Friday, April 12, 2019

His Royal Enfield sidecar rig takes him surfing

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Bruce Gipson likes to surf. Now he can ride his Royal Enfield to the beach.
"Thought you might want to see the quick-release rack I built for my Royal Enfield so I can take my surfboard and surfski," said the email from Bruce Gipson, of Boca Raton, Fla.

"Works well!"

The photos he attached showed a Battle Green Royal Enfield sidecar rig with a surfboard on top.

And not just a surfboard: a "surfski" (a high-performance kayak) took a turn up there too. It's longer than a car!

Was this even possible, I asked?

"Yes, I have tested it out already," Bruce replied. "The Fenn surfski is 21 feet and 24 pounds (I am a surfski  and watersports dealer). Just won't take it in heavy side wind."

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Bruce says the surfboard has no effect on performance up to 50 mph.
"I bought the bike brand new in 2014," Bruce wrote. "I just added the sidecar a month ago and did the rack system... I kayak and surf all the time — more now that  am retired from Miami Beach Fire Department. I am two miles from the beach so I figured why not get in a ride and surf or kayak along with it?

"I used SteelTek products from Loews. All you need is one Allen wrench and a hack saw or reciprocal saw. There are about a dozen different connectors with set screws. I used one-inch structural tubing. I can remove that whole rack from the base connectors just by loosening eight set screws in seconds.

"The crossbars are all adjustable so I can set the top bars to any height and more crossbars can be added in seconds just by adding more connectors. I used "U" brackets to connect two-by-fours under the front of the sidecar and on the top of the rubber suspension in the rear.

Motorcycle and sidecar with surfboard on top.
Royal Enfield is just as cool looking as a woody wagon or VW bus.
"Really works well — I don't feel any difference with the surfboard up to 50 mph. The kayak is just more difficult if you have a side wind...

"It does not have to be that high on the rack but gives more options and unobstructed view."

Motorcycle and sidecar with kayak on top.
Surfski kayak is longer than a car, weighs about 24 pounds.
No sooner did I absorb Bruce's design than I encountered a custom Ural sidecar with topside surfboard, being offered as the prize in the Paddle and Pistons contest by paddle equipment maker Bote. (Entries due by May 31, 2019, if you're interested.)

Do great minds think alike?

Bote posted this video of the Ural outfit.

"You'll never see anything like this again," Bote boasted.

They were wrong about that. "Thanks for the link about the Ural," Bruce responded.

"That one looks like a more permanent, non-removable rack, but nice job. I did it all for about $100."

Only a hundred dollars? That, has to be the final word, on that.

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