Here's a RH Liberty sidecar frame on a Harley-Davidson, conversion by Liberty Sidecars in Seattle a couple of years ago.
The H-D sidecar uses a single curved upper strut, but a rigid sidecar axle. The Liberty uses two upper struts for increased rigidity, and a swing arm for sidecar suspension.
The standard sidecar frame mounts by H-D are very strong and a tried-and-true design.
Liberty replaces the stock H-D triple clamps with new ones to reduce trail, so the front end looks stock, but steering is much lighter.
Starting way back when, European sidecars used ball/jaw clamps to attach the sidecar. Since the Russians copied the design from the German sidecars left lying around after the war, Russian sidecars used--and continue to use--ball/jaw clamps.
The J-tube clamps in the sidecar frame receiver. There are two forged steel clamps that are pulled into the tapered collar on the J-tube with a large bolt. That pulls the ball into the clamp and holds it securely. The system allows some changes in alignment.
In the earlier years Ural sold bikes as well as outfits, so they provided a forged ball fitting that could be fastened over the front engine stud and then welded to the motorcycle frame. The ball was a bit crude, but very strong.
Normally, wheel track is controlled by sliding the J-tube in or out of the frame reciever. Many Ural hacks came with the J-tube welded in place as an extension of the sidecar frame, preventing any easy changes in alignment. A few later Ural cars came with frame receivers both front and rear, which allowed a "rear" J-tube to be inserted in the front receiver--which made alignment much easier.
The most common connector system today is a large commercial Heim joint threaded into the end of a boss on the J-tube. The J-tube inserts in a receiver on the sidecar frame, or into a wrist clamp on a second tube to provide the needed angle and reach.
In all cases, receivers should have two clamping bolts, and the tube being clamped should extend at least an inch beyond the end of the clamp.
Sidecar installers typically have a variety of J-tubes and wrist clamps made up at different angles to allow making connections to a variety of machines and cars.
Better built sidecars have more accurate connectors. The sidecar builder or installer often has a variety of end fittings to insert into a J-tube.
The advantage of very accurate connectors is that when tightened up they are very strong.
The disadvantage is that a connector with no "wiggle room" for misalignment can be difficult to get aligned correctly.
Today's BMWs do not lend themselves to sidecar use. The engines are strong, but BMW tends to use the engine as the lower "frame" so there are no handy sidecar attachment points.
That doesn't mean a sidecar can't be attached to a contemporary BMW, but it does mean an installer will need to be very clever about subframes that pick up the available fasteners on the engine.
Here's an EZS installation on a BMW oilhead. The subframe was provided by EZS as part of the sidecar package. However, the devalluation of the dollar compared to the Euro means that today any European sidecar will be very expensive. Liberty has ceased importing EZS for BMWs because so few owners can afford them.
There is a moral to this: if you find a used EZS or EML at a reasonable price, buy it. You'll be getting a bargain.
The conversion of a K bike to sidecar use requires a rather substantial subframe to wrap around under the engine, from the steering head to the transmission.
This shows a K1 with suspension compressed via a stand, and the sidecar frame being fitted to the installed subframe. You can just see the lower front attachment eyebolt on the subframe.
The connector tubes and fittings were all supplied by EZS, but each had to be custom fitted, welded, and powder coated to complete the assembly.
This is during the conversion of the "Valdez."
Hi Dave... I was out of town for a few days chasing dollar bills.
Thanks for the great information.... too bad you couldn't have been a little more specific [img]http://mail.yimg.com/a/i/mesg/tsmileys2/09.gif[/img] Just kidding. I'm hearing about the Yellow Book, could you provide me a link?
You even gave me some information for a question I was about to ask this evening. That being, if one were to go looking for a "late" model BMW to convert into a "rig" what model would it be?
I was thinking an R1150-like substance, or a "K" model. But to be quite honest, I'm an old Airhead and haven't paid too much attention to the later iron.
Would you care to comment further on this ... or perhaps it is worth a new "topic".
p.s. The "compression stand" is great. At Vetters we used to just drill holes in the floor to do fairing and saddlebag fittups.. .. guess we weren't clever enough to think of a stand. [img]http://boards.core77.com/images/smilies/icon_redface.gif[/img]
[quote]I'm hearing about the Yellow Book, could you provide me a link?
