Let's see those open bike trailers

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by bump, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. bump

    bump COLOR ME GONE

    Joined:
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    Looking for the best ideas here. So please show what you do and how you do it.

    You know the kind. They are not enclosed. The bikes are on rails or in shoes on a platform or bed and so forth. I want to see how you guys mount stuff like gas cans, canopies, gear, ice chests, tool boxes, spares and so forth.

    If you trailer your bikes and all your gear for a day or three of riding then that's what I think will be useful. Even you Harbor Freighters!

    I'm all :ear

    I looked but didn't see this exact thread anywhere.

    Here's why I ask. A couple of decades ago I converted my Longrun Standup Jetski trailer to a dirt bike trailer. And I have used it up. The time is past for it to be disassembled, blasted and powerdercoated, reassembled [it has seen some real abuse so I am removing all the dirt bike stuff and using it for jetskis again (750 X-2 and a Superjet)]. That leaves me without a dirt bike trailer for short trips. So I found another standup jetski trailer to convert. Why Standup Jetski trailers? The track is about the same as a car so taking them far offroad is usually easy-especially on deeper jeep trails-handy here in our So Cal deserts when towed behind 4WDs. There is zero demand for them so they are cheap. They are usually stouter and longer than dirt bike trailers for some reason. Zieman is a local steel builder here in So Cal who has made some great HD trailers over the decades. Many, like the one I just bought, are over-engineered from, I assume, left over steel from more HD applications. My original conversion was because I was fresh out of college and I had to make do with what I had: a Honda Civic, a Kawi 750 X-2, a KDX200, my wife's RM80, and a Longrun Standup Jetski trailer. Now I intend to use this Zieman as an inbetween for trips I go on but my wife and kids do not and I will be towing it with my wife's 4Runner. Bigger trips with everyone and all the bikes require the dually. Did I mention the standup jetski trailers are zero-demand cheap?

    Currently I am making a list of what I want the trailer to carry and then will add some bracing, bit larger offroad tires/wheels, add some lights, and map out how to arrange it on a aluminum deck I will fab up (err, pay someone else to) and install. Here are some photos of my new trailer or here's what a couple hundred dollars buys. Very little rust, tires good, Bearing Buddies, nice spare in the lock box, and this thing is built 2x as good (much better axle too) as my Longrun and must be 2x as heavy too. Tracks arow straight too. Longish tongue makes for easier offroad and backing.

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    #1
  2. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    Two bike Kendon with an emergency carry WR stuffed in.

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    #2
  3. frogy

    frogy Been here awhile

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    Nice trailer,looks light.Maybe 400lbs?
    #3
  4. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    This is a fully galvanized commercial trailer I use for hauling large lawn tractors and the like. The box on the front of the trailer is usually full of gardening and turf management equipment. As this box locks it great for chucking all the bike gear, tools, spares and extra fuel/oil in there when going on long trips. I've only ever hauled the bikes long distance once but the trailer gets used heaps on the weekend for the trail bikes. It's low deck allows a bike to get pushed on quite easily and there are plenty of tie down points around the rails. I even mounted a couple of loop bolts in the floor of the deck to assist with securing the bikes. The trailer can carry three bikes, no problem.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    About 400lbs. I can stand it up out of the way in garage or camp spot by myself.

    Trailers are nice sometimes.
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    #5
  6. JR Greenhorn

    JR Greenhorn Been here awhile

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    My trailer is nothing special, but you asked about packing gear as well, so here goes:

    I've been using a 101" x 10' snowmobile trailer to haul bikes for years now. Snowmobile trailers have some specific pros and cons (I can elaborate if you'd like), but they definately offer deck space. They're also among the lightest trailers available for their size; I think this one is around 450lbs empty.

    Four or five bikes is the norm for riding trips (usually three of us traveling together):

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    It looks like a hodge-podge packing job, and it sort of is, but in reality each thing you see on the trailer has a semi-specific position that has been refined over years of trips. It's usually the same two or three of us going on these trips, and things have become so habitual that we load up surprisingly quick without much need to talk to one another much at all anymore. Well, I guess usually the placement of the last couple of tie-down straps does tend to get over-discussed.




    Probably the most specific postioning visible in the photos is the fuel jugs. One of the main reasons those are in the rear is so that any spills or leaks don't get into the other gear. Also, having them all lined up at the back like that simplifies fill-ups at the gas station. We usually try to haul them empty most of the way to our destination, stopping to fill them at the last gas station that offers non-oxygenated gas from a dedicated hose.

