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Author Topic: New toy in the garage  (Read 2048 times)

mplayle

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New toy in the garage
« on: November 18, 2012, 03:20:26 AM »
Finished a long day of driving from Austin, TX to Fort Worth, TX and back.  Picked up the new toy and have it safely in the garage: 2012 C5 Military with matching sidecar.

Now to get a picture or two for posting and then start getting familiar with riding it.
 :D

GA-DK

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 03:43:42 AM »
Congratulations.  I have an '09 G-5 with Cozy Euro sidecar, both in dark green with gold pinstriping.  About 45 years ago I restored a '37 HD trike, followed by a '48 HD 74 with a '46 military sidecar chassis with a '47 HD wooden sidecar body.  They were a lot of fun.  Sold my last Harley in mid 70's.  When I got the RE, I needed to get motorcycle class added to my drivers license.  Georgia requires a driving test that is somewhat like an autocross course.  I got a copy of the manual and laid out the course using paper drink cups and chalk in the parking area near a boat ramp near my house.  I mid winter there is very little traffic in the lot.  I used it for several weeks with little remarking.  It was fun and when I went in for the test, I sailed right through it.  The course involved going through narrow gates, then weaving through a line of cones, followed by 2 narrow gates at right angles to one another.  There was a pair of gates about 10 yards apart, timed to insure a speed of at least 20 mph, then an abrupt lane change to either right or left.  There was a panic stop, and some sharp turns to right and left at speed.  The first few times I tried it, I had problems keeping the sidecar on the ground.  With practice i learned to shift weight and maneuver at higher speed.  It was actually a lot of fun.  GA-DK

mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 07:17:00 PM »
I've had my motorcycle endorsement on my Texas license for many years.  Just need to start learning the sidecar characteristics.  Will be "annoying" the neighbors in the apartment complex for a while!   ;)

The sidecar I have is the Inder Royal Retro done to match the military green and theme.  I'm quite pleased with it.  I will be getting something to use a ballast in the sidecar.  Any recommendations?

GA-DK

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 09:54:11 PM »
My usual ballast is either a Scottie or a few bags of groceries.  Start with something soft like a large bag of dry dogfood.  While ballast might help hold the sidecar down in right turns, it is not necessary as you learn to shift weight and control speed.  Use moderate speed at the start of the turn and increase as you are about half way through the turn.  In a very short time you will learn to add power just to the point of lifting sidecar wheel, even without ballast.  No point in carrying weight you don't need.  Find a school parking lot on a weekend and make a line of paper cups about 10 or 15 feet apart.  Drive in a zig-zag fashion down the line.  Start off slow and start building speed as you get better.  Steer as close to the cups as you can without hitting them.  Make it fun.  If you have room, add a gate or two at each end (such as a pair of cups about 6 feet apart) for your turn-a-rounds.  If you get a bike clock from CMW you can easily record your time and make it a contest.  GA-DK

mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 04:09:59 AM »
While grocery shopping (with the normal car), I picked up a case of 32 bottles of water (the 1/2 liter size bottles).  I figured I would use it as a starting ballast while initially learning.  This afternoon, I did some laps around the apartment parking lot to start getting familiar with the handling.  Kept it slow (under 15 mph in 1st gear only).  Started getting the hang of left turns, need more practice before I can say the same about right turns.  I like the idea of "cones" in a school parking lot.  Unfortunately, no school nearby.

GA-DK

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 07:34:45 PM »
Look for any place with parking lot that does n ot operate 24-7.  A church, store, resturant that opens late, etc.  Around here, bike shops are not open on Mondays.  Medical clinics are often closed on Fridays.  Barber shops are closed on Wednesdays.   A dozen paper cups and a roll of masking tape will make a nice course in a very few minutes, and the tape comes off the cups and they can be used until run over.   GA-DK

PS:  I will try to take and post a photo of a tool I made and carry in the sidecar.  It is a very compact jack for the bike or sidecar in case of tire trouble.  The main elements are about 8" of 1/2" ID tubing with a similar length of 1/2 - 13 all-thread stock and a wing-nut.  I made a saddle out of aluminum, but wood, plastic, etc could be used.  Simple, but easier than looking for bricks or flat rocks the right size.  GA-DK

LarsBloodbeard

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 11:12:34 PM »
While grocery shopping (with the normal car), I picked up a case of 32 bottles of water (the 1/2 liter size bottles).  I figured I would use it as a starting ballast while initially learning.  This afternoon, I did some laps around the apartment parking lot to start getting familiar with the handling.  Kept it slow (under 15 mph in 1st gear only).  Started getting the hang of left turns, need more practice before I can say the same about right turns.  I like the idea of "cones" in a school parking lot.  Unfortunately, no school nearby.

Or a church parking lot.  That's where I practiced driving when I was a teen.  Lots more churches than schools where I live, and their lots are empty all week!  :)

mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 03:17:52 AM »
Great idea on the church parking lot.  There is one less than a block from the apartments.  I'll have to check out their parking lot configuration.

mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2012, 11:24:06 PM »
Spent a little time in the church parking lot this afternoon.  Did not do any "cones", just right and left turns around the various sections of the parking lot.  Getting a bit better on the left turns.  Right turns still need lots of work.  Lifted the sidecar wheel on one right turn and swung WAY wide on another.  I am gaining a bit of confidence.

GA-DK

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 10:54:23 PM »
Don't forget to lean right on those right turns, especially if there is little weight in the sidecar. 
When making a right turn after a stop, try to start the turn as early as possible and accelerate only in the last part of the turn.  Don't pick up speed and then turn.  GA-DK

LarsBloodbeard

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 10:57:59 PM »
This is pretty interesting stuff.  Before I bought a street bike I toyed with the idea of getting one with a sidecar to avoid the need for an M1 endorsement on my license, plus they're just cool.  Never really gave much thought into the handling of the thing though.

GA-DK

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 12:34:47 AM »
Handling is very different.  When I first got my 1937 HD trike back on the road in the late 60's, My brother-in-law got on it in a friends driveway.  It was facing the street, a straight 100-ft paved run.  He was use to BSA's and HD 74's.  He made it about 60 ft before giving up.  He ran off each side about 3 times, insisting the steering was re3versed.  Think about it.  To turn right, you push on the right bar end and pull on the left, actually turning to the left.  This makes the front wheel track left for a moment which starts the bike leaning to the right.  Then you turn right into the lean.  If you try this on a 3-wheeler, you cause it to dart to the left, not lean.  This throws your weight onto the right bar which increases the left turn.  The trick is to think about what you are doing.  GA-DK

mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 01:02:03 AM »
The "think about it" factor I was already aware of since I had read several articles in various places regarding the different handling of sidecar rigs.  It is the "put it into practice" that I am working on with parking lot practice   :)

I am getting the measure of the lean required for left turns, just slow picking up on the right.  Still figuring out the method for getting sufficient right lean without accidentally twisting open the throttle.  Gentle turns I'm okay with.  Sharper turns such as one encounters at intersections are what I'm trying to practice before entering traffic.

The practice sessions do help keep the speed down for the initial break-in of the bike.


mplayle

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 01:19:27 AM »
Got brave today and did more than parking lot practice.  I rode the rig to work and back!  Got the same sort of reactions my classic Mini usual gets - lots of smiles and looks.  (Not to mention the smile on my own face.)


motorat

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Re: New toy in the garage
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 09:42:08 PM »
now you have to post a picture.
Joe
08 dl650abs
 c5 military