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Old 05-04-2013, 01:43 PM   #16
claude
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Maybe a little off topic but it would be a good thing if at some point in time th esidecar comunity could seperate what we now call flying th echair from simple agressive cornering. No, I do not want to get into another 'steering reversion' discussion but sidecar wheels on many outfit do leafve th eground if you are cornering with any agression at all. This is not abnormal. Adding ballast if on edesires to do so will keep the wheel down until a greater speed is reached but that is about it. It should be thought of as being in th ebest interest of every sidecar jockey to raise his or her skill envelope to at elast th epoint of knowing when th esidecar wheel comes up and how they need to react to it. None of us can raise our skill levels by reading alone. We need to practice a little above our comfort zones in a safe place to raise our personal skill envelope a little higher. Why? No, not to show off and not to hot rod the things but to benefit ourselves and our passengers when that emergency situation raises it's head.
Ballast is only a means to make alight sidecar heavier. No big mystry. ther eis aqlso no feather put in anyones hat if they do not run ballast. It all depends on th eoutfit at hand and what makes the operator comfortable and safe. However , it is a benefot for anyone to practice with a lighter sidecar as the handling traits they have will surface as lower speeds.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT I suppose . take it for what it's worth, but ..... what do I know.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:29 PM   #17
kailuasurfer
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I have been riding sidecar empty lately and couldn't agree more with Claude. On my heavier rigs (e.g., Claude's creation), the sidecar wheel rarely leaves the ground but, on my lighter rigs (e.g., fiberglass Watsonian), the wheel is guaranteed to be off the ground on most right hand turns. For me, shifting my seat position, throttle control, and one-finger tapping of the brake lever ensures just the right amount of control during turns, particularly during higher speed turns. I try never to "fly" on purpose unless practicing...

kailuasurfer screwed with this post 05-04-2013 at 03:06 PM Reason: poor grammer
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:28 PM   #18
claude
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Originally Posted by kailuasurfer View Post
I have been riding sidecar empty lately and couldn't agree more with Claude. On my heavier rigs (e.g., Claude's creation), the sidecar wheel rarely leaves the ground but, on my lighter rigs (e.g., fiberglass Watsonian), the wheel is guaranteed to be off the ground on most right hand turns. For me, shifting my seat position, throttle control, and one-finger tapping of the brake lever ensures just the right amount of control during turns, particularly during higher speed turns. I try never to "fly" on purpose unless practicing...
Hello kailua...The technique YOU MENTIONED of using the front brake and throttle at the same time is a good one. Not true drifting but it does increase theslip angle of th erear tire and does help to keep the sidecar down in right turns.
Shifting weight and/or hanging off is also a good thing if on wants to practice it. Basically it is a way to get a little more weight over toward the sidecar and insde the so called tip over line between the front and rear wheel in turns toward the sidecar. This should be done prior to entering a turn rather than when already in it as that can sometimes make things worse in some cases.
It is all about practice and getting to know one's outfit. All outfits have the same basic dynamics to a point but they come in different flavors..
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:51 AM   #19
stromsurfer
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Ballast

I very much appreciate the words of the wise men regarding ballast. Being new to sidecars I absorb all the knowledge through reading that I can but, as Claude said riding is really how you learn. I just turned 1,500 miles on my new Dakar set up and every mile was a learning experience. I started with a 70# bag of sand and have now cut that in half. I substituted some of the sand for usable weight like extra gas, tools, Kermit chair, etc. In the end i will probably end up with 20-25# more weight then the empty tub. I continue to practice being on the edge......meaning the feel of being close to the balance point. Much like sailing (for that matter many movement related activities) it's knowing the "feel" of the tipping or control point that helps you avoid capsizing or uncontrolled movement. As I reduce weight the feel also changes as does my steering, throttle, weight shift, and brake inputs.

I know you guys all know this stuff and as a newbie I'm probably not adding anything new, but just thought I would add a virgin hack riders two cents, which basically is.....ride.......learn.......have fun.


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Old 05-12-2013, 10:43 AM   #20
claude
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good post stormsurfer. ballast if added that can be useful in other ways makes much more sense than just a blob of weight that serves no purpose,
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:05 AM   #21
Sidecarjohn
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Interesting and respected observations.

