Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

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Sidecar Bob
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Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#1

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I've wanted to put all of the info about Mr.H together in one place for a while now. I started putting all of it in the New Engine thread but most of it isn't related to the engine.
So I'm starting this thread to try to tell the whole story of how Mr.H became what it is and once that is caught up turn it into a blog about how it changes in the future.

The story started when I bought an '82 Dnepr sidecar outfit to drive in the winter (the best pic I have is this one of someone else trying it out at a field day). When I got it I sold the sidecar I had on my GS400 and fixed it up for summer use.
Duane on Dnepr 2.jpg
Duane on Dnepr 2.jpg (80.66 KiB) Viewed 493 times

I liked the Dnepr (we called it Komerade Bikeski) in spite of its limitations but parts were virtually unobtainable so I eventually had the engine from a '68 BMW R69S installed in it (14 years older, 150cc smaller, 7 more HP). That was good for about a year until a main bearing went and took out the generator. A BMW expert told me "You can't even pronounce the German word for main bearing without a special tool" but then offered to do it for a reasonable price but the only 12V generator I could find to fit it would have cost over $800 so fixing that engine would end up costing more than I paid for it.
At that point I threw up my hands and decided it was time to find something more reliable. Or at least something I'd be able to find parts for more easily.

A few weeks later (this was the spring of '91) I was out on the GS400 and decided to stop at the local Suzuki/Yamaha dealer on my way home. It was closed when I got there but one of the owners was in the service department finishing something that had to be shipped that day (the courier came while I was there). He knew I'd been having problems with the Dnepr and he told me they had taken an a trade in that he thought would be good with my sidecar.
It was a '77 GL1000, a bit shabby looking but in good shape mechanically (exactly the condition I wanted for a winter machine). A couple of weeks later I took it for a test ride (after sitting in the parking lot with a borrowed multimeter figuring out why the headlight didn't work - that's when I learned that glass tube fuses can look perfect but not work) and bought it.
I won't go into the whole long story but when the original engine started blowing head gaskets I found a '79 engine (& carbs) to replace it.

In '95 a car made a left turn into my path. My right wrist was broken and the bike was written off by the insurance company. I bought the wreck in order to keep a few of the parts. Amazingly, in spite of the impact pushing the front wheel through the rad & timing belt covers, the engine was still OK.
Bent 'Wing left.jpg
Bent 'Wing left.jpg (111.12 KiB) Viewed 493 times
Bent 'Wing right.JPG
Bent 'Wing right.JPG (121.85 KiB) Viewed 493 times

While I was recovering from the accident someone I told about the accident said "You need to get in touch with Dave. He has a GoldWing with a seized motor & you have a motor with a seized GoldWing."

A phone call later I was bringing home an '83 GL1100. Apparently, the original owner drove it for 3 summers & then broke both of his ankles at work & was unable to drive a bike afterward. Most of us would have sold the bike, but this guy kept it. After a few years he decided he needed the space & moved it outside beside a cedar hedge. Dave told me he had to cut down a cedar that had grown up between the engine & crash bar in order to move it.
A GoldWing was too big & heavy for me that summer (did I mention that my wrist was broken in the accident?) so I put my '78 GS400 on the road, put the GL1000 engine into the '83, & put it in the corner for later. I wanted something lighter for winter (pushing the heavy outfit out of snowbanks had lost it's charm).

In the meantime I had to get something ready for the next winter.
Someone had given me an '83 GS400 for parts for the '78. It was missing the tank, front wheel, & a bunch of other minor stuff, but it had pretty low mileage & ran like a top. I mounted the fairing from the '83 'Wing on it too. I built a wooden monocoque body for the sidecar (the body was crumpled but the frame was OK) & mounted it on that.
The next summer all of my spare time was taken up converting the '83 GS into a trike with a Kawi ATV rear end with chain drive differential, K-car wheels, &c. (It worked well for almost 2 winters, then it started stripping the splines out of the hubs so I scrapped it & bought the GL500 & the Velorex sidecar.)
BTW: That's my son Matt (about 19 at the time) on it. He isn't wearing a helmet because had just taken a pic of me on it and I told him to get on and I'd take one of him. It wasn't running at the time
GS400 trike Matt.JPG
GS400 trike Matt.JPG (121.55 KiB) Viewed 493 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#2

Post by Sidecar Bob »

In '97 I decided it was "later", so I dragged the 'Wing out, cleaned it up, painted green panels inside the pinstripes (this helped me repair the bubbled clear coat over some of the pinstripes from 6 years of sitting outside), painted the engine in the frame, put on the 1100 headers & a pair of Harley mufflers, replaced the blocked-with-crystalized-fluid brake lines with stainless braided (& un-linked them while I was at it).
Between using the better parts from the '83 and what I had replaced on the '77 during the 4 years I had it the only parts from the original '77 'Wing were the front master cylinder, the timing belt covers, & the headlight shell.

