Just Rambling

If you read all of the junk that I wrote then you know by now that the most perfectly aligned sidecar will not track straight in all situations. But, a well set up sidecar rig is a great machine and can be a lot of fun as long as you understand everything that's going on. Your greatest allies are proper maintenance and wheel alignment, education, practice and common since.

Most of today's sidecars (mine included) are attached to a motorcycle that's really not designed for the continuous, off center load that the chair puts on the bike. Many sidecar manufacturers are doing a great job of distributing the extra load through multi-point mounting systems but your suspension, swing arm bushings, wheel bearings and tires are still subjected to much greater loads than an equivalent two wheeled bike. So, you have to do maintenance more frequently and make sure that your alignments are really where they should be.

The more that you learn about your rig and why it handles the way it does, the better chance you have of handling a bad situation when does occur. Also, when something goes wrong or just doesn't feel right, you have a better chance of figuring out the cause before it hurts you. Sidecar riding is an individual sport. Unless you are very lucky, there won't be a local expert to ask "why doesn't this feel right" or "what do I do if....". More often than not, your local super duper motorcycle dealer will respond with a deer in the headlights look or worse, he'll try to BS his way through your questions because he may have sold it to you but he doesn't ride the thing. You are pretty much on you own if you are a new operator, just take the time to understand your new and unique toy.

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E-mail: tom@hackpilot.com