Paul’s Kawasaki ZZR600 Leaner Sidecar Project
Paul – Hi. Thx for your wonderfully helpful site! I have fitted a leaner car (Kozi) to my Kawasaki ZZR 600 but I’m having some stability issues. It’s still in test stages but there is a lot of rocking up and down of the car at the front and rear. It’s stable at 100kmh. And corners OK but with some steering shudder. Regards Paul
Dave – Hi Paul, So great to hear you are going down the Leaner path. I wonder if the rocking is somehow related to the attachments to the bike. Rose joints can loosen and bushes can wear. Next I would adjust the Tow In. Then I would check the tyres. Unbalanced or worn rubber and wheel bearings. Just sounds like a rocking up and down is most likely the attachment. Good luck with your project and enjoy the ride. Kind Regards, Dave
Dave – Hi Paul, Just thought I would share a sidecar attachment email conversation I had with Terry.
“David. I looked at some rod end bearings recently in a bearing suppliers. I was surprised to see there is end float within the bearings. The supplier explained that is normal and there must be a certain amount in all of them for normal operation. A bit too much movement for me. With two of them basically in line the sidecar would tend to pull back on acceleration and push forward during braking. I guess brass bushes are the way to go and would be in keeping with the age of my bike.
When you think about it mounting a sidecar rigidly to a bike is the worst thing you could do to a bike frame. I had been thinking independently about a banking sidecar for years and figured two pivots below axle height was the way to go. Having the front pivot higher than the rear as mentioned in your web page is an improvement. Regards Terry”
Good luck Paul, Dave
Paul – Thx for your prompt reply. Yes the problem is in the mounting. The Kozi sidecar is all new. I did replace the wheel on it with one from a kawasaki EX 250. The original wheel had plastic bearings! The EX wheel has disc breaks I plan to fit later.
I’m going to try and make up some bush bearing to replace the tie rod ends (knuckle joins) I have on there now. I see other leaners use them but the three dimensional play isn’t helping.
The other leaners I’ve seen in photos all seem to be low slung too, maybe 6 inch off the ground. This is a good 10 inch. Maybe the extra height doesn’t help with balance.
Dave – Hi Paul, Can I beg you for some photos? My website is all about sharing projects and experiences. The rotation is only on one axial plane on a Leaner Sidecar. So bushes are best suited to this task. Rose bushes are press fit and can collapse. Probably not a good idea if you don’t want your passenger going in a different direction to you. Can’t wait to see pics of your ride. Cheers. Dave
Paul – Still in early stages as yet. When I was getting the position right I needed some weight in it and a large tub of water was as easy option, until my young daughter found it. The other photo shows how easy it is to pick up blondes in it….
Dave – Thanks for the photos. Nice Ride! Do you still use the Kwaka kick stand? Some leaners have a stand on the Pivot Bars.
How does the 600cc go on top end torque on the open road with a passenger uphill? Dave
Paul – Sadly I had to remove the centre stand and bolted the undercarriage mounting frame to the stand mounts. I still use the kick stand. At this point in time I’m not happy with the sidecar frame supporting the sidecar let alone the bikes weight as well lol
Paul – Leaner Update. Hi David. A few photos of the leaner so far. Still not finished but finished look.
U were asking how the 600cc pulls uphill with weight in it. Not too many hills here but yet I notice it. Doesn’t take off like it use to. But still not too bad. Just have to give it more notice when u want to get up and go.
They fit these sidecars to Vespa’s. That must knock them around.
The main changes I have made to mine are….
Leaner attached. Front wheel off a 250cc ninja with 4 piston disc breaks. Compete respray and fairing / windshield off ZZR600.
I’ve made all the attachments quick detach. Undo two 3/4 bolts and it comes off. The wiring is a 7 pin plug under the seat.
Hydraulic brakes are on the rear foot lever and run off a separate master cylinder that unbolts as a unit. Takes about 15 min to take it off.
Dave – Hi Paul, I absolutely love how you put the windscreen on the sidecar to match. Looks awesome with that paint job too.
At least you don’t have to put Leading Link like the Vespa connected as a Rigid Hack. Leaner is definitely the way to go.
I would really be interested to know the following if you don’t mind.
Width of sidecar?
Width of sidecar and bike leaning out? (don’t include mirrors and
Did you add a battery for the headlight or is your bike power running it?
Is the front mount attachment higher than the rear mount attachment on your bike? Having the front higher helps to steer the sidecar as you lean the bike, rather than scrub the sidecar tyre sideways.
Your answers to my questions will really help my engineer as he is interested in fabricating a wheelchair accessible leaner sidecar combination.
