Things I wish I knew when I started driving

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Fran
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Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by Fran » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:19 pm

I have been thinking of putting a few things on paper I wish I knew when I bought my Ural.

First a brief intro. I have 55000k on a 2016 gear up and am presently in Peru on route to Ushuaia.

In the beginning go slow and when you think you are going slow enough slow down a bit more. I made tons of mistakes and got lucky and didn’t have to pay a high price. Don’t try any long trips as it is very tiring mentally and physically to drive at the start.

I had no idea how difficult it was to go in a straight line. A sidecar unit because of its weight distribution and where the power goes down does not naturally go straight. Any change in speed causes a change in direction. We have all heard accelerate go right, slow down go left. I didn’t know this meant any change in speed, not matter how small. You steer with the throttle/brakes primarily.

When I started driving, I was convinced that I was going to be pulled over for a DUI. First thing I had to do was to learn how to go straight. I did this by putting the front wheel between the double yellow lines (it was a very quiet road) and trying to keep it there. When I could do this with one hand I was happy.

Number 2 skill to learn was putting the side car wheel on the white line and keeping it there. Unfortunately the unit is slightly wider than the wheelbase but it was a good starting point for me.

For right hand corners I start on the right hand side of the road and my braking brings me to the center of the road (slow, left). At the turn in point accelerate and the bike will turn right. Late appexing the corner is the smoothest and consequently the fastest line. With all that weight and only 40 horses you need to carry as much momentum as possible through the corner.

Flying the chair is a necessary skill and has been covered many times here and elsewhere. Also it is fun and impresses the hell out of spectators.

For left hand corners I again start on the right hand side. At your turn in point reduce speed and the bike will turn left then use the throttle to guide it through the corner. Again late apex the corner.

I usually aim slightly left of the apex point on both left and right handers. This means you can come on the throttle a little earlier as the bike will move right under acceleration.

From a stop and wanting to turn left I find it easier to roll forward and then turn. It better for the clutch to start straight move forward a bit then slow slightly which will turn you left rather than to try to turn from a dead stop.

On a decreasing radius right hand corners don’t brake! Accelerate as this will pull the bike right. Braking will push you left and could put you in the wrong lane. You can also set up the rear brake bias to pull you right. This is what I did as I couldn’t overcome old instincts and open the throttle.

Climbing left handers, as you accelerate the front end will move right especially if traction is reduced. Tighten you exit line to factor this in.

Because of the handling characteristics of the unit, the smoother your inputs the better. I have driven for 50 years starting with motorcycles, farm and construction equipment and 750,000 miles in an 18 wheeler. Nothing I have driven demands and rewards smooth and gentle control inputs more than the Ural. Driving it well will make you a much better driver no matter what else you drive.

These are a few things I have learnt in the last 3 years. It is hard to learn but the satisfaction of getting it right is brilliant and the people you meet and the smiles you see will make you glad you persevered.

Sorry this is a little disjointed feel free to ask any questions you want. If you disagree keep it civil. If you have something that helped you let the world know. Let’s get as many tips and skills out to as all learners as possible. I count myself still one of the learners.

Practice, Practice, Practice is the key, nothing beats seat time.

RC20
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by RC20 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:05 pm

I am going to interject comments here and there, not to be augmentative but when the take is different.
In the beginning go slow and when you think you are going slow enough slow down a bit more. I made tons of mistakes and got lucky and didn’t have to pay a high price. Don’t try any long trips as it is very tiring mentally and physically to drive at the start.
Agree its a good idea but others have gone long runs, lady who picked hers up before me was headed to Colorado. I pushed to the limits as I was on roads where it was be an impediment, I agree I learned far more driving around a town and since home. I kept it slow enough I only tried to do myself in a few times and did not succeed fortunately .
I had no idea how difficult it was to go in a straight line.
That did not bother me, I had read enough and knew what the fix was and that part got better as the trip went on.
When I started driving, I was convinced that I was going to be pulled over for a DUI.


