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Thread: Newbie needs advice

  1. #1

    Newbie needs advice

    I have no experience with a sidecar motorcycle but have an interest in one as they look very interesting and my wife has difficulty getting on my R1200RT. I hope to take a training class for sidecars but might not be able to (not going half way across the country for a class).
    Would it make any sense to buy separate motorcycle, sidecar, and have them set up by a reputable company as opposed to buying something like the Ural? It doesn't appear there are any non-Ural sidecar rigs in my general area at this time.
    Thanks for the input.
    Richard
    2013 R 1200RT (90th Anniversary)

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    There are references to the “Yellowbook” in this thread-

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...ght=Yellowbook

    It has always been referenced as a “must read” for side-car enthusiasts.

    Good luck.

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  3. #3
    Registered User 6322's Avatar
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    Hello Richard and welcome to the forum. Where are you located? Looking in the MOA Anonymous book, you may find someone in your area with a hack and willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.

    I built my first in ‘84 and have been supplementing my two wheeled habit with them since then. I currently have the one from ‘84, a ‘77 R100/7 dirt hack with about 170,000 miles on it, and an ‘85 K100RS w/eml, with about 100,000 miles on it.

    Never read the “Yellow Book”, but I had a very knowledgable mentor. Regarding your question about building a hack, there’s a lot more to it than just bolting a sidecar on an existing bike. Most current solo bikes don’t have a frame or suspension built for a sidecar so you’ll have to modify that and probably change the gearing. Also steering modifications will probably be necessary. There are several other modifications you may want to make to make it a desirable, dependable hack.

    For those reasons, you’ll be way ahead to look for an already assembled, modified, dialed in outfit, and way ahead money wise. Depending on where you plan to ride (back roads and two lanes or long distance and interstates), you’ll look for certain attributes. Generally a Ural would be fine if you travel the two lanes and back roads, and you do your own mechanicing. For anything else, look beyond the Ural for something with a little more performance, at least an R100 airhead, an oilhead, or a K bike. My R100 will keep up on the interstate, my K will leave most traffic behind on the interstate as would the oilheads I’ve piloted.

    The best thing would be to find someone near you with a hack and go get in touch. Some folks think that as you regress as a solo rider you consider taking up a hack. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. When I get to old and tired to ride my hacks, I’ll start traveling more on my solo bikes. Ride easy Richard and good luck with your search. PM me if you want to.
    gp
    Gary Phillips - #6322
    Wildland Firefighter, Retired, Riggins, ID
    Heartland Moto Locos BMW Riders
    '77 R100/7 Dirt Hack, '83 R80ST, '85 K100RS w/EML, '93 K1100LT, '00 R1100RS

  4. #4
    Mainly just a repeat of what he said.

    There is so much more to setting up a hack than just bolting it on, it's worth your time to try and find one already set up. Starting with a poorly set up rig will make you give up on sidecarring before you get started. Probably 40 years ago I tried to bolt a no name sidecar onto a Triumph chopper, it was a nightmare as far as handling.

    About 20 years ago I got my current rig, K1100RS with an EML Speed 2000 sidecar. It came with a subframe to both strengthen the frame and provide mounting points, a leading link front end and 14 inch car tires on all three wheels. In that form it handled really well, many of the issues others have reported with sidecar handling were either not present or greatly reduced. Over the years it has been improved with addition of a sway bar and center hub steering.

    I also have a small trailer I pull to carry my youngest son's wheelchair.

    As it's set up now I can hold my own against solo bikes in the twistys, especially if I have a passenger who can shift their weight as needed in the corners. (Once left the overlook at Deal's Gap headed to the "resort", had oldest son in the sidecar and no trailer. Had a couple on a Hayabusa park next to us. He said he told his wife this stinks, we're stuck behind a sidecar, but after the first couple corners never saw us again.) Something to be said about that much rubber on the pavement.
    Mike Currin
    2020 R1250RS
    93 K1100RS / EML Speed 2000 sidecar
    06 Ducati ST3, 67 Triumph 650 Chopper

  5. #5
    RK Ryder
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    I have absolutely no experience with sidecars but a friend bought one and had it fitted to one of his bikes. I gasped at what he told me the total cost was. Since then I've seen rigs for sale that were in the range of half to two thirds of what he paid.