(pics from a couple of years later)
'83 GL1000 1B.jpg
'83 GL1000 1B.jpg (246.12 KiB) Viewed 467 times
'83 GL1000 2.JPG
'83 GL1000 2.JPG (225.88 KiB) Viewed 492 times
'83 GL1000 3.JPG
'83 GL1000 3.JPG (221.09 KiB) Viewed 492 times
'83 GL1000 4B.jpg
'83 GL1000 4B.jpg (208.72 KiB) Viewed 492 times
That's all I have time for right now but I will add more as time permits.
Last edited by Sidecar Bob on Thu Oct 21, 2021 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#3

Post by 5speed »

:popcornx2
1982 1100 standard.
1986 Yamaha FJ1200
2000 Yamaha Roadstar
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
2019 Can-Am ryker (boss's new ride)

2002 Shadow American Classic(sold)
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
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Re: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#4

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I remembered after posting the pics above (from 2006, after I painted the engine with PlastiKote Pontiac blue Metallic Engine Enamel) that I actually have one earlier pic, scanned from a blurry film snapshot, that shows what it looked like when I first put it together. The biggest difference is that for the first few years the engine was painted a cast iron colour and the covers were done in Universal Gray Engine Enamel (when I painted it blue I did everything the same colour)
Mr.H 2000.jpg
Mr.H 2000.jpg (55.56 KiB) Viewed 465 times
I guess I should mention why I call this bike "MR.H": While I was putting it together I had started referring to it as "Mr. Bike" because I felt it had more presence & authority than anything I'd had before. Then I read a magazine article about Soichiro Honda and all of the things he did that led to a man of humble beginnings becoming head of the largest motor vehicle manufacturer in the world and I decided the bike should be called Mr.Honda, expecting it to be referred to as Soichiro.
But as I got to know it better Mr.H seemed to fit better so that's what stuck.

Since I had removed the fairing it needed front lights. I used the headlight from the '77 but its ears wouldn't fit (not to mention that they were a bit rusty). I had a set from a '78 GS400 that looked nice but they were for much smaller diameter forks so I cut the tube portions lengthwise and attached them with band clamps at the top and the clamps for the windshield hardware at the bottoms. They also had the correct holes for mounting a set of signals from an '83 GS400 but the GS signals only had single filament bulbs. I found a pair of chromed truck bullet style marker lights at a yard sale (I was on a really tight budget at the time) that I used for the markers.

And speaking of how tight the budget was, the '83 came to me with the remains of foam grips on them. Instead of spending money on new ones I removed the remnants of the foam and the cast pot metal ends and made leather covers (with fringes) for the remaining plastic cores. Since it had the silver brake lever from the '77 and the black clutch lever from the '83 I made leather covers (with more fringes) for the levers too.

When I put it together I figured I'd have it for 5 or 5 years tops and when I sold it on I'd remember what parts came from where to tell the new owner so I didn't write anything down. By 2006 (the year I got my current winter machine "Eccles") keeping a maintenance log for the winter bike (I use cheap "exercise books" from the $1 store) was an established & necessary practice because road salt isn't kind to motorcycles and I needed to keep track of which models the replacement parts came from. And I was finding myself sometimes taking more time figuring out which bike some of the parts on Mr.H came from than I did doing the work involved so I decided I'd better start a log for Mr.H too.

The first page in the log is a list of everything I could remember from the previous 9 years and there isn't a lot of detail. In the fall of 2003 I took the engine out to replace the water pump and before I opened it up I had to deal with some problems with the winter bike (I needed at least one of them working to get to work) and a few other things came along and the next thing I knew a year had gone by with the GoldWing engine still on the bench. I can't remember exactly but I believe I had it back on the road in 2005 with the engine painted blue and now sporting the kick starter from the '77 engine

I've mentioned in various threads that the original brake lines were full of solidified brake fluid when I got it so I un-linked the brakes. I lucked in about the master cylinders; The ones from the '83 were so badly gummed up that I couldn't even get them apart. I had replaced the 1000's original rear master with one from an '81 (IIRC) and rebuilt it the summer before the crash and I had rebuilt the 1000's original front master a year or so before that and I used them because I had them. Later on when I learned more about these things I learned that the '83's masters would not have been suitable for one caliper on the rear master and 2 on the front one.

Until '07 it had the original mismatched front calipers and the one on the right side (with the smaller pistons) wore out pads about twice as fast as the left one. In '07 it was time to do the brakes again so instead of rebuilding the original ones I rebuilt a set of matched calipers from an '84 CX650E to replace them. The '77 master cylinder's reservoir was starting to look its age so I rebuilt the 650 master to replace it too.

The other big job in '07 was the forks. The right one was leaking and I had a set from an '84 Nighthawk 750 with stanchions that were the same diameter but 2" longer so I transplanted them into the 1100 forks. This also required longer brake lines and a longer speedometer cable.