I have no doubt that ballast is a positive move for novices and potentially when in the formative miles of riding a new outfit. An early experience of the sidecar wheel lifting, reacting inappropriately, and colliding with a stationary car front wing, all thankfully at almost walking pace, could have put me off the three wheel way forever.

For sure, I've heard more times than I can remember guys suggesting they'd only tried riding a sidecar once and "no more". The wheel coming up unexpectedly is an issue and therefore deterrent.

Certainly when riding outfits in the USA, factors such as riding "on the wrong side of the road", plus with the sidecar on the "wrong" side has been enhanced by a little ballast in the sidecar, even with the good lady aboard.
In contrast, rode a lightweight airhead BMW EML outfit for about a dozen years, sometimes with nothing but a few clothes in the sidecar on windy country roads at more than acceptable speeds with confidence. The sidecar wheel no doubt getting airborne.

However, a recent purchase of a rather powerful bike with a significantly lighter sidecar than our trusty K model Beemer's very overweight example of the fibreglasser's art, justified a bag of sand in the boot until I feel assured with my ability to handle the beast. For me, even after a few decades on three wheels, more than justified.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #22
Tarka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecarjohn View Post
However, a recent purchase of a rather powerful bike with a significantly lighter sidecar than our trusty K model Beemer's very overweight example of the fibreglasser's art, justified a bag of sand in the boot until I feel assured with my ability to handle the beast. For me, even after a few decades on three wheels, more than justified.
You`re still going to have to learn how it is without ballast once you`ve removed it.

So you`re back at square one.

Which is why I keep saying that you just need to learn how the thing feels 'as is'.....at what point it goes light and is ready to lift (and how it feels at that point)...and how it behaves throughout all situations.
Again...if it was meant to weigh however much extra than it does,it already would do so.

I know we`ll never agree on this though.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:06 PM   #23
StoneAgeMan
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Originally Posted by Tarka View Post
You`re still going to have to learn how it is without ballast once you`ve removed it.

So you`re back at square one.
You're not back at square one because you will have ridden many miles/kms since then. You're not the same rider after 30 days on a new rig.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:15 PM   #24
Tarka
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You're not back at square one because you will have ridden many miles/kms since then. You're not the same rider after 30 days on a new rig.
Totally irrelevant comments.

The mileage covered and the days spent would be on a machine weighing more than the same one would be with the kiddie crèche ballast removed.

Hence...and exactly what I said...you are back at square one.

Just learn the thing as it is.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:14 AM   #25
Sidecarjohn
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Tarka,
I understand where you're coming from. My point relates to theother aspects of what an outfit is all about other than weight distribution and unique balance properies. Our latest outfit is different from what we have been used to these past six years or so. A hot rod throttle, Vboost and attendant performance has to be respected, even after the K1 Beemer, so the chance of things getting hairy are increased. A low powered plodder it most certainly isn't.

To ignore the potential for things to go amiss would be foolish, so ballast has helped. As the miles and familiarity pass by then the specific ballast will no doubt be made redundant, probably replaced with regular items that we tend to carry anyway.

Ballast is one of the perennial sidecar debating points that folk can have definitive views about, which is fine. If asked, I do feel it has its merits for some situations, and accept that vehicle characteristics change with and without ballast. Can it assist ih the early stages of familiarising a rider with technique, or a new set up ? I believe it can, but as with anything to do with using public highways, experience is still a major factor.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:48 PM   #26
claude
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The ballast discussion is seldom if ever going to compare apples to apples. Different outfits are differnt outfits period. Some riders weight 120 pounds and some riders may weight 300 pounds. Ballast? All it is is adding some weigth to balance things out. No big mystery. NO FEATHER IN ONES CAP IF HE or she DOESN'T have ballast. No shame if they do. How many different outfits have most folks ridden who get in these discussions? What is good for one may not be for another one.
A Ural for instance is a Ural. Pretty stable outfit for what it is. However if the operator weighs a ton the stability factor will be different than if he or she is a lighter weight person. Other outfits vary all over the map. Some are stable and some not.
The old thing of standing on the left foot peg at rest and pulling up on the right handlebar and shifting weight outward is still a good way to feel out a rig before going out on the raod with it.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:55 PM   #27
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The old thing of standing on the left foot peg at rest and pulling up on the right handlebar and shifting weight outward is still a good way to feel out a rig before going out on the raod with it.
Not to threadjack, but I haven't heard of this. What does this do exactly?
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:58 PM   #28
Tarka
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Not to threadjack, but I haven't heard of this. What does this do exactly?
Read it again and think for a moment.

