Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

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Dirk_S
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Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Dirk_S » Sat May 15, 2021 3:46 pm

Thanks to those who responded to my previous post a month back after purchasing a 2015 Ural Gear Up from a private seller. Put about 500-600 km on it so far, and enjoying the honeymoon as I continue to figure out if I can see myself replacing a car with it. Early spring was a fantastic time to do this here in New Hampshire, as I now have some great weather to play in.

I’m heading out tomorrow for a camping trip up at Acadia National Park in Maine, and that’ll be a decent trial for longer distance riding, but the real test is coming up the first week in June, when I’ll be making a 450+ mile trip west to visit family in southern Pennsylvania. I’ve made this trip quite a few times on my Moto Guzzi. I normally avoid the Rt 95 toll road, often taking instead Rt. 84, which is the FREE freeway, and a slightly less traffic-crazy highway than Rt 95. I’m thinking i may want to consider skipping this as well, so early into my rig ownership, and opt instead for the 11+ hour ride via secondary roads.

I got an alignment done at Ural of New England at their Hampton, NH location. They noted as I had suspected that the lean-out was out of spec by a degree or so. I don’t know what specs they adjusted to, as the service notes simply state “Found lean out off by 1° and toe-in off by 1 inch. Set up alignment bars and adjust toe-in/lean-out as needed to bring back to Ural specifications.”

I’ve had the rig on the highway for less than 100 km since (more when including local / secondary roads), maybe 30-40 minutes total of 55+ mph. I’ve noticed on these freeways that the rig wants to pull to the right on the straightaways, and I’m continuously giving a slight but steady push with the right hand/ pull with the left... to the point that I presume I might develop tendinitis in one or the other. That’s supposed to be a humorous quip, but I think I’m half-serious. The sidecar windshield has been set up when I notice this the most. I’ll see if I can observe improvement with it tucked down.

Any tips or thoughts about the alignment? I know that’s probably a pretty subjective request, but my friend says that his BMW 1200GS rig rides comfortably straight on the highways and rig alignments tend to require an incremental approach. I don’t expect absolute ease and perfection, but I am interested in dialing it in further if there is indeed room for such.

And—any rig-specific tips for 450+ day rides? I know it’ll be a longer day compared to my two-wheeler, which itself requires an extra hour or so compared to my car for that type of trip :)
Last edited by Dirk_S on Sat May 15, 2021 5:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by cookiemech » Sat May 15, 2021 4:02 pm

I don't know what a dealer charges for an "alignment" (quotes deliberate because there is NO one spec that could possibly be right for every particular Ural and Ural driver), but I predict that you are in for a lot of grief if you don't put the time in to learn to do it yourself. The Ural owner's manual gives a range of recommended lean-out and toe-in specs, so just where did your dealer set it? (You said you don't know.) These rigs aren't built on a Honda production line (where every single Honda of a particular model is really and truly identical), so the numbers that work for one machine might be unsatisfactory for the next, even if the same owner drove each in succession.

There are people on this site who can give more thoughtful advice than I can as to where to go from here. Generally speaking, if it's pulling to the right, you need more lean-out. Maybe. Again, generally speaking, toe-in affects straight-line stability and tire wear, with less toe-in giving better tire wear and possibly (but not definitely) a bit less stability so far as straight-line tracking.

You are correct in thinking that you should not be feeling as though tendinitis may be in your future due to driving this rig. It should track straight on a straight road under constant throttle. And I think you'll find that your sidecar windshield is a factor here; you need to consider whether it is going to be used most of the time or not when you set up the alignment.

Good luck in your quest for good alignment.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Desantnik-VDV » Sat May 15, 2021 5:39 pm

Same as above by Cookiemech.

I have done one 600 miles 65-75 MPH all freeway day. It was done in June of 2019, in dry, hot weather. But that was a rat race. My mind was set to get there. And I was praying to get there without mechanical breakdowns. That was my very first ride on that Ural.
Started at 4 am to avoid traffic and to get there on time. First 300 miles to my destination was done with 2 stops for gas and brief cooldown rest. After a few hours of waiting in Las Vegas DMV, getting registration, I spend another hour visiting friends and returned back to Los Angeles. I got home about 7 pm. I couldn't eat, sleep. I had very loud heartbeat. I was very tired.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by RC20 » Sat May 15, 2021 8:34 pm

I’ve noticed on these freeways that the rig wants to pull to the right on the straightaways, and I’m continuously giving a slight but steady push with the right hand/ pull with the left... to the point that I presume I might develop tendinitis in one or the other. That’s supposed to be a humorous quip, but I think I’m half-serious.
I would recommend going to the wrenches and read Claus posts on alignment. Claus has the chops in that he does that sort of work for a living.

What you describe is exactly what I had on my then new 2019 cT. It was a constant strain due to the hard right pull (that is subjective, but same as you describe as constant need to push on the right side and pull on the left).

