Spent my three-day weekend on the sidecar. A lot has been done. Most of it I did not photograph. The frame has received considerable modification. The GSX-R1000 engine has been mocked up in place, moved six inches forward of the old engine, to put more weight on the front wheel. This alone will likely change the entire feel of the bike.
Previously I had serious problems with the front end feel of the bike, so much so that I have has to ask passengers to lay on top of me in right turns, instead of coming around me. This helped get more weight on the front, but I also had to sit up out of the seat on my knees to move forward, with the passenger´s weight bearing down on me. This made it hard to make steering and throttle inputs, making my hands go numb after three laps. With the new engine forward, the problem should be alleviated. The front engine mounts are in place and the rear should be finished soon.
The exhaust system is mocked up, and we moved the muffler inboard. Previously, I had to run a small stinger-type exhaust that was horribly loud. Full sized mufflers would drag on the ground and become damaged when the chair came off the ground, and also trapped- and even burned- my right foot, which handles braking. With the muffler inboard, it´s less likely to drag, and my foot can sit outside the muffler where it more naturally lays. This caused the need for a new footpeg and brake pedal.
Bill Becker convinced me now was a great time to install an automotive racing master cylinder, which not only carries more fluid (no more boiling brakes), but also in one inch, as opposed to the three-quarter inch master cylinder I currently have (less physical force required, easier modulation and control).
Aside from the frame reinforcement and brake mods, the body finally got some attention. Trying to move away from the primer grey paint of 2009 takes a lot of work. The body is fiberglass, and full of imperfections and pin holes. My passenger, Vanessa McClure, made the trek from her home near Los Angeles to help out.
We only managed a little time in the cold before the sun gave out, but nonetheless got a significant part of the bike stripped of paint and slathered with bondo. I can tell that a minimum of 50 hours of prep will be needed just to make the bike ready for more primer… then we can see if we did any good!
I have to once again thank Bill Becker. Number 1 plate holder, sponsor, mentor, and inspiration. His machinist skills, bike knowledge, and indefatigable resources have made my foray into sidecar racing a much more professional effort than I ever could have done on my own.
More to come… RACE ON!!!!