Archive for the ‘sidecar’ Tag

XS650: EGT 2014, Weiswampach, Luxembourg   Leave a comment

Last stammtisch I was asked whether I was going to the EGT?


Ahso … Euro-Gespann-Treffen!

European Sidecar Meet


EGT poster


S’posed to be the biggest in Europe. Asked the boy (8) if he was interested – ‘If it’s not wet’

Meant a little maintenance. Chain set, Oil n filter, rear tyre, clutch pack, kickstart: spring, ratchet, guide, stopper and oil-seal, cleaned last winter’s salt rust off the forks and sidecar frame, checked the brakes, lube, packed a tool-kit … clutch made a big difference

He had football-school til 14.00 … left about 16.30’ish … took a long-motorway-short-cut around Mainz – bad choice! … STAU … big single, aircooled – oil temp rose, clutch didn’t react well … got a bit better rolling over the Hunsrück, across the Mosel, quickly through the Eifel, spanned the Kyll and over into Luxembourg

As soon as we arrived the football disappeared. Reappeared once the tent was up. Hungry. And it rained.


looking down over the camp … between the trees is a lake … more       camping on the other side and to the left .. 900++ sidecars, around 1700 people


‘the football’ in motion … wheelchair friendly access around the lake and up to the main tent


‘The football’ was constantly on the go

Plenty of getting together and talking, looking but I missed some organised activities, tours, music etc … maybe I just blinked … anyway we took off on our own (with ball), exploring … rained … had forgottten my rainpants-at home … took shelter in a wonderful old-time hardware store, the type that has pretty much everything (except metal cups) – got a cool livestock medicinal syringe for fork-oil level adjustment and a pair of waterproof overpants

Prizegiving on Saturday night. Oldest rider .. 88y, Youngest rider .. 17y, Longest ride .. from Sweden (around 1700km each way)


cool tent


beware – quicksand


us, hiding from the rain


schwenker … flexibly mounted sidecar … bike rides similar to a solo machine


trad-  triumph ‘n watsonian GP


triumph/ Zero … nice pair


triumph rally


guzzi and … and … (also a ‘schwenker’ … can be separated in 5 minutes … no self-respecting ‘hollander’ would be seen without his trailer)


dogs on tour


guzzi, watsonian ‘n house … mmm, dont snails and tortoises bring their own houses? … the germans here would also say ‘the hollanders’ too (most caravans here have NL plates)


hot guzzi


zeus … rear transverse peugeot 206 S16 4 cyl 2 ltr engine


honda … from the island


another from across the water


eyecatching honda and what looks like a Stoye replica (?)




W650 ‘n russian ural sidecar


beemer ‘n steib




Just a taste of what was to be seen

Maybe with an XS Gespann next year

And a good part of the way home – it rained. Of course


Posted September 1, 2014 by xscafe in Uncategorized

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XS650: Sidecross   Leave a comment

I’m a big fan of sidecross. Motocross with a sidecar. As a youngster (not sure if I have memories of this or if it’s just wishful thinking) I raced amateur motocross. Later I raced speedway and street meets with a kneeler. Branched out into sidecross and even filled-in while living in Canada, ice racing.

Here, I follow the Veteranen Cup. Sidecross for twin-rearshock, aircooled, 2/4 stroke machines, pre 1984 up to 1000cc and min 250kg. Monkey must be at least 16yo and riders age must fit with the spirit of the race.

I’ve been working on one of my best mates. Trying to convince him to become actively involved. I have most of the kit. We both qualify as riders. All 7 of the races are easily reached from here.

Last Saturday my son and I rode the sidecar up to Schotten for the 25th Classic Grand-Prix – Classic solo and sidecar racing. Always a great weekend getting close to bikes you can drool about.

On Sunday my mate and I rode out to Laubuseschbach for the 5th leg of the Veteranen Cup – was a fun day, He’s hooked now, Poor bastard.

Most sidecars in this class are 2 cylinder units using the XS650 power-plant and WASP or EML frames. This year there are other Yams on offer. An XT and a TR1. Some 4 cylinder Hondas, a CZ, a Norton, 4 BMWs and 2 EML Jumbo powered units (2 cylinder 2 strokes (air or water cooled, 1000 and 800cc) developed by EML specifically for sidecross-can easily get over 100hp).


1984 EML Jumbo – air-cooled 1000cc twin cylinder 2 stroke


EML Jumbo water-cooled Sidecross motor


Unfortunately the batteries in my camera were flat after Schottenring and I didn’t have any spares with me. Hopefully better luck next month in Hennweiler.

Posted August 24, 2013 by xscafe in XS Pics

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XS650: SR500, Velorex Sidecar   1 comment

Once upon a time I had this nice little SR500.

my 48T 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.)


making a start … leading link forks, box section swingarm and front disc brake … ended up reworking the forks – added an extra 1cm castor (nachlauf)


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.


finally there


half workshop half house … nice


Smells just like a metal workshop should.

