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My sidecar subframe & attachments

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Sidecar Bob
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My sidecar subframe & attachments

#1

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I detached the sidecar from my 'Wing for the first time a few weeks ago and decided it was about time I took some pics of how it is attached.

It is a Dnepr sidecar and the sidecar frame is designed to attach to the original bike's frame by ballmouths on the sidecar frame attaching to balls welded to the bike's frame at the factory. Since the sidecar frame isn't adjustable I needed to build a subframe that would provide suitable attachment points with the appropriate spacing. Here's what the subframe looks like
Subframe.JPG
And here is what it looks like attached to the bike
subframe on bike rear right.JPG
subframe on bike front right.JPG
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#2

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Close up of how it attaches to the frame at the front
subframe front right attachment.JPG
I based this on what I remembered of the subframe I had on the GL1000/Dnepr outfit I had in the '90s, which attached at the footpeg mounts and clamped to the frame at the front on the right side. I drove that one for many thousands of KM over almost 5 years and it was as solid & stable as you could ever want. But on this bike I found that the sidecar moved relative to the bike over time so a couple of years later I added a crossmember that attaches to the lower engine mount "bolt" (the long stud that goes through the bottom of the engine) on the left side, which fixed the problem completely.
subframe front left attachment.JPG
I am currently in the process of installing the new engine into the bike and I will try to take pics of how the sidecar attaches to it when I get to that point and post them in this thread.. If anyone wants a pic from a different distance or angle this would be a good time to take it so feel free to ask.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#3

Post by Bugdaddy66 »

Thanks for the pics, I am toying with the idea of a sidecar. So there is a third mounting point up by the rear brake master cylinder also? Are the connecting links between bike and the chair adjustable for alignment?
Todd Logan (Bugdaddy66)
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#4

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Depending on the type of sidecar you get the lower mounts may or may not require a subframe. In the case of the Dnepr I did but some are made for universal mounting.

Most sidecars are attached to the top of the bike's frame with telescoping threaded struts that come in various lengths and can be adjusted to suit. Typical universal mounts include frame clamps which allow attachment to any point on the bike's frame without welding to it (welding to the frame is not recommended because it can weaken some types of steel).
Typical strut & frame clamp.gif
Since my 'Wing didn't have the built in upper mounting points that the Dnepr has I had to use frame clamps for my upper mounts
Frame clamps.JPG
A word about mounting points: All sidecars require at least 3 mounting points but 4 are preferred because of greater strength and redundancy in case something goes wrong. The required mounting points are lower front & rear and upper front.
Some mounting systems include hinged lower mounts and a single turnbuckle type strut that is electrically adjustable. They are nice because you can adjust the leanout to suit the road with the push of a button but they are too expensive for me so I won't go into detail about them here.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#5

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Basic sidecar setup:
Note: Since I already did a write-up about setting up Eccles (my CX650E based winter machine) I have copied from where it was originally posted at cx500forum.com and added comments about what would be different on the 'Wing.

Once you have determined the best attachment points and the bike and sidecar are tentatively attached and the sidecar's frame is level (or as level as you can make it) you need to check the leanout (the amount the bike leans away from the sidecar on level ground). The primary reason for leanout is so the bike will sit upright on a "normally crowned" road. Since every road has a different crown profile (sometimes it can change several times in a short distance on the same road) this is only an approximation and how much is "correct" is largely a matter of personal preference. To set it properly the bike and sidecar should be loaded as they would be in normal use (in other words, weight added to the bike equal to the driver's weight and to the sidecar equal to the most common passenger's weight. I have learned that for relatively light outfits like this, if I set it up so the bike is perpendicular with no weight added the leanout will be just about perfect for me with my weight on the bike while still being acceptable on the rare occasion when a I have passenger in the sidecar. My GoldWing/Dnepr sidecar is quite a bit heavier and I prefer a bit more leanout on it.

