Getting close to the finish!



Lots of stuff done, probably more than I can remember, but here's a list off the top of my head:
chair subframe
adapted 920R bodywork (including Europe-only TR1 seat and tail) and footpeg brackets, Kaw ZG1000 rear fender
front header relocated to left side
left-only muffler to keep sound away from monkey ears
Kaw ZG1000 oil cooler with thermostat
Sea-doo fuel cutoff/selector, using one side of tank as reserve
6 degree raked triple trees, re-machining lower yoke and scratch-built upper yoke
920R forks and brakes
steering damper
LED conversion on everything except headlight
Relocated coils and regulator under right sidecover (Battery in sidecar)

Re-wired, with custom relay circuit controlling all light functions from low-current signals from tug (hi beam, brake, right turn, etc)
Interior and storage compartment lighting. USB outlets, Aux 12V with small fan.
Small car battery,master cutoff, and plug-and-go float charger connection setup
Custom fiberglass work for flush mount LED DRL/Hi-beam, right marker/indicator, rear turn, tail lights
"Habenero" metalflake paint/clearcoat
fresh marine carpet and neoprene upholstery
Custom wheel hub with 2" bearings and lug pattern to match Virago brake disc mount pattern
Virago wheel machined to mount on wheel hub
Virago brake disk and caliper setup mounted to original leading-arm suspension
Custom brake master cylinder setup


Five Star Vetteral
Looks nice! Just out of curiosity, what is the reason for the two brake pedals? Is that required with the side car: one for the bike and one for the hack or just two pedals to give you a bigger brake pedal?


Learning the Ropes
Very interesting mods and nice colour matching! Sounds like you have blinker bike system hooked up to sidecar - nice.


Vetter Aficionado
Looks nice! Just out of curiosity, what is the reason for the two brake pedals? Is that required with the side car: one for the bike and one for the hack or just two pedals to give you a bigger brake pedal?
It's a simple way to control two, unmatched braking systems. Doing it that way also provides limited steering brake capabilities. Take for instance you are going into a left hand turn where the weight of the sidecar adds some over steering because you've let off the throttle going into the turn. Pressing down on just the sidecar brake will correct that over steering condition. Another reason to do it that way is the bike has a mechanical brake system and the sidecar uses a hydraulic brake system. Connecting both to a single pedal is going to be a fabrication nightmare and you've still got that problem where one brake provides more braking power than the other because they are not twins. The Operator will quickly learn how to even out the brakes when activating both by pressing down on one a bit less than the other. Using two rear brake pedals is common on tractors. The operator can press both at once or brake one or the other rear wheels.
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Scott-E is correct. The left pedal is the factory bike rear, mechanically-actuated drum. The right is for the chair. The chair master cyl was set up so the pedal axle would lie up exactly with the factory bike 'axle'. A pin-in-hole setup where they meet acts as a bearing and allows for some in-and-out adjustment as toe-in is optimized. The chair brake uses a CBR master, Virago caliper and disc.


Well, she's inspected, registered and tagged. First few rides highlighted items needing some sorting out.

The bike brakes are underwhelming with the added weight. The chair brake is much stronger. Takes a light touch to avoid veering to the right. It steers straight and effortlessly on smooth pavement. Unfortunately smooth pavement is a rarity around here. Over uneven surfaces, it is pretty nervous. In hard left turns, there is enough flex in either the forks or the wheel bearings that a caliper drags on the outer edge of the brake rotor.

I bolted on an un-modified front end for comparison. The unmodified steering is more stable, but takes more muscle than I can expect my wife to deal with. The grinding is much less severe, but still there. The raked trees had moved the front wheel forward 2.5 inches compared to stock. I've ordered a fork brace and wheel bearings, and am making 'leading leg' adapters to move the wheel forward 2 inches. Example:

Since the brake calipers will have to be relocated anyway, I am putting on larger disks from a different model and going with some 4-pot calipers from a GSXR-750.

The sidecar itself did fine. I added some neoprene weatherstripping so the 'lid' doesn't bang when going over bumps. That's it for sidecar fixes.


Learning the Ropes
Like the built in lights! Interesting that you painted out the windshield. Did you use the stock sidecar caliper and master? They are a bit overkill as is. Using a shorter brake lever helps to alleviate the sensitivity on these. Swapping to the 150 caliper from the stock 175 does, too, but requires some mods to make it fit. Love the color! Good job adding the Virago wheel. I lucked out and the stock Terraplane wheel, after being painted, matches my Voyager's wheels.


