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Sidecar Page

Kenneth's Web Page

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Current Hack

After I sold my other sidecar rig, began day dreaming of a larger unit. Reading and research had me curious about an EML conversion with a leading link front fork. Wanting a reliable unit I searched for a Goldwing and preferred a newer unit with reverse.

Time pasted and I found a EML unit on a 1984 Honda GL 1200  with most of my desires....no reverse in 1984. This is a Standard model.. ie unfaired unit.  It really gives the bike a different look.

I brought the unit home from Texas and have been enjoying it for several years. 

Several updates have been made to the unit:

EML leading link front forks. The response and handling difference is AMAZING.

Square profile wheels and tires. Reduced tire wear and larger contact patch.

The intergrated front/rear braking system makes the bike stop with ease.

I added a reserve fuel tank for longer range. The fuel burn is in the 25 mpg range.

As the bike aged the charging system failed. This is know issue for the early Goldwings.  I chose to install an alternator conversion to my unit.  It bypasses the stator and voltage regulator.  I now producet a full 45 amps at 2500 rpm..  No more charging woes.

We really enjoy the Sidecar riders we meet. They are a unique group.

 

 

 

 

First Rig

1983 Honda Night Hawk 650cc with CA sidecar

Vehicle Description


When I saw sidecar at a local motorcycle show, I knew I had to have one.  This bike is a joy to ride and is small enough not to be intimidating.
 
If a Goldwing with a sidecar scares you, this is the ride for you. This is a light weight, responsive rig that is fun to ride.
 
Bike Information:
After much reading and research I developed a list of features I wanted for my sidecar set up.  This led me to purchase a 1983 Honda Night Hawk from my local dealer.
 
The features that make the Night Hawk an ideal side car rig. 
1. Hydraulic clutch - reduces hand fatigue
2. Shaft drive - requires less maintenance and is ideal for sidecar applications
3. Anti-dive fork (TRAC system) - prevents weight transfer due to additional weight of sidecar
4. Dual front disk brakes-optimal for stopping added weight
5. Tunable rear suspension for optimal handling
 
Other Features of the Bike:
1. Elevated and longer handle bars for increased comfort and leverage.
2. Digital fuel gauge
3. Wind shield for wind protection ( well used)
4. Square profile rear tire for added traction and improved tire wear.
5. Fork stabilizer added to reduce head oscillations. This is a common characteristic for sidecars.  It is due to the asymmetric wheel pattern.  The stabilizer reduces the oscillation by 98%.  
6. Foam padded grips to reduce hand fatigue.
7. Bike and car are kept in a heated garage
8. The bike has 20050 miles on it.
9. Inline 4 cylinder
 
Sidecar
Upon reading about the numerous sidecars on the market, I selected a CA Sidecar Friendship 1 unit.  More information on CA sidecars can be found at  : 
 
Feature of the side car:
1. Safer four point mounting system - removes in 10 minutes installs in 20 minutes.  This allows you to drop the sidecar to ride the bike as a stand alone bike. 
2.  Bimini cover for car
3. Extra foam padding added to leather covered seat.
4. Lap belts
5. Rear rack, ideal for small cooler ( see photo)
6. Torsion rod suspension
7.  Sidecar mirror
8. Auxiliary car head light, running, stop and signal light
9. Front and rear chrome bumper. Stock upgrade
10. Folding entry step
11. Quick release wiring harness
12. Custom gold pin stripes and the words "Family Traditions" painted on the wheel side of the car.
 
 
The car was originally mounted to a GL 1100.  The bike and car are color matched very well.   I have greatly enjoyed riding this bike.  My dog loves it too. The only problem with the rig is the fight between the dog and the girl friend to decide who gets to ride...  Some times they both get to go.      I do however get more waves and laughs when drivers see the dog riding in the sidecar with her ears flapping in the wind........
 
Handling characteristics
1. Alignment is critical to the setup of a sidecar.  I have spent MANY hours aligning this rig.  When riding alone I keep 50-75 lbs of car weight to stabilize it in right hand turns.  The rig is very stable and well balanced.  The car can be flown very well and comes up slowly. Oddly I experience muscle pain in my right thigh when I fly the car.  Then again that may be my girl friend hitting me with her fist, while yelling "Stop It". 
 
2. I suggest that a new rider utilize the steering stabilizer to add a margin of safety.  I however prefer to ride the unit without it to increase the steering response.  Without the stablizer there is a head oscillation at 23-26 mph.  As stated earlier this is common factor in many small sidecar units, given the off center pull of the hack wheel.
 
3. As with most  sidecars there is some acceleration lag and braking push.  Each is readily manageable with familiazation with the rig.
 
More information on sidecar alignment can be found at Sidecar.com...Tech pages : http://www.sidecar.com/sic/techpages.htm
 
 
Ideal uses for bike:
1. Parades
2. Camping trips
3. Shopping.  I love to see the bag boys face with you tell him to put 10 bags of groceries in a motorcycle.
4. Touring around town and sight seeing.  It adds margin of comfort when you don't have to worry about putting your foot down or dropping the bike.   
 
Things that are less than spec:
1. This is golf ball size dent in each side of the fuel tank.  These were there before I bought the bike and have been touch up with matching paint.
2. There are normal wear scratches and marks.  This rig was built to be used.  We have attended two Sidecar shows with this rig and had a blast.
3. The rig will run 65mph with a 150 lbs rider and a 150 lbs passenger. It's more comfortable at 55 mph.
 
Things repaired or replace:
1. Annual fluid and filter replacement: brakes fluid, clutch fluid, drive line oil
2. New battery in 2000
3. New front tire 2000 (3000 miles on tire) good tread remaining.
4. New rear tire in 2002 (< 500 miles on tire)
5. Wider/taller bars in 2001
6. Rebuilt front forks with new seals and oil.
7. New rear wheel bearing, brakes in 2002
8. New seat cover in 2000
9. Cleaned and inspected fuse box and wiring connectors in 2001.  Due to known poor connector on Hondas
10.  Second set of brakes included.  3/4 life remaining.
 
I have owned this rig since 11-22-99. It has been a pleasing/ learning experience.  Please contact me if you are interesting in experiencing the world of sidecar riding.  The only reason I sold this rig was to free up storage space for my next project a 1956 BMW Isetta

If you are thinking of buying or building and have questions, give me a call or e-mail.  I can share my experiences with you.

The Night Hawk as found a new owner. On Sept 7, 2003 the new owner ( Darrell Doebelin ) took the rig home to Oklahoma.  I hope he and his family enjoys the bike as we have.  Check out the happy new owner below.

 

 

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New owner Darrell Doebelin of Tulsa OK

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Darrell demonstrating his riding skills and Kenneth preparing for a rapid dismount. Just kidding...

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Side photos

 If you know anyone who can appreciate such a vehicle, please give them my number and email. 423-526-1328 or email KLW@centurytel.net

The bike is located in Tazewell TN, which is 40 miles North of Knoxville TN. Look for the convergence points of TN, KY and VA to find Tazewell, TN.

Click here to send me an email message KLW@centurytel.net