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Thread: Senior Rider with 57 R69 Seeking Advice

  1. #1

    Senior Rider with 57 R69 Seeking Advice

    Hello,
    I have a 1957 R69, which I have restored about 10. years ago. only has 2000 miles on it since then.I have owned this bike since the 70's and it is really special to me. I'm 72 and have right foot strength and balance problems from nerve impingement caused by back issues. I have become apprehensive about solo riding, especially if I'm riding alone. Because of this, I am considering putting a sidecar on my R69. I had an older Velorex 560 on it years ago before the restoration so I'm familiar with sidecar operation. I have been advised by some, that I should get a more modern more powerful BMW for adding a sidecar and sell my R69. This makes sense, however, I love riding my old R69 more than riding other bikes. I've been looking at other R bikes but would really prefer the sidecar on my R69. Please give me your opinions and advice. Is it reasonable to consider riding my R69/Sidecar rig? Can I take long trips with my wife in the sidecar safely. Many say my old bike is underpowered and not suitable. Granted, it is not powerful by todays standards but I see many photos of /2's with sidecars. Is the idea of my R69/sidecar just for display or can I expect to be able to take trips on it? If I were to find a different model BMW for a sidecar, what would be the best choice? Anyone have older R bikes with sidecars? What is your advice and experience? What upgrades are recommended?
    Thanks,
    Earle Eagan 5554
    Baltimore, MD

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum! Earle with an Earle's fork bike! Nice combo!!

    I've never had a bike with a sidecar, but you seem to have some experience there. The R69 shouldn't have any real issues pulling the chair around and taking long-ish trips. It has 35HP from the factory...I was thinking about a 60s R60/2 but it has even less horsepower. The R69S is more powerful, but it is a bit more temper mental.

    I guess it depends on really what your trips are going to be like. If it's weeks long events, maybe the R69 mit chair won't cut it. But if you just want some local day jaunts or maybe a weekend trip at slower paces, I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    As for a more modern bike, others with more experiences will have to chime in. But it is my limited understanding that the front end of an Earles fork bike is ideal for a sidecar. Bikes with telescopic front ends are not, although people do it. Leading link front ends let the bike settle or squat when braking instead of pitching forward...I suppose unsettling in handling and feeling of a passenger. They do make modern leading link front ends for transformation of a regular front end for pulling a sidecar.

    I'd say go for the mod on the R69, depending on real distance desires. There are other 3-wheel options such as purpose built trikes, Can An spiders, etc. So there are some options.

    Update...one thing I should have mentioned is the idea of having the right transmission for pulling a sidecar. BMW made transmissions with a lower set of ratios to help get the bike and car moving since it's heavier. But if you've already gone down that route, then you probably have a good idea of how the whole package handles.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #3
    Registered User 6322's Avatar
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    Hello Earle,
    Your R69S, if it has the Earls front end, should be fine as a hack. You may have to upgrade suspension and lower the final drive ratio though. Also consider the weight of the sidecar. A newer bike can easlily move a heavier sidecar although I've seen bunches of R69S' attached to Ural sidecars. Also consider the weight of the passenger and gear. Traveling with a hack, expect to be abe to cover half the miles in a day that you can on a solo bike. It's just a lot more work, not to mention every time you stop someone will want to strike up a conversation. A very enjoyable way to travel if you take your time. You may be a little under powered getting up to speed on the interstate or into a headwind but I wouldn't let that dissuade you. There are a lot of tricks the old hack drivers used and I can remember several, on /2's, that would leave solo bikes in the dust when it came to cornering and mountain roads. Here's one such hack, though my friend has since passed on, a 1960 R60/2 with a Ural:

    P3290018.JPG

    P3290001a.jpg
    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
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Earle doesn't have an R69S, but the forerunner R69. But I do like the ideal of a Ural setup...not fast but certainly a decently designed package. The new bikes have this century features, too.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    #4869 DennisDarrow's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with your plan.............NOTHING. Get someone there professional to set up the sidecar and with your knowledge you will be able to double check them and make sure all is right. Unless you like doing the labor...I don't!!!!

    For the ride, just do it. Get away from the metro areas and for me, use the back roads. Slow and easy making 250 or so miles per day will allow you to get up late, pack, ride, eat lunch picnic style, ride, and then get where you are for the night. Ohhhh such a wonderful way to travel. Get there when you do and no worries about when you leave. Maybe you like a place that was just an overnighter; but turns into a week. What's the big deal.

    Take a few extra parts, tubes for sure and a small compressor. Tools are an easy job to stash what you need and dont worry about needing them. It all works out like it is supposed to. God has HIS plan. Just let it happen............See you down the road. Stop by.........Dennis

    When YOU are in N.W. Georgia, find your way on Hwy 136 outside of Calhoun, to my mountain top. Camp or RV awhile up on top of the hill and find the peace that I do..........God bless

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by DennisDarrow View Post
    There is nothing wrong with your plan.............NOTHING. Get someone there professional to set up the sidecar and with your knowledge you will be able to double check them and make sure all is right. Unless you like doing the labor...I don't!!!!

    For the ride, just do it. Get away from the metro areas and for me, use the back roads. Slow and easy making 250 or so miles per day will allow you to get up late, pack, ride, eat lunch picnic style, ride, and then get where you are for the night. Ohhhh such a wonderful way to travel. Get there when you do and no worries about when you leave. Maybe you like a place that was just an overnighter; but turns into a week. What's the big deal.

    Take a few extra parts, tubes for sure and a small compressor. Tools are an easy job to stash what you need and dont worry about needing them. It all works out like it is supposed to. God has HIS plan. Just let it happen............See you down the road. Stop by.........Dennis
    Thank you!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Welcome to the forum! Earle with an Earle's fork bike! Nice combo!!

    I've never had a bike with a sidecar, but you seem to have some experience there. The R69 shouldn't have any real issues pulling the chair around and taking long-ish trips. It has 35HP from the factory...I was thinking about a 60s R60/2 but it has even less horsepower. The R69S is more powerful, but it is a bit more temper mental.

    I guess it depends on really what your trips are going to be like. If it's weeks long events, maybe the R69 mit chair won't cut it. But if you just want some local day jaunts or maybe a weekend trip at slower paces, I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    As for a more modern bike, others with more experiences will have to chime in. But it is my limited understanding that the front end of an Earles fork bike is ideal for a sidecar. Bikes with telescopic front ends are not, although people do it. Leading link front ends let the bike settle or squat when braking instead of pitching forward...I suppose unsettling in handling and feeling of a passenger. They do make modern leading link front ends for transformation of a regular front end for pulling a sidecar.

    I'd say go for the mod on the R69, depending on real distance desires. There are other 3-wheel options such as purpose built trikes, Can An spiders, etc. So there are some options.

    Update...one thing I should have mentioned is the idea of having the right transmission for pulling a sidecar. BMW made transmissions with a lower set of ratios to help get the bike and car moving since it's heavier. But if you've already gone down that route, then you probably have a good idea of how the whole package handles.
    Thank you!

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