Motorvation Sidecar Operation Manual

SINCE A MOTORCYCLE WITH A SIDECAR ATTACHED TO IT HANDLES DIFFERENTLY THAN A SOLO MOTORCYCLE DOES, THERE ARE CERTAIN WARNING POINTS THAT MUST BE OBSERVED BEFORE AND DURING OPERATION OF A MOTORVATION MOTORCYCLE SIDECAR. THIS INFORMATION WILL BE ADDRESSED IN FURTHER DETAIL LATER IN THIS MANUAL. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE OPERATION MANUAL BEFORE ATTEMPTING OPERATION OF YOUR SIDECAR.




WARNING #1:
A SIDECAR MAY LIFT IN RIGHT HAND TURNS

WARNING #2:
A SIDECAR MAY PUSH THE MOTORCYCLE TO THE LEFT DURING DECELERATION.

WARNING #3:
A SIDECAR MAY PULL THE MOTORCYCLE TO THE RIGHT DURING ACCELERATION.

WARNING #4:
A SIDECAR OUTFIT SHOULD BE RIDDEN TOWARD THE LEFT PORTION OF THE LANE TO AVOID STRIKING OBJECTS WITH THE SIDECAR.

WARNING #5:
A SIDECAR MAY CAUSE INCREASED FRONT END WOBBLE (MOSTLY AT SLOW SPEEDS 15 TO 20 MILES PER HOUR) AND MAY REQUIRE THE INSTALLATION OF A STEERING DAMPENER.

WARNING #6:
THE OWNER OF A SIDECAR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TIGHTENING OF ALL NUTS, BOLTS AND LUG NUTS BEFORE OPERATING THE RIG.

WARNING #7:
IMPROPER INSTALLATION WILL ADVERSELY EFFECT THE HANDLING OF THE SIDECAR OUTFIT.

WARNING #8:
SIDECAR HANDLING WILL BE EFFECTED BY TIRE AND AIR SUSPENSION PRESSURES. ALWAYS MAINTAIN AIR SUSPENSIONS AND TIRE PRESSURES AT PROPER LEVELS. P165 X 13 TIRES SHOULD BE AT 18 TO 26 PSI DEPENDING ON LOAD OF SIDECAR. THE LOWER THE PRESSURE OF THE SIDECAR TIRE THE SOFTER THE RIDE WILL BE FOR THE PASSENGER.

WARNING #9:
NEVER LET AN UNQUALIFIED DRIVER USE YOUR SIDECAR OUTFIT NEVER LOAN YOUR SIDECAR OUTFIT FOR USE IN TRAFFIC, EVEN TO MOTORCYCLE SHOPS. IF SERVICE OF THE MOTORCYCLE IS NEEDED, REMOVE THE SIDECAR BEFORE DELIVERY TO THE SERVICE ORGANIZATION. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OWNER OF THE SIDECAR TO QUALIFY THE SIDECAR DRIVING ABILITY OF ANY POTENTIAL DRIVER OF YOUR OUTFIT. (THIS SHOULD BE DONE ON A FLAT OPEN SPACE SUCH AS AN EMPTY PARKING LOT.)

SIDECAR OPERATION

The first and most important fact for beginning sidecar owners is to start out driving your new outfit cautiously. It will take each individual person a different amount of time and miles to acquire the skill level and techniques needed to operate a sidecar outfit. It will take at least a month for the subconscious mind to adjust to the changes in your motorcycle. Until then you may experience some feelings of awkwardness. This will pass and is nothing to be concerned with . It is a good idea to put 50 to 100 lbs of ballast weight (a bag of sand) in your sidecar while you are practicing driving.

First run the sidecar in a straight line, starting and stopping so you can feel the forces that the sidecar exerts on the motorcycle. Visualize that you are driving in a lane of traffic and always keep to the left most portion of the lane. This will keep the sidecar from striking objects to the right. This is a very common problem with new owners It is a major part of the transition from solo to sidecar, learning that there is a large, wide piece of your motorcycle out to the right. Initially return to your starting point by turning to the left. In a left turn the motorcycle leans against the sidecar. The sidecar actually acts as an outrigger when turning left.