I can't walk real straight let alone toe a line since the back surgery so my first move is to throw myself on the mercy of an office and ask them if they want to see the scar!
Number 2 skill to learn was putting the side car wheel on the white line and keeping it there. Unfortunately the unit is slightly wider than the wheelbase but it was a good starting point for me.
That did not worry me, I put the Pusher solidly in the left car track and that was clearance enough though in town I had to really watch it. You do need to know where its at, pretty good now.
For right hand corners I start on the right hand side of the road and my braking brings me to the center of the road (slow, left). At the turn in point accelerate and the bike will turn right. Late appexing the corner is the smoothest and consequently the fastest line. With all that weight and only 40 horses you need to carry as much momentum as possible through the corner.
I just kept on the line where a car tire would be (left) and kept the speed down until I got the feel for how hard a corner I could make.
Flying the chair is a necessary skill and has been covered many times here and elsewhere. Also it is fun and impresses the hell out of spectators.
Agreed, that is my next move, hard to find an open space to work on it. I have started working hard in right turns to lift the chair and then off to drop it down as I am in traffic. Not the best but doing what I can there.
For left hand corners I again start on the right hand side. At your turn in point reduce speed and the bike will turn left then use the throttle to guide it through the corner. Again late apex the corner.
Again I just keep it in the lane where a left car track would be.
On a decreasing radius right hand corners don’t brake! Accelerate as this will pull the bike right. Braking will push you left and could put you in the wrong lane. You can also set up the rear brake bias to pull you right. This is what I did as I couldn’t overcome old instincts and open the throttle.
Not a good idea to accelerate into decreasing radius until you learn the chair lift.
Climbing left handers, as you accelerate the front end will move right especially if traction is reduced. Tighten you exit line to factor this in.
No issues going left, I have pushed it hard enough under controlled that I know it won't lift, I do know you can do that but having practiced extremes not an issue.
Because of the handling characteristics of the unit, the smoother your inputs the better. I have driven for 50 years starting with motorcycles, farm and construction equipment and 750,000 miles in an 18 wheeler. Nothing I have driven demands and rewards smooth and gentle control inputs more than the Ural. Driving it well will make you a much better driver no matter what else you drive.
Spot on, I have run everything from Skiffs, 150 ft boats, dozers, dump trucks (to 22 yards) front end loader, Big two stage Rotary blowers with two engines for snow removal, cycles, etc. None of it prepares you for a Ural. A Ural will prepare you for anything :cheers: :cheers: .
These are a few things I have learnt in the last 3 years. It is hard to learn but the satisfaction of getting it right is brilliant and the people you meet and the smiles you see will make you glad you persevered.
I was convinced the first 5 miles, after that it was, am I good enough to learn to manage this thing at 67?
Sorry this is a little disjointed feel free to ask any questions you want. If you disagree keep it civil. If you have something that helped you let the world know. Let’s get as many tips and skills out to as all learners as possible. I count myself still one of the learners.
Hopefully my comments are taken as such. People are such variables that its good to have different takes on the same thing and see what template is closest to you.
Practice, Practice, Practice is the key, nothing beats seat time.
I will add in that each run is a practice session. Always something to play with or work on. I am a bit less prone to using throttle to steer, had used it a lot, so I am playing with that all the time to see what suits me.

I tried toe shifting for a while and decided it was not for me. My foot got hung up down there, but that is my foot and my shoes.

I have 3000 on her now, that is like 30,000 miles in dog miles on anything else :o

While I had a blast, I have learned more on short trips as far as handling goes (or doing it better) than on the road - but I would not have missed tghe road trip for all the money in the world. I had a blast.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

RC20
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by RC20 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:06 pm

Having problems with duplicate posting, duplicate removed
Last edited by RC20 on Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

on2wheels52
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by on2wheels52 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:01 pm

I thought it got a lot easier after the first couple of miles (plus the seat was loose). Not sure what the big deal about driving a hack is.
Perhaps driving a tractor at 5 years old helped.
'10 Patrol
DL650 (hacked) WR250R plus a few old crocks

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ODsays
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by ODsays » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:56 am

Fran wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:19 pm

On a decreasing radius right hand corners don’t brake! Accelerate as this will pull the bike right. Braking will push you left and could put you in the wrong lane. You can also set up the rear brake bias to pull you right. This is what I did as I couldn’t overcome old instincts and open the throttle.
Hugely helpful tips, but this one in particular would have been useful to know! I just got a GU and was on a stretch that allows you to accelerate a bit, then into wide sweeping right hand turn. I started braking to then I was totally shocked to find I could not keep the bike to the right, i had to off throttle and hope, just to keep from sliding into oncoming traffic!