I also replaced the bullet style truck marker lights with a set of 35W low profile halogen driving lights mounted on a piece of 1/2" square aluminum bar that I attached to the lower triple clamp with the same bolts that attach the brake line splitter. I wired them to a DPDT switch so that in one position they were in series (=17.5W total) for daytime markers and in the other position the right hand one (aimed straight ahead) was connected across the high beam and the left one (aimed to hit the shoulder of the road about twice as far away as where the low beam hits the road) was connected across the low beam. This is a great way to connect halogen driving lights to get the most benefit without overloading a bike's wiring and charging system but it is somewhat less necessary now that LED lights are available that use less power to produce more light.
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#5

Post by Sidecar Bob »

In 2008 one of the plastic buttons in my carb tops broke. There was a lot of talk about how to fix them on the forum at the time so I found some washers that would fit over the flat parts of the buttons and some nice, shiny nickles that would fit over the bumps, epoxied them on and sprayed the caps with the Universal Gray Engine Enamel. They looked nice but the epoxy didn't hold permanently and I eventually had to replace them with something more permanent.
Nickles.JPG
Nickles.JPG (60.18 KiB) Viewed 461 times
There was also a lot of talk about fuel pumps failing and a few people were experimenting with vacuum fuel pumps so I decided to try one but it wasn't successful
https://www.ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic ... mp#p102476

I liked the 2" over length forks but they bottomed too easily went through the calculation linked below and installed preload spacers that were optimum for my weight on this bike to fix that.
https://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Suspension2.html
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#6

Post by Paola Zago »

:popcornx2 :popcornx2
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Re: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#7

Post by rcmatt007 »

great story :popcornx2
-Rodger-
all it takes for evil to prosper is the want of a few good men to do nothing-Edmund Burke
The question is not how much time do you have, it is what you do with the time that you have Gandalf
"One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation." Fred Rodgers
"it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert" ancient saying
78 constantly modified/customized since 1978, BOTM June 2015 de-evolving this very moment https://www.ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic ... 30&t=65511
76 Ltd "cookies bike" not ready for prime time,
79 project, finished,
'86 1200 (Beth's) with motorvation sidecar, July 2017 BOTM
'17 HD Road king and 08 HD Heritage softail (Beth's). I guess you can say we have MBS
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Re: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#8

Post by Sidecar Bob »

There were several routes that I could take to & from work. When I was on the sidecar outfit I usually took the dirt/gravel concession roads but on 2 wheels I stuck to the paved roads. I didn't so much mind taking the GoldWing on gravel but they graded sections of the roads at what seemed like random intervals (probably when someone noticed they had a lot of potholes) and didn't make any effort to compact the surface so the road could be nice & firm when you turned onto it but abruptly turn to soft & loose at any point. And if you met the plow there could be a row of that soft, loose dirt/gravel a foot wide and almost as high down the middle of the road where he hadn't finished so even if I was OK riding a 625 Lb bike on the soft & loose stuff I would have to cross that berm to pass the plow.

In 2008 they closed the road on one end of a town I usually went through to stay on pavement (the alternate all pavement route was twice as long) all summer while they replaced 2 bridges. They did make an effort to keep one of the concession roads in good shape so if it wasn't raining I went that way. One morning a field that was all green the day before looked like this.
on the way to work one morning.JPG
on the way to work one morning.JPG (101.61 KiB) Viewed 419 times

Beautiful. I drove on that road all winter but I had never seen that before. A few other occurrences like that got me thinking that it would be nice to have a another sidecar so I could use the dirt roads in the summer too.

Then in the spring of '09 the Canadian Ural & Dnepr Riders announced that they were going to have a rally an hour or so from here that I wanted to attend. But it would be right when I expected to be have Eccles (CX650E based winter machine) apart for its annual "guerrilla restoration" session and going to a sidecar rally on 2 wheels is only marginally better than going to a bike rally in a car.

So I started looking for something suitable and on March 5th 2009 we drove to Old Vintage Cranks to pick up my bargain
Frame on roof 1.JPG
Frame on roof 1.JPG (134.3 KiB) Viewed 419 times
Loading tub.JPG
Loading tub.JPG (165.85 KiB) Viewed 419 times

The story goes that a few years before, Ken at OVC supplied a pair of new Dnepr outfits 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. Even though Ken told them he had other machines they could use if they needed to wreck something, they filmed a truck driving over one of the outfits and worse yet it didn't even appear in the movie.
After the surviving outfit and the wreck were returned to OVC someone bought the good one but wanted the sidecar to match so Ken swapped it with a black one. Later on he used the tub in the restoration of an old flathead dnepr. I ended up with the movie star's sidecar frame and the old flathead's original body.