Karl Schmid: Gespannbauer


there she is … waiting


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.


front on


rhs … the boat is sitting on the original frame podests … it is possible to rework these and lower the body 30-40 mm … lower centre of gravity … adding an MZ torsion bar (bike swingarm to sidecar swingarm) helps handling too


you can see the body mount podests on this frame


as a reference: this velorex frame has been heavily modified – cross bracing, lowered body mounts, bolt on lower frame mount points, extended rear, self-made shock tower, self-made extended swingarm


lhs … have some longer konis I may swap into the forks – lift the front a little


324mm konis up front, from my guzzi … replace the series SR shock 316mm … feels better


connected – front view … exhaust pipe is very close to the lower car mount – i have now ground the mount to give more free space for the pipe


connected – rear view … the lower rear sidecar mount, seen here has been shifted to the rear of the sidecar to leave space to kickstart … the upper rear mount is just on the limit of being restrictive, my boot heel hits the bar if Im not careful


front – upper … boxed over the frame


front – lower … bolted to the front engine mount


rear upper, subframe fixed to the shock mount, sidecar mounted off the subframe … you can see the lower sidecar mount point going off to the left … rear lower subframe mount uses the footpeg mounting points (will take photos of these and post as well)


right hand rider footpeg now welded directly to the subframe … subframe mount uses the frame points previously used by the footpeg


sidecar brake cable … attached to footbrake rod – pulls against the alu block


brake cable mounted to the swingarm shock mount


nice bonus – the front lower sidecar mount serves as a perfect footrest – very comfortable riding – need to practice braking with my heel


Fully certified (TÜV)!!

Now I’m ready to take my 6yo son to school.

off 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 …


VM32SS carb from an early XT500, rejetted … large increase in torque for minor loss of top speed (-10kmh max.) … purrfect fit … have ordered a new boot


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

no problem.

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.


LED rear


and LED front


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.


subframe top monut, front … at headstock … clamped to known weak point – leads to cracking along the welds


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.


brace from the rhs … can see the frame clamp, the bearing housing under the steering head – there is a bolt through this from below attaching it to a block inserted into the lower yoke (this is held in place with the bolt coming down through the top – could also have been cemented in place)




front brace – rhs – showing link to subframe – note, this is all easily removeable, clamp releases, link unbolts from brace, brace separates from bearing house


my other three-wheeler … shop hack … sharing space with the XS

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!

complete rear wheel – already modified – single carrier bearing and reducing spacer


rear sprocket carrier – machined to fit a bearing – reducing spacer fitted – i have covered this with the plastic cover found on XT500s – lube as normal using the grease nipple provided


rear view of sprocket carrier – can see both the bearing and reducing spacer … fits as normal to the hub


XS650: K&J Swingarm   Leave a comment

Been busy lately. Summer (well not really much of one) riding. Work. And, best of all, play.

Our son turned 6. School. Need to get him there and pick him up. Started a while ago collecting bits to turn my SR500 into a sidecar. Velorex 562. Leading link forks. Box section swingarm. Steering damper. Better shocks. May yet even add a battery. Had a subframe made up – bolts directly to the frame. 4 point sidecar connection bolts to this – no welding to the frame – better load distribution. Easier to get certified.

Got a K&J box-section swingarm for a price I couldn’t refuse. Included all the bolts, bearings, axles … ca 5.7kg.


k&j box-section swingarm … shock mount bolts, axles and chain tensioners  not shown


Checked the existing bearings – OK. But the bearing races showed definite wear marks where the rollers have contacted. No internal spacer!! Checked their website. This is standard-no spacer. Means the bearings take all axial load. Anyone who has left the internal spacer out of their wheel when replacing bearings soon learns not to do this. Their instructions say to tighten the swingarm pivot to the point that the swingarm slowly lowers itself from a raised position. Fully loaded bearings – no wonder the races are marked. New bearings.

Measured it up. Figured there was 164.5mm space between the bearing centres. 16mm internal diameter. 22mm OD would fit inside the bearing cages. Cut myself a bit of pipe. Fitted it – too long – too much play. Remove. File. Refit. Did this 3 times before I got the fit I wanted. Now, there is no sideplay and the swingarm can move freely.


spacer … 164.5mm long …. 16mm ID … to the left is one of the bearing carriers, greased, ready for installation


Next problem. No chain-rub protector and the pivot tube has a larger OD than the original. Had a polyeurethane bread board the wife wont miss. Grabbed my holesaws and cut myself a new rub protector.

Mounted the chain guard. Shock mount bolt is in the way.


shock mount bolt blocking the chainguard


A bit of violent grinding soon fixed that.

For some reason K&J decided to reinvent the wheel. Put the brake plate anchor topside. Original is underneath. Must rotate the plate. The brake actuation geometry is now all fucked up. Bright. On researching they fixed this later – gave the choice of over or under. Later models are fitted for the original anchor. This didnt help me. Made myself a new anchor. A comprimise, but helps.

External dimensions of this swingarm are slightly larger than original – means the brake rod runs real close. A little judicious bending solved this. Also took the time to remove the brakearm pivot. Like the XS650, the SR500 has no grease nipple here and people forget to regularly repack it. Tends to seize when least desired. Fucking Murphy!!


brake arm pivot – getting a bit dry … caught just in time


Things to do:

  • Dechrome the swingarm – i hate chrome just as much as i do policemen
  • reposition the brake plate anchor
  • powdercoat it black
  • replace the missing grease nipple – swingarm pivot shaft
  • keep riding

If you’re wondering why I’m writing this, you may not have figured out that the SR500 and XS650 swingarms have the same pivot dimensions.

Posted August 31, 2012 by xscafe in Frame - Handling, SR500

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XS650: Jawa 350/360 and Sidecar   Leave a comment

JAWA 350-360, sidecar VELOREX 560 and trailer PAV 41

JAWA 350-360, VELOREX 560 sidecar, kool PAV 41 trailer

I’m fitting a Velorex sidecar (562) to an XS650 so I can take my son to school when he starts later this year. Velorex and Jawa are, at least in the eastern bloc an old married couple.

Although the Velorex is light, fibreglass, I personally think the Jawa, 18 kW (24.5 hp) @ 5500 rpm, a little underpowered. Jawas are still made in the Czech Republic (ex Czechoslovakia). Twin cylinder. 2 stroke.

Velorex 562

Posted April 28, 2012 by xscafe in XS Pics

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