Terrified

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Tombstoneluke
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Terrified

Post by Tombstoneluke » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:37 am

I just bought a new 2019 GearUp and took it for my first ride. I was terrified.

First, I am a very experienced rider, with over 400,000 miles on two wheels. I road raced for years and have 7 other bikes right now. It takes a lot to scare me and my Ural did it easily. I don't want to say what dealer I purchased from, as I liked him, but I am doubting his mechanics' abilities and the initial setup of the unit. I am hoping a poor setup caused my problems and am seeking advice and guidance.

I have a few issues. First, the bike pulls relentlessly to the right. At any speed, if I let go of the bars, I'm headed to the right bar ditch. My friend went with me for ballast and he tried operating the unit, with much the same experience. He too is an experienced road racer. I had to operate the bike by maintaining constant forward pressure on the right grip and vigorously pulling back on the left grip. At all times. It was a workout to say the least.

Every time I change gears, I get this little "S curve" as the bike goes to the left as I release the throttle, then back to the right as I'm back on the gas. I suspect this is inherent with a hack and I can live with it.

When we returned from our 200 mile initial test run, I went online to do research, and then took some measurements. First, my sidecar is level right to left, but the hack's wheel is angled out at the bottom 3/4" from the top. So much so that the tire is visually running on the inside as opposed to the center. Then we measured the toe-in with two long aluminum straight edges. We have over 1" difference from front to back. The factory marks are still present at the lower sidecar mounts and seem to be where the factory initially set it.

The bike seems to be leaning outward at about 1-1.5 degrees, as I understand it should.

I went into a right handler in the mountains (under the speed limit) and the bike started to drift left. I applied the brakes and both of the bike's wheels locked up. The road was wet and we skid across the center line and off the left side of the road. Lucky there was no oncoming traffic or I would have killed all three of us. (The dog) In retrospect, I think had I pushed harder on the left bar, I would have done better, but wonder if that would have lifted the sidecar and changed everything for the worse. It seems that there was not enough bias on the sidecar brake, so I figured out how to do that. Now, applying the front brake alone pulls me to the left. The foot brakes alone pulls me to the right. A combination now results in a a straight decrease in speed. Is this normal?

I discovered a trick to mountain road operation. On left hand sweepers, I cut the throttle and the bike veers left. On right handers, I slow down before the curve, then apply throttle through the curve, and the bike veers right. Is this normal? It seems that almost everything I thought I new about motorcycles is completely inapplicable and my experience is worthless. At this point, my friend and I came away with the belief that Urals are machines that should be operated only by expert level riders capable of improvising and adapting on the fly.

I have so many questions, and would very much like to speak with anyone who knows more than me. (Probably everybody). I don't know if I'm allowed to post a phone number.

Thanks.

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Re: Terrified

Post by Spat » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:02 pm

The yaw takes just a bit of time to get use to and you have already experienced how the dead weight of the hack can work to your advantage. That being said it doesn't sound like the rig was setup properly and will exaggerate the yaw and general handling. Get 'r setup up right and enjoy life at the speed of Ural, for a former road racer that will be hard to get use to. Good luck.
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Re: Terrified

Post by Spat » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:03 pm

:oops:
Last edited by Spat on Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Terrified

Post by windmill » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:13 pm

Sounds like you're fighting 2 things.

First and foremost yes, your experience as a rider, everything you know, all your instincts, and expectations are totally wrong for a sidecar. You have a lot to unlearn, before you can learn.

Second is a poorly setup rig. There is no "factory setup" they're assembled to go through the production line, then taken apart to crate for shipping. It's the dealer who must assemble, and align it correctly. "correct" alignment and brake balance isn't an absolute, its a window of whats acceptable in accordance with personal preferences. Some balance the brakes so the rig tracks straight when both are use to maximum, some so it doesn't pull right when the rear is used alone.

Off the throttle, on a flat surface such as a parking lot it should track pretty darn straight. The throttle and brakes will cause some change in direction, that's the nature of the beast, but those traits can be an advantage once one learns how to use them.

