From:Gene Harper
Subject:RE: RE: RE: Sidecar lesson Date:Tue Sep 3 23:48:44 2013
Response to:4823
Thanks Barry!

It was good to meet you at Davenport. The X with Flxi sidecar is settling in, or maybe I am settling in with the X. I put on about 20 miles riding around the fairgrounds at Davenport. Trying to avoid the gawkers and golf carts was good practice and turns are much easier now, but still challenging at times. My Yogi told me during morning meditation: "Ah grasshopper, when you can ride the Flxi with no hands, then it is time for you to leave". So guess I'll be in training for a while longer!

I've ridden sidecars for decades and never felt the need to add weight when riding empty, just adjust the riding style accordingly. Perhaps with the aluminum body, you may need to. Every sidecar rig I've ever ridden wobbles at low speed, that seems to be an inherent trait of the bastard 3 wheeler, the Flxi is no exception. Steering dampers help for sure, but if adjusted tight enough to stop all wobble, it is VERY difficult to steer! One important thing to check during setup is to be absolutely sure there is no play in any of the front end parts. The head bearings should be tight enough to drag a bit. Newer machines with Timken bearings can be loaded up, running tight even. All fork pins and bushings as well as wheel bearings need to be as tight as possible. Loosness in these parts will cause more wobble.

With a little practice, you'll be flying the chair at will and doing left hand 180's while pivoting the entire rig on the front fork bearings! Have fun!


Doug, I agree with what you are saying but I am sure it is set up well as it will
track true hands off at 35 mph and there is no steering damper . I set the toe
in and lean out religiously. With the aluminum body it is very light hence
ballast required. And speaking of sidecars it was a treat to see Gene's
incredible Excelsior / Flxi in action at Davenport. He too, is going through a
learning curve albeit steeper than mine (pun intended. ) THE RIG IS BEAUTIFUL

Besides your need to show off, I think the main problem with sidecars is not
properly aligning them, and making them beasts to ride.
Bill Patt's old 1941 Chief with a NYPD sidecar was recently wrecked by it's new
owner. This bike was the very first Indian I ever rode back in the 1970's. Bill
let me loose on his Chief and as soon as I took my hand off the grip to shift, it
went into a serious head shake and I ended up in a field...with everyone
laughing at me. It appears they knew the bike. When Bill took me for a ride,
he shifted with his elbow, not taking his hand off the grips. When it was
eventually sold and restored, the guy never rode it. Then it was sold recently
to a neophyte who didn't know how to ride an Indian. He didn't even know
how to start it up, asking where's the starter button. Eventually he got it
started and his intial ride was tragic for both the bike and himself. He went
into a ditch. My belief was that the rig was never trued up properly. So I
remind everyone with sidecars to do your work on them so you can safely
enjoy them.

I have learned it is wise to have some weight in the car as the wheel came up
and I was headed for my old truck. The observers thought I was showing off,
you can see the brake lights are on . It's a lot different from riding solo.