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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,



A long-time Honda afficionado, the GoldWing 1500 is my choice for touring duty, and the CB1000F for . . . . well . . . you know. Lately, I've been bouncing around reading up on the Honda transverse V-twins on your archived ChopperCharles forum, and elsewhere.



I am in the concept stage of a winter-duty utility sidecar project, which I may build this summer. After this epic long winter, I wish to make my 80 mile round trip to work more fun in the snowy, sloppy, PA "off-season" . . . . The CX500 is high on my list of potential tugs, due to it's low price, shaft drive, tubeless wheels, and of course Honda reliability. I'm here to learn from CX/GL500 pilots, and figure which might be the best model to use - if I go that route. I understand some versions had stator issues, like the GL1200s had.



I'm also considering dual purpose (XL/XR650) tugs, but they are several times more expensive - and this is a low-buck deal.



I'll shut up and read now. Thanks in advance for any ideas I can pick up from you good folks.
 

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Well several cx's have been fitted with side cars. In all we found some cures to stator/cdi issues but if I had my pick on which cx500 to use it would be the 82 TI bike. All the Gl500's would be great candidates. If a little more power is sought after it would be a gl650. But if you're going to play around with it as a commuting bike any of these would be fine.



Welcome to the group. This is truly one of the most reliable easiest to work on bikes out there.
 

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Welcome to the group.



For a sidecar rig I would choose the GL650. It has more torque and more HP to move a sidecar around. One of the GL650s I sold went to someone who had a 1200 Goldwing he lost in a divorce. He said the GL650 seemed to have as much or more performance as his Goldwing did. He did say he figured the weight difference between the bikes was the reason.
 

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Welcome to the group, where bout's in PA are you? I used to live in west chester, learned to drive cars there but never rode a bike there. Hopefully SidecarBob will chime in on this thread, he's a 365 day cx rider. Good luck on your creation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, guys. The extra power of the bigger machine makes good sense, though I don't see the 650s on the block nearly as frequently as the 500s. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open.



I currently have a sweet-running '86 GL1200 Aspencade for sale, and have a hard time imagining the 650 pulling near as hard. My CX experience thus far is limited to a 25 mile rip on my Father-in-laws GL500. I'd very much like to ride a 650.



We are quite rural, the nearest town to us is Tamaqua. I work in engineering in Reading, and have been involved on several jobs in the West Chester area. It would be excellent to hear from Bob - it sounds like he has experience in the EXACT situation I am considering (if he lives where it snows) . . . .
 

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Why not just put the sidecar on the 1200. The extra displacement will help keep your mileage drop at a minimum due to the a sidecar. The smaller the bike the bigger percentage of mpg drop when adding a trailer or sidecar to a rig.



For example, when I pulled my trailer with a 750 the mileage dropped from 50 to 28. With my 1200 my mileage only dropped from 52 to 45. You can figure similar drops with a sidecar.
 

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First of all welcome to the best "twisted twin" forum, lots of info available right here on the CX/GL.



Well if sidecar info is what you want here, then a fellow member know as "Sidecar Bob" has plenty of experience



and I am sure if you PM'd him, he would help you out in some way, he has answered many questions for me in the past.



I too am looking into a hack in the future.



Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll have to try to shoot a PM to Sidecar Bob.



My thoughts were to keep this outfit as mid-sized and light as possible, as it's primary intended use would be slogging through slushy, salty, low-traction messes during the winter months. I'm thinking a mid-sized street bike, or dualsport would be easier to slide around than a half ton of 'Wing. I agree, the smaller machine will have to work harder, and fuel mileage will likely not be very spectacular. Plus, the Aspencade is in really nice shape, and the piece I'm building will likely be quite a pig after a few seasons. Likely something in a rattle-can, olive drab . . .



From what I understand, the salt spray gets everywhere, and plays hell with electrical connections and electronics too. I'm thinking simpler and lighter may be better overall for this application. If it was to be a "normal" sidecar outfit - I'd definitely hang it on a 'Wing, without a second thought.