Some experienced folks need 1000 miles or more to adjust before they start to get the hang of things. Folks with little, or no experience have the least amount of problems learning how to ride one.
Last edited by windmill on Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Terrified

Post by Tombstoneluke » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:24 pm

Thank you, but I was hoping for some specifics to guide me.

Is it normal for my sidecar wheel to have this much camber? Is there a way to make that wheel perpendicular to the road? Will this much camber affect the ride, and if so, how?

Also, since I have too much toe in, how will this affect the handling?

Am I allowed to post my phone number, so that I can actually speak with someone?

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Re: Terrified

Post by Rich Maund » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:27 pm

Your experience as a road racer doesn't count for $#!+ in sidecar driving. Honestly. When I taught the sidecar safety course 20 years ago, the best students were often the ones with NO bike experience. That, since sidecarring is often a$$ backwards from operating a 2 wheeler. Some of the students we had that were almost failing the course were the most experienced riders who couldn't get it out of their head that three where was very difference from 2. Have your rig looked at and test ridden by an experienced sidecar tech! Going down an average crowned road, they ideally should not pull to one side, but handle neutrally.
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Re: Terrified

Post by Lofty » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:38 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Beginning on p. 5-23 of the linked manual, lean-in and toe-out are mentioned. They are integral components of proper dealer set-up, a service for which you've presumably paid. It's something to be familiar with, particularly if you seek resolution of this matter with your selling dealer.

Also, updating your profile to include your location will be helpful.

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Re: Terrified

Post by jeffsaline » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:43 pm

No expert here but I've got a few miles under my belt with a sidecar. Apply throttle and the rig will tend to pull right as the pusher tire is trying to push the bike and the sidecar tire is being dragged along. Let off the throttle and the rig will tend to pull left as the pusher tire is slowing with engine braking and the sidecar tire is trying to push around the bike. That is normal. Turn right hard enough and the chair will fly. Turn left hard enough and brake and the chair might nose dive. That is the nature of the beast. Take the worse parts of operating a motorcycle and a car and combine them and you have a sidecar.

My latest rig had 1 3/8" of toe in when I got it used. When I aligned the rig I changed it to about 5/16" toe in and that was much improved. I put my sidecar tire vertical and gave the bike about 1 1/2 degrees leanout (leaning away from the sidecar). It tracks pretty good for me in my location and with my normal load. Make the rig handle the way you want for your "normal" load and conditions. Change the load or the conditions and the handling will change.

I've got no experience with the brake system you have on your rig but lots of others here do have experience with it. I bet someone pipes in with some helpful info.

May I suggest you get a copy of the "Yellow Book" and proceed through the exercises on how to operate a rig. I used my local Harley dealer parking lot which is huge and spent about two hours total (two, one hour sessions) going through the exercises. I was a bit nervous about flying the chair at first and after a few exercises I turned the page and the next exercise was "Flying the Chair". Fifteen minutes later I was flying it for 200-400 yards and enjoying it. It is about balance and not speed for those still working on this skill. I think there is a thread about the "Yellow Book" at the top of this section of the forum.

Best and welcome,

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Re: Terrified

Post by windmill » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:55 pm

Tombstoneluke wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:24 pm
Thank you, but I was hoping for some specifics to guide me.

Is it normal for my sidecar wheel to have this much camber? Is there a way to make that wheel perpendicular to the road? Will this much camber affect the ride, and if so, how?

Also, since I have too much toe in, how will this affect the handling?

Am I allowed to post my phone number, so that I can actually speak with someone?
Put your location in the signature line, there might be someone close to you who could help. I'm not aware of any prohibition against posting phone numbers.

Ideally the frame should be level, and the wheel vertical, but usually aren't perfect. Some will split the difference, some just level the frame. a bit of camber on the sidecar wheel shouldn't make a meaningful difference as its fixed.

Too much toe in is bad, It should be 3mm to 8mm (0.11" to 0.31") for 2wd. Normally one increases toe in to reduce pull to the right, and decreases toe in to to reduce pull to the left, but if its way off its just fighting itself. Over 1" of toe in is way too much, I would set it to 6mm/1/4" and go from there.
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Re: Terrified

Post by rougaroo » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:21 pm

The Yellow Book reference is here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9134 There is a whole section of parking lot exercises that will give you the feel for how a sidecar behaves, especially the balance point where the sidecar lifts. It isn't at all like a two-wheeler, so in some cases your experience is a liability. You have to unlearn some reactions from your past.