    If I had a desire for a sidecar, I'd be looking for one for sale rather than using one of my two bikes.

    My two cents.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  6. #6
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    My buddy just purchased a new Ural this past April and has been loving it. It's his first rig and he's be slowly racking up the miles. He went with a Ural because of the similar problems you were noting - finding one, is it set up correctly, history of the motorcycle, etc.

    I was able to drive it the other day and it's a very different experience, but definitely fun!


    From talking with him, there are two resources that you may want to read up on:

    https://sidecar.com/Hal%20Kendall%20operators%20manual/

    https://sidecar.com/hal-kendall-operators-manual/
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

  7. #7
    I gasped at what he told me the total cost was. Since then I've seen rigs for sale that were in the range of half to two thirds of what he paid.
    very true. I quit keeping track
    Mike Currin
    2020 R1250RS
    93 K1100RS / EML Speed 2000 sidecar
    06 Ducati ST3, 67 Triumph 650 Chopper

  8. #8
    Registered User 6322's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbill13 View Post
    I have no experience with a sidecar motorcycle but have an interest in one as they look very interesting and my wife has difficulty getting on my R1200RT. I hope to take a training class for sidecars but might not be able to (not going half way across the country for a class).
    Would it make any sense to buy separate motorcycle, sidecar, and have them set up by a reputable company as opposed to buying something like the Ural? It doesn't appear there are any non-Ural sidecar rigs in my general area at this time.
    Thanks for the input.
    With regards to your general area, you may have to look a little farther as hacks and their sales are relatively rare. Besides the ads on this site, take a look at ads on the adventure site (https://advrider.com/f/threads/fs-fl...2526/page-1022), under hacks, and USA sidecar site (https://sidecar.com/forum/forum/1-co...rigs-for-sale/). They may broaden your area a bit. From ID, I made a sale to a family in NE, and met them halfway (Rock Springs, WY), to deliver it.
    Last edited by 6322; 07-20-2021 at 08:49 PM.
    Gary Phillips - #6322
    Wildland Firefighter, Retired, Riggins, ID
    Heartland Moto Locos BMW Riders
    '77 R100/7 Dirt Hack, '83 R80ST, '85 K100RS w/EML, '93 K1100LT, '00 R1100RS

  9. #9

    Thank you for the input!

    Thank you for your replies. I already have the Hough book and have read it. Will read it again and again, I'm sure.
    Y'all gave me something to stop me from "going down a rabbit hole". I'll focus on already set up sidecars and not try to make my own.
    Richard
    2013 R 1200RT (90th Anniversary)

  10. #10

    Another newbie question

    Not sure exactly how to ask this, but, would there be any reason to get a sidecar motorcycle if the wife and the dog(s) wouldn't go with me?
    Seems like, while there might be a bucket-load of fun driving a sidecar rig, there's not much reason if I'm always going to be by myself?
    Thanks
    Richard
    2013 R 1200RT (90th Anniversary)

  11. #11
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    So you can carry your beer cooler and all your camping gear!
    http://beerthief.ca
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    save $5 on a new SmugMug account, use this coupon 7frrnSRiTt9Fk

  12. #12
    Registered User
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    If you are really into sidecars and like them, there are a lot of people driving them by them self's. Like skibum69 said you can carry a lot when needed. Right now I've have 3, working on a 4th and I enjoy ever one of them plus my solo bikes.