Claus has his guidelines that should work, I am still sorting through mine. One area he talks about is more Toe in for the cT. It turns out I am right in the middle of his guidance there.

Now my take is that you want neutral on a right crown road at speed (in my case 55-65). That is where the strain comes in and long term annoyance at the end of the day being exhausted just holding it.

Rob aka Snakeoil was the first one to suggest lean to deal with the hard right pull. I had to take it out quite a ways (6 deg at one point) but at least it did affect it. My front never was the same as the rear. I have confirmed it can be adjust wrong and same front and rear is the basis of a good setup.

Barry (aka Windmill) does his setup on flat area at lower speeds. That is vastly different than what works for me. It would be good to ride other Urals and see what the setup feels like. I think he has mentioned he is biased to off road.

I was using a low cost analog angle gauge and decided that I needed to be able to see what I had (my front and rear were not the same angle). So I got a low cost digital (and cross checked it to a level to be sure it was accurate). Basically my front had no lean and the rear was a bit over 4 degrees. It acualy was not bad and fairly neutral on right camber road at speed so vast improvement over what was before.

Per Claus, I have worked to get that the same. Its definitely changed the feel, now I am going to take lean out (at 3.3 deg) to see how upright I can get it. His take is 1 deg lean (basic) so that he is upright on a right camber road.

I should be leveling the side car frame but major effort gets changed and less lean now means more side car frame level (I am not sure how important that is overall, Claus and Rob aka Snakeoil both feel its important).

I don't know that NE did you any favors with what they did.

I have come up with a pretty good method (I think) of the toe in as I use a laser off the side car tire to get the mark (Uni-strut on the pusher rear and front). I average lean readings as Claus noted, the axles are really the only valid reference but not having his tools........

It takes a lot of work to do the changes as each time you adjust one aspect, you also move others (you can't change lean without affect the side car frame level)
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by CrankyTom » Sun May 16, 2021 6:48 am

It's worth the time to get it right,especially if you plan long trips - I can tell my rig is getting out of adjustment when I come home from a long day with an ache across my shoulders.Takes a lot of enjoyment out of the ride.
The side car windshield is a big contributor to pulling right and costs you a good bit in gas mileage too.I keep mine folded down unless I'm going to have a passenger.If you are going to keep yours up you should do all test rides that way before making adjustments.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Lmo » Sun May 16, 2021 1:08 pm

It should track straight on a straight road under constant throttle.
And you should be aware that sidecar tracking/alignment is generally established for a given speed range; i.e. 'highway speed' (if that is your most common usage), or 'city speed' if you mostly just ride around town.

These machines are completely asymmetric and the effects of road conditions, and alignment settings are almost limitless.

Learning to align your rig just takes a little time, and more importantly, learning what you are feeling when you ride.

I'd suggest you NOT undertake a 1,000 trip until you've sorted through this alignment issue. You're not going to 'break' anything but it won't be the ride you are hoping for.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Sun May 16, 2021 5:17 pm

Take back, if it pulls or you have to push it, it ain't right.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by RC20 » Sun May 16, 2021 8:56 pm

The side car windshield is a big contributor to pulling right and costs you a good bit in gas mileage too.I keep mine folded down unless I'm going to have a passenger.If you are going to keep yours up you should do all test rides that way before making adjustments.
This is just what I experience with mine, I tested it with and I took it off (the cT does not fold down). It made no difference. Same with baggage on the tire rack in the rear.
And you should be aware that sidecar tracking/alignment is generally established for a given speed range; i.e. 'highway speed' (if that is your most common usage), or 'city speed' if you mostly just ride around town.

These machines are completely asymmetric and the effects of road conditions, and alignment settings are almost limitless.

Learning to align your rig just takes a little time, and more importantly, learning what you are feeling when you ride.

I'd suggest you NOT undertake a 1,000 trip until you've sorted through this alignment issue. You're not going to 'break' anything but it won't be the ride you are hoping for.
So far my experience with mine is that alignment is not an issue in town. The hard pull to the right (which is the norm if its there) is so mild as to be a zero issue (and the duration of how long, as well as doing corners, lane switches etc) is so limited of maybe varied as to not be a factor.

I don't know if you spent all day off road, with a cT the most it will see is gravel roads.

It did take me at least a few days and maybe longer before I began to get the sensory overload down and came to conclusion the alignment needed work and the pull the right was not normal (I did not expect it to be the learning experience it was, read the book, though a bit of toe in would work and easily corrected - I could not have been more wrong)

So, I managed it for 2500 miles before I got tired of it and tackled it. I also was in relatively good condition upper body wise when I started from the work I did. With not doing nearly as much of that the one last trip that I had enough on may have pushed it over the edge to do something about it.
Take back, if it pulls or you have to push it, it ain't right.
I will be interested in what result you get if you do, originally that would be the course of action.