It is a good idea to increase the rpm level when releasing the clutch from a dead stop, and when shifting gears. Remember that you have added weight and width to your bike. The motor will run better if you do not lug it by shifting to soon. Example , if you normally shift from a lower to higher gear at 2,000 to 2,500 rpms, add 1,000 to 1,500 rpms to the shift point. This will vary from motorcycle to motorcycle. Experiment to find what rpm level is most comfortable for your motorcycle.

The sidecar will drag right when starting and push left when stopping. But the rig should equalize (no push left or pull right) , and have neutral handling when a cruise speed is reached. In fact, if the rig is set up properly, the driver should be able to rest one hand on the bars to keep the outfit going straight. If the rig is equipped with the proper steering damper, the driver should be able to lift both hands slightly from the handle bar without the rig veering to the right or left at a constant speed. Remember, never take both hands from the handle bar while driving your sidecar.

1. TORSION ADJUSTABLE HANDLE AND ELECTRIC LEAN SWITCH

If your Motorvation sidecar is equipped with a torsion adjuster handle, you can use this devise to compensate for dynamic factors that will cause the sidecar to pull to the right or push to the left, at a cruise speed. Remember that when accelerating there will always be a t least a slight pull to the right as the center of gravity is close to the motorcycle, and makes it seem as if the weight of the sidecar is trying to catch up to the motorcycle.

Warning: The torsion handle is not to be adjusted on curves. It should be adjusted before starting ,when adding or letting a passenger out, or when a constant speed has been achieved. Do not adjust the torsion handle while in heavy traffic where immediate response to traffic changes may be required.

The normal operating position for the torsion handle with the sidecar empty and at speeds for around town is the second preload position (where the handle end points to approximately, the 9 o'clock position). A crowned road, head wind, or speeds on the highway may cause the sidecar to pull right. If the sidecar feels like it is pulling right, then take hold of the handle, move it slightly to take the weight off the pin in the preload slot, compress the release lever, and pull the handle back to the next preload position. Let go of only the release lever, the pin will drop into the slot, securing the handle in the next preload position.

Note: If the pin does not drop into the slot, you can move the handle back and forth slightly until the springs force the pin into the slot. It is good procedure to move the handle back and forth after the pin drop to be sure that the pin has dropped fully into the slot. If the pin does not drop into the newly selected slot, then the handle will drop back to the next preload position, and the springs will force the pin into the slot . If you lose the handle it will not free wheel. If the pin is difficult to drop into or out of the preload slots, or one slot in particular, then white grease may be used to lubricate the slots. WD40 or a penetrating oil may be used on the release lever and handle pin block for easier operation.

If your Motorvation sidecar is equipped with the independent disk brake system, braking techniques will help you stabilize and steer the sidecar outfit. The sidecar brake system has it's own pedal. It comes right up next to the rear brake pedal of the motorcycle, on bikes with right mounted rear brake systems. If your motorcycle's rear brake pedal is mounted on the left, the following brake techniques will not apply in the manner presented. Motorvation will be happy to discuss technique for left mounted brake systems when contacted.

For straight stopping, both pedals can be depressed. Try to rock your foot left to right to put on more or less sidecar brake. This will be necessary as more sidecar baking will be needed when driving with a loaded sidecar, than when the sidecar is empty. The sidecar brake can also help when making right hand turns by slowing the sidecar wheel independently.

2. TURNING RIGHT

Right hand turns with a right mounted sidecar are perhaps the most sensitive part of sidecar driving. When you turn right, G-forces push left against the bike and the driver, as the outfit is not leaned right into the corner like a solo bike. As the speed into the corner is increased and the radius of the turn is reduced, the left push against the bike increases.

The push against the outfit is centrifugal force. As the force increases, the sidecar will be leaned against the bike by the left push of the centrifugal force and the rigid mount connection. When the sidecar mass has been overcome by the centrifugal force, the sidecar wheel will lift. This is the point, when the sidecar lifts, that may cause an inexperienced sidecar driver to panic. Panic is the worst thing a driver can do. It will either cause the driver to freeze up and make no response to the lift of the sidecar or cause the driver to make an erratic maneuver. Either of these panic responses usually result in some undesirable mishap. In the parking lot with plenty of space, you must take the opportunity to learn the sensation of sidecar lift. Sidecar lift can be reversed by either braking to slow, or straightening the handlebars to the lift.