  13. #13
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Annie and I both have Ural Gear Ups, the two wheel drive version. I got mine three years ago and Annie got hers to years ago. They are fun to ride, allow us to ride off road in Montana with less risk of hurting ourselves and extend the riding season. I have ridden in every month since I got my Ural, which is not easy to do in the northern Rockies. It is a rare occasion when I carry a passenger in the sidecar. Annie rode with me a few times before she got hers and the grandkids have ridden in parades and around our place. Urals are an acquired taste. They are slow and agricultural, and require more attention than other bikes. They are much improved over the past 15 years since becoming a private company and not a Soviet agency. The general rule is to buy as new as you can get because of the constant improvements that are being made. (Ural 2003-2020 Changes & Upgrades: http://www.crawfordsales.info/?page_id=54). Picking a dealer is also very important. We bought from Raceway in Salem Oregon, even though they are 720 miles away. If I have an issue the owner will help me diagnose the problem via text, email or phone, and send me any parts that are needed with detailed installation instructions if needed. Both bikes are still under warranty and there is no quibbling about coverage. Our problems have been relatively minor and we have yet to be stranded. Count on a cruising speed of 55-60 MPH on the Ural. Some push them harder but that seems to be the sweet spot.

    I decided to try a sidecar because I know that eventually riding on two wheels will become an issue. I keep riding one because I find them fun to ride and a sidecar opens up many more riding opportunities. Annie and I try to ride in Yellowstone NP every April shortly after the roads open. We have done so five times in the past years but some years the roads are open but not ready for motorcycles, and we have always avoided the higher elevation areas for fear of ice.. This year we spent two days in the park on the Urals, went wherever we wished and had a great time. While riding a rig is much different than a motorcycle, it not overly difficult to learn with some reading, a good coach and practice. You may find that it is not for you or you may love it and jump in with both feet.




    (I know better than to get this close to buffalo, but these guys changed direction as they were crossing in front of us and caught me not paying attention well enough)

    Buying an already built and sorted out sidecar is far cheaper than buying a new Ural or much cheaper than having one built. There are some good resources for finding out what is available on the market. Adventure Rider has a "Hack" subform (https://advrider.com/f/forums/hacks.56/) that has a stickie thread in which inmates post links to sidecars and rigs for sale all over the country (https://advrider.com/f/threads/fs-fl...#post-42733995). The people over there are friendly, knowledgeable and ready to help. Also there is a good forum dedicated to the Ural (Soviet Steeds https://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/index.php). The people on that forum range from Ural zealots to people like you who are seeking information. There are many used rigs for sale. Harleys are common as are Goldwings, but there are some smaller ones available. Seems there are often Airheads that range from excellent to horrible and other rigs based on UJMs.

    I have decided to add a another sidecar to our stable. I am having a sidecar added to my 2017, R1200GSA. It will cost nearly $16K to have it done by a reputable builder and the wait time is nearly five months for it to come to the head of the line.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  14. #14
    Registered User 6322's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbill13 View Post
    Not sure exactly how to ask this, but, would there be any reason to get a sidecar motorcycle if the wife and the dog(s) wouldn't go with me?
    Seems like, while there might be a bucket-load of fun driving a sidecar rig, there's not much reason if I'm always going to be by myself?
    Thanks
    Richard,
    The hack is a pleasure to travel with, with a passenger or solo. Short runs or errands as well as long haul travels. Much more enjoyable to share the experience with someone though. I still enjoy my solo bikes but when I’m heading out the door, I usually just head for one of the hacks. One thing you’ll find is driving a hack is a little more of an upper body workout than your solo bike. For that reason, a five hundred mile ride on a hack tires you out like a thousand mile solo bike ride. You just plan a trip accordingly. Also, add fifteen minutes to each fuel stop to visit with interested bystanders. The better set up a hack is the easier the day.

    I think if you find that a hack is in your future, you’ll be surprised how much you ride it.

    Good luck with your plans and have a great summer.
    Gary Phillips - #6322
    Wildland Firefighter, Retired, Riggins, ID
    Heartland Moto Locos BMW Riders
    '77 R100/7 Dirt Hack, '83 R80ST, '85 K100RS w/EML, '93 K1100LT, '00 R1100RS

  15. #15

    Of course I have another question!

    I've seen some Urals for sale, some BMW's for sale, HD's, and Goldwings.
    For the first-timer, would there be one that was too big to start out on (Goldwing springs to mind)?
    Thank you.
    Richard
    2013 R 1200RT (90th Anniversary)

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