    Hauling the jugs empty also allows them to be filled and used as balast along the way, repositioning them if necessary. On one trip years ago, we picked up an additional guy and his machine & gear along the way, and struggled to get things loaded with enough tongue weight to make the trailer tow worth a shit. Filling all of the gas jugs we had and strapping them as far forward as possible helped.

    We've also had too much tongue weight when my buddy "tops off" the ice in that huge cooler of his pictured on the tongue. Filling the fuel jugs on the rear somewhat helped in that instance as well (not ideal, but better than nothing). The fuel jugs pictured hold 16 gallons, which works out to just over 100 lbs. The water jug is another 50 lbs, but that's usually filled at home (for water quality/taste reasons).




    One other thing that I usually put on the back of the trailer that isn't pictured here is an empty (or mostly empty) plastic tote. I prefer to buy most of my groceries en route, prefferably as close to our destination as possible. We've found this to be the overall quickest way for 3+ guys to coordinate and split food for the trip, and it's one less thing to deal with packing at home (our wives get annoyed with any advance preprations, so avoiding a grocery run a night or two before departure helps keep the peace at home--YMMV).

    Also, and perhaps more importantly, I like to buy my groceries at the closest well-stocked grocery store to our destination. It's an "ambassador of the sport" thing for me, not only spending money in the towns near where we camp and ride, but most importantly you're towing bikes into their town and it's flat obvious that you're spending money in their town. We tend to be overly polite while in town, trying to make the best impression possible. Also, we do any shopping for adult beverages in our hometowns before we depart, again to keep up appearances and represent the sport in a positive way.

    I've gotten off track here, but my point was simply that the empty tote at the back of the trailer makes it easy to load the groceries right into something without having to partially repack a bunch of stuff just to find a place for it. It also keeps things like bread, buns, and chips from getting smashed.




    Looking closely, you may or may not be able to see cots, a canopy, plastic totes, a loading ramp made from an 8' 2"x12" (with a long strip of coarse sandpaper glued to it), a rake etc. It's pretty easy to slide most of that stuff around when loading/unloading bikes, and things like totes and coolers usually never come off that trailer for the whole trip. Once at camp, fuel cans get moved to the shade underneath the trailer.


    Of what you can see that I wouldn't recommend, definately not the green Rubbermaid tote in the center photo. We've since been upgrading our totes to more robust water & wind resistant types with latching lids. The big gray one in the top photo is my buddy's. It's lid latches very securely and stuff inside stays dry, but two totes half that size are easier to deal with.

    Also, don't haul the grill on the roof like that. It gets full of bugs that later get baked on, and my buddy claims it costs him 1mpg to have it up there. I can't confirm that, but I can confirm that's a huge pain in the ass to get it up and down from there without scratching anything.




    Some things I make it a point not to haul on the trailer. Clothing bags, sleeping bags, tents, and other things that need to stay dry (and are easy to stuff into the two vehicle) are obvious, but I also don't haul toolboxes on the trailer anymore. The trailer just doesn't ride as smoothly as the two vehicle, and over time the tools get kind of rough looking from banging together and vibrating along on the trailer. Similar are camp stoves, grills, lanterns, and things like that that don't tolerate rattling and harsh bumps particularly well.

    We used to haul with a 20-lb propane cylinder, but that proved to be enough of a pain that we've gone back to the little disposable ones, which are also a pain in different ways.

    I breifly mentioned adult beverages above, and that's another thing that factors into our packing system. Two of us that go don't drink beer at all, and it turns out beer is not a very efficient way to pack and transport alcohol. Instead, we usually have a couple bottles of whiskey, brandy, or maybe some rum. That stuff comes in very robust glass bottles, doesn't need to be kept cool, and is usually pretty easy to stuff in somewhere. If we bring soda for mixers, 2L bottles are similarly simple to pack. We've picked on my poor cousin (the third guy who usually goes with us) so much over the years that he hardly dares bring even a 12-pack anymore. If anything, he'll bring just a few bottles of what he claims to be "really good" beer these days, so we figure we're doing him a favour.





    Hopefully something in all that is helpful to you. I think back to some of my first riding trips with this trailer (and its predecessor), and it's funny how much of a mess we had. Things now wouldn't look much different to an outside eye, but the little things you learn from doing things wrong over the years really contributes to eventually developing a system that works for you.


    I recently bought a Jumping Jack tent trailer, so I'm kind of back at square one with my loading system. I'm very exicited though, as the Jumping Jack will make several things so much easier, and it pulls much nicer than this trailer does. Loading and unloading bikes is proving to be a challenge, though.
    #6
  7. JR Greenhorn

    JR Greenhorn Been here awhile

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    I got so into constructing that wall of text above, that I forgot to include a few more photos.