Here's what it looked like when I got it home
My new sidecar 700.JPG
My new sidecar 700.JPG (42.12 KiB) Viewed 419 times

I knew there were rust holes in the bottom before I bought it so I expected it would need bodywork
15 Mar 09 outer bottom.JPG
15 Mar 09 outer bottom.JPG (259.57 KiB) Viewed 419 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#9

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Just to clarify things: The Dnepr sidecar frame I bought was less than 5 years old and had only a few thousand Km on it but the body was probably over 45 years old. And I got a slightly better price for it with no wheel or seat (I had plans about those).

For those who don't know, the Dnepr is a sister bike to the Ural. Both of them were based on the BMW R71 design that the Soviets got as part of a technology transfer treaty with Germany in the 1930s (this was before the Jeep was invented when sidecar outfits were commonly used by armies for light personnel transport). When the Hitler started invading other countries Stalin joined the nations that were allied against them but the Soviet factory kept producing sidecar outfits for military use.
After the war the design was awarded to them as a spoil of war so that they could continue producing them, which they did in 2 slightly different versions, one in a factory in the Ural mountains and the other in a factory near the Dnepr river. By the late '50s the original flathead engine design was getting pretty dated do they re-designed it and introduced their pushrod OHV version (similar to the ones BMW was producing by then but with a few significant differences) in the early '60s.
Over the years the Ural and Dnepr evolved differently (but still with the same cycle parts, drive train, frame &c). By the time Dnepr production ended (some time around 2005) the most obvious difference was that the trunk of a Dnepr sidecar was accessed by tipping the back of the seat forward while the Ural's seat was fixed and it had a trunk lid.

It was the middle of April before I could really do any work on it. I started by stripping the paint and examining the holes better. At that point I decided to replace the whole floor instead of trying to patch the original one.
apr 09 bottom front 3a .JPG
apr 09 bottom front 3a .JPG (154.85 KiB) Viewed 405 times
apr 09 bottom rear a .JPG
apr 09 bottom rear a .JPG (155.96 KiB) Viewed 405 times

I also went to Cycle Salvage to find a suitable wheel and came home with an '83 GL1100 front wheel and a nice Kappa K35 topbox (with mounting plate) for the back of the sidecar and we went to Princess Auto and picked out a nice tractor seat that Kay felt comfortable in (you'll see them in later pics) and a "shutz" gun for spraying undercoating.

The Dnepr sidecar body was wider at the top than the bottom; The new seat fit between the top of the body OK but not the bottom. No problem - since I had the floor cut out anyway I'd just make the new one wide enough. And while I was at it I'd make the floor deeper, level with the bottom of the frame. My original plan was to MOG braze the new panels on but I couldn't get that to work so I called on a friend who does welding. I screwed everything together and he took it to his place to torch braze.

Around then I put Mr.H on the road for the summer, moved Eccles to the shed and started getting the sidecar frame ready to attach to the bike. Step 1 was to get bearings that fit the Honda wheel and the sidecar's axle, make a suitable bearing spacer and modify the wheel's hub to accept it. Once the wheel was on the frame I supported it on blocks in the big part of the garage (where the car parks in the winter) so I could park Mr.H next to it while I figured out how I was going to attach them together. (My regular parking space was to be the body shop for the next few weeks.)

By July 9th I had pretty much figured out how to attach the bike & sidecar and the body looked like this
19 july 09 left side 1000.JPG
19 july 09 left side 1000.JPG (196.87 KiB) Viewed 405 times
19 july 09 right side 1000.JPG
19 july 09 right side 1000.JPG (159.65 KiB) Viewed 405 times

Note the hand hammered ribs in the floor, the reinforcing ribs (made from pieces of the packing from Ural outfits) and the support for the seat
19 july 09 bottom inside 1000.JPG
19 july 09 bottom inside 1000.JPG (175.33 KiB) Viewed 405 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#10

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Dnepr sidecar frames are designed to mate with Dnepr motorcycle frames. For the lower attachment points the sidecar frames have ball mouths that attach to balls welded onto the bike frames and the upper attachments are conventional threaded telescopic struts that attach to eye bolts in lugs on the sidecar frame and more eye bolts bolted into tunnels in the bike's frame.
Image
https://forths.com/index.php/2016/12/04/update_exhaust/

That's perfect until you try to attach a Dnepr sidecar to a different bike. The upper mounts weren't an issue with standard frame clamps like this
Image


Similar clamps with balls can be bought (or made) but the Dnepr sidecar's front ballmouth isn't adjustable and there was no suitable place to attach it to the 'Wing's frame that would also let the rear ballmouth reach the bike's frame, which meant I would need a subframe attached to the bike support suitable mounting points. I had expected that because I needed a subframe when I attached a similar sidecar to the '77 'Wing so I had bought a couple of balls from Ken that I could attach to the subframe.

