BEST SIDECAR TUG of the 7 solos, 4 s/c rigs I've owned over 60 years, since 1955, hands

down!  My 2 cents.   GOD BLESS ALL.....RIDE SAFE ALWAYS.....Old Tom aka papasmurf in still FROZEN New Hampshire

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubs

Papasmurf,  Your experience and knowledge of the sidecar setups is truly appreciated!  If I go the sidecar route I might just invest in a 1500 and keep the Harley for solo rides.  Prayers are forth coming for your current health issues.

Dubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
coffee pot

Papasmurf,  Your experience and knowledge of the sidecar setups is truly appreciated!  If I go the sidecar route I might just invest in a 1500 and keep the Harley for solo rides.  Prayers are forth coming for your current health issues.

Dubs

Dubs, I have a 1988 1500 with the Motorvation sidecar already attached. Look at the classified section on this forum for the information and pictures.

Would love to give this a good home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use,