I see something around a half-liter, or slightly bigger - narrow dual sport-type tires, high fenders, preferrably shaft drive - with dirt bike bars, and a swap-meet batwing fairing. The hack will exist primarily as a balance aid in poor traction situations, and will consist of some type of weathertight enclosure, containing a marine battery, and room for some light cargo. Perhaps something along the lines of one of those triangular toolboxes seen on the tongues of well-equipped trailers.
 

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It would be excellent to hear from Bob - it sounds like he has experience in the EXACT situation I am considering (if he lives where it snows) . . . .


Naw, he doesn't get much snow,,he lives in Southern Ontario,,,,
 

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Compared to New Brunswick we don't get much snow. Compared to Pa... well, probably about the same, although I think this year we got a but less because a couple of big storms passed south of the Great Lakes.



I have been driving sidecar outfits (& a trike for a couple of years) since '87 so you could say I have learned a few things over the years.



I had a GL1000/Dnepr sidecar outfit for almost 5 winters and it was really too heavy to push out if it snowed during the day and in the parking lot wasn't plowed before I went home. Also, too much power makes it easier to break the back wheel's traction when the road is slippery and heavier = harder to stop in bad conditions. As you have already figured out, a GL500 or GL650 is just about right. Shaft drive is a must (after a couple of winters of heaving the beast up onto the centrestand so I could kneel in the slush to clean & lube the chain every time it snowed I vowed never to have another chain drive bike!) and if you are really serious about it I can tell you how to add a block heater on theses bikes.



A sidecar outfit is just about the safest vehicle there is on slippery roads. Each of the 3 wheels has a different job and you can feel what each one is doing all the time. All there is between where you hang on and thewheel that does the steering is suspension - no gearboxes, linkages, power assist &c. This means that you can actually tell when you have driven onto ice and you can slow down before you get into trouble, unlike a car where you find out you are on ice when its too late. Personally, I don't think vehicles that do not have separate controls for the front & rear brakes should be allowed on the road in the winter.



Don't spray paint your winter machine. Spray paint goes on too thin (especially from a rattle can) to stand up to the salt & grit that are blasted into it in the winter. High quality rust paint applied with a brush is the way to go.



Dress like a snowmobiler. If you are cheap (like me) and don't care about the latest style you can get last year's gear on sale at the beginning of the season and this year's at the end of the season. I usually pay about $100 for a 2 piece snowmobile suit (on days like today I need the full suit in the morning but don't bother with the pants on the way home) that will keep me warm (without any electric vests or other watt wasters) down to -30c. I normally wear a t-shirt & jeans under it. When it gets to -30c I add a sweater vest over my t-shirt. A snowmobile helmet is a motorcycle helmet but with extras for cold weather. You can often get one with an electric anti-fog shield for not much more than the helmet alone. Good snowmobile mitts are a must - gloves are not a viable option when it is really cold out. Get a pair of insulated rubber boots like hunters wear so your feet won't get wet when the snow turns to rain - waterproof=windproof so they will be warmer than any other kind of boots too.



Bike prep (you can do more, but these are the basics):

- The winter bike should have a fairing & lowers. I personally prefer the look of an unfaired bike but when it's -20c I want the fairing. Make sure you can see over the windshield because it will be covered with dirt/ice/snow a lot of the time.

- Handlebar heaters. Polly Heaters in the bar cartridge heaters are best. Heated grips require the wires to flex every time you turn the throttle but in the bar heaters do not.

- Snow tires. I have found that the Kenda K270 rear and the Cheng Shin C-185 or C-180 front work well. The sidecar tire doesn't need great tread because it's just there to keep the sidecar frame from rubbing on the ground so get the narrowest tire you can so that it will cut through the snow to the pavement instead of riding up over the snow and tilting the outfit to the left.

- Make sure you get used to driving with the sidecar before the first snow. As I have said many times, a sidecar outfit is not just a bike with an accessory. It is a completely different vehicle. As far as driving is concerned, the only thing a sidecar outfit has in common with a bike is the location of the controls.



Don't hesitate to ask anything you think of about setting up a winter outfit. As I said before, I have been doing this for a while and I can probably save you from doing things the hard way...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow !! Thanks, Bob !! I sure appreciate you taking the time for such a comprehensive response. Great data, for sure.