There are 3 basic parameters that you need to consider regarding sidecar setup: Sidecar wheel lead, toe in and leanout. Toe in and leanout can usually be adjusted later but with a non-adjustable lower front mount on the sidecar the lead had to be designed into the subframe.
The sidecar wheel lead is the distance that the sidecar's axle is in front of the bike's rear axle. Ideally it should be somewhere between 6" and 10" (although Harley's unsprung sidecars had zero lead) but some websites I looked at said as much as 15" for outfits with track widths close to 60" (I wouldn't want to drive that in the snow). Too much lead can make the steering heavy and too little can make the wheel lift too easily as well as increasing pull to the right.

So I spent a bunch of time sitting on a milk crate in the middle of the sidecar frame contemplating how & where to attach it. I was explaining what track width & lead mean to a couple of friends when I realized that unless I want to make the track even wider (wider track = reduced top speed and poorer mileage) there were only two places fore/aft that the sidecar could go: 1) with the nut for the ball between the right hand header pipes and 2) with the nut between the front header pipe and the piece the piece of angle that runs from the main part of the subframe to the front down tube of the bike frame.
If I put it between the headers the rear connection would be farther back than I wanted and if I put it in front of the header the lead would be greater than optimal. I chose the latter.

In the end I came up with this:
- The subframe would be a 3' piece of 2x2x1/4" angle iron running parallel to the centreline of the bike with a 5" piece welded on at the front to allow it to anchor to the front down tube of the bike's frame
- two brackets, each made up from two 2" pieces of the same angle would be welded together and welded to the subframe so that it could be bolted to both of the right footpeg mounts
- This would produce a lead of about 14" and a track width of about 52 or 53". That's a bit more lead and a bit wider than I would have preferred but would be acceptable for an 80 HP outfit that won't be used in deep snow.

I expected to have to buy a length of angle iron and spend a lot of time cutting & grinding but when I went to the local fabricator to get the angle he asked me what cuts I needed and then used his big water cooled saw to cut them for me in a couple of minutes and only charged me $10 for everything.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the subframe and you can't see it well in any of the pics of the outfit I took at the time. I was able to take some pics of it the next time I separated the bike & sidecar in 2018, though.
Note that the subframe as originally made moved on the bike's frame a bit so in 2012 I added the arm that reaches to the left side to stabilize it as shown in these pics.

Image

Note that I had to adjust the master cylinder so that the pedal is as high as possible and still had to cut a notch in the subframe to allow it to move far enough. With the pedal raised the peg was too low so I modified the stops on the footpeg mounts to raise them a bit.
Image

More info about the subframe and about setting up sidecars at https://www.ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic ... 16&t=65631

By the beginning of August I was riding Mr.H on 2 wheels with the subframe attached and the body looked like this
primer 1000.jpg
primer 1000.jpg (134.12 KiB) Viewed 393 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#11

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

I'm hooked on this story of the evolution. Thanks.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#12

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Thanks.

I sprayed the inside with Rubberized Rockerguard, then flipped it over, masked and painted the bottom and the lower 5" or so with Rockerguard before we left for a brief vacation. When we returned on Aug. 8 I knew I wouldn't have time to get it painted before the CURD rally the next weekend so I mounted the body in primer & the fender in the red it had been painted for the movie, attached the sidecar to the bike and drove it up & down the road a few times, then mounted & connected the tail light so I could drive it to work in the morning.

The drive to work was somewhat less pleasurable than expected. The wobble began at 20 Km/h and continued until almost 60. All sidecar outfits have a steering wobble at around 40 Km/h (25 MPH). It is caused by the centring effect of the front end's trail, the push from the back wheel and the drag from the sidecar being off to the side all having a little war. If the setup is good the wobble will only happen at a very narrow range of speeds and you can avoid it by simply not driving at that speed. A couple of Km/h faster or slower should be all it takes and once you get used to it you just accelerate through it without really noticing.
But this was something different altogether.

When I got home I did some quick research on the web and made adjustments. I increased the toe in a bit, reduced the leanout a bit and increased the tire pressure. It made a substantial difference but it still wasn't right.
While I was at it I noticed that the spring on the shock is really stiff. Even at the softest setting the swingarm was almost touching the rubber limiter (bumper?) with my weight in the sidecar. I filled my 5 gallon gas can with water (10 lb/gal X 5 = 50 Lb of ballast), put it in the sidecar and tried again: even less wobble!
I stopped for groceries on the way home the next day and bought a lot of stuff that was mostly water (quick estimate another 50-75 Lb) and there was even less wobble so when I got home I persuaded my wife to go for a test drive with me. With 50 Lb of water + her weight the wobble seemed acceptable so I hoped it would be OK for the weekend and I could fine tune it afterward.
Al Kay (Curd Iron) 3 (1000).JPG
Al Kay (Curd Iron) 3 (1000).JPG (132.35 KiB) Viewed 364 times

Note how much wider this outfit is than the Ural outfits because of having to use a subframe.
Al Kay (Curd Iron) 5 (1000).JPG
Al Kay (Curd Iron) 5 (1000).JPG (148.99 KiB) Viewed 364 times

I never did figure out why but it was still unpredictable. It was OK once moving but occasionally felt like it was trying to buck me off when pulling away. And the steering was really heavy, which was not surprising as it's the longest, widest, heaviest outfit I have owned.