There is a lot of good overall information in the newbies section if you just read through it.

+1 to what others have said about setup. If set up correctly, the bike should track straight at a constant speed without drifting left or right. OTOH, the S-curve you describe is perfectly normal. The weight of the sidecar holds back the bike on acceleration causing it to pull slightly right; likewise, the weight of the sidecar acts as inertial force when you brake and forces you slightly left. You get used to it.

You really need to learn what to do and not do in right and left turns. It's very important, or your bike will end up on Copart and you in the hospital (or worse). Taking a right turn too fast will flip the sidecar; taking a left turn too fast will throw the pusher wheel *over* the sidecar.

Don't treat riding a Ural as "expert level", just very different. Another thing: don't let your experienced friends "try it out". As you've seen, 2-wheel experience doesn't necessarily translate into 3-wheel success.

Good luck! This is the place for getting your questions answered, but check out the newbies section. Lots and lots of your questions may already have been answered there.

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Re: Terrified

Post by Wildhorse Cafe » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:23 pm

Reminds me of my first ride. Welcome aboard.

[viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36305&p=450112#p450112]
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Re: Terrified

Post by Lokiboy » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:27 pm

When pulling right, the side car needs to be toe-in a bit (pulls to the right sidecar needs to aim more toward the bike. Pulls to the left, side car need to aim slightly away from the bike). There are all sorts of ways to do it, most involve some sort of Rube Goldberg complexity with metal strips, fluorescent lights, measuring tape, chicken bones and a terret card reader etc.. Here’s an easy way.

- loosen the two nuts on the FD guard
- free up either the top or bottom of the rear sidecar support
- mark with a sharpie where the sidecar’s adjustment is on the rig’s dog leg (so you have a reference point). Do a mark like a cross so you have an in and out and an up and down reference points
- nudge the sidecar out approx. 1/4 inch or so with your shoulder
- tighten everything back down, ride, (flat road/parking lot)
- go back and nudge/pull a bit more as needed
- Should take about 30min to nail it down.

Once you've found the sweet spot take a Dremel tool and make a mark on the adjustment arm for a permanent reference.

Oh, cardboard under the hack’s wheel makes it slide a lot easier.

Note:
- The two nuts at the FD guard pinch the sidecar sleeve. Once lose, the side car’s sleeve can slide in and out, but also up and down.

- If it’s stuck, you may need to use a pry bar to break it free.

- Recommend putting a jack stand under the side car to keep the sided car steady in the horizontal axis as you move it in or out along the sleeve.

- my sidecar has always had a slight nose down. Not something to worry about IMO
Good luck
Last edited by Lokiboy on Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Terrified

Post by Eric N » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:28 pm

Hey Luke,

If you add your location to your profile, you may have some local riders that can step in and help.

First thought, I'm hoping you are not in 2WD as that totally changes the bike over 1WD, though mine tends to turn me hard left and makes turning very very hard on anything but loose if I am in 2WD.

You want to adjust the sidecr toe in. There are four adjustment points, the two lower mounts on the frame and the two upper support struts. Look first at how much clearance you have between the tub and the sidecar, if you're good, we're going to do the primarly adjustment from the rear. IF there si a monster gap, we'll adjust from the front, if it is insanely snug and you can't remove the valve cover, we're going to adjust everything.

Loosen the two bolts that attach the top struts to the bike, pull the bolts out, you should be able to pull the bile away from the sidecar this way (it won't fall over, but you can really move it). Now go to the bottom rear frame support, there will be a way you can loosen the sidecar frame to pull it slightly in or out, put a piece of tape on the smaller tube 1/2" from the larger tube as a reference and you want to then pull the sidecar frame tighter to the bike to fill that 1/2" gap. I use a racheting cam strap, others may have other magic, friends can help just shove it.

