- Location: Wellington
- Bike: BMW Supertanker, R80 & Velorex Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
Comes down to what you want to use the sidecar for. I have Eddies old R80 & Velorex 562 sidecar. It’s great for gravel roads & moderate off road, with lightness being a major advantage.
But put a heavier passenger in it, & run it on the seal exclusively, & it starts getting to be hard work, & the sidecar frame becomes a little flexi.
The R80 is a mono (ex R80TIC police bike, now sans fairing), repowered with an R100GS engine, but running an R65 final drive.
The mono front end has loads of trail – which makes it a heavy steerer in sidecar applications. I have a revised top triple clamp to assist with this – but it’s still a lot of work, especially if you want to go quick. You’ll also need to revise the suspension – easy enough to do.
I’ve modified the Velorex chair with a much heavier axle (stock is 15mm, which is way too light), & cast wheel. The stock spoked Velorex wheel is reputed to be strong enough, but the chair came to me with a GN125 or 250 wheel, which wasn’t.
The Ural (& clone) chairs are heavier, & more robust, & easier for the passengers to embark & disembark from. But I think my wife actually prefers the more enclosed feel of the Velorex.
I run the Velorex un-ballasted, but wouldn’t let an inexperienced person ride it without this – Eddie is right in terms of it’s tendency to fly the chair. I am used to this, & use it as part of a suite of skills in riding.
Re the subframe, have a look at the design of some of the commercially available ones. The R80 main frame isn’t robust enough for a sidecar, so the subframes primary role is to supplement this.
These things are a huge amount of fun once you get used to them & the way they (don’t) handle. People also react well to them – they are seen as being cool – I’ve had people hanging out of cars on the motorway so they could take a photo.