When we got back I decided to do something about that stiff Dnepr shock spring so I dug around and found one of the original shocks from the GL1000 that were way too soft when I attached the sidecar to it. I don't know how they get the original shocks in but I had to use a mallet and a crowbar to get it out. The Honda shock went in easily, the sidecar sat lower and there was even less wobble but I still didn't trust it without the ballast.
I tried every adjustment I could, including lowering the triple clamps on the forks, increasing & decreasing the leanout, changing the toe in. The only thing that made much difference was leaning forward when I accelerated.

I finally gave up and ordered a steering damper and a stanchion clamp.

BTW: The best mileage I recorded solo was 52.8 MPG (based on full size Imperial gallons, not the miniature gallons used in the US) and the average was closer to 48 if I kept the speed below 120 Km/h. Coming home from the rally with Kay in the sidecar and all the gear at speeds up to 115 and running with traffic at over 100 most of the way it did 33 MPG. In the weeks after I managed about 42MPG on one tank by limiting myself to 100 Km/h max while commuting (=90% outside of town at 80+ Km/h).
(Now that I'm retired and most of my mileage is short trips in town at 50 Km/h or so I get closer 30 MPG.)

Labour Day weekend (Sep. 5-7) was painting time. I had originally only intended to use the Rubberized Rockerguard on the interior and on the bottom and lower few inches of the sides but after looking at the bumpy black on those parts for a month I had started to like the way it looked so after separating the bike & sidecar and getting it ready for paint on Friday evening I started Saturday by giving the outside of the body, the fender & parts of the frame (I didn't take the sidecar apart) a coat of primer. Kay's parents showed up just as I was finished cleaning the spray gun to take is out for lunch, which gave the primer lots of time to dry and when we got back I sprayed about a gallon of Rubberized Rockerguard (fender 2 coats inside & out, body another coat inside and 2 outside over the whole thing). On Monday I sprayed the whole thing with 2 coats of gloss black acrylic and on Monday I re-attached it to the bike so I could drive it to work Tuesday morning.
The texture of the Rockerguard under the gloss enamel makes it look sort of sparkly. I later learned that the texture also makes touching up stone chips a lot easier: A dab of paint in the chip and it blends in perfectly :orange
08 sep 09 Benny+new paint 1.JPG
08 sep 09 Benny+new paint 1.JPG (263.45 KiB) Viewed 364 times

And a couple of days later
14 Sept 09 1 1000.JPG
14 Sept 09 1 1000.JPG (221.28 KiB) Viewed 364 times

At that point, progress on the new sidecar slowed while I concentrated on getting Eccles ready for the winter season. I won't be out after dark much so the sidecar headlight, HID bulbs and LED turn signals could all wait for spring. It was far more important to rewire Eccles' fairing and get the new sidecar headlight and its HIDs installed before it got too cold.

For reference, Eccles is the CX650E based sidecar outfit that I use in winter. Before I retired I drove it to work every day no matter what the weather (occasionally on days when some of my co-workers with cars stayed home). Here's what it looked like in the winter of 2009-10 (taken when we participated in the Polar Bear Ride on Jan 1st)
Polar Bear 2010 - Bob.jpg
Polar Bear 2010 - Bob.jpg (306.59 KiB) Viewed 364 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#13

Post by Sidecar Bob »

The boat top guy that built the top for Eccles wasn't returning my calls so I gave up and found someone else. But he was in the middle of the fall rush so he couldn't take it for a while so I drove it to work every day without a cover and carried a small tarp and some bungees to cover it in the parking lot if I thought it might rain.

I ordered the steering damper and the stanchion clamp on Aug 26. The damper took 9 days to arrive from Asia but the stanchion clamp took 27 days to arrive from the US (I've since learned that items shipped from the US almost always take twice as long to get here than items shipped from Asia or Europe).
While I was waiting I had made up the bracket to attach the damper to the frame (a 12mm nut brazed to a 1 1/4" muffler clamp). I mounted the fork bracket so the arm stuck out to the right of the fork and attached the other end to the frame just behind the radiator and discovered that the damper's 100mm stroke reduced how far I could turn the handlebars by about half. The wobble was completely gone and driving felt much better but I couldn't manoeuvre in tight spaces. I ended up removing the damper when I bent the muffler clamp trying to turn the handlebars.

