Would this Trailer work for a 1200 mile journey?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by henkew, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. henkew

    henkew Adventurer

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    My son and I would like to take our bikes with us to Southern Utah this Spring on our annual rock climbing trip. We have a Tiger 800XC and a 650 Ninja. Would a trailer like this do the trick?

    http://www.lowes.com/webapp/wcs/stor...%20Ramp%20Gate

    I wonder about the tire size for that long of a trip at freeway speeds. I'm also curious how it would impact gas mileage. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    That trailer would do just fine.

    I have 12" tires on my trailer, and have pulled it at over 75mph on extended freeway runs often...with no issues.
    #2
  3. PhotoBiker

    PhotoBiker Please insert title here

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    How will you secure the front tire?

    The bed on that trailer is pretty slick, it's made for tractors, leaves, lawn-mowers, etc.

    You might get by with a a few well-placed 2x4's bolted down to the flooring?

    My opinion (and it is just that) is that I wouldn't trust this trailer to support two bikes for an extended trip like you have mentioned. There is one central structure member that extends from the tongue through the bottom of the trailer. A single bike would place most of its weight over the top of that member, you'd most likely be fine. Two bikes will have their weight off center, I'd expect the trailer to flex about the center on a long trip.

    I'd look for a trailer that has a triangle-like configuration from the tongue to the bed to minimize this flex.

    Sort of like this one:

    [​IMG]

    Again, this is my $.02, YMMV.
    #3
  4. LARK

    LARK Been here awhile

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    I have to agree with PhotoBiker on this. The trailer you're looking at is about as cheaply made as they come. The floor is grated just like the lift gate is. Not good. Pressure treated 2"x6"'s are pretty much standard on decent basic lower end units. Basic units like the one in PhotoBikers post will allow you to drill through the 2"x6"'s and into the steel cross braces and secure anchors to the floor. What ever you buy look under it before hand so you'll know if your anchor points will be secure. A 15" tire will ride better and run cooler. Spend the extra money and include a spare wheel/tire and mount on the trailer. For under $1500 you can get a very good 5'x10' drop gate trailer with 15"wheels and a spare with a 2" coupler. I'll pull great and last damn near forever.
    #4
  5. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Strongly suggest you repack the wheel bearing, both the inter & outer bearing.
    Then install a bearing buddy w/ the spring tention.

    Easy to do & will be done completely right for sure. Never seen a bearing w/ enough grease from the factory.
    #5
  6. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    That trailer would work fine. You need some basic rigging skills to tie down. carry bikes on my open flat railer all the time. Use QUALITY tie down straps (ANCRA!) only and NO Chinese shit to secure the bikes. 4 on each bike, then tie the tire to the front headboard.
    #6
  7. blackfoot36

    blackfoot36 Adventurer

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    I didn't see the fuel part of the question addressed yet. FWIW, anytime I've towed a trailer, my fuel economy sucked; often less than half the usual MPG. I figured it was worth the extra fuel for what I needed. A lot depends on tow vehicle, overall weight of the whole rig, drag etc. For me, doubling my fuel estimation for the trip worked- but I never kept detailed records.
    #7
  8. Bajatacoma

    Bajatacoma Why me?

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    I've got one that looks very similar to that; picked it up for $150 used (divorce sale). I carried two bikes on it with no issues but mine are lighter than yours too. As mentioned, the front flexes a bit since it's boxed and not triangulated; it never felt unsafe, just could have been better. To solve this I picked up a piece of angle from the local metal store and welded a brace on each side from the tongue to the second perpendicular brace under the decking. This was also welded to the front perpendicular piece. Kind of hard to explain but simple in design (Id post a pic if I were home). It took me longer to go pick up up the metal than to weld the braces on and paint them. That stiffened it up significantly and it tows better now too, especially when empty.

    Mine was several years old when I got it and the expanded metal was a bit rusty on the decking but I ran it that way for a while until I had some time to replace it. I used treated deck boards and it's been fine- I thought about 2Xs but it's not like this trailer will ever carry anything really heavy. The expanded metal tailgate is easy enough to use as the ramp angle isn't very steep and it allows air to flow through so it doesn't hurt your mileage as much.