Either of these correcting actions may not be available to the driver in traffic, thus the sidecarist must be able to ride out sidecar lift. Once the sensation of sidecar lift has been experienced again and again, the proper response can be developed as a subconscious action. Generally it takes about 30 days of practice for a new sidecar driver to overcome the subconscious action of lean and counter steer learned as a solo rider, and to develop enough sidecar technique to really be comfortable driving the sidecar outfit. Lean and counter steer no longer apply to driving the sidecar outfit. The subconscious reactions of leaning and counter steering are a major cause for the new sidecar driver to become confused for an instant, and delay proper sidecar driving responses.

Be sure to remove the ballast from the sidecar after the initial getting acquainted in the parking lot, so you can fully experience the sensation of sidecar lift. Ballast makes lifting the sidecar harder, and will add to the practice time. Ballast can be in the form of gas in the sidecar system ,if so equipped, therefore we do not recommend that you put gas in the aux. fuel system until you have done sidecar lift practice. Another factor in how easily the sidecar will lift is the distance the sidecar is mounted away from the motorcycle. If the sidecar lifts to easily, then remounting the sidecar further out from the motorcycle will reduce sidecar lift.

Note: The following are familiarization and practice exercises. Motorvation does not endorse these exercises for driving on the street or in any traffic. Be sure to check all mounting hardware for movement after sidecar lifting exercises.

The best way to get the initial feel of sidecar lift is to do figure 8 maneuvers. Start left, as you make the transition from left turn to right turn, you will feel the sidecar get lighter and lighter. You'll also feel that as the sidecar weight is transferred, the steering will get heavier. It will feel as if the sidecar is pushing the whole rig to the left. The proper response to sidecar lift is to just continue to increase the effort to turn the handle bars smoothly to the right. This will keep the whole outfit turning to the right and not being pushed back to the left.

If the wheel comes up on the figure 8, ride with it. Do not slow down or hit the brakes, try not to put the wheel back down by finding the balance point where the motorcycle is leaning left enough to balance the sidecar in the air. With enough practice, you will find that there is balance point, (where the speed and angle into the turn, make the motorcycle lean left enough to lift the sidecar) where the sidecar will just fly around the turn with you. It is ok for the sidecar to be in the air, as long as you do not panic and can maintain control.

If the sidecar does not lift right away on the figure 8 maneuvers, increase the speed and the angle of the right turn until the lift is felt. Some large sidecars, like our Coupe, Roadster, and Formula II are designed not to lift easily. In the event that you can not get the sidecar to lift in the figure 8, you aren't off the hook, you just have to try another method of achieving sidecar lift. Again, in the wide open space of the empty parking lot, run the outfit in a straight line to between 20 and 30 miles per hour. At an even speed, gently push the handle bars to the right enough to bring the wheel of the sidecar up. When the wheel comes up, bring the bars back to straight, and try to maintain the sidecar wheel in the air. This will take some practice, but it is a technique that you must get a feel for. Because out there on the road, somewhere, sometime, a right hand turn maneuver will cause the sidecar to lift, and you must not panic. You have to build the confidence that will allow you to take sidecar lift in stride.

3. RIGHT TURN TECHNIQUES

The best techniques for right hand turns is to slow way down before the right turn. After the apex of the turn has been reached and you begin to turn the handle bar back to the left, you can accelerate out of the turn.

Coming into a right hand turn, it is always best to gear down one gear or perhaps two gears depending on the angle of the curve and the speed of approach. Turn the handle bars to the right while slowing. You'll reach the point of greatest angle apex in the turn just before you start to bring the handle bars back to the left. The outfit should feel like it wants to go left because of not only the weight transfer from the sidecar to the handle bars, but because the sidecar pushes left under deceleration.

After the point of the greatest angle of the curve is past, and you are moving the handle bars back to the left to straighten out the motorcycle, you can accelerate out of the turn, letting the right drag of the sidecar under acceleration act as a pivot for the whole outfit. This technique is especially enhanced by an independent disk brake on the sidecar.

Warning: Using the sidecar brake alone may cause the sidecar to move suddenly to the right!

Caution: Using the sidecar brake system to assist turning is an advanced technique. Motorvation does not recommend that the new sidecar driver attempt brake assisted right turns in traffic during the learning process. Brake assisted turns should be attempted only when there is no traffic around the sidecar outfit.

