Guys that pull trailers with a bike.

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by jules083, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Trl Rdr

    Trl Rdr Big Red Bird

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    The hitch length rule of thumb is: Length = 2.5 X the wheel to wheel distance. Start the hitch length measurement from the wheel axle's. From Bob Carpenter in the late 80's.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2
    #41
  2. KinkyWinks

    KinkyWinks El Gringo Perdido

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    I have pulled trailers at least 20,000 miles and never had any problems other than my camper trailer being wider and hitting the raised concrete island at a gas pump. You will only do that once. My other two trailers are not much wider than my Goldwing. One of the trailers is a 18" bronze bell that raises to ring and lowers for travel. I have pulled them up to 90 miles per hour. When people ask about pulling, I always tell them you can pull one with a 250 Honda Rebel BUT, you can't stop it. So, whatever you use make sure you can stop. All 3 of my trailers weigh about 250 to 300 pounds each with around 25 to 35 pounds tounge weight on the hitch.
    #42
  3. Offcenter

    Offcenter On The Road Again!

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    Waaay back in '74 I built my own trailer. Regular trailer wheels, light plywood box covered with fiberglass.
    Semi streamlined box with a curved lid. Widest point of the axle is the width of the bike's mirrors so it will fit
    through any space that the bike will go through.
    Fully loaded it weighs about 250 pounds. No trouble at all. I've pulled it thousands of miles behind by BMW R90/6
    up to 70 miles per hour.
    Then.....
    I got this idea to build another trailer to haul two bicycles behind the BMW. Just a light weight frame with
    tie downs for the bicycles. I doubt that the whole thing weighed more than 75 pounds with the bicycles on it.
    Damn! I could not get that thing above 55 mph on the highway! The wind drag on all that round tubing on
    both the trailer and the bicycles was tremendous!! It was like trying to pull a parachute!! :rofl
    I eventually cut it up for scrap.
    I still have the original cargo trailer. :clap
    #43
  4. Haul Ass

    Haul Ass Adventurer

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    I pull a Kwik Kamp camper which is 36 inches wide with the Road Glide. With passenger. That is about as wide as i will ever tow. Only thing I can advise on is to to keep the trailer about as wide as the handlebars, I tow a canoe on an extended harbor freight trailer and have a closed box clamshell too. None wider than the bike. Towed for many thousands of miles on 3 different Harleys and never had a scary moment. If it sways, move the weight backwards or lengthen the tongue. Those roof top carriers are very flimsy. Trailer weight on the hitch is around 30 lb. I use a MC Hitch which is way better than any of the others I tried before .
    Do it yu will like the added comfort of more stuff.
    #44
  5. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    Built my own trailer, have a 360 degree swivel hitch and have toewd thousands of miles towing bikes with the Vmax. Had to also do the hitch custom, starting with a hitch designed for a Honda GL500

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    #45
  6. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    Actually, most settle for the ratio of 1.5 to 2.0 : Axle Track (at tyre centres)


    [​IMG]

    (From
    Home-built motorcycle trailer

    site.)


    Its all about the leverage factor. Its seeking minimum trailer sway reaction moving the towball to left or right.
    My trailer measures at 1.75 : 1

    On that issue of to "floor" or "not to floor" a H.F.-type frame --- take note that the floor does good duty keeping the frame square. Also with these Harbor Freight trailers; owners report that the wheel bearings appear to be packed with vaseline, and routinely disassemble their's and re-pack with real grease!
    #46
  7. JDK111

    JDK111 Been here awhile

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    This pic. should be in the AWESOME thread. :clap
    #47
  8. mikerthebiker

    mikerthebiker Adventurer

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    If you keep more weight ahead of your trailer axle than behind it, your trailer will not sway, regardless of tongue length. Pay attention to your trailer loading and use a little planning. Tongue length only comes into play when you're backing a trailer with the tow vehicle - a longer tongue is easier to back than a shorter one due to its greater turning arc. This is not an issue with a bike as you won't be doing much backing. Of course, a longer tongue makes a great place to add a cooler (and add more weight ahead of the trailer axle).
    #48
  9. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    Sway is more common when towing by motorcycle because a motorcycle doesn't travel in a straight line.

    As the motorcycle does its slow (and shallow) continuous "S" along the highway the trailer is constantly being tugged to the left, then right, then left, then right. So, at the commencement of a motorcycle move to the right - the tongue of the trailer will have a minute leftward angle . . . then visa versa!

    One can measure the trailer's input at the towball. Just park (centrestand is best!) with bike and trailer in straight line. Chock one trailer wheel well, and have someone push & pull (forward & backwards) on the other wheel.

    The amount of force applied by the hitch at the towball will be GREATER for the same force applied at the unhindered trailer wheel on a SHORT tongue trailer, than with a trailer of the SAME TYPE with LONGER tongue. Its all according to the laws of leverage. As the length of the tongue increases so the length of the axle looses its leverage advantage.

