Bought a Port A Chopper

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by old1959, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    I created this thread to share my thoughts and experiences on a Port A Chopper trailer I recently bought. The reason for this particular purchase is twofold. First, I decided to get a trailer so I could do car trips with not only my bicycle but also with my Yamaha Super Tenere. Second, I don’t have much storage space nor a truck so wanted something that would be easy to store and tow. Kendon trailers were what first came to mind but price and size was more than I wanted. Trailer in a bag doesn’t have a suspension which I wanted. I’m sure other trailers exist but one eventually needs to make a decision.

    First issue. Instructions state one must be mature... This may disqualify some inmates:photog
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  2. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    The trailer came in five boxes and well packed. Shipping label said 370 pounds.
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  3. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    Everything laid out.
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    After an hour or so, I had it put together. This picture doesn’t show the fenders installed which I did later.
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  4. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    I did a trial loading of the Yamaha and decided to move the wheel stop forward an inch; originally installed based on garage floor measurements so had it fairly close. Also, realized I needed a draw bar with another inch or two of drop. And, to finalize, I ordered two 5:30 by 12” wheels and tires. I’ll keep the eight inch wheels for spares. Oh, and other lesson learned, the Yamaha kickstand puts too much weight on the kickstand plate so when loading and unloading I’ll put a jack under the plate to provide support.

    I’ll post pictures once I get the bigger wheels.
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  5. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    What materials is it made of? Looks sturdy enough. What is the weight limit, and how much did it cost?
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  6. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    I'm curious about this because their website claims 275 pounds. My Trailer in a Bag is (I believe) 220 pounds. Yours has a few extra struts and the torsion bar suspension so that 275 target should be close.

    If you haven't already ordered the tires, pay attention to the load rating of the tires. On the 8" wheels, there are two common load ratings. A lot of places like Walmart sell the lower rated ones. I had to order them online to get the higher rated tires that the TiaB came with. With a 1,200 pound rating on your trailer, I'm sure it also takes the higher rating.

    I also entertained going to the larger diameter wheels but, didn't want to chance the higher CG (having the trailer roll over in a panic swerve) or loading height. I had a coyote get snagged by the axle and then finally go under while towing an 850 pound bike on my TiaB. I'm not saying it's right or wrong but, that trade-off didn't work for me personally.

    Thanks for sharing. I'm curious to see what your thoughts are after towing with it.
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  7. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

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    I'm out.
    The second paragraph says to avoid alcohol.
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  8. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    Trailer is steel except for bar holding the lights which is aluminum. Yes, website says the lower weight but shipping label was higher which, I assume, included packaging materials along with pallet.

    Cost: too much. Approximately $1,800. Shipping was $300. Ouch. However, I do feel the trailer has some quality items such as the Dexter torsion axle. I don’t like leaf springs on trailers since had one break on a three rail trailer which allowed the axle to rotate and made a mess.

    Tires and going to a 12” wheel. The manufacturer offers the larger wheel has an option and using the larger wheel will raise trailer approximately 2” so not concerned about a higher CG. I ordered load range D tires from Discount Tires. The eight inch tires have an almost 800 pounds limit and the 12” tires are higher.

    Regarding load capacity, trailer is rated at 1,200 pounds. Yamaha is less than 650 pounds; I’ve already decided next bike will be smaller and lighter, so plenty of margin. My car, SubieDo, is rate to tow 2,700 or 1,000 pounds without trailer brakes. This trailer and bike combo should be just under the thousand pound limit.
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  9. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    A fully assembled picture. The taillight bar uses same pin as ramp so in order to keep the bar from moving two bungees are used; simple and lite solution.
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  10. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    A better picture of fenders. And notice, the kickstand plate has bent which is why the next time I will have a stand or jack under it along with I’ll turn it over.
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  11. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    I made mention of the tire load rating not just for ultimate load safety but, because I discovered the hard way how it affected tire wear. On the TiaB, I went through a set of tires in literally 1,200-1,500 miles, two separate times. No joke. Wear was off the charts. The good news is that the lower rated tires are available at any Walmart, already mounted to a rim. I didn't realize there were higher rated tires originally specified for the TiaB (who pays attention to that stuff?).

    Pro Tip: They make 4 and 5 lug versions of those wheels. Know which one yours has before you go to Walmart. :lol3 Walmart also stocks the 12" wheel/tire assemblies.

    I literally stopped at a Walmart 800 miles from home to buy wheels, tossed them in the back and then kept an eye on them. When it was time, out came the jack and tires were swapped. This is rest stop somewhere in Arizona.

    [​IMG]

    Also note in that photo: the diagonal tie downs I added the previous evening to try to get this tire wear in check. On the TiaB, all that loosely pinned hardware knocks and bangs around as the load changes. It's never unsafe but, the noise can be disconcerting at first. Part of the issue in my mind was that the axles would flap fore and aft within the tubing clearance as the load changed. The tie downs were an attempt to stop that. I thought the tires were splaying out and scrubbing. It turned out they were just too heavily loaded. It's still nice that your trailer comes with diagonal braces.
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  12. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    Donkey, you’re not alone in going through small trailer tires. And, yes, Walmart along TSC and several others carry the tires mounted on wheels for not much money. However, as you pointed out, most are load range C and bias construction. I’m hoping the ones I ordered from Discount will be more durable.

    The main tube or cross that the two axles pieces slide into along with the fore and aft tubes is a very well built piece. Axles fit solid and are pinned way inboard. Plus having suspension should help with longevity. We’ll see...
    #12
  13. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Put a rubber bumper under the fender and let it rest on the bar crossing under it.

    Nice trailer.
    #13
  14. Bt10

    Bt10 Long timer

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    Is that kickstand plate upside down? The rib might be designed to rest on the diagonal?
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  15. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    Yes, I turned the kickstand plate over. After taking picture, realized mistake. Whoops:doh
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  16. Tall Man

    Tall Man My my! At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender.

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    I've the bigger brother here: The Port-A-Chopper Dual.

    I'm the second owner. The original owner accessorized the trailer pretty well at the time of order: 12" wheels/tires (which should have been standard for this model), matching spare tire, fenders, and wide rear channels & ramps.

    The original black "E-coat" finish was pretty thin sauce. Taking advantage of the trailer's designed-in disassembly feature, I cleaned and then sprayed all of the individual steel components with three coats of a quality black satin enamel. I also added some reflectives, new LED lighting and guards, an aluminum plate bracket, and a supplemental aluminum VIN plate (the factory data is printed on a sticker.)

    [​IMG]

    Better than new, better than it left the factory floor.

    [​IMG]

    The width of the ramps and wheel channels is not adjustable. 'Twas serendipity that allowed the Ural to fit perfectly on the trailer, even if the wide channel/ramp option was otherwise absent. I'm also fortunate that, when loading or unloading the rig, it rolls over the centrally located spare tire with room to spare.

    The P-A-C Dual does not include, or have available, a kickstand plate. I'd likely integrate one of these chocks, if or when I have to recurringly haul a single bike. I've used that chock in other applications, to good effect.

    [​IMG]

    One thing I really like is the original owner taking the trouble to have two small uprights welded in place, so as to make the ramps self-storing. It looks "factory", even though it's a one-off. It also relieves me of having to lash and unlash the ramps every time. He also added a trailer jack. That this particular item isn't provided, or offered as an option, is arguably an oversight by the manufacturer.

    The torsion suspension is pretty effective, in my view. I'm glad I chose this trailer for my needs.
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  17. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    TM, thanks for sharing.

    Can we discuss tire pressure