A bit time looking at pics of steering dampers online and a half hour in the shop figuring how things would fit and I took my muffler clamp back to work (the boss let me play in the shop during breaks and after hours) to modify it again. This time I brazed 2 nuts side by side (to make a longer threaded hole), spaced out form the clamp body by a square 1/4" nut. When I got home I painted it and then installed it. With the bracket on the frame tube just above the rad and the stanchion clamp pointing back from the left stanchion moving the handlebars from full lock to full lock uses about 90% of the damper's stroke.
I didn't take a pic of the damper at the time but here's one from a couple of years later
Steering Damper.jpg
Steering Damper.jpg (111.02 KiB) Viewed 344 times

I had been planning to use one piece tubes for the sidecar top and a vinyl windshield as on Eccles but Kay said it would be nice to have the top down sometimes and Danny (the boat top guy) said a hard windshield would be much better on something that wide so I scrambled to find something that would fit. The only ones I could find were either way too short or were too thin (Danny said 5mm minimum thickness to support the top) so I decided to make my own.
Danny gave me a couple of pieces of pole (3/4" OD aluminum tubing) about 18" long with about a 10 degree bend (the sides still taper toward the bottom slightly) to bolt to the sides of the body to support it. I bought a 22" x 16" piece of 5mm lexan cut to size with a 5" radius on the upper corners and the edges polished from a local glass & window shop for about $26.
I had to bolt the poles on the body, cut the bottom edge of the lexan to match the curve of the body and mount the windshield to the poles.
9 October 2009
Oct 09 no top 1000.JPG
Oct 09 no top 1000.JPG (216.15 KiB) Viewed 344 times

That was all I could do until Danny told me to bring it to him so I concentrated on getting Eccles ready to go (mostly converting the bike & sidecar headlights to HID, going through the fairing's wiring to undo many years of small changes and make the alterations to suit the HIDs and a new rear tire).

On the way home from work on Friday Nov. 13, while making a right turn into our street on Mr.H, I pushed the left handlebar and pulled the right as I have done literally thousands of times on sidecar outfits but this time something in my left wrist went pop and I could no longer fully straighten my thumb. Fortunately, I was still able to grip relatively normally so I was able to operate the clutch for the rest of the drive home with only minor discomfort. I'm glad I was near home when this happened.

I could push the thumb straight with no pain, but if I tried to move it past about half way on it's own I had an excruciating pain in the back of the wrist. Nurse Kay (AKA S.W.M.B.O.) looked at it and said "You need to go to the hospital for X-rays." In truth, I had been thinking the same thing, so I did not put up any resistance. We sat in the emergency department for over 3 hours before the doctor told us that the problem was probably that the capsule that the tendons run through had popped. Treatment: a course of anti-inflammatory drugs and have the family doc (who specialized in sports medicine before he decided to go into family practice) look at it. Saw him the next morning and he cut the dosage in half and said I should be able to drive an outfit if I wear a brace on my wrist.

The good news is that Danny told me to bring the outfit to him on the 25th.

I saw the doc again on Dec.9th and he referred me to a plastic surgeon. He looked at my hands, pointed to where the tendon moved under the skin when I extended my right thumb and where there was no tendon visible on the left hand and said "You have a ruptured tendon." And scheduled me for tendon transfer surgery on Jan. 14th.
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#14

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I forgot to mention the tail lights:
I wanted the bike and sidecar to have matching tail lights so I bought pair of rectangular trailer lights in the hope that I could mount their boards inside the bike's original tail light and a matching Honda light for the sidecar. I hooked up one Honda light with the original incandescent bulbs, one of the trailer lights with its original lens and one of the LED boards sitting in the other Honda lens, turned off the lights and looked at them from about 15-20 feet.
Even though its lens looked darker the trailer light was by far the brightest, the Honda light with incandescents was next and the LED board in the Honda lens was the dimmest.
More info about why here: https://www.ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic ... 24#p439624

As much as I would have preferred to have matching Honda lights with LEDs in them on the bike and sidecar, form must always come second to function when safety is involved so Mr.H has the trailer lights in their original, somewhat industrial looking housings and with their original lenses.

Mr.H was ready to bring home on Dec.13. I really expected the drive home to be rather unpleasant, what with my thumb and all plus we had to tilt the bars up to clear the top and I expected the change in aerodynamics to make a difference. I think I could have gotten used to the bars where they were if I adjusted the controls back to level, but to keep the right hand mirror from hitting the top I had to rotate it so that the long axis is vertical and it really didn't show enough of the road that way. That was OK for the 25 Km trip home and then into the shed for the winter but I'd need to make changes in the spring.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, considering that it snowed and the tires weren't suited for that. The sliding was easily controllable and I when I glanced in the mirrors the headlights behind me were usually receding.
When I added the windshield my top speed and mileage both decreased noticeably so I was a bit concerned that the cover would be an even bigger sail, but when I hit patches of relatively clear pavement that allowed me to get over 80 KM/h I discovered that I didn't feel the sidecar as much as I remembered from my last ride and the wind blast on my chest seemed to be reduced too. I'd have to wait for spring to get out on some dry roads to be sure but I was happy with it so far.