Thanks, OD
2019 Olive Gloss Gear Up

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Mr Wazzock
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by Mr Wazzock » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:51 pm

Image this

This is how I was taught (I had to have tuition before I could get it off the dealer's "lot") accelerating in the turn actually forces the sidecar down, I actually had to do this, it was my first big pants soiler moment (most noobs have one) when I'd overcooked a corner. It was a roundabout and I still hadn't learned yet to effing slow down first (still trying to take roundabouts in 3rd, which is too high a gear – I can do it now, but only after LOTS of practice! But still really low rpm). Anyhoo, overcooked the corner (only a 'simple' left turn), ended up on wrong side of the road with a Toyota SUV approaching head on, I applied the extra acceleration as I was told, regained the correct side of the road and missed the SUV. Chair never lifted. I was still cacking myself tho. Also helps to lean over the sidecar. :D
Mike H
2016 Ural cT, in glorious terracotta
(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

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Peter Pan
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by Peter Pan » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:45 pm

As somebody who on his first rig riding trial nearly smashed a 11hp Victoria rig into a huge cow stable on the other side of the huge farm lot, i got intrigued and started to ride year round soon afterwards. Later I taught my son first on the Ural rig, then any other vehicle (beside his first licence, which was air plane). Until 3 years later he made car licence and he is still the only youngster I know who does obey speed limits. (i never did, still go mile-limit, where there is a km-limit. +60%, who cares....?)

The rig does teach physics right and scares you as soon you make a mistake. If you still do not obey the safety rules: You pay or you pay the one or other way! (went out into the pasture or snow more then once)

Last photo from Fran I saw was a 20kmh-limit... Redwood forest sends regards!
There even I would obey speed limit.
Where is the next village?
1 step off the road!

The lesson I may add to Fran is:
Only ride as fast as far you are able to see.

Here you find some curves with 170 degree turn, often with a vertical mountain in the bend centre... or you go down in speed before the bend or you will fly off the cliff or might find yourself as trunk figure of the up coming traffic.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

RC20
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by RC20 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:03 pm

Hugely helpful tips, but this one in particular would have been useful to know! I just got a GU and was on a stretch that allows you to accelerate a bit, then into wide sweeping right hand turn. I started braking to then I was totally shocked to find I could not keep the bike to the right, i had to off throttle and hope, just to keep from sliding into oncoming traffic!
Am I getting mixed up on increasing and decreasing radius?

I always accelerated coming out of a turn or as the radius permitted .
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

RC20
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by RC20 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:05 pm

The area I would have liked to see empathize was the yank to the left and stated that way as well as the pull to the right.

So much was placed on the side car lift that the danger or the yank and even the move to the right did not get attention and was the area I had issues with.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

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Peter Pan
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by Peter Pan » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:11 pm

one thing on left hand turns:
on slippery ground the front wheel tends to skid... but otherwise as with any other vehicle, on the rig you are still able to steer by weight shift and can get your rig by drifting into the right direction.... saved me quite often from kissing a wall or testing the depth of a ditch.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

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TorontoUral
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by TorontoUral » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:45 pm

Great tips! Thx for posting.

I’ve only had my Ural for 6 months and because of the winter weather up here have been restricted to mostly city riding. Like many of the folks on here my first experience was a two hour white knuckler on secondary highways getting it home.

I’ve put about 1,200 kms riding in snow and city commuting and feel comfortable doing that - it’s the secondary highway right hand sweeping turns that scare the bejeebers out of me! So keep the throttle on and don’t brake? How much physical steering input should there be? Does leaning into the turn help at all?

As for flying the chair, how fast do you have to be going??? Maybe I’m just taking the go slow, slow, slow mantra a little to seriously, but I’ve never even remotely come close to the having the chair wheel lift - and doing city driving I make a lot of right hand turns!

Thx
2006 Patrol
Toronto, Ont

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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by RC20 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:50 am

You are welcome. Email me and I can send you the Ural manual that does not come with the machine anynnmore but I have it in a PDF>

nighthawks@gci.net

First: I have never been sorry when I was safe or on the safe side. I sure have been sorry when I was not.