Here I am checking the leanout. The level is touching the same part of the tire at the top & bottom. Some people like to measure at the front wheel but it is always better to use the rear if you can because the front can be tilted from vertical significantly with the steering turned only a degree or so from perfectly straight. In theory I should have mounted the exhaust, fairing, seat, tank (which should be full) and rad (& filled the cooling system) before doing this but experience tells me that that much more weight would have made less different than installing the new tires will. Besides, it's much easier to get at the top of the front strut when the fairing isn't there
Checking leanout.JPG
The next thing to check is the toe in. The sidecar's wheel should be a little closer to the bike at the front than at the back to help counteract the effect of the weight of the sidecar on the steering. You need a couple of "poles" that are at least as long as the bike (I use a couple of aluminum 2x2s but you can use pretty much anything you like for this as long as they are perfectly straight). I like to attach them to the sidecar wheel and the rear wheel with bungies so that each pole touches the same part of the tire in 2 places.
Pole attached to wheel.JPG
Next measure the distance between the poles at the front and the rear. The front should be a little less than the rear and the difference is the toe in number. The ideal number depends on a lot of factors like sidecar wheel lead (how much the sidecar wheel's axle is in front of the rear wheel's axle), track width, weight, amount of leanout &c and can be anywhere from zero to 2". I like about 1/4" or less for outfits like this but IIRC the 'Wing outfit has almost 1".
Note 1: If you look closely you can see that the front tire is not touching the pole because it is narrower than the rear tire.
Note 2: I am measuring from the outside of one pole to the outside of the other - it doesn't matter as long as you do it the same way at both ends.
Checking toe in.JPG
Note that when I took the above pics I was adjusting compensate for a change to the subframe which allowed the sidecar to sit nearly level from front to back (Short version: The subframe was built to attach the Velorex sidecar to the GL500 I used to have and it was fine for the same sidecar on the 650 until I replaced the original frame with one from a Ural and the front end was several inches higher than the rear). All I ended up having to do was lengthen the front strut but it didn't hurt to confirm that the toe in didn't change.
Setting up a sidecar outfit from scratch is a lot more complicated; Among other things you would need to figure out the attachment points and decide how much sidecar wheel lead there will be and what the track width will be.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#6

Post by Sidecar Bob »

It occurs to me that this would be a good place to say a bit about the history of my sidecar. Being the consummate cheapskate that I am, when SWMBO approved the acquisition of a second sidecar in 2009 (I had been on 3 wheels in winter and 2 in summer up to then) I shopped around to find the best deal I could find. I ended up buying a very old Dnepr body and an almost new frame and even saved a few $$ by not taking the wheel (I knew I wanted to use one that matched the bike's wheels anyway).

How did I end up with an old body & a new frame? It seems that couple of years previous, Old Vintage Cranks (a Ural/Dnepr specialist shop in Ontario) supplied a pair of new Dnepr outfits (among the last produced) for use in filming the movie Camille (2007), also starring Sienna Miller and James Franco. For some reason the movie called for a black bike with a red sidecar so they painted both sidecars red. The sidecar of one machine was destroyed during filming but the other outfit returned to the shop but nobody wanted to buy a black bike with a red sidecar so he changed it for a black sidecar and sold it. A while later someone brought in an old flathead Dnepr for full restoration and instead of doing the bodywork on the rusted out body he sold them the red one (repainted to match the bike's new paint). And then I came along....

This is what it looked like when we brought it home in March 2009
My new sidecar 700.JPG
You can see some of the rust holes on the bottom edge in this pic. The holes were all along the bottom edge, which is typical "salt damage" from winter use
Rust holes.jpg
There was no point trying to patch the holes so I cut the entire bottom out and rebuilt it, lowering the floor a couple of inches and widening the bottom to fit a nicer seat in the process. Here it is after all the welding and fibreglassing (the glass & resin filled the warps in the steel and I spent a lot of time after that filling & sanding)
19 july 09 right side 1000.JPG
The body was primed & mounted and the sidecar attached in time for the CURD rally in August (Al Kay photo)
Al Kay (Curd Iron) 3 (1000).JPG
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#7

Post by Sidecar Bob »

In September I painted it (Gloss Black Acrylic Enamel over Rubberized Rockerguard)
08 sep 09 Benny+new paint 1.JPG
Then added pinstripes and a windshield
Oct 09 no top 1000.JPG
I had a top made so my passengers can ride in comfort (I painted the bike to match in 2012)
Wing Aug 12 2011 -2 1000.JPG
And finally painted the bottom of the windshield (Black Appliance Epoxy) and added vents
Sidecar windshield - vents & black paint.JPG
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#8

Post by Bugdaddy66 »

Great "tutorial", thanks for the info. Now to find a sidecar!
Todd Logan (Bugdaddy66)
"Never argue with a moron, they'll always drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."
1978 GL1000 Daily commuter
1981 XS650 Hot Rod play bike
2003 BMW F650CS (Wife Bike)
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#9

Post by 5speed »

very interesting write up Bob and love your mods.
I noticed in the pic showing the upper frame mounts you have dual fuel lines running up over the frame. Do you have an aux tank hidden somewhere?
1982 1100 standard.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
1986 Yamaha FJ1200
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#10