Learning the Ropes
About the leading legs, I made a set for my Voyager, too. They absolutely do the trick. Just simply reduce the trail to help steering effort without altering angles.
Thanks. The windshield was clouded and crazed, so I cut it down about 4 inches (Texas in the summer, y'know...) and painted it. I plan to get a new replacement for cold weather. The brake uses a Virago 12 inch rotor and single-piston caliper from my 83 tug, and a CBR600 rear brake master. It overpowers the tug brakes, so improved tug brakes below. The front end I have on the tug is from a 81 and now sports the leading leg adapters, a fork brace, twin 12 inch rotors (was 10.5), and 4-pot calipers from a GSXR-750:
Well, the big day arrived... I loaded up my wife and dog and took them for an inaugural ride.... to the dog park, of course!

Both settled in quickly and enjoyed the ride. Many more adventures to come!


Learning the Ropes
Turbodog, could I talk you into some detail shots of your leading leg adapters? I've done the same thing on my Kawasaki Voyager 1300 and they work quite well to reduce steering effort. Did yours work out as you had hoped? Did the steering sensitivity increase?
I see you wrapped your pipes with heat tape. I did, too, to help eliminate all the radiated heat that is directly behind my radiator. What advantage does it give your bike?
"Dog operating camera" HAH! I thought the same thing when reviewing the pics. Or, "where is that kid of mine? This is why we HAD her"!

The results are everything I'd hoped for. Steering as light as the raked trees, but everything is stiffer. Tracks straight. The brakes just work. With the originals, each stop caused little warning bells to ring, "remember to brake WAY early". Now, you just brake when you normally would, and the rig comes to a tidy stop.

Well, first off, I started with forks set up for dual discs (81 VX920R in my case). Don't think it is possible otherwise.
The adapters main connections are the original axle holes in the fork legs (different diameters left and right in my case) and the caliper mounting bosses.

The steel plate is flush to the outside of the fork leg at the flat surrounding the axle holes. The new axle hole is forward of the original on mine by 2 inches (don't forget to account for the rake angle as I did). Then spacers are needed to center the wheel. These should exactly match the section thickness of the fork leg where the original axle passed thru. Note left and right on my forks were not identical thickness. I found some steel spacers on ebay already drilled and tapped for 10mm bolts.

These are cut to the exact length needed to fill the gap between the steel plate and the caliper bosses. Again, left and right were not identical. Not visible: I added a ~ 1 inch wide strip of 1/4" steel under the bottom of the fork leg, extending to the new axle spacer. It is welded to the side plates and the axle spacer, and I had it clamped tight to the bottom of the fork leg when tack welding. This does 2 things: it helps transmit bump shocks to the fork body, instead of the caliper bosses. It also adds stiffness left and right. It has an "L" shape, drilled to match the pinch bolt hole, and an 8mm bolt and nut

Caliper mounting depends on what brake you use. The original calipers would have been a problem because the new mounting location puts the mounts right in the fork leg. The GSXR 4-pot calipers and 12 inch (1983 Virago) discs (the right side slots slant the wrong way because the '83 was single disc only) worked out well.

Lastly, I repositioned the fender forward. I used the rear fender hole in the front fork leg mount, and fabbed little brackets to go from the rear fork leg mounts to newly-drilled holes in the fender 'strut' area. I used the front fender hole, now out in front of the forks, to mount sawed-off brake line brackets.

Whew. It took a week of nights in my shop, plus a 3-day weekend to fab and assemble. I have a harbor freight benchtop table saw with a 10-inch cutoff wheel. Cutting the 1/4 steel made such an intense stream of grinder flash, it melted a hole in the plastic saw housing, and started it on fire (mere inches from my crotch!). Measure carefully, because it's something you only want to do it once.

Oh, yes... and the exhaust wrap: 90% of the tug was assembled out of spare parts from another project. Including the relocated front exhaust header. The wrap is simply to hide the fact that it was cobbled together from random scraps of exhaust tubing.
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Well, I completely redesigned the sidecar mount subframe, incorporating the front cyl exhaust into the main subframe tube. Assembly is like a Rubiks cube, but works well once together. In addition, my wife passed the MSF basic course, and soloed on public roads for the 1st time.
Minor update:
Taming the tendency to headshake took a little bit of effort. The front forks were just too limp for sidecar duty. The excessive sag was also causing the relocated front header pipe to hit on speed bumps. So I upgraded using some springs I found on Amazon (!). I was able to increase spring rate from ~25 lb/in (guess at the factory springs) to 50 lb/in. Now the front has about 1 inch of sag with the rig loaded and never bottoms out. 30-weight fork oil to increase the damping to match the increased spring rate.

I decided to move the front header pipe back over to the right side. To avoid interference with the sidecar attach subframe, I redesigned the subframe using a large, heavy-walled DOM tube for structural purposes with the exhaust running in a thin-wall tube inside. It worked out really well.

The final fix for the remaining headshake was adding a better steering damper. I used the tried-and-true VW bug damper. Now handling and stability are stellar. The front header is not hanging in harm's way, and the look is cleaner.
Subframe in progress


Steering Damper

Happy dog