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Old 05-20-2015, 03:27 PM   #1
Tighe OP
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Offroad Sidecar Riding

I posted the following in the "Why You Shouldn't Buy a Ural" thread. With all the people here with rough road and offroad sidecar experience I'm sure there's a lot of good tips and info out there for us rookies.

From the other thread:
Is there any place to learn to ride a sidecar outfit on rough terrain? I have the "yellow book" and Hal Kendall's sidecar book as well but nothing really covers riding on the rough stuff. Short of heading out to Oregon for school what else, if anything, is out there? Did you just learn from the school of hard knocks?
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:49 PM   #2
DavePave
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I don't know that there is a specific place or school for off-road sidecar rider training. I think most if not all learned from the "School of hard knocks" training.

A major item in my book is a good skid plate for the bike and to watch your line keeping your undercarriage (sidecar and bike) in mind.

An important concern for me being that I generally find myself fairly far from the grid - on roads or tracks people don't often travel. So have a good plan for when things go wrong.

Choose what spares to carry (flat repairs, tool kit, air pump, etc)
Emergency supplies you might need (water and first aid kit at a minimum),
Cell phone or ham radio,
Towing (AAA or insurance coverage for towing),
Rope puller, winch, etc.

It would be nice if there was a school, but sidecars are a small niche hobby. One could also ride as part of a group. There are some ad-hoc sidecar groups around. Also some regular bike groups don't mind a sidecar tagging along (unless it's a planned single track ride), but you should expect to carry the after ride refreshments. Just kidding!

I personally believe a lot of hack pilots have a real hard time finding the right line in dirt. That's what you should focus on perfecting. Once you've got that the rest seems easy-peasy to me. My 2 cents.

DavePave screwed with this post 05-20-2015 at 04:57 PM
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:45 PM   #3
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I think a lot of sidecar pilots have dirt experience from riding on two wheels, and transitioning over to three wheels on dirt is not a huge leap. Though, of course, it's not the same at all! One thing I frequently ask myself is NOT "Can I make it through this section?" but rather, if the road ahead is blocked "Can I make it back?" Sometimes a road is driveable in one direction but because of camber it becomes an impossible or dangerous proposition in the other direction. Otherwise, I'd say it's basically learning by experience. Start with easy dirt and work your way up. Riding with groups lets you try stuff you wouldn't try alone.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:23 PM   #4
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+1 on what the others said. For me the biggest change to my riding on dirt experience was having the rear and sidecar brake linked to each other so I can use the rear brakes only and pull up in a straight line and also so I can use the rear end to steer around corners that I've gone into way too hot and if I had used front brakes only I would have kept going straight on due to the front end locking up (has got me out of the shit many a times. Note to myself, must slow down on dirt roads). Plus it's great for steep downhill tracks.

Just my 2c worth.

Ps. Make sure you zip tie any parts that could come loose and fall off. Works for me.

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Old 05-20-2015, 08:28 PM   #5
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Going down a steep bank is where a sidecar brake really shines especially if loaded and wanting to maintain a slow speed without the sidecar wanting to get ahead of you.

If you are in a high place and it looks like the track will take you down there is no guarantee that it will all be a down slope. There is no 'sin' in taking a walk to see where you may end up. In other words what goes down may come up in places before you can continue down. Wow...did that make any sense?

Know the type of terrain you are on if possible. Some surfaces are fine until it rains and then can turn to the consistency of bearing grease.

Uphills can be a challenge if speed must be slow. Traction breaks and you shift weight over rear wheel. This may allow forward motion to be maintained but the catch 22 is that steering can be lost...moving front to rear a lot can work...or maybe not.

If you must back down a hill and turn around keep the sidecar on the low side.

if down south ,expecially, do not take for granted that the water in the puddle that spans the 'road' you are on is shallow.

Watch for off camber situations. Drone alluded to this. It is possible to drive the rig from the sidecar but isn't the most fun thing to do.

Being stuck alone in the ;middle' of nowhere after the sun goes down isn't much fun.

Don't take for granted that cell phone reception will be reception.

Carry some footware that you can walk in.

Winches are not a bad thing.

Don't park on a beach when you are not sure how far or when the tide comes in.

Hopefully one's skid plate is not just a poser trinket that looks cool and hopefully it is supported by more than a mickey mouse subframe on the bike.

Look under your rig to see if there are things that can potentially hang you up on a rock .

Carrying some chains or even rope that can be wrapped through the rear wheel is not a bad idea.

Ride with another rig when possible or at least a solo bike.

When doing a creek crossing scout it out first.

If running auto wheels solid is not the best when crossing water with current in it.

Two pieces of converyor belt or a similar item are good when in sandy areas. They can be leapfrogged to get through sand sometimes....and sometimes not LOL.

