For no reason in particular, I got to wondering about how a sidecar changes the way a bike handles. Maybe a dumb question, but having never ridden a motorbike with a sidecar, I'm curious.
Just off the top of my head, I'd think that it would take some serious getting used to. No more leaning the bike to turn, right? Turning in the direction on which the sidecar is mounted would be different than turning away from it, I would think. Anybody care to share any insight on what it's like?
you're absolutely right that driving a sidecar outfit is considerably different from riding a bike. What's not immediately obvious is that learning to pilot a hack is a lot of fun. Just as much fun as learning to ride a bike, but in a different way.
There was an article about this in ON a couple of years ago. You might go back through the issues and find it.
In the meanwhile, for anyone who is catching the sidecar fever, there is a book on the subject available. Driving A Sidecar Outfit, second edition, Printwerk Graphics, 800 736-1117
Actually, the second edition includes chapters on mountain and alignment, and advanced driving techiniques, that might be of interest even to those who have had the three-wheeler disease for many years.
And, if you are interested in seeing how three-wheelers work--without spending a pile of money building your own rig, I highly recommend taking the Sidecar/Trike Education Program. Just as with the (two wheeler) BRC, the S/TEP normally has student rigs to drive, including both sidecar rigs and trikes. For info, go to www.esc.org and look for S/TEP. The course is offered by various training sites across the country, and in some states it is subsidized.
It is a whole different ride but a whole lot of fun. Interesting observation when I had my sidecar. Little kids would wave at a sidecar but rarely wave at a motorcycle.
Originally Posted by pmdave
After almost 30yrs on two wheels, I got a hack three years ago. I love it. The learning curve was shorter than I anticipated. After about 4 rides of 50km each, I felt that I would likely not kill myself. I rode about 1500km before taking the kids along. Right hand turns are tricky, but something you get used to. Remembering how wide you now are comes quickly as well.
I would suggest purchasing a rig that is already mounted to 'see if you like it'. You can usually pick one up for about half of what it would cost to build one yourself. I bought one, loved it, then bought my dream rig last fall.
PmDave's idea on picking up 'Driving A Sidecar Outfit' is great advice. I believe you can download it from the USCA web site. There is lots of good info on their site.
Once you go Hack...you never go back.
Last edited by angysdad; 05-07-2010 at 11:44 PM.
The vast (and half vast) majority of instructors/coaches/course site administrators don't have a clue about the dynamics of three-wheelers. And they are typically too busy and too focused on two wheeler courses to find out what's involved in learning to drive a trike or sidecar outfit. I've heard lots of horror stories about suggesting that a new sidecarist bring his rig down to a regular BRC, and they'll see if they can squeeze it in.
Once anyone involved in rider training learns what's involved in handling a hack, they turn white at the thought of attempting to bootleg a three wheeler into a two wheeler course.
That's the big reason why the Sidecar/Trike Education Program (S/TEP) exists. It's a complete course for novices, including people who don't have any motorcycle experience. You might have to ride to a different state to find an S/TEP, but it's worthwhile to get some seat time on both rigs and trikes before parting with any big bucks. About half of those who take the S/TEP catch the full blown three-wheeler disease. The other half votes with their feet.
Yes, the USCA has lots of information, much of it free or cheap. It's a valuable truism that you get what you pay for. So far as I know, Driving A Sidecar Outfit is only available from the printer at 800 736-1117. If anyone discovers that the "yellow book" is available online for free downloading, let me know, and I'll pass the word to the Sidecar Safety Program, who owns the copyright. All money from sales of the book go to support the SSP, so downloading it for free is not only illegal, it cuts into the income of the organization who developed the information.
Hey all; Yes a sidecar is very different from a two wheeler. We purchased a use hack last year, a'82 Yamaha with a Velorex sidecar. The PO only put @10 thousand miles on the rig since new, so the bike is cherry, and the mounting was done by someone who knew what they were doing. It was much cheaper then hanging a sidecar onto the BMW, and my wife loves riding in the sidecar. Please get some experiance before you haul your loved ones around in it, but rest assured, they WILL want a ride!! Turns are entirely different, with no counter steering but lots of weight transfer. Right turns require that you SLOW DOWN and shift your weight well over the right side of the bike, (think road racer here) and even then the sidecar wheel can lift off the ground. It's a bit (O.K., a lot ) scary as first, but you get the hang of it with time. Left turns require early braking, and easy acceleration through the turn. Otherwise, you can nose the sidecar over and lift the rear wheel of the motorcycle off the ground!! This is no fun at all!!! (go ahead, ask me how I know!!) Don't let anything I have said scare you away, it's just the ramblings of someone who has been there and done that... (Nope, no tee shirt to show for it ). Good luck, Vaya con Dios, Dutch
Listen to pmdave here folks. He has as much knowledge and experience with sidecar training as anybody alive, I think.
Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
"Yes, the USCA has lots of information, much of it free or cheap. It's a valuable truism that you get what you pay for. So far as I know, Driving A Sidecar Outfit is only available from the printer..."
My 'Yellow Book' came with my URAL.
It looks like I was mistaken about the 'yellow' book being on line.
The USCA has some free downloads, but not THE book.
I bought mine before buying a sidecar.
Yes..URAL's have come a long way as far as reliability and have increased their line of available models...
Originally Posted by Polarbear
Ritalin Poster Boy
In the winter of 08 I started doing research with the idea of taking my son cross-country in a hack to deliver him to his first year of college.
I looked at urals but they are just too slow, not to mention the reliability issue.
I ended up with a ural tub on a dauntless subframe mounted to an 1150 GS Adventure.
I also took the MSF sidecar course read the books and went out practiced. Rode the hack empty to the National in TN which was valuable experience.
As an MSF Rider Coach I would know what to do if someone brought a hack to the ERC. I'd explain that the sidecar course uses a different range layout and the class room segment would focus on bikes and that I don't think he would get as much benefit as he would from SC specific training.
I don't think it would be appropriate to mix SC's in a BRC. I have no idea if the MSF allows this or not.
Dauntless here too;
I spoke with them about their conversions and they are quite experienced at it too. I have seen some newer GSs with rigs attached, but my new GSA is going to stay free a while longer of such. It sure would be a neat rig, with the new bike, but my money is not that large right now. I'm not cutting corners either, so I'll have to wait. The Ural at 10000$+ is a bargain price for a new rig, but I have questions. Its a slow rig alright and one must have time to travel at that pace. Randy
Ritalin Poster Boy
If you're looking for a GS hack rig chances are mine will be on the market near the end of June.
Originally Posted by Polarbear