But someone who says they set it to Ural specs and it is fine, kind of like the Nigerian Prince giving me 5 million dollars. They should have ridden it and then adjusted further but did not. That seems to be the all too common outcome. Ural itself says that in their U Tube on it, do this and its going to be fine. They don't even address the two major basics

1. Front and rear lean matching (check where, how to and with what)
2. Side car level.
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Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
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1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by ReCycled » Sun May 16, 2021 9:20 pm

Lmo wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 1:08 pm
It should track straight on a straight road under constant throttle.
And you should be aware that sidecar tracking/alignment is generally established for a given speed range; i.e. 'highway speed' (if that is your most common usage), or 'city speed' if you mostly just ride around town.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by mjrally » Tue May 18, 2021 2:14 am

I had the same question a few months ago. Most of my roads at 55+mph and I was getting sick of the constant pull to the right. Fine folks on here helped me settle on the recommended toe in but extra lean out. Made all the difference and now tracks straight at 60.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by BinDerSmokDat » Tue May 18, 2021 10:13 am

One thing I can say for long-distance Ural riding, treat KMs like Miles.
If you normally can do a 500 mile ride comfortably on a 2 wheeler, assume that you will do about 500km in the same time on a Ural, especially when loaded and with a monkey.
The slower top speed, the slower acceleration and generally more fatigue piloting a Ural versus 2 wheeler all work against you.

No matter what handling and alignment arrangement you end up with, know that it takes a little bit of riding regularly to develop your "Ural Muscles."
You will always have to have more input with a Ural than 2 wheeler, and with regular riding any pulling or tracking you find irksome "goes away" because you become use to it.
Many of us who have had our bikes set-up the same way for years find we have some aches and soreness when we resume riding after any lengthy absence.

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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Lokiboy » Tue May 18, 2021 10:29 am

For planning, I’ve found that 45mph is pretty accurate if your avoiding interstates. Slow traffic, small towns, the desire to stop, gas etc averages out. 6 hours is a long time riding for me and that covers about 360 miles

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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by sagerat » Tue May 18, 2021 3:17 pm

Take extra oil for the Ural and Advil for you. Run 50-60 mph and a Ural will go all day. Sidecars are a bit of a workout on curvy roads, but worth it. Those first all-day rides every year usually leave me a bit sore. Once I’m in Ural shape, I’m not sore after all-day rides. When touring, 500-600 kms is a good day, although I’ve done longer.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Dirk_S » Tue May 18, 2021 7:57 pm

I got back this afternoon from my trip to Acadia National Park. The trip up and back were both great stepping stones in rig handling. Total distance was about 430 miles (690 km), 345 km each way. I had Google keep me off the 95 toll road, but I did do about 70 km on Rt 295, a freeway with 60-70 mph speed limits:
Image

I should’ve thrown on the Ural windshield, but went screen-less, so on top of dealing with the slight-yet-constant tracking right, I had to fight the wind a little at times.

The rest of the route was fun, particularly those local roads through the woods and countryside where the camber really plays games with the rig. Came across a snapping turtle in the road at one point, and stopped to help him cross the road (I grew up with family that caught snappers from time to time to make soup—the soup tastes good but stinks like Hell, so I’d rather just help these prehistoric critters along their way):
Image

Got caught in a storm, pulled over for maybe half an hour until the rain slowed down, and headed off. Made fun of Mother Nature, asking if that’s all she had to throw at me; 20 minutes later I was being pelted by hail. I stopped and joined a bunch of other cars along the side of the road for about 10-15 minutes, long enough to dance around and take a pic (what else is a bloke to do when nobody’s offering me a dry seat I. Their car?)
Image

Thankfully I had shoulder at our in my jacket,et, otherwise those hail balls would’ve stung worse than they did.

Decided to get back on the road regardless of hail and lightning—maybe not smart, but I really didn’t want to arrive at the campsite at dark with the risk of it still raining.

20 minutes later, the skies were beautiful, and I eventually got into camp with enough daylight to take my time setting up tent and gear. Here are a couple shots from the trip:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I arrived back home not as sore as I thought I might be. You can see my Ural has a solo saddle, (Ural brand or third party, not sure). I’m accustomed to bench seats, but I could move around just enough to work out some strains. Just need a windscreen to keep from having to lean forward at high speed.

I THINK I can get used to limiting myself to 70 mph tops. After all, the rudeness and irresponsibility of freeway drivers bugs me enough. I just might give this trip to PA a shot, but it’ll certainly be a long one. Hoping to get a call back from the dealer about alignment adjustment, and yes—if I do indeed keep the Ural, I see the benefit in learning to adjust them myself.
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Re: Well, still have it... Tips for long distance ride?

Post by Dirk_S » Tue May 18, 2021 7:58 pm

Well shoot. How do I use the pic / image feature?
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