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Yep. Its a 3 gallon Rotopax mounted on the left side of the sidecar next to the right hand saddlebag and plumbed into the fuel system via a diverter valve made for PWCs
Wing Aug 12 2011 rear 1000.jpg
You can see how I mounted it better in this pic
Naked GoldWing 2011.JPG
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#11

Post by 5speed »

very cool..
1982 1100 standard.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
1986 Yamaha FJ1200
2019 Can-Am ryker (boss's new ride)
2002 Shadow American Classic(sold)
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#12

Post by cbrianroll »

Great read...I want a side car, cant seem to find one near me that's in the budget. Id like to build one...have plans somewhere. I've read alot of your posts here and the cx500 forum's, it's nice to put a face to the name!
78 gl1000 rat project thingy...still under construction
76 gl1000 parts for 78? Trying to get running...
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#13

Post by desertrefugee »

I always wanted one. I ran across a Terraplane/GL1000 rig not long ago, but it needed more time and money than I anticipated. Not to mention "room". I believe that, at the end of the day, I'd have kept it if I had just a bit more room in the garage.

However, Bob's rig is MUCH more practical and makes more sense from a utilitarian standpoint.

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=61507&hilit=terraplane
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#14

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Yeah, this wasn't my first outfit. Where we used to live I could get wherever I needed to go by either bus, bicycle or occasionally cab so I really didn't need a personal vehicle. When our 2nd kid was on the way my wife decided we needed something for hauling the kids so she learned to drive and got her first car. A year or so later we saw an add on TV for the Honda Helix scooter. I turned to her and said "I should get something like that" and she replied "You should go look at them."

Well, you should always do what your wife tells you to do so Saturday morning Matt (about 6 at the time) & I went to the local Honda dealer. They didn't have a Helix. The salesman looked at me and said "The smallest scooter I'd put a guy your size on is the 90" and told me the price. I wasn't impressed so he said "Does it have to be a scooter?" and showed me a CB250, more bike for less money.

At work on Monday I told my friend Mike that drove his bike to work every day (with sidecar in winter) about my adventure and he said "Does it have to be new?" so we started a search that ended up with me buying a '78 GS400. A few years later I bought Mike's Jawa/Velorex sidecar and we spent a Saturday transferring it from his bike to mine and Sunday with him teaching me to drive.

A few years later I bought the Dnepr and when it had engine problems that parts weren't available to fix (this was before the Internet) I had a BMW engine put into it. When a main bearing in that the next year it would have cost more to fix than I had spent for the engine ("You can't even say the German word for main bearing without special tools") so I bought my '77 'Wing, attached the Dnepr sidecar to that and drove it (later with a '79 engine) until it was written off by a car turning left across my path.

Fast forward through putting the Dnepr frame on an '83 GS400, then converting the 400 to a trike (not successful), then buying the GL500 and the Velorex 700 sidecar (& later putting that sidecar on a CB750SC and then the CX650E based "Eccles") to 2009 when I decided there were roads with better scenery that I wouldn't drive on 2 wheels (they aren't bad until you get half way to the next corner and find the grader and 4-6" of soft dirt/gravel) so I wanted a sidecar for summer too.

That's where post #6 comes in. I wsn't looking for something particularly "utilitarian". The Velorex was (is?) a fairly small & sporty sidecar and it was big enough to haul home the groceries for 4 adults, 3 dogs & a cat every couple of weeks and I didn't anticipate hauling much more than that, even if we went camping on it. But I did need something suitable for the 'Wing (a good guideline is the sidecar should weigh about 25-35% of what the bike weighs), I was involved with the Canadian Ural/Dnepr Riders (CURD)(yes, we know that is dyslexic) and I'd had a Dnepr on a 'Wing before so a Dnepr or Ural was the obvious choice (I actually found it through asking on the CURD forum). And if I had any hope of Kay actually going anywhere in it I had to make it as comfortable for her as I could, which meant the nice seat, the top and later the vents.
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: My sidecar subframe & attachments

#15

Post by Track T 2411 »

Great info, Bob. The more you post about your hack adventures, the more I want one...
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Current Rides:
'Grumpy' - '81 Standard, now fully dressed.
'Layla' - '81 Standard w/dealer installed fairing and Hondaline bags.
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Under Construction:
The 'Jalopy' '78-'79 Mash-up
'Quikie' '81 gl1100I back on the lift, project with the step-son!

In The Shed:
'81 gl1100I barn find aka "Josie, the farmer's daughter." (almost comatose build)
'77 gl1000, roller parts bike.
'82 gl1100I, 'Old Crusty' titled roller parts bike (free!)
'82 gl1100I, My first 'Wing, and an expensive lesson!
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