Right Turns: This is where if you go its on top of you, worst case put 100 lbs in, otherwise and or take it easy. I have lifted the wheel a few times pushing it hard in a slow speed 90 deg corner, but I had no traffic conflict and I would go left pretty much all I wanted. Off on the throttle planted it down. so, 10 mph maybe hard and tight enough will do it (pretty empty, not sure how to characterize spare tire weight (is the 100 lbs added to that?) and the tools are under the seat so solid in the triangle. I spent 1800 miles worry about it and I had significant weight in the side car on top of the tire and tool (in the trunk at the time, not in the triangle of the 3 wheels) - I still took it easy on right turns and the sharper (or the radius getting worse ala off ramps) the easier.
That said, couple of 90 deg turns and I really horsed it to do it but not going very fast.

Leaning supposedly helps, not sure I get it as your best lean is for left turns, hard to get out over the side car. Just not sure on that one at all.

This is the course layout for working on it. Hard to find that much open space but you can also do cones and right turn only, it does not have to be the full figure 8.

T
he basic range layout is two 25-foot diameter circles set 125 feet apart, center-to-center.
The two circles form either an oval or a "figure-8". The majority of exercises can
successfully be practiced on this same layout. Having one main exercise layout saves
time by precluding having to explain different layouts for successive exercises and saves
instructor effort. Additional exercises such as straight-line braking or swerving are
relatively easy to set up when needed.
The basic layout can be marked with cones, painted permanently on a hard surface or
marked temporarily with chalk or lime on unpaved surfaces. Brightly-colored tennis balls
cut in half make excellent "cones" to mark the path of travel.
Fear No Gravel
Formerly Owned: ( various rides on others)
Honda 90
2 x CB750K (one a true Japan Model flown to Hawaii by a P3 Orion Sub Patrol Aircraft!)
1 x CB700 SC ala Shaft Drive Nighthawk S (RC20 is the actual in house production Model)
1 x R80GS (ok to start with, learned to love it for what it was)
1 x CB450K

Current:
1 x 2019 cT Terracotta

What I Did (I quit June 2 , 2019)
Mechanic/Technician/Engineer: Electro Mechanical Systems

jeffsaline
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by jeffsaline » Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:21 am

TorontoUral wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:45 pm
As for flying the chair, how fast do you have to be going??? Maybe I’m just taking the go slow, slow, slow mantra a little to seriously, but I’ve never even remotely come close to the having the chair wheel lift - and doing city driving I make a lot of right hand turns!
Flying the chair is about balance and not speed. If you want to play with it find a large open area. Light posts or curbs may be a hinderance. In first gear get in the middle of the area and start making a smallish (20-25 foot diameter is plenty) circle going to the right. Make the circle a time or two at slow speed to get a feel for it and then begin to add throttle. When your speed gets to a certain point the chair will lift. To drop the chair turn left just a bit (just a bit as too much and you are into a left turn) or roll off the throttle. Do that a few times to get the feel for the chair lifting. Then do it again and lift the chair a bit more and try to keep it in the air for a few seconds. This is where having a big open area is nice as you can leave the circle in any direction without worry about hitting anything. Then continue with the practice. In 10-15 minutes you should be able to fly the chair in a straight line.

Do listen for scrapping parts as you fly the chair. The left muffler might get scraped up a bit from dragging on the pavement.

Best,

Jeff
Jeff Saline
2010 Gear Up
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by Peter Pan » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:08 pm

only 2 tips in one sentence:

GO DOWN ON SPEED AND SHIFT WEIGHT BEFORE THE BEND

or :shock: worse :cry:
says someone who learned the hard way :roll:
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1. 43.388km crank replacement: Back on the road since 23.Okt.2019 :party:

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

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TorontoUral
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Re: Things I wish I knew when I started driving

Post by TorontoUral » Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:13 pm

Thx for the advice everyone. I have a 10 acre commuter parking lot just a few blocks from me that is basically empty on weekends. Lots of open paved space available to practice.

I used it the first weekend I had my bike to practice heal shifting and basic handling. Once it warms up a bit I’ll Give the figure 8 and decreasing circle exercise a try.
2006 Patrol
Toronto, Ont

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