    Here's the way we used to do it:

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    This wasn't a very handy set-up, but it gets the job done.


    A couple more from those days:

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    I often hear people comment that these trailers with the side rails are nice because you can pack stuff in without worrying about it, but I don't find that to be the case. For me, it's better to have each item securely tied down, yet out in the open where you can get to it easily.


    One advantage to the side-boards though, is that by packing with a couple of folding saw-horses, you can make a table out of one of them:

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    However, one of those plastic folding tables takes up the same amount of space as the two saw-horses did. We can't muster this big of group of guys anymore anyway.




    This is how things usually end up on the trailer at camp these days:

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    Kind of a mess, but everything is off the ground and easy to get to. The riding gear will get thrown in the tow vehicle before nightfall or the rain comes (unless of course one guy forgets his stuff out and everyone else makes it a point not to remind him).


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    Again, not tidy, but effective enough. Here you can see what the 16 gallons of fuel is for; those big-bore 2-strokes are thirsty!
    #7
  8. bump

    bump COLOR ME GONE

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    That is an impressive trailer. Any closer ups?

    #8
  9. mike1952

    mike1952 Long timer

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    How easy is it to put the bikes on the trailer? I am looking at this same trailer vs. the single for a large sport touring bike like a C-14 and concerned about getting the bike up the ramp. I am getting up in age and plan to use it well into retirement. Should I get the single ride on and keep my three rail dirt bike trailer?
    #9
  10. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    Mine is the two bike trailer with the optional third chock for carrying a single bike if you want. The third rail is not necessary as I have also loaded a single Goldwing to the side with no problems. Mine has a 2,000 lb capacity ...biggest I have had on it were a Wing and a RT1100.

    The Kendon is easy to load. I considered a one rail trailer but figured it would be handy to have capacity for two. The extra room has worked out well. The trailer sits lower than a 2wd pickup.
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    #10
  11. bigpercentcountry

    bigpercentcountry Adventurer

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    Is that Ft Tuthill in Flagstaff? I think I stayed in that exact cabin about two years ago..
    #11
  12. Saltydog86

    Saltydog86 village idiot

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    I have since sold the ARB rack and added a huge Yakima cargo box to the top instead....

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    #12
  13. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    Indeed!!! Great place. I have been there a few times.

    This time I was in a tent till ...you know the white stuff...my marriage survived with the move! I could stay in one of those cabins for months.

    Flagstaff in May at 7k ft...wow. Most people do not think of AZ like this!
    #13
  14. poppy

    poppy Slow and Steady

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    1 x Husky 510, 1 x KTM 450, 1 x KTM 520, 1 x KTM 525 + quick shade 60ltrs of fuel, 40 ltrs of water chairs, swag, tent etc.

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    #14
  15. mike1952

    mike1952 Long timer

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    Do you just push them up or power them on?
    #15
  16. bump

    bump COLOR ME GONE

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    That's an interesting setup with the roof rack. Why did you change to the cargo box? Was it too much in the wind?

    I'm thinking of doing the same on top for stuff that is long or awkward (like an EZ-UP, gear bags, spares...) but the cargo boxes hadn't occurred to me. On the face of it it seems brilliant for wind resistance.



    #16
  17. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    Little ones I just walk up under power. For the Wing I use a bigger ramp and power up while on the bike. Actually the Wing sits lower than my other bikes so it is easier to keep my feet down/stable. Getting the bikes up is not a problem since the load HT is so low.

    Like pickup loading, I just put the trailer wheels in the gutter and I almost can push it up from a driveway.

    Frankly the best thing about this unit is........................ and the way it tows.

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    #17
  18. Saltydog86

    Saltydog86 village idiot

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    Original plan was to add a roof top tent to this trailer. I then bought a pop-up camper with a toy hauler deck on the front. Since then I only use this trailer for day rides and short one/two night trips. The Thule roof box lets me haul 2 riders worth of gear and whatever else we need while being waterproof and lockable. The panniers from my old bike are also lockable to the trailer and waterproof and work great as a beer cooler.
    I think it may be just under 500lbs as it sits now....

    This pic was my original inspiration...
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    #18
  19. Steverino

    Steverino Arrogant Horse's Ass #1

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    Just redecked ours with left over bleacher aluminum planking. Added the box on the front and some motorcycle chocks from Harbor Freight.

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    #19
  20. 5OUTTA6

    5OUTTA6 Adventurer

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    Nice trailers......What is the average spacing (center to center) of your wheel chocks? I have a 48" wide trailer I setting up to carry two KLR's. I'm thinking 36-40" spacing.
    #20