One thing that has sort of puzzled me - is the complete lack of frame structure to attach the front of a subframe to. I was able to snatch this pic from the web - but it's hard to see where the thing is tied in down low.







I guess, if I sat and looked at a CX for awhile - I'd figure something out. Was your sidecar built for the 650, or did you fab your own subframe ? Thanks again for sharing your experience - you have probably saved more than one headache.
 

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My sidecar is attached directly to the frame at 3 points and a subframe provides the lower front attachment point. My subframe attaches to the lugs on the bottom of the engine (nobody knows why Honda put them there, but they are perfect for attaching the subframe to), the right rear engine mount and the right front engine mount.







Here it is on the bike





And with the sidecar attached





This sidecar is a Velorex model 700, with a few modifications over the years.





BTW: My summer bike is also a sidecar outfit and I made that subframe too.



Why not just put the sidecar on the 1200. The extra displacement will help keep your mileage drop at a minimum due to the a sidecar. The smaller the bike the bigger percentage of mpg drop when adding a trailer or sidecar to a rig.



For example, when I pulled my trailer with a 750 the mileage dropped from 50 to 28. With my 1200 my mileage only dropped from 52 to 45. You can figure similar drops with a sidecar.
That logic doesn't work.



A bigger bike needs a bigger sidecar so the mileage drop should be about the same, but it can be even more. Most outfits do around 75% of what the bike would do solo. For example, my 650/Velorex normally does 43-46 MPG calculated with 160 oz imperial gallons, which translates to about 32-35 when calculated with miniature American gallons (120 oz.) - about 75% of what a similar bike's mileage should be when driven solo. My 'Wing always did about 48-52 MPG solo but it only does 33-36 MPG with the sidecar. That's about 69%, but its a wide, heavy sidecar so it is not surprising.
 

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That's a cool memory flash back, Bob. Thanks. Been years since I saw those facts.



When you noted that no one knew why those mount flanges were on the engine, I just wonder if they didn't do it because of the popularity of the bike for the service industry in the European and Asian markets, for hacks of some sort. Delivery drivers and the like.



Joel in the Couve
 

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I have been following this because I have been wanting to build a side car to put stuff in but know nothing about them. I would like to use a wheel barrow. My bike is functional and people laugh at me because it doesn’t shine and look nice but I don’t care.

Is the car rigidly attached to the bike? I guess if it is ridged it would just lift off of the ground during a left turn but you would fight the handle bars into steering on a right hand turn like a 3 wheeler. Is there an adjustment to align its wheel so it does not track into a differing direction than the bikes?
 

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Greetings from the Scranton area.



There's a 650 posted on CL. The first post for this bike is: http://scranton.crai...2296227364.html



It's been posted again as: http://scranton.crai...2332488422.html Price looks a tad high, although that depends on a lot of stuff you will learn about at this forum.



This GL Silverwing with what looks like something dripping down the stand: http://scranton.crai...2356902638.html



And a potentially sweet '78 in the Paper Shop. I already talked to this guy. He bent my ear for 20-mins with a nifty sales pitch. The bike is in a barn near where I live. Betcha he'd take $750. I know the scoop on this bike. 17K on the ODO, always dealer maintained. I'd grab it in a heartbeat, butcha know I just got another one last night and have my eye on a third coz I'm kinda CX Crazy. If you talk to him don't tell him I tipped you off. Get his story and we can compare notes. One thing I know, The ad has been running for awhile, it's getting stale, he wants to move this bike.



'78 HONDA CX500, shaft driven, water cooled, black cherry & silver, Vetter faring, leg protectors & detachable fiberglass luggage bags, $1000. +(SCRANTON) 570-963-1244
 

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I have been following this because I have been wanting to build a side car to put stuff in but know nothing about them. I would like to use a wheel barrow.
I absolutely recommend against building your own first sidecar. There are too many things you can do wrong if you don't know how a sidecar is supposed to work that can endanger your life. Buy a used Velorex of something similar and drive it for a year or two first.



My bike is functional and people laugh at me because it doesn’t shine and look nice but I don’t care.
I'd bet your bike is shinier than Eccles is right now
I apply RustCheck (a heavy oil spray) on the frame &c in the fall and I don't wash it off until we have had a couple of weeks with no possibility of snow (= salt applied to the roads) and enough heavy rain to wash the remaining salt off of the roads.



