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Acelerate around sidecar wheel to turn left, decelerate to turn right. Decelerate while turning left and go straight ahead ..aarrgghhh. Rolling on and off the throttle to go in a straight line...
Of course because yours is from Europe and built for driving on the right what I have just said is the total opposite of what you will get. You wont be able to swap it over easily for the UK either, the wheel being in the wrong spot on the chair.
Works out the back muscles as you steer the handlebars. Throw out every thing you know about riding motorcyles, youve gone to the dark side.
Lot's of fun ahead. I am a bit far away for personal advice but the internet will have to do. First of all go at it slowly with some weight in the sidecar. I rode one of my sidecars on the wrong side in the states, mounted on the left as apposed to the right hand side. This worked well when commuting in the snow and ice as I could put the bike wheel over in the gravel at roads edge for traction. Also pulling off motorways at too high of speed I had the sidecar on the outside which prevented the chair from getting airborne. Just remember that a sidecar rig requires rider input and you will do fine. Also remember that having the sidecar on the wrong side will scare your passenger when you go to pass as you put them out into oncoming traffic so you can see. Just about everyone I have taught to ride a sidecar that has already been riding a solo bike does fine till the first hard turn into the sidecar and then they drive off the road because they don't think the thing is going to turn. Think of it as a sportscar with one flat tire. I also reccomend disabling the outside mirror and using the rearview mirror on the sidecar side till you are sure you remember that the sidecar is there.
First bit of advice: don't ride it home. Riding a side car is very very different from a motorbike. Your experience on two wheels will actually count against you on three of them. Honest. The handling is totally different. A class of its own really.
Second: keep a big bag of sand in the sidecar boot. It will counteract the natural tendency of the sidecar to lift in turns.
Here are some links (keep in mind that steering advice is dependent on which side of the bike the car is placed):
Thanks everyone for all this information, which I now need to study!
Regarding UK registration, I had inquired with DVLA etc... beofre buying it, and considering that the bike is over 10 years old they said it was OK - I will put feedback on the HUBB on this if there is any problem.
I have owned a couple of outfits in the past and they were a blast. But a couple of words.... First, the ONLY similarity between an outfir and a solo is the controls are in the same place. Second, the majority of accidents with sidecar outfits happen in the first couple of days. Take it easy. If you have ordinary front forks on the bike and not specially built leading links to reduce the trail, you will need muscles in a whole lot of new places to steer it. You will go thru tires and fuel like never before. You will have the biggest grin on your face after a couple of weeks and everyone will want to be your friend.
Now, this is not a 2WD, but just a bike with a side attached...but on the right hand side. Inasmuch VOSA confirmed to me the 10 year old rule (i.e. no MSVA required), there might be other rules I need to comply with (MOT?). [ ]
Anyway, I will have 2 solutions left:
- ride in reverse to keep it on the left hand side
- register it in France or back in Germany where I have relatives that will be happy to inherit it!
"Any bike registered after 1981 must have the sidecar on the left of the bike". I was never sure if this meant first registered, or first registered *in UK*. I presume you clarified this when you spoke to the authorities?
If you do end up registering in it France you will not need a British MOT. It will need to conform to French standards. Luckily....there are none. Yes, quite incredibly, the French don't require a roadworthiness test of any description on motorcycles.
There are however rules about registering a vehicle in one's own country of residence. That is to say, the two are supposed to be the same. There is a period of grace (can't remember if it is six months or a year) but after this time you are legally required to register it where you live.
Many Brits continue to drive UK registered vehicles on the continent for years without any problems. But that is no guarentee for you of course. If you get in an accident, it could be an issue.
I know all this because I live in France, and have made a lot of cock-ups buying a side-car registered outside the country. It cost me plenty. I decided to not even try importing a sidescar here. I am looking for a French registered one.
You seem to be researching it better than I did though. Good for you.
And, hmm, no reverse I don't think on that model. Sounds like a great outfit for going forwards though.
Your experience with the Service des Mines in France seems different from what has been reported to me - or is it not? How come it ended up costing you so much if it wasn't for them asking all kind of modifications? Or did I miss something?
I have been told that registering a sidecar in France can be tricky. As a French Dude having lived abroad (and now in London), I have had an reasonably OK experience with the Services des Mines in the past. But I was then (mid 90s) returning from the US with a new vehicle originally manfucatured in Europe.
In this case the combo old BMW + old Ural might be a more challenging exercice (unless it is so old that it becoames a "vehicule de collection", maybe). But priority will be to try first in the UK - after all, if MOT is OK with RHS cars, what's the big deal with a sidecar?
The import of a foreign sidecar into France is a special case. The rules for design are strict. In short, only French-made sidecars are allowed!
So I had to resell my lovely red German registered Goldwing outfit at a loss on e-bay, three months after buying it. That was heartbreaking.
You say earlier in this thread that you questioned the UK registration authority (the DVLA). Did you clarify if the pre-1981 rule applies to first UK registration, as opposed to original registration?
Is it the case that "wrong" sided cars can be registered in UK? I didn't know that.
Lastly, I have the impression that "vehicule de collection" are only allowed to be driven/ridden in one's own departement. IT is a special dispensation so guys can ride around in classic cars on Summer Sundays.
If the UK doesn't work out, try Germany - they have a great side-car culture there still.
France - I believe that the Vehicule de Collection rules do limit you indeed to your departement AND to the neighbouring ones - so as long as you live not further away than 1 Dept from the border...
UK - the point I had DVLA confirm is whether I would need a MVSA (a sort of conformity certificate required as part of EU rules...) - but as the vehicule itself is more than 10 years old, DVLA confirmed that it is exempt from this requirement. BUT, and that's the catch I might be subject to, is that in addition to DVLA rules, there are also MOT rules. I will find out this week. But that could be trouble as I would need an MOT certificate to get the registration.
Sad, but that might be it.
Germany - it has been registered there before, so that should be easy indeed. The problem is that I would need to go there at least every other year for their local MOT (TUV). Could be a pretext to attend the Oktober Fest every two years!
[This message has been edited by Philippe[Hannibal] (edited 29 January 2006).]
Hmmm. I am no expert, but it sounds okay to me, as long as you explained the situation fully to them.
There are lots of "wrong-sided" sidecars in the UK with valid MOTs. This is isn't the problem. It is the registration. If it is really the case that you don't need a conformity certificate then you are in the clear, as far as I can see.
Otherwise, here are some thoughts on vehicle conformity that may be of help.
When a bike is converted to a sidecar, the frame ceases to be be Honda/Suzuki etc and becomes that of the company who does the conversion. This is the case in Germany for example, although not everywhere.
Basically, the company doing the conversion takes on responsibility for it. This is reasonable if you think about it - there is no way Honda/BMW etc. should be liable for the frame after it has been transformed.
This is the unique problem with sidecars. And this is where conformity gets more difficult. Some countries will demand conformity to sidecar standards of their own country. These are not harmonised accross the EU, unlike motorcycles and cars.
So it is not just a matter of the bike being a BMW. Fine. No problem. The EU conformity certificate is easy to get for the bike.
It is the new frame that has been constructed to deal with the extreme demands of sidecar use, that is the issue.
Maybe it doesn't matter in the UK. I don't know. In France it certainly does matter.
I guess the proof of the pudding will be it the eating thereof.
I hope it tastes good.
[This message has been edited by Simon Kennedy (edited 29 January 2006).]
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