[I]edit[/I] - Got it
[I][B]Sidecar Safety Program. Driving a Sidecar Outfit[/B][/I], Second Edition. Port Angeles, WA 2007:
Printwerk Graphics and Design
1000 Richard Road, Dyer, IN 46311
Telephone (800) 736-1117
By the way.... I likey this set up a LOT. Sometimes you just can't beat wood.
Driving A Sidecar Outfit (aka the "yellow book" because of the yellow cover) is available directly from Printwerk Graphics at 800 736-1117 and from Whitehorse Press at 800 531-1133.
The first edition of the yellow book was written to answer the need of complete novices to learn how to handle a hack. We discovered that there were a lot of people interested in sidecars who had no prior motorcyclign experience. So, the lessons and exercises start at the beginning with controls and indicators, braking, shifting, etc.
Not too long after the first edition was available, sidecarists demanded a formal training course, so that was developed, then an instructor guide, arrangements for insurance, instructor training and certification, and all the other details needed to offer courses. At that time, the MSF was not only not interested in sidecar or three-wheeler courses, but they actively worked to prevent it from happening.
Fortunately for the SSP volunteers, the Evergreen Safety Council in Seattle adoped the sidecar course, and turned it into the Sidecar/Trike Education Program (S/TEP) That's the course that's now administered nationwide--completely independent of the MSF. However, a few state motorcycle safety programs have approved the S/TEP as a three-wheeler parallel to MSF curricula. Washington subsidizes the S/TEP for novice motorcyclists.
The S/TEP is two days. The second day is the "advanced" section, and serves as an excellent introduction to three-wheelers for experienced motorcyclists.
After years of publishing the first edition of the Yellow Book with all it's warts, it was rewritten a couple of years ago, and now includes sections on advanced driving techniques, and assembling a sidecar rig.
There are other sidecar books available, but none that start at the beginning for complete novices, and none that get into advanced dynamics or assembly.
I understand that IMZ-Ural includes a copy of the yellow book with every rig they sell. And the more clever sidecar installers do likewise, as a hedge against liability.
More than a few riders have used the R1150 or 1200 GS to build "dual sport" sidecar rigs. Enough have been put together that the puzzles have been solved, including trail reduction via a different lower fork brace/ball joint mount.
If I were looking to put such a combination together, I'd talk to Jay Giese at Dauntless Motors in Enumclaw WA.
I haven't looked closely at the later BMW machines other than the boxer, but any machine with lots of plastic makes it much more difficult. For a street hack, the Basic R1200R would be fine, and use the same connections as the GS.
Mike Paull has several rigs, including this with the Ural sidecar. Mike leads tours in Europe. I'm not sure of his other outfits or how many he has spread around the globe.
Obviously, having leg limitations doesn't slow Mike down.
If you can tolerate the idea of having a BMW bike and a brand-X sidecar rig, one of the most economical and potent sidecar pullers is the Suzuki 1200 Bandit.
A few years ago Pete Larson at Liberty put together this Bandit/EZS Rally rig, which I had the opportunity to test.
I discovered the rig had a significant downside: it was so brutally fast I knew I would not be able to keep it under control--and myself out of jail. It would burn rubber in just about any gear, and acceleration was scary quick.
Later that year, another experienced sidecar driver attempted to stuff it between two immovable trees up on Mt. Hood.
But, you can buy a brand new Bandit for something like $8K. Think about it.
[QUOTE=Lmo1131;593960]By the way.... I likey this set up a LOT. Sometimes you just can't beat wood.
Yep, they say wooden bikes are chick magnets.
and my favorite...
It would look very cool with a chair bolted onto it ... a [I]real[/I] chair. [img]http://mail.yimg.com/a/i/mesg/tsmileys2/09.gif[/img]
Hey! It's already got a leading link!
But it needs fenders. Cedar shakes should do the job for both chair and fenders.
Mounting an EZS to a GSA
The challenges of mating a chair to a late-model BMW are many - but it's not an insurmountable task. Kudos to Dauntless for their impeccable work. This is an EZS RX5 (which can seat 2 kids or 1.5 adults!) lashed to my 2008 BMW R1200GSA.