Even try it for yourself to find out.

It just shows effort and force required to lift a static combo.
Only really of any value if comparing two or more machines,but very interesting if you ever remove your sidecar body from the chassis and try it after doing it to the complete machine.

Naturally,for combos with the sidecar on the correct and proper side (like ours...on the left) you`d stand on the right footpeg and pull on the left handlebar.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:08 AM   #29
hahnda
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I find that some rigs need ballast in order to make them fun to ride. Sure you can ride them without any ballast and go slow through the corners but what fun is that? 50 lbs in the sidecar and it will have more stability in the corners and that means you can move through those corners faster.

Yes ballast can be a learning aid in some cases, but in some cases I think it a great choice to have it there permanently, or at least in use if you don't have a passenger or gear. Besides most sidecars never really were intended to be driven down the road empty.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:57 AM   #30
claude
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Sorry about th eleft right footpeg thing . Intention is to stand on the footpeg away from the sidecar. Hold onto the bars and swing your body weight away from the sidecar. What you are doing is just testing to see how easy or hard the sidecar wheel comes up. If it is hard to get the sidecar wheel off the ground the outfit is obviously pretty darn stable. If th ewheel comes up and plops right back down it is still stable as is but a little less so. If it comes up easily of course it is less stable and so on. Just a balancing act so to speak. Some outfits such as those for sidecar cross etc require an active passenger. Very light sidecars are not intended to run otherwise or require ballast.
Everyone seems to talk about the sidecar weight and rightfully so BUT track width also comes into play. A wide outfit even though it has a light sidecar can be very stable as long as the sidecar chassis and suspension are up to the task.
Some say to pratice with ballast. This is fine when first starting out but it is not he best rule to go by if you want to enhance your skill envelope in a timely fashion. Practicing with an unladen sidecar will magnify the traits that a sideca routfit has at slower speeds. Do this in a safe place. Then when you are out on the road with ballst in you will have done yourself a favor skill level wise. This is why most trainingoutfits are based on small bikes with light sidecars, Stability is not the concern learning is.
When practicing it is best to try and bet a little above your personal comfort zone. This is the only way to expand your skills. If , lets say, your experience goes to line 'A' and a situation arises on th eroad in th ereal world that may require you to go above line 'A' you are out of your element. Why? Lacl of practice. Taking a traing course is a good thing and should be encouraged. Many instrutors at the end of the course will say " You are now qulified to operate a sidecar at 30 mph in a parking lot anywhere'...lol. Funny? Yes, but th epoin tis that it is still up to the individual to move their personal bar up a little at a time by more practice.
Each outfit will be a little different. A Dual sport or adventure touring type outfit will no more be a High Perfomance ZX14 based rig than an SUV will be a Ferrarri.
First off relaize you limits when starting out. Respect th emachine's limits you are on and practice. In time you personal limits will expand and possibly it will be relized that the limits of a given rig were higher than anticipated.
Some will brag about running with no ballast. This is a non issue and as mentioned earlier much depends upon the outfit, the weight of th e rider and so on. Some are absorbed with lifting the sidecar wheel. Big deal...it is a part of th esport on the right outfit. I still think we would all be bette roff if we would make a line between the so called 'flying the chair' and lifting the wheel in agressive cornering but thta is another topic.
PRACTICE! Practice in a safe place. Practice unloded and loaded. (talking about the sidecar here...lol). Weight distribution is important! Some say you cannot carry two on the bike? Really? It is ,again, about weight distribution. Can a 240 pound person operate a sidecar outfit? Yes? Okay then can a 140 pount rider carry a hundread pound passenger behind him? Hmmm.
Practice practice practice...on your outfit. When getting on another persons outfit do th efoot peg test and take it easy until you get to know thta machine a little better.
Make sense?
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