As the plan was to make it cheap to nan, I wanted to use common car tyres so got a hub and wheel from a VW Golf for the sidecar and, after turning up the most Frankensteinesque adaptor you ever saw, I was able to fit a car rim and a big assed 255/70/15 4X4 tyre to the bike. In four years of use I've only changed the bike's rear tyre once and the sidecar tyre barely shows signs of use so I guess that idea worked well.
Once it was working and MoT'd, it was on to fuel saving -1 bit the bullet and bought a LPG kit from the Internet and fitted it. There were some high learning hurdles to get over but, after a month or so of tinkering (and exploding air boxes!), I got it sorted. I won't bore you with the details, but I had to make my own injection points in the tube between the carb and airbox and find a way of supplying heat as the BMW doesn't have a water-cooling system to warm the regulator. To overcome this I made a heat exchanger from copper brake tube by wrapping it around the exhaust - this takes the gas, as a liquid, from the tank and vapourises it so the regulator can... err... regulate it. Once 1 had the injection points sorted out, adjusting the mixture was with two screws - one for tickover and one for main running. Simple!
The sidecar docs about 35mpg but, as LPG is about half the price of petrol, that's equivalent to 70 petrol mpg. It does mean, though that I'm always on the constant lookout for the next LPG station, which is a bit of a gamble sometimes and makes planning a journey fun.
It's given me a lot of enjoyment, despite a continuing saga of tired old BMW bits failing, and I've managed to take it to John O'Groats twice and down to the bottom of Cornwall several times. It's used as my daily transport and for getting to work, but it probably won't make it through the next MoT as it is, though, as there's simply too much to do without a total strip down and rebuild - I've had it on the road for four years and fancy a change so I've retired it for the Winter and I'm building a V twin diesel bike which is a whole different story.
The sight of a sidecar on the road, especially with a dog in it, always brings a smile to the faces of children in cars on a long and dull motorway journey, and reminds me of long trips when I was that age when the boredom was sometimes relieved by getting some biker behind the old man's car to wave. And Molly? She can't wait to get in it every time we go out. ©
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