Caution s not a bad thing and your mental state that any bloopers or challenges are all part of the adventure makes a huge difference. One couple took 11 days to go 12 miles or visa versa due to mud in south America.

If all went perfect all the time we would have less 'remember the time' stories...take things in stride and be creative when needed this is a part of the adventure.

Stay hydrated.

Dirt roads are not what I am calling 'off road' for the most part.


Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:37 AM   #6
Wolfgang55
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More info

If you would make note of where you are, bet there would be someone willing to take you for a little excursion, w/o using a ''do & don't list''.

If you are in the central NM area there are a few sidecar rider who could, at least get you dirty.

If in the SE part of the US, I know of a few who would much enjoy an excuse to get out & about.

It's all about your location, every area has its own charms & concerns.
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:40 AM   #7
Tighe OP
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I'm in central Iowa.

Thanks for all the replies! I rode street on two wheels back in college but only have rode rock roads and dirt since last fall (on two and three wheels.) I've had a Ural for about a year and a half but lived in the Milwaukee suburbs until last year so I'm still learning on and off road sidecar driving too. I did put a rope puller, some straps, and a folding shovel in the tub. It would be wise to pick up a skidplate too it seems.

Moving my weight around to find traction and not roll the rig and just picking a good line (two or three wheels) is where I need to learn. I'm pretty leery about screwing up in a sidecar... dropping a bike sucks but having a 750 pound rig roll over on me and my girlfriend is not my idea of fun learning.

Thanks again everybody!
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tighe View Post
I'm in central Iowa.

Thanks for all the replies! I rode street on two wheels back in college but only have rode rock roads and dirt since last fall (on two and three wheels.) I've had a Ural for about a year and a half but lived in the Milwaukee suburbs until last year so I'm still learning on and off road sidecar driving too. I did put a rope puller, some straps, and a folding shovel in the tub. It would be wise to pick up a skidplate too it seems.

Moving my weight around to find traction and not roll the rig and just picking a good line (two or three wheels) is where I need to learn. I'm pretty leery about screwing up in a sidecar... dropping a bike sucks but having a 750 pound rig roll over on me and my girlfriend is not my idea of fun learning.

Thanks again everybody!
Ah, Ural madness. Me too. Which bike do you have? If it's two wheel drive be aware when running with sidecar engaged it will really want to go straight! Powering around in the dirt with help of front brake works with a loose surface. If your girlfriend is being your monkey she can really help on off-camber surfaces - hanging out of the car is fun

Off camber on road can be a real eye opener too, especially downhill tightening corners. Found a few of those around Asheville

Another site for info and help is sovietsteeds.com Foilheads Unite
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:33 AM   #9
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remember going in might not be the same as coming out. I was lucky on this trip as the road went through. getting back up the snowy hill might have been a challenge. Also pick your line and ride your line, hard to change course half way through. oh pack a saw, just saying. diverdown.
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:37 AM   #10
diverdown
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The challenges of riding off the beaten path has some awesome rewards. The highlands in Kamloops BC Canada.cheers
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:42 AM   #11
diverdown
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Off road Rallies are a good place to hone your dirt skills. The loose screw dualsport Rally Kamloops BC Canada. Creek crossing one oh one. get on the throttle and hang on.
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Old 05-24-2015, 03:38 AM   #12
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My wife and I have both owned Urals for about 10 years and ridden them in all sorts of places they didn't belong - had a good time doin' it too! But something I never see anyone mention when discussing Urals off road is that 2 wheel drive is USLESS if you don't have a bunch of weight in the hack - at least 100 lbs. I have about 50 lb. of tools and spare tire always on the bike and if I'm going to be riding in snow or mud I add a 50 lb. box of lead shot to the floor of the hack (I have a drop in bracket made for the box to keep it from moving around). Without extra weight the sidecar wheel has NO traction at all. Also, I run Heidenau K-37 enduro tires on all three wheels - helps a lot if you are off road more than on.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:54 PM   #13
JustKip
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This guy was talking about opening up a sidecar training center and sidecar rentals, and "Sidecar Café" with lodging down in the desert of CA. He was hoping to be ready in the 4th quarter of '14

http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=5303
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:08 AM   #14
Alaskahack
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Just thought I'd share my experience



Taken at the beginning of this last month, trying to see how much snow was left left at the top of Hatcher Pass Alaska. The pass is still closed



On the way up bike was sitting higher then car, my right hand said lets go. On the way down, car sitting higher then bike. By myself, no cell coverage, 200 yards of junk snow. Car sitting higher then bike "note to self watch road camber"




But the beauty was well worth the trip
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:10 PM   #15
Tighe OP
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Thank you to everybody for the advice, this is exactly what I was looking for.
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