    Other mods included replacing the 1 7/8" hitch with a 2" (standardized everything I own), replacing the lights after I broke a marker and a tail light and doing a spring over for more ground clearance (made it easier to push through the yard and my truck is slightly lifted so now it lines up better with the truck- yes I know I could have bought another drop hitch but the trailer was pretty low to start with). I installed bearing buddies after repacking the bearings. The tires haven't been an issue even in our hot weather; I usually check them when I stop for fuel on trips. I've got a pair of the Northern Tool wheel chocks that I bolt on when needed. I drilled holes to allow me to carry one bike centered or two off the center line. No complaints so far. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200409163_200409163?cm_sp=Upsells-_-Top%20Sellers-_-Product%20Page

    If I were going to be towing a lot, needed to carry heavier loads and/or was buying new I'd have bought something like the one photobiker posted, but realistically this meets my needs. Try watching your local classified or checking Craigslist for used deals too.
    #8
  9. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    I also have that trailer.

    This summer I hauled my Buell home about 30ish miles after the rear wheel bearings shit the bed. I was not impressed. The floor flexes and the bike moved around A LOT. Not only up and down, but side to side also. I know how to tie down bikes, I have been doing it for 6 years. I was really concerned that the rails on the trailer were going to rip off.

    This winter, we are welding more angle stock to the frame, adding more stock to the front and adding one of those steel wheel chock, tie down thingys. Not really a wheel chock, but the thing some attach to a pick up bed. We can tie down 3 bikes and that will work fine.

    We are also talking about cutting off the coupler, adding a little more length and triangulating that so we can mount a toolbox. I would also add a 2 inch coupler. All the other trailers I pull are 2 inch.

    If having a utility trailer were not so usefull, I would have bought a 3-rail trailer with a 2,000 lb capacity.

    I have a spare tire for my trailer, for a trip like you are planning, I would take 2 spares and a complete spare hub. Include the tools to change tires and hub (seems obvious.) If you do not want to do a hub, get a complete set of bearings and seals as a spare. Grease the seals and put them in a zip lock bag.

    I also bought replacement LED lamps for the lights. Standard bulbs have a tendency to get hot on long trips and fail. LEDs eliminate that.

    Watch Craigslist. I bought my trailer used with all the spares for $100 less than new. 3 rail trailers are out there, but take a bit more searching.
    #9
  10. high dangler

    high dangler Been here awhile

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    you'll be fine with that trailor. I would ditch the big fold up vertical ramp though . It'll be like a drag chute .
    #10
  11. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

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    "My opinion (and it is just that) is that I wouldn't trust this trailer to support two bikes for an extended trip like you have mentioned. There is one central structure member that extends from the tongue through the bottom of the trailer. A single bike would place most of its weight over the top of that member, you'd most likely be fine. Two bikes will have their weight off center, I'd expect the trailer to flex about the center on a long trip. "

    +1
    #11
  12. Tuffgonger

    Tuffgonger Is it dark yet?

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    I purchased that same trailer about 2 years ago and had it for about 6 months (instead picked up a used 6x10 full aluminum trailer with 15" wheels for about $1200). The flex in the trailer is a little disturbing, especially when you stand on a corner or tie something down. Additionally, any weight on the floor that is not on a piece of angle bar, causes the floor to sink and flex. It would probably make the trip, but for the size bikes you have, I would do some work on it first. I was carrying dirt bikes and would not go farther than about 100 miles.

    What I did to the Lowe's trailer before selling it: fortified the floor with 2x6s and large carriage bolts. This prevents the major flex I talked about earlier, plus gives it a little more weight and solidity. Added a bunch of eye hooks for tie down spots. Lastly, got two of the Harbor Freight heavy duty wheel chocks and bolted them down.

