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Old 03-06-2008, 12:30 PM   #1
cwbastian OP
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Wheel Options for Velorex Sidecar (Car Temp Spare)

All:

I've been looking for another wheel option for my Velorex 700 since I got it to replace the 12" trailer wheel that it came with. I know a lot of people like the trailer wheel option because the tires & wheels are cheap and easily available, but I have a couple of problems with it. First, I could never get the car completely level because of the smaller diameter of the 12" wheel. This made getting the correct lean-out adjustment a pain in the neck. Second, a trailer wheel looks, well, like it belongs on a trailer, not a motorcycle. I added a baby moon hubcap to help hide it, but it's still just plain ugly. I figured it had to go away, but found it wasn't as easy as it should be to find a suitable 15" or 16" replacement.

My Velorex has the 5 lug hub conversion on it (5 on 4.5" bolt pattern), but finding a larger wheel that fit in the fenderwell and/or didn't rub on the frame was a much bigger deal than I would have originally thought. I looked at 15" trailer wheels, but they get too wide in the larger sizes -and- they're still ugly. Next I looked at 15" drag racing front wheels. They come in 3.5" and 4" widths and look great, but have too shallow a backspacing to fit in the fenderwell (in other words, they stick out too far). I was running out of ideas until I stopped by a buddy's shop and noticed an aluminum "donut" spare in the back of his pickup truck that had come off an older Lincoln. It was a 16" wheel, had the right bolt pattern, was only 4" wide, and actually looked great. We immediately tossed in on the sidecar, only to find it too lacked back spacing, and stuck out of the fenderwell about 1" too far. The next afternoon I went on a junkyard mission and ended up with the perfect fit wheel - a steel temporary spare that measures 15" x 4". It currently has a 130/70-15 tire on it, but a motorcycle tire will fit fine once I conclude my "how long will a car temporary spare tire last on something that weighs only a few hundred pounds" test. The big upside is now the car feels balanced, and tracks nicely (finally). It also feels way better on crappy, potholed roads, as the bigger wheel doesn't get swallowed up like the 12" one did.

I'm hoping the temp spare tire (running 36psi instead of the 60psi needed on a car) lasts a long time on the sidecar, as junkyards are chock full of these things in new, unused condition. If not, I'll just toss on a bike tire. The bonus here is the yard charged me a whopping $5 for the tire and wheel. You could buy a couple a season at that rate and not even notice.

Anyway, more to come...
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
furry bob
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Thumbs down re temp spare

gday from australia, mate you will probably find that the tyre on a temp spare is speed rated to about 80 kmh /45-50 mph and is only intended for short term use. the key words here are "temporary use only" on the sidewall of the tyre and i would strongly advise that you look into a more appropriate tyre , perhaps a cycle tyre of the same or similar size, or maybe a narrow european tyre(continental or michelin) intended for an early vw or citroen. the main problem with temp.spares is tthey are just that! good luck
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:25 PM   #3
cwbastian OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furry bob
gday from australia, mate you will probably find that the tyre on a temp spare is speed rated to about 80 kmh /45-50 mph and is only intended for short term use. the key words here are "temporary use only" on the sidewall of the tyre and i would strongly advise that you look into a more appropriate tyre , perhaps a cycle tyre of the same or similar size, or maybe a narrow european tyre(continental or michelin) intended for an early vw or citroen. the main problem with temp.spares is tthey are just that! good luck
Yeah, it remains to be seen how it'll fare on the hack. One thing to keep in mind though, the speed & distance restictions printed on the temp tire really have a lot more to do with what that little donut spinning away on one side of your drive axle is doing to your car's differential than anything to do with the tire itself. When you put one of those little wheels on a driven axle, you end up fully engaging the differential and creating a huge wear & tear scenario as the little wheel has to spin many more RPM's to keep up with the bigger wheel on the other side. That's the primary reason the car manufacturers want them run slowly and pulled off as soon as possible - you can fry a diff this way in a few hundred miles.

Of course, the rubber on the temp spares could be junk, too, but time will tell. If it works out that way, it's no big deal to pop on a 130/80-15 Dunlop/Avon/Metzler/etc M/C tire if needed. I'm guessing that a car tire of any type will run a looong time on something as light as a hack, but again, I could be very wrong. It's not like THAT hasn't happened a few thousand times before!