By using the sidecar brake pedal to slow the sidecar while coming into the turn, the left push of deceleration will be decreased, and the right drag of the sidecar will be increased. By using an independent sidecar brake during right hand turns, the approach speed can be increased, and the wait for the acceleration point can be decreased, getting you through the right hand turns much faster with a lot less turning effort at the handle bars. This is an advanced technique and requires practice, practice,practice! All sidecars should slow substantially before hard right turns.

4. FRONT END WOBBLE WITH A SIDECAR

Some motorcycles are subject to a phenomena known as high speed wobble. Some motorcycles also have a tendency to wonder in the lane as they follow rain groves in the roadway. When a sidecar is added, most motorcycles will exhibit, to some degree, a tendency to have a low speed front end wobble as the outfit accelerates and decelerates.

Most sidecar outfits will display a front end wobble at a particular speed between 15 and 30 miles per hour,however, most front end wobble can be controlled by firmly gripping the handle bar, locking your elbows and pressing forward. Torquing the steering head bearings and the swing arm bearings to specifications and adding an aftermarket fork brace can decrease wobble as well.

Some sidecar outfits may be subject to a power wobble. That is where, under acceleration at higher speeds, the front end shakes. A major cause of power wobble is a worn or loose steering head and swing arm bearings, or a front wheel that is out of balance, or a warn or cupped front tire. Also if a large pot hole or bump is encountered by the front motorcycle wheel or sidecar wheel, the front end of the motorcycle may shake. Front end wobble is at best a mild irritation and at worst a tragedy. If you are a seasoned sidecar driver and your outfit displays unmanageable wobble, or you are new to sidecars, Motorvation recommends that a good fork brace, to stiffen the fork tubes and a steering damper be fitted to the motorcycle to control wobble.

A steering damper may increase the turning resistance by about 30%, but it will lessen any possibility of potentially dangerous wobble. Once a new sidecar driver has developed the skills and techniques that time and practice bring, the driver can remove the steering damper to see if continued use is needed.

5. MOTORCYCLE AIR SUSPENSION ADJUSTMENT

If your motorcycle is equipped with air adjustable suspension, Motorvation recommends that you run at least 75% of maximum in the front and rear. The rear may require more that 75% of maximum, but this must be determined by a road test.

Motorvation recommends that when a sidecar is added, heavier springs in the front and rear suspension be added. This is in addition to any air adjustable suspension on the motorcycle.

Note: Motorvation recommends the sidecar be left attached to the motorcycle for the first full riding season of ownership, except for delivery to motorcycle service companies. This will help the new sidecar owner develop the driving skills necessary for safe operation.

6. QUICK DISCONNECTION OF THE MOTORVATION SIDECAR

Motorvation Engineering uses a four point rigid mount system. All for mounts are aircraft type clevis connections, These clevis ends are threaded onto the threaded stock that threads into the clevis tubes to form the top clevis struts. These are two top clevis struts that run between the cycle and the sidecar. Each strut should have both right and left hand threaded stock as well as top and bottom jam nuts, so the strut can act like a turn buckle. This feature allows for easy adjustment to motorcycle lean out. The silver cad I plated jam nut should be on the top of the strut, toward the cycle. The bottom of the top clevis struts terminate in eye studs bolted into the sidecar frame. The frame of the sidecar has three pre-drilled holes with bushings for mounting the eye studs to the sidecar frame. Some model bikes use a top front mount that comes off the front down tube. The mounting hole most forward in the sidecar frame will be used in this case. Most of the Goldwing use a top front mount where the clamp is placed under the tank cover. This type mount uses the eye bolt frame mount hole behind the front slider tube hole.

The two bottom mounts are clevis shanks that fit to 70 degree lower clevis tubes. These tubes are then attached to the slider tubes by slider tube pinch section. The slider tube extends out of the sidecar frame pinch tubes, one front one rear. The slider tubes are parallel to the ground, and control the distance the sidecar sits from the cycle.

All 4 clevis cross bolts must be removed. The sidecar must be supported on blocks or a dolly to prevent the sidecar from dropping when all the bolts are released.

Warning: Be sure to put the motorcycle kick stand down for support when the sidecar is removed.




Motorvation Engineering Sidecars and Trailers
941 Fourth Ave.
Sibley IA 51249
712.754.3664 800.305.3664





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