    One last comment: we had an incident where the trailer jumped off the trailer ball going 40mph over some large bumps. I usually double-check the fit before leaving the house, but this was the last straw for us. YMMV.
    #12
  13. STisma

    STisma Been here awhile

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    I've had one of those open "landscape" type trailers.
    With time I started hauling more and more and securing all the items became difficult.
    For some reason motorcycle gear attracts .....everybody.
    So I ended up getting an enclosed, cargo, trailer 12ft long 6 or 7ft wide.
    It fits two full size bikes and a third if needed, along with tons of gear.
    Lockable, weather protected, .... used it for quick naps as well.
    Yes, more money, but that gear must be secure and it serves as storage.
    #13
  14. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

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    At 5 feet it seems a little narrow for two bikes. If you intend to trailer the bikes often I would shop for something with twice the load capacity of your bikes. For ocational use it will be fine. Make sure to buy a spare, jack and 4 way lug wrench. GH
    #14
  15. Dream Rider

    Dream Rider Watchman

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    I agree with Lark: I have a 6x12 drop tailgate. single axle, 15" wheels. aluminum shell, plywood floor and uses a
    1 7/8" ball. Towed my 1150 GS, Tools, and other goodies from Anchorage AK to Fayetteville NC and back to SE Washington. Bike faired very well, did not get any road dings (common on the ALCAN) and I have used it for hauling and storage. Home Depot has some for about $1700 but should be worth it. Keeps all your gear dry and safe. and you can sleep in it if you take the bikes out. That trailer you showed me is ok for hauling trash. IMHO
    #15
  16. SuchesTom

    SuchesTom n00b

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    It's fine, use 3/4 pressure treated plywood over floor if bikes hit between supports and sag expanded metal. Keep bearings greased and buy spare tire and wheel. Trailer comes with low end tires so change them early and it should work for years.

    I've hauled on one like it a good bit with no problems.
    #16
  17. Outwardbound

    Outwardbound Been here awhile

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    Don't do it.
    Cheaping out on a trailer with, maybe, $18,000 worth of bikes aboard makes no sense. Get a "real" trailer rated to twice the load weight you expect. Use large, 'real-car' like, mutiple ply tires. Cheap trailers have cheap tires, and a blow-out at speed with your bikes in tow ruins your entire day. Don't use safety chains which attach with those little hooks; instead use screw-type carabiners (for lack of a better term).

    Get the larger trailer as shown on previous replies. Craig's List is a good place to start. Use multiple tie-downs and don't over-tighten them ( I use at least 4 per bike; the higher up on the frame the better ). DON'T trailer your bikes with the sidestand or centerstand down. DO get a couple front wheel chocks and bolt them solidly to the trailer floor; Harbor freight or Northern Tools have inexpensive chocks which will suffice. Do install a rear wheel chock which restricts the rear wheel from sliding left to right from the road vibrations.

    Most of us find a good trailer to be very helpful even when you're not towing bikes. They're lower than the bed of a pickup truck and they have hundreds of uses. You'll find that friends and neighbors will come-a-knockin to borrow your trailer pretty regularly. Mine has been worth it's weight in beer :)
    #17
  18. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Actually, matching the load capacity to your load is a much better idea. You need weight on the trailer for the suspension to work.
    #18
  19. EdOriginal

    EdOriginal Been here awhile

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    I have exactly the same trailer. Hauled a 1200GS from Kalispel, Montana to Atlanta (2,700 miles in a round-about route) without issues. The pulling vehicle is as important as the trailer in my case.

    Highly recommend Harper Freight chokes. They were on sale for $39 last week.) And yeah, you'll need a sheet of plywood on the floor. I bought a 1/2" exterior plywood, painted black, both sides. Two bikes will be a pretty tight fit to keep them from banging against each other. Don't compress the front fork too much or you'll blow the seals.
    #19
  20. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    While extra load capacity is nice... the trailer you described is heavier, wider, taller and pulls harder. Now before you fire back, bear in mind some of us have big block one ton trucks and leave them at home to use the VW TDI for a 1500 mile trip. I have towed many... the original proposal will do nicely. Spare tires are always a great idea. Bearings lubed and PROPERLY adjusted as well. (ALWAYS check them, ESPECIALLY on a NEW trailer) The trailer he describes has the load carrying capacity with a little extra. It will work fine, so long as the bikes are rigged with common sense.
    #20