Here is where my Rigid Hack is up to: https://abilitymotorcycles.com/shanniahs-story-from-hiring-to-building-a-wheelchair-accessible-sidecar
I so wish it was a Leaner. Oh well at least I can take my daughter on our rides.
Look forward to your answers. Cheers Dave
Paul – I’ve tried to make the bike and sidecar extreme lol.
Over the top with the decal and mirrors and fairing. It just got carried away from a simple project…..
I’ve sent u some more photos from my phone and email u from my iPad. It’s easier.
In the photos I have leaned the bike over and holding with a strap.
I’m working on a steering damper system to help take out bounce in the sidecar from bumps and pot holes. It could also be used to limit the lean ether way. This could be used in your argument about width for your licence centre.
The original mounting frame I had made to mount on the bike was too light and small.
I rebuilt a heavier one bolting the front mount onto the engine mountings and sacrificed my centre stand and bolted the rear mounting the mounting on the frame. I’ve used 3/4
tie rode ends and bolts as the pivots. Just thru the bikes suspension system it’s surprising the amount bounce the sidecar can get. I was going to try long bush bearing mounts instead of the tie rode ends but all the photos I have seen use the tie rod ends.
Yes I designed the front mounting about 40mm higher than the back to push the sidecar over when leaning / turning. Works very well!
But if hitting a pothole with the sidecar wheel it can pull the bike around a bit. Sort of steering the bike in reverse….. Causing some steering wobble. I have put a small steering damper on the handle bars and it helps. So far the dampers I have tried from the car to the bike tends to stabilise the bike more than the car making leaning too slow and not safe for cornering.
Surprisingly the faster the bike goes the less steering wobble occurs. It handles very well at 140 km (not that I have ever ride at the speed of course…..).
But and this will need more research and trial and error, at higher speed, like 100km, the bike tends to pull a bit. It has 30mm toe in at the moment. I just haven’t got around to adjusting it more yet. It seems strange but maybe it needs toe out not in???
In the photo of the bike leaning out I don’t think I would lean out that far when cornering (but it would come close to it) and even if I’m trying to I have never hit the car with the bike on a left hand corner. I wouldn’t want the car any closer to the bike, it seems about right.
Of course with the car attached it’s no longer just a bike so can’t expect racing type performance from it. In the photo the total width is 190cm. Errrr sorry must have misread the tape because legal width is 185cm right? 😀
With the Kozi sidecar there is a lot of room between the wheel and body of the car. I think this could be reduced by 100mm maybe. Meaning overall would be narrower.
I don’t think it’s fair the over width of the bike and car is Max of 185cm because cars, utes and trailers are all wider. And so what if the bike sidecar is a little wider on a corner because it leans out? What is the width of a car and trailer when they are turning?!
Head light and battery….. The extra headlight is an eBay job ($70). It’s three high output LEDs. Single on low and all three on high. I’m stunned how bright it is. But because it’s LEDs the wattage is very low. Also I have replaced the tail lights and blinker with LED globes. I haven’t calculated out the total wattage used but I think it would be fine. I would like to replace the bike headlight globe with LED too. Paul
Paul – Just been having a read thru your set up. U have done bloody well! I’m surprised at the weight. Only 140 kg.
I think my sidecar weight would be about 100kg?? Just a guess. The frame is heavy but I can easily lift it myself.
The body is just thin rolled tin and light as.
Good choice of bike for your car, much more power than mine. Geez mine sucks thru the fuel if I try and open it up on the road. Maybe double the normal or more.
I’ve just picked up a ’84 BMW K100 1000cc. I’ll make it into a cafe racer. Thinking about making a trailer for it….
Dave – Hi Paul, Sorry to bother you again.
I was uploading your photos to the Haul N Ride Community and looking at the bolt that remove/attaches the sidecar, I thought it really could do with a Nyloc nut. Hate the thought of vibration loosening it. Cheers Dave
Paul – U are right, good pick up! But the way I always build things is just out of my head and work it out as it goes.
I once built a stone building 18″ x 36″, a Korean style martial arts training hall, complete with return verandas and double sliding doors on each side and high pitched exposed beams roof without putting a pen to paper. Just straight out of my head. (It was under the $20k restriction so didn’t need to submit plans to the council)
Anyway I wielded the nuts onto the mounting frame for the bike then later realised I couldn’t put a locking nut on it as it there isn’t room for it to turn. So what I’ve done is used super strength locktite on it. I’ve been meaning to also drill thru and nut and bolt and then put in a split pin.
If u want any more photos of any bits let me know and I’ll send u some.
One bit that worked well was running the brake line and wiring past the rear pivot point. Stopped any looping lines problems that occur as the bike leans one way or the other.
Dave – Look forward to you keeping us updated. Thanks for sharing your project with Haul N Ride.
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