Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Aligning a Sidecar

I've done my share of research on the proper way to mate and then align a sidecar onto one's tug.  Today though I found a video link on advrider.com produced by adventuresidecar.  They're a training outfit in Oregon who provide training and tours for sidecar riders.

I'd recently replaced my sidecar tire with a slightly thinner Kinsho 705 110/80R19 tire.  The OEM one has been a Shinko Tourmaster 110/90R19.

After viewing the video this evening, I re-measured my sidecar's lean-out and toe-in again and found that my lean-in was fine but my toe-in was too much!  Figure some error on my part last time I did things and a thinner tire and I was at 1.5" toe-in.  Too much, the guideline is 1/2 to 5/8 inch toe-in.

12 turns out later on the front lower A-arm support and I got it down to 5/8" toe-in as recommended.  A short test drive later, she felt great in terms of handling and I think there was less effort in terms of keeping her going straight when at speeds above 60 mph.  Before, I would have to push slightly to compensate for what I thought was wind drag on the sidecar, now am pretty sure the toe-in was "off".

We'll see, need to give it some time to ride some more, get some extended time at the controls, and check the wear pattern on the tires.  I recently also had to "adjust" the new chain by turning the tensioner screws out by 1/2 turn as the chain has loosened a "tad".  Hopefully, that's the last adjustment for a long while.  I am thinking this is the "initial stretch" new chains go through when first installed.

Anyways, here's the video from adventure sidecar that I found so helpful, it sure explains how to do the alignment in an easy manner.

I hope fellow sidecarists find the above video as helpful as I did.  Check your alignment!


cpa3485 said...

That's an interesting looking rig there in the video. Looks pretty light. I am glad your rig is riding better.
Reminds me that I have seen that old BMW sidecar rig a couple of times recently. The guy apparently makes it almost a daily rider. It is obviously pretty old. It's green and definately looks like a military type rig. Wish I could get a closer look sometime.
Take Care,


redlegsrides said...

Thanks Jim, my new rig is doing great...the chain I don't fully trust yet in terms of long term durability but so far, it's performing as expected.

Hope you get a closer look at that Beemer sidecar rig, would like to see pics of it myself.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Somewhere in the great cosmos of reality, someone is looking at the earth, and thinking, "The toe-in is too much." Then they will apply a giant wrench to the planet's axis and set things to right. How is the chain doing?

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Michael said...

Oddly enough I'm having to do the same thing to Natasha at the moment.
It seems the rig is lined up correctly but it was leaning out too much. When going over 40 mph the entire thing felt like it was going to roll over to the left and it would not track straight.
A very unnerving experience.
Adjusting it back the the right seems to have helped but I need to redo it again just to make sure.

redlegsrides said...

Hi Jack and thanks for commenting....the chain seems to be fine, had to turn the tensioners a half turn recently to tighten it up at bit as it had almost exceeded the 30mm leeway. Hopefully that's the last one for a while, if not, it'll mean the chain is stretching.

redlegsrides said...

Michael, been wonderings what's up with Natasha....you've not written much in your blog.

Lean out too much? Interesting, I never had that feeling like it was going to roll over to the left on a straightaway. Did you get a chance to recheck things? I like the way he measured the leanout, by the height from the bar ends, not messing with some large 90 degree angle tool.

Chris said...

It's a good video. I had watched it a while back. Sidecar alignment is critical to it being fun, and not work. It should also be changed depending on the crown of the road or if you have passengers.

Some rigs have an electric adjustment to spin the adjuster.