Cheers - CWB.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:06 PM   #4
claude
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Running a temporary spare on a sidecar wheel or even the rear of the bike has been done with varied results. Gary Haynes ran one on the sidecar and it did very well. They are dirt cheap at a junkyard too. On a Velorex you could stuff a spare under the sidecar if need be.
Hate to actually recomend using one as ,yes, they do say temp use only etc etc on them. I do agree with the argument about the diferential also. Some Rental car agencies took them out of their cars due to differential concerns.
Note that the sizes on them can usually be found in a real tire also. Google 'Coker Tire' and I think you will find some 125 x 15s there. They do have 135x15 tires if they will work for you.
As far as mounting a cycle tire on a car wheel be careful . The 15" car wheels specifically are smaller at the bead than the 15" cycle tires. This could cause problems.
We have modified quite a few Velorex sidecars to run a 15x3 1/2 centerline aluminum Wheel on a trailer hub with a one inch spindle. In doing this the velorex fender will not work. Typically a cycle fender off of something is used and does look nice.
Note that if using a wheel in this application that has the wrong setback or offset one can utilze a spacer plate if need be. This may entail using longer wheel studs . This is not the case with the wheels pictured.
As far as setup goes and trying to keep the sidecar frame level the j bar lower front mount is usually the culprit that keeps this from happening. A newly fabricated front lower mount to replace the stock j bar should solve the problem.

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Old 03-06-2008, 04:13 PM   #5
cwbastian OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claude
Running a temporary spare on a sidecar wheel or even the rear of the bike has been done with varied results. Gary Haynes ran one on the sidecar and it did very well. They are dirt cheap at a junkyard too. On a Velorex you could stuff a spare under the sidecar if need be.
Hate to actually recomend using one as ,yes, they do say temp use only etc etc on them. I do agree with the argument about the diferential also. Some Rental car agencies took them out of their cars due to differential concerns.
Note that the sizes on them can usually be found in a real tire also. Google 'Coker Tire' and I think you will find some 125 x 15s there. They do have 135x15 tires if they will work for you.
As far as mounting a cycle tire on a car wheel be careful . The 15" car wheels specifically are smaller at the bead than the 15" cycle tires. This could cause problems.
We have modified quite a few Velorex sidecars to run a 15x3 1/2 centerline aluminum Wheel on a trailer hub with a one inch spindle. In doing this the velorex fender will not work. Typically a cycle fender off of something is used and does look nice.
Note that if using a wheel in this application that has the wrong setback or offset one can utilze a spacer plate if need be. This may entail using longer wheel studs . This is not the case with the wheels pictured.
As far as setup goes and trying to keep the sidecar frame level the j bar lower front mount is usually the culprit that keeps this from happening. A newly fabricated front lower mount to replace the stock j bar should solve the problem.

Great info Claude! I thought about a spindle mount wheel, too, but backed off of it because of the backspacing issues and because I'm basically too lazy to fabricate another fender & mount. Your stuff looks great, BTW!
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:20 PM   #6
claude
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Hey, thanks for the kind words CW.
If you do decide to go with a swigarm mouted fender the mouts for the fender have to be very stout.
You can mount the fender on the body also
.
We have used trailer fenders too. These come in different sizes. If you have a metal Velorex fender you can cut the inside skirt off of it and weld it to the trailer fender. With a little checking you will end up with something that looks like it was susposed to be there. The picture below is a rig we built using a trailer fender with a Velorex inner skirt welded to it. Hard to see but you get the idea.



Of course if you want to you coudl split the stock velrex fender and widen it. thjis can be done by welding a strip of metal in the center. Another way that looks okay is to split th efender and then bolt a piece of metal or better yet a piece of aluminum flat stock onto both pieces to widen the fender. If you do this and use a lot of small round head bolts, amybe 1" on center, it does look pretty cool depending on what kind of rig you have.,

Another option woudl be to swap out for a Ural wheel, spindle and fender. I think Jay at Dauntless still has new Ural wheels with tires for 250 bucks or so.

Scrap the brakes you don't need 'em anyhow...lol.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:12 PM   #7
cwbastian OP
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Just an update on this to say, so far, so good. I found a wheel with the right backspacing to fit the car fender, and have put roughly 300 miles on the new 15" wheel with excellent results. I'm running about 36psi in the 125/70-15 temp spare tire, and the car tracks and steers well, much better in fact, than it ever did before. The tire shows no wear or other signs it's unhappy.

So far, so reeeeal good....
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:28 AM   #8
RedMenace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwbastian
Just an update on this to say, so far, so good. I found a wheel with the right backspacing to fit the car fender, and have put roughly 300 miles on the new 15" wheel with excellent results. ..

Put a few more miles on it and ride over this Saturday and show it off at the BBQ ;-)

I ran a junkyard spare on my Speed Triple rig with no apparent problems and it was a fast, heavy outfit.
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