Is the car rigidly attached to the bike?
There are two types of sidecar: Rigid and leaning. A leaning sidecar would have no advantage over a solo bike on icy/snowy roads or loose surface (dirt/gravel) roads so both of my sidecars are rigid.
 

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I guess if it is ridged it would just lift off of the ground during a left turn but you would fight the handle bars into steering on a right hand turn like a 3 wheeler.
Why do people always think this? When a car/truck makes a left turn the right wheels don't lift off of the ground, do they? No - its always the the wheels on the inside of the curve that become light because of the effects of inertia.

You have to be careful about keeping the sidecar wheel on the ground in RIGHT turns. With the sidecar on the right (standard in places where we drive on the right hand side of the road), the sidecar can lift off of the road if you go too fast or too tight (or any combination of the two) in a RIGHT turn. It is possible to make the rear tire of the bike lift in a left turn, but you really have to be doing something nuts for that to happen and, unless the sidecar is overloaded, the sidecar tire will usually break traction and the back end of the outfit will normally just slide into the turn first.



In either kind of turn, there is a certain ideal radius that an outfit likes to turn in a certain direction at a certain speed. It doesn't take long to learn how your outfit likes to turn and after that turns are not difficult or scary at all.



Is there an adjustment to align its wheel so it does not track into a differing direction than the bikes?
There are 3 basic adjustments when you set up a sidecar outfit:

Sidecar wheel lead (the distance the sidecar wheel is in front of the bike's rear wheel). This can effect the handling in a number of ways. A better description than I can write is found in The Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar (download here). Before you do anything, download & read this book.



Lean out (the angle the bike leans away from the sidecar on level ground). This makes the bike sit upright on crowned roads (all roads are crowned for drainage).



Toe in (the sidecar wheel is angled slightly so it is closer to the bike at the front than the rear). This helps reduce the pull as you accelerate and push as you decelerate caused by the sidecar's mass (its explained in The Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar
 

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Why do people always think this? When a car/truck makes a left turn the right wheels don't lift off of the ground, do they? No - its always the the wheels on the inside of the curve that become light because of the effects of inertia.

You have to be careful about keeping the sidecar wheel on the ground in RIGHT turns. With the sidecar on the right (standard in places where we drive on the right hand side of the road), the sidecar can lift off of the road if you go too fast or too tight (or any combination of the two) in a RIGHT turn. It is possible to make the rear tire of the bike lift in a left turn, but you really have to be doing something nuts for that to happen and, unless the sidecar is overloaded, the sidecar tire will usually break traction and the back end of the outfit will normally just slide into the turn first.



In either kind of turn, there is a certain ideal radius that an outfit likes to turn in a certain direction at a certain speed. It doesn't take long to learn how your outfit likes to turn and after that turns are not difficult or scary at all.





There are 3 basic adjustments when you set up a sidecar outfit:

Sidecar wheel lead (the distance the sidecar wheel is in front of the bike's rear wheel). This can effect the handling in a number of ways. A better description than I can write is found in The Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar (download here). Before you do anything, download & read this book.



Lean out (the angle the bike leans away from the sidecar on level ground). This makes the bike sit upright on crowned roads (all roads are crowned for drainage).



Toe in (the sidecar wheel is angled slightly so it is closer to the bike at the front than the rear). This helps reduce the pull as you accelerate and push as you decelerate caused by the sidecar's mass (its explained in The Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar


Bob, once again you are the "Hackman" we depend on here when having questions regarding sidecars.



BTW, if you have a connection to someone out west here in Alberta, I am still interested in getting my GL1000



rigged up oneday.



Rick
 

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When you are ready, PM me your email and I will ask on CURD (Canadian Ural & Dnepr Riders). We have a pretty active group out there and I'm sure someone can help you out.
 

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Thanks for the link bob; I printed it out and am reading it now. As usual the more I learn about something the more I realize how little I know. I got a fortune cookie one time with a Chinese proverb that said something like to the beginner at a glance everything appears easy and straightforward but to the expert it appears difficult and fraught with hidden dangers. Kind of makes me think of that.
 
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