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Old 05-08-2013, 08:25 AM   #1
Chisenhallw OP
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Small car, small trailer

So, I recently had to finally get rid of my Ford F250. Much woe & sadness. It has been replaced with a very nice new Honda Fit. I love that car. And while the Fit is a remarkably versatile little vehicle, it doesn't have the hauling capacity that the F250 had. Make a long story short, I want the capacity to put my motorcycle on a trailer (no, I do not own a Hardley ) so I can take it to the shop. On down the road, I'm getting equipped for trackdays, so I need to haul a motorcycle to the track, too.

I've had a conversation with the dealership about hitches & hauling. They said that hauling a trailer won't void the warranty, but the weight limit is 1000lbs.

Any input you've got on a small, light trailer suitable for these purposes would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:34 AM   #2
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I think it depends on how much you want to bring with you on a track day. They make single rail bike trailers, but that leaves no room for extra tires and tools if you have a full car.

With a 1000lb limit, a 5x8 utility trailer might squeak by. The one we got from Home Depot is about 350 lbs unloaded, with a metal mesh floor. Just add a chock for the front wheel and a plate for a kickstand pad and you're good.

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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Honda USA only uses the absolute minimum rating as their max trailer weight rating. See if you can find the trailer weight ratings for the EU or Aussie spec Fit (Jazz).

I have an Element, and the Aus version is rated at 1500# w/out brakes, 2200# w/ brakes; the US version is 1500# max, brakes or no.

I think Honda low-balls the trailer ratings to 'protect us from ourselves.'
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:28 AM   #4
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I've posted it a dozen times before: Trailer In A Bag. Worst enabling drug evar! You throw it in the back of your car, drive to somebody's house with a wad of cash and bring home another motorcycle!

This one was 1600 miles away. Drove there without the encumbrance of a trailer and had zero regrets with how it handled an 800 pound bike on the return trip.

The tires are available at any Walmart--usually mounted to a replacement rim, already inflated for about $40. Ditto for the lights (bulbs or the whole assembly).

That came in handy when one of the tires went bald somewhere in Utah and I discovered I had bought a five lug spare and the trailer took four lugs. Dropped into Salt Lake, found a tire, picked up a couple of brake light bulbs and some Gatorade and was back on the road in under an hour.

A buddy of mine (inmate longer than me and I think he has 3 posts) was actually the one to turn me onto them. He tows with an older Golf TDI. He uses it to take bikes in for tires and things he's too old and wealthy to deal with.

I have a sturdy, 5x10 utility trailer that stays home most of the time now. If I'm towing one bike, the TIAB is just wayyy too easy, convenient and light to drag the big one--even though I have to assemble it.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:31 AM   #5
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I had to modify my little 4X6 trailer because it was too short. but it only weighs 220# and is rated at 1200 pounds. It has 12" wheels and tows great!

I have used it for all kinds of stuff.

A Harbor Freight 4X8 trailer with 12" wheels will be less than 250 pounds, so keep you in your 1000# range. Many local built 5X8 trailers are a bit heavy, though better built with a higher capacity.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:15 PM   #6
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Following with interest The 25 mpg Toyota would certainly be better than the 12 mpg pickup that I normally use.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #7
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I sold my last F150 nearly 10 years ago and have used a small utility trailer since then. I don't do any heavy hauling so it works for me. Last year I upgraded from a steel 5x8 to this Aluma and I love it, no problem pulling it with my Civic.


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Old 05-08-2013, 05:26 PM   #8
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I do like to see a little larger tire. So none of those 8" wheels that turn about 30,000 RPM on the freeway. 12" wheels are as small as I would recomend. If you are real slick you can get a spindle that matches the trailer and set it up for a complete wheel hub for a spare tire holder. It will suddenly become a great idea at 11PM on a Saturday night 50 miles from the nearest town.

The economy bolt together trailer kits are not too bad. They get a lot better when you void the factory warranty weld them together, add a few braces here and there. A flexy trailer tows horrible.

Use LED tail lights, upgrade if not part of the trailer. Solves so many issues. The only thing I have that isn't LED is the old pickup bed trailer.

You can keep it under 1000# total unless you are trying to haul a harley or goldwing.

Keep with the US towing specs. There are actually minor differences in vehicles delivered to other countries.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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With a low towing capacity, definitely shoot for a light (preferably aluminum) trailer to maximize payload. Make sure the ramp isn't an air brake when stowed.

My Camry is rated for 2,000, but I added a transmission cooler. 'course I was well out of warranty, too.

One difference between Euro and US cars WRT towing is that theirs are more likely to be a diesel and a manual. They also enforce lower speed limits for folks pulling trailers, and make drivers get a trailer endorsement.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:55 PM   #10
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Ken-don has several trailers that meet your needs:

Very well made and fold up and stand out of the way in your garage if necessary. Bigger high quality tires/wheels/axles with torsion suspension means they ride very smooth, too. You can often find them for not a lot of money via Craigslist if you're patient and look EVERY day. They do get snapped up, so be ready to pull the trigger. I picked up a dual rail for $500, but we spent some time putting new wiring on it and welding up some additions and adding some real chocks to it and getting rid of some surface rust where it had been neglected for a while. You may find one in that price range that doesn't require as much help, though, if you're patient.

If you're on a budget and need one right now, the utility trailer will work fine. I particularly like the modified ones people have shown that let you use tongue space, too. Plus utility trailers can be used for other stuff easier than the Ken-don, so there's that. And you *can* still prop one up against the wall in your garage if you want to, it's just a little more work and less portable that way than the Ken-don. :)

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Old 05-08-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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From Denver to Missoula with the trailer and then back with the trailer + bike. Handled fine the whole way though the engine did get a workout.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #12
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Here's my Mission trailer...

It's not a small car trailer per se but weighs around 400 lbs with a 2100 lb axle.

Aluminum will be your best bet IMO.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #13
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Keep 'em coming, guys, this is great. I really appreciate all of your input.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #14
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I tow this behind my VW bug, sure with only 40+ hp on tap its no speed demon but it gets the job done.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:52 PM   #15
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I've been wanting to do this for a while. The thing that gets me is the 55MPH speed limit pulling a trailer. I know several people who've gotten popped for it.

It means I'll probably move to a 25mpg small truck instead of the 39mpg small car I'd prefer to drive. In the famous words of Sammy Hagar....
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