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    Just like one gains an advantage over a stubborn fastener by choosing a longer tool, so the longer tongue; when matched with the SAME AXLE (or a shorter axle) lessens the axle's leverage at the ball.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Folk aim for a certain measure of positive load on the towball but increasing speed reduces that, just as the load increases during braking. The recommended load on the ball only holds at a constant speed!
    #49
  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    Not even faintly close to true. Ever watch those little asphalt trailers on pintle hooks? They sway like mad, and are very tongue heavy.

    Sway has lots to do with the ability to deflect the nose of the trailer. With a pintle hook, it's the play in the hitch. With many swaying trailers, it's the weak sidewalls of the towing vehicle. Watch them and you'll often times see it. Trailer tire flex can also play, especially if the trailer is loaded tail heavy. And with motorcycles, a cheap flexy hitch mount.

    Nyet again. Tongue length isn't do or die, but it very much affects tracking stability of a trailer, especially as speeds increase. The angular deflection of the trailer axle due to tongue displacement is directly proportional to the tongue length.
    #50
  11. Sadlsor

    Sadlsor Been here awhile

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    I guess what you're really saying, is YOU don't want to pull a trailer with YOUR bike. Fine.

    But I would wager that very few of you have seen a GL1800, with passenger, pulling a Unigo trailer... all while ripping up a Gymkhana course! I have seen it, and it impresses me mightily.

    All told, pulling a trailer can be compared to piloting a sidecar rig... it's different, and therefore different skills come into play.
    #51
  12. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    No, what I am saying is: Pulling a trailer with a motorcycle IS a FOOLS game. :deal

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/05/27/2-injured-in-motorcycle-crash-on-i-79/


    <HEADER>Matt Michenzi: "I was a witness to this accident and can say that weather was not a factor. The accident stemmed from the operator of the motorcycle not being able to handle the trailer he was towing."
    #52
  13. Sadlsor

    Sadlsor Been here awhile

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    So... you ARE agreeing with me.
    Stop fighting it... it's a TRUE statement, as per your own "evidence." :D
    #53
  14. KeithinSC

    KeithinSC Long timer

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    Reading the comment section it was found that the trailer became separated from the hitch and was dragging by the safety chains. Tough to control that in any vehicle. Safety chains with bike trailers are a debate only rivaled by oil preference:evil
    </header>
    #54
  15. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    And there is a large percentage of the population that will tell you that riding a motorcycle is a fools game and they can also link you to crash articles to prove thier point. So again whats your point?
    #55
  16. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9sryb4-Hj0eK_tdc9mXRhNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-hSxX-veWQJ0/UTESQ3157UI/AAAAAAAAFfI/5jEQCnlnrs8/s800/IMG_1625.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>
    My HF Tag Along trailer but I can't pull it behind my Ural until my warranty runs out.:cry

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9YyFswOIl-dyqGA_jYyP5tMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-yJ-PtYHRO10/UTJ3gZLtXQI/AAAAAAAAFh0/1o7BTOVbVXU/s800/IMG_1631.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>
    So for now, I'll just carry another spare. :rofl
    #56
  17. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    an alternate universe, much better than yours
    and it has been said by DAKEZ and will always be...........regardless of the thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands who know otherwise..........:clap
    #57
  18. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    me too!

    Nope, didn't make it.
    #58
  19. NVBigBlue

    NVBigBlue Been here awhile

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    I built an HF trailer with a cargo box as well. I did make a few mods to it though, I both narrowed it up (about 4 inches if I recall correctly) to just fit the box between the fenders and shortened the frame to be just a little longer than the box. It's just a little wider than my side boxes. I considered moving the axle inside the springs, but did not like the effect it had on the angle of the tongue on the hitch as it made the tongue ride nose high. That condition can make a trailer want to wag around. I did add a deck to mine with some 3/8" plywood (I think). The ply adds not much weight, does help keep it square and I think help keep the frame from twisting. I did lengthen the tongue about 12 inches. I do not have a full swivel hitch, but I do use a long neck ball. If the bike ever took a nap it might bend the tongue, but otherwise I could drag the pegs if I wanted to.

    It came in about 150 pounds, but we never load it very heavy, mostly bulky, but light items... camp chairs, the tent, a small bag of clothes.... etc. Fully loaded I doubt it goes much over 225 pounds. After it was finished, I made several test runs with bags of quik-crete in the box to test handling, etc. On my last test I had 5 bags in it (80 pounds each ~400 pounds). It handled well with that load, but I could REALLY tell it was behind me. With our normal camping load, I can barely tell it's back there, but it does cost me about 2 MPG at highway speeds.

    Definately repack the bearings though. And you won't need full pressure in the tires. Lower pressures will help with the trailer bouncing.

    We've towed it about 8K miles and never had an issue with the smaller tires, I do carry a spare as well.

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    As for chains or no chains..... I do run chains to the bike. If the hitch ever came off the ball, I would rather the bike go down and know the trailer was still attached. While a rogue trailer shootiing off and hitting another vehicle would be bad enough, I don't think I'd ever forgive myself if it hit or killed a person walking along the road.

    Good luck!

    NV
    #59
  20. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    NV,
    Nice rig. I've pulled trailers in the past behind a Goldwing, Pacific Coast, XT225, CT70 clone, Chinese bobber, SYM HD200,and my W650 without a mishap.
    #60