When I got home I popped the trunks on and took some pics. Kay got inside and said it was roomier than her Imprezza.
Cover Dec.13 2009 1.jpg
Cover Dec.13 2009 1.jpg (151.33 KiB) Viewed 337 times
Cover Dec.13 2009 2.jpg
Cover Dec.13 2009 2.jpg (141.91 KiB) Viewed 337 times
Cover Dec.13 2009 3.jpg
Cover Dec.13 2009 3.jpg (139.73 KiB) Viewed 337 times
Cover Dec.13 2009 4.jpg
Cover Dec.13 2009 4.jpg (159.89 KiB) Viewed 337 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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....
User avatar
Sidecar Bob
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Re: Mr.H: How a motorcycle evolves over time

#15

Post by Sidecar Bob »

My surgery went well. I won't go into all of the details here but basically the tendons are used to pull the fingers & thumbs straight after the muscles bend them. There are 2 tendons running to the pointing finger and when the one to the thumb pops they move one of those to the thumb. After the surgery you have 3 months of recovery and physio. The thumb will never straighten like it did originally but it is a lot better than it was.

I forgot to mention that when I picked up Mr.H from Danny there was a puddle under it. The seal in one of the shocks had decided its time was up. When I asked about possible inexpensive replacements on the forum the next spring a member contacted me about some he was selling. He had bought a bunch of GL1500 shocks that were removed from new bikes by a dealer that installed Lehmann trike kits on them. 1500s have a non-adjustable coil over on one side and an air shock on the other and he ended up with more of the coil overs than the air shocks so he offered me a really good deal on a pair of the coil overs. They work really well with the weight of the sidecar.

After 13 years the rattle can green paint was starting to look tired (not to mention the original black and the spray can black), especially next to the sidecar's new paint. I hoped to paint the bike to match in the spring of 2010 but between recovering from the surgery until mid April ("No, you can't start sanding body parts") and preparations for our youngest daughter's wedding in June there just wasn't time. Especially if it had to be back together in time for her to arrive at the wedding in it
arriving 800.jpg
arriving 800.jpg (168.88 KiB) Viewed 323 times

A week or so later Mr.H became a brand new bike. Or at least the odometer said it was brand new (rolling the odometer over in Km isn't as big an accomplishment as it is in miles but it is still pretty neat)
Low mileage GoldWing 900.jpg
Low mileage GoldWing 900.jpg (169.5 KiB) Viewed 323 times

Most of what I did to Mr.H that year was finishing up electrical details like converting the bike's headlight to HID, running wires to the front of the sidecar (we used heat shrink to sleeve the new harness), adding the sidecar headlight (off road spotlight converted to HID low beam), convert the running lights that I no longer needed with the better headlights to LED marker lights, changing the bike's left front signal to LED and adding its mate to the sidecar (& removing the bike's right signal altogether) and changing the bike's left rear signal to match the one on the sidecar.

I also changed to Duro HF-308 tires on the sidecar and the bike's front and a Kings KT909 on the rear. The previous Kenda K673 Kruz tires were the best I'd ever had on 2 wheels (largely due to the front's triangular profile that made it lean into turns like a much narrower tire while increasing the contact patch when leaned) but the change to the Duro's more square profile was the final fix for the unpredictable head shake.

I mentioned that there was a significant decrease in fuel economy with the sidecar. I was already talking about adding a second tank in '09 so I spent some of the time while I was recovering from the surgery looking into what was available. I figured there isn't much point to adding a tank unless it would extend my range by at least 100 Km. At about 12.8 Km per litre that meant I needed at least 7.8L so it had to hold a minimum of 2 US gallons. My first thought was to mount an aluminum tank on the back of the sidecar but with the shape of the top there just wasn't enough room for both a tank that big and a trunk there.
Anyway, along the line I came across the Rotopax gas cans that a lot of the off road crowd use and figured out that one of their 3 US gallon cans would fit nicely in the space between the right saddlebag and the sidecar body. When it came I attached it to the sidecar body with chromed steel straps and cut a disc of fibreglass printed circuit board to replace the cap's original plastic disc so that I could mount a pickup hose and a breather in it and plumbed the bike's tank and the Rotopax to the fuel pump via a marine fuel tank selector valve that I mounted above the fuel pump.
It increased my range by 150 Km.

Other than that the only thing in my log for that year worth noting is rebuilding the fuel pump
https://www.ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic ... 84#p269684

For some reason the only bike project I took a pic of that year was the hubcap I made for the sidecar wheel from an LED flashlight housing
hubcap.jpg
hubcap.jpg (217.42 KiB) Viewed 323 times
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer How a motorcycle evolves 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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