Once upon a time I had this nice little SR500.
I got it into my head to build a sidecar – to take my son to school. Started collecting bits. And ideas. (I did consider using the XS650. Decided against it as the SR and the Velorex match pretty well. Both light and manouverable.)
Got hold of a Velorex 562 sidecar. How to connect? Collected a lot of ideas.
- Original Velorex frame clamps. Too much point load on the frame. And they work loose.
- Mount points welded directly to frame. Weakens frame. Point loading.
- Subframe. Bolts directly to frame. Sidecar mounted to subframe. Load distributed. Solid.
Sounded good to me. What about TÜV (MOT) certification? Could make my own subframe but I’m not a ticketed welder. Visited my local friendly greycoat (TÜVler). Fixed his brown-eye on me and shat on my ideas. Some people simply have no imagination. No sense of adventure.
Found a list of Gespannbauers (sidecar builders). Rang around. Karl Schmid from Mickhausen near Augsburg was the most approachable, and fitted into my time frame. So, off I went. Beginning of September. Said he would try to have it ready by the end of the month. OK by me. Spent the next week constructing at Automechanika – Automobile industry Trade Fair. Stand handover Monday. Home late. Phone rings 08.00 Tuesday morning “TÜV is on Friday. You can pick it up then.” Hang-on? It’s not even midmonth! I’m not ready! Cant believe it’s early. Kool!!
Commitments, illness, work, rugby meant I wasn’t able to get down there for a week. Got a train ticket, €39 to Schwabmünchen. Left Frankfurt at 05.30. 20 minutes late. By Stuttgart the train was getting pretty full. Ah, yes, 1st day of Oktoberfest. God I love girls in Dirndls. Nothing quite like it. Eye candy.
Was picked-up at the station. Sweet.
Smells just like a metal workshop should.
Took my time getting home. 650km. The first 3 hours in driving rain. Forgot to switch back from reserve and ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Great way to meet friendly strangers. Took the sideroads. No map. Using the sun position – when I could see it. And geography. Had a great day. Perfect way to meet my new toy. Glad I took 3 pairs of riding gloves. Meant dry warm hands. Mostly. Uses more gas, be careful cornering, no need to put your foot down when stopped.
Fully certified (TÜV)!!
Now I’m ready to take my 6yo son to school.
I’ve now ridden this a couple of thousand km. Not bad for a month.
- Have added a longer set of shocks to the forks-a bit more height (not too much)-needed to alter the sidecar settings slightly.
- The rear shocks are far too weak. Tried a set of SR500 konis – still too weak. Looking for a better solution.
- In retrospect I might design the subframe somewhat differently. As a 1 piece there is structural integrity and load-spread across the whole frame but the thing will need to be removed to repair things like clutch, kickstart, oil pump. A 2 piece subframe, although loading the front and rear of the frame separately allows access to the right hand case. Just how strong is the original frame?
- I will add a rollbar and 4 point seatbelt.
- Am glad I didn’t use the XS650. The Velorex is light and flies easily. Great for freaking out cagers that follow too close.
- Had forgotten just how physical sidecar riding is. Body position is critical when racing through corners. My 6 yo son is becoming a good monkey.
Couple of updates …
Have exchanged the carb. Taken the BST34 flat slide out. Put a VM32SS round slide from an early XT500 in. Direct fit. Mates to both the carb boot and air filter
Starting point : 41mm single wall head pipe … K & N filter insert, open carb boot.
- Pilot Jet 25
- Main Jet 260
- Needle Clip position #4
- Float at 21mm (float was twisted-one side sat higher than the other)
- Cables are different, (both 2 cable system) … shortened the BST push cable outer and used it as a VM pull cable, added a second nut to give myself adjustment at both the carb and handlebar.
I love the difference. Not quite as much top speed (I rarely travel more than 100-105kmh anyway) BUT there is a noticeable increase in torque from idle. Pulls great through the complete rev range. Fuel consumption is better too.
Exchanged the std Velorex lights for LEDs. Figured it would be easier on the batteryless electrics I run. Had halogen blinkers on the left hand side. Load-independant blinker relay. Seems to work with halogen front and LED rear but not halogen left and LED right. Appears to require the same combined load on both sides. Swapped the halogens for LEDs and all was well. Except for the headlight the bike now has LEDs all round.
Have booked the bike in to have the subframe modified. Never liked the front top mount – headstock. Transfers the stress directly to a known weak point. The square section tube under the oil tank. Cracks along the weld – both sides.
Had a front brace made up. Clamps to the frame. Bolted up through the steering head – 2 bearings keep the steering operating. Brace back to the subframe.
A common SR500 rear wheel problem is the wearing out of the rear sprocket carrier. If this isnt regularly greased via the provided grease nipple the wear accelerates. Result? Sloppy rear wheel. The added stresses imparted by running a sidecar exacerbates this problem.
This can be rectified by machining the carrier ID to fit 1 or 2 bearings and reducing the existing stem in the hub. I tried contacting an SR500 forum member here in Germany but he never replied. A pity as he provided a nice 2 bearing modification. While looking for a solution I found complete a rear wheel, already modified, on fleabay. New bearings, brake shoes, carrier dampening rubbers. For cheaper than used wheels usually go for. Score!