Once you have the rear sidecar frame mount 1/2" closer to the bike, that should reduce your toe in. Tighten the lower bolts snug. With the top struts, because we just changed the length, you may have to shorten them a little. Just tighten the struts, you still want that 1 degree lean out, I don't like more than that. When you have 1 degree give or take, and your struts are adjusted to the correct length (or close enough), put the bolts in, tighten everything up.

Now go for a ride and see what changed. If it's worse, instead of pulling the sidecar towards the bike, next step would be to push it away. A small jack can fit in that space and help push.

I know there are instructions that say have X toe in, but they don't get me the results I want. I dial in the bikes to fit me. I want them to be hands off straight at 45mph, that means they won't be hands off faster or slower, but 45 mph is my average and the sweet spot I decided on. You will also have to find your sweet spot as you dial it in.

If you decide you don't what that 1 degree lean out, and decide for zero or lean in, it will increase the stability of the bike and also wear out your sidecar tire insanely fast. I had played around with some lean in, made the bike super comfortable, had it going straight, but my mileage was low and the very fast wear on the sidecar tire told me something was wrong.

I wouldn't worry about the lean in on the sidecar tire, not sure how to change it but also don't think it impacts much. The sidecar wheel if you're empty is almost floating on the road, it's not carrying much weight but has just enough contact to mess with steering.
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Re: Terrified

Post by Mr Wazzock » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:39 pm

This isn't the one I was thinking of, but nearly the same:




Another one about alignment:

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Re: Terrified

Post by RC20 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:47 pm

Welcome: You are not alone in the "oh $#!+ what have I gotten into " issues. Clearly you like concrete or asphalt or answers. Some provided already. Probably the closer to "I just got this and now what" group can be closer to the concerns.

But firstly on the non concrete end, its normal to be very concerned (ahhem -terrified) for the fist bit, I thought I had it pretty well in hand when I picked mine up. 50 mph was my max speed and I have done over 100 on 2 wheel. Lets just say I got very tense. Only because I have tried to kill myself in a quite a variety of ways was it just tense, well very tense. I did prep myself well and still was very concerned.

Handling: The left yank vs the right move was unexpected. I don't think that is emphasized enough in the write ups. Mentioned but not focused, the focus tends to be on the right turn lift (which is lethal but I sure tried to do myself in with the left yank a few times).

What you are dealing with is inertia and drag affect. Off the throttle suddenly and the Cycle is a drat, but the side car want to keep going straight (more or less). So its a yank to the left. It does not occur on a 2 wheel cycle because the drat is fore and aft (which is it for a Ural but you have all that mass of the side car and its frame out thee going straight )

Move to the right while not as dramatic is for the opposite reason. The side care holds back as the Ural moves forward, sidecar holds it back and it moves to the right.

That is also why you can steer it on the road with a bit of deceleration and acceleration . Some use that to steer on the road mostly (I kind of mix it in between)

You do get used to the yank left and move right it and your reflexes begging to compensate and it becomes automatic.

Unfortunately the better cycle rider you were the harder it is to adjust as you have other built in reflexes that need to be unlearned.

then if you move back to a cycle ? It all depends on the individual. I was a mid level cycle rider, still learning after 3000 miles. Some flip back and forth, some in between and some not at all. Its a bell curve thing.

For the first 1800 miles 6o was the max speed for me (I picked mine up blind and jumped into a road trip knowing it was going to be a learning experience). Figuring out a Ural is just that, a learning experience, manage it on the road and practice in the parking lot or slow speed on the streets.

For what its worth as concerned as I was, I also was ecstatic and a huge grin. Odd mix that.

Since I got back to AK, I have been focusing on riding and not just managing, 75 mph is fine now. I would go faster but its way above the speed limit and Ural recommends 70 max. Heidle who does a lto of videos and is rated amongst the best dealers has had one up to 83 mph.

Pulling Right: Mine does that as well and I am going to tackle that this summer and see if I can get it more neutral. It feels like a lot left but a flat parking lot if its neutral its not that bad. I ran two legs back to AK of 850 miles roughly each and got used to it. I prefer neutral and get it when I am on the left slope of a road bed but most of the time we are on the right side and neutral is nicer.
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