Sidecar Anyone??

Hacks on the wrong side.

I guess you can mount a sidecar to anything...

I'm probably the one guy here that can critique that setup. It's ugly, and, it's mounted on the wrong side. I'm not saying that sidecars coupled to bikes are all ugly, or beautiful for that matter, it's just that some are uglier than others and some, especially mine, are actually aesthetically pleasing (at least I think so):) . That was my goal when I started the T100/Spyder project. The aesthetics were primary and comfort and handling were secondary. After all, I was dealing with a classic bike and I didn't want to destroy the "look" with a hideous sidecar.

Watsonian makes a well built chair (sidecar), but none are pleasing to the eye, especially when coupled to a modern tug (bike). It's quite a challenge to design form and function into an aesthetically pleasing product that not only has storage and protection from the elements but is structurally sound and light weight to boot.

One thing that all modern bikes suffer from and needs to be corrected on a staggered three wheel setup is "trail". Modern telescopic front suspension systems in order to attain the self centering tendency and stable 2 wheel handling that inspires confidence in a rider and his mount equates to lack of trail in the front end geometry. Sidecars need a large amount of induced trail to handle correctly as you "steer" an outfit rather than "lean" it. By steer, I mean like a car. The larger amount of trail allows the dissimilar geometry of the tug and chair to be at harmony with each other. The other problem with telescopic forks is that they aren't rigid enough. The flex as you steer the outfit translates in to wobble and poor handling. Hence, a Earle's leading arm fork is usually fitted as is on the R3 in the picture. The leading arm fork isn't pretty, but allows for the trail to be increased and is light years more rigid than the stock fork. A drawback is that the bike will not handle well as a stand alone unit.

I choose not to refit an Earle's fork on my T100 and keep the standard Showa telescopic unit. The standard fork on my T100 has a custom mounted (fabricated in my shop) fork stiffener under the fender mount, unseen, keeps the front legs from flexing too much. A change in fork oil and internal springing keeps the front end in check 90% of the time.

The R3 would make a good tug. My only qualm would be the lack of a complete under frame that would cause the mount to be difficult. Sidecars need to have a triangulated mount system, like a truss. The need to be 4 point mounted and extremely rigid because the stress of cornering is directly transmitted to the tugs frame, suspension and wheels and that stress can be quite severe especially when "flying the chair"....but that's for another time.:eek:
I thought the Rocket itself had little ground clearance. Hope there are no pebbles in the road when the sidecar goes down it. Ouch!

The bikes clearance has nothing to do with the sidecar's clearance. The sidecar frame triangulates on the bike frame (imagine 2 unequal length triangles) and most usually mounts above or at the top rear shock mount or near it, behind the drivers foot peg, below the gasoline tank on a front down tube or substantial casting and below the engine in the front. When the bike is almost perpendicular to the pavement, the sidecar is adjusted to set in an almost level plane to the pavement. I say almost because the bike has to "lean out" somewhat and the sidecar can "lean out" a little. The limiting clearance factor would be the lower mounts which would be somewhat higher than the R3's sump.

You have to remember that you aren't leaning the bike anymore to turn it, but you are actually "driving" the bike much like you turn your car in a corner or curve. Of course there is steering reversion which is the point in a right turn where centrifugal force overcomes gravity and the sidecar wheel lifts from the pavement. At that split second instant you go from "steering" the outfit to "leaning" the outfit and that can be very scary for the rider unaccustomed to it and accounts for most of the loss of control accidents involving sidecars.

The only time clearance would enter into the picture is during flying of the chair and if you could get it high enough to scrape the left peg, you are a real daredevil.

Sidecars have some interesting attributes. A 2 wheeled bike on a gravel road in a turn can be deadly if traversing the road at any speed other than dead slow. I can take my outfit and literally power slide it around a dirt or gravel corner. By locking the sidecar brake, I can make a donut and if I'm riding down a paved road and come upon a dead carcass in the road, rather than swerving, I just straddle it between the sidecar and bike. Sidecars make it nice to go touring. You can take everything you need, keep it dry and not have to pull a trailer or buy an extra plate. Sidecar outfits are also more noticeable on the road as compared to a solo bike and they handle well in the rain or on slippery roads.

I'm happy for you. That's what makes America a great place to live, freedom of expression and the freedom for others to critique it. To quote an old and well used saying, "one man's ceiling is another man's floor......" or, "One persons pleasure may be another's disdain".
Yep! Wrong side for Amercans for sure. But you haven't seen ugly yet. I'll have to find the link; even then I dare hurt someone's feelings that no doubt put many hundreds of hours into their project and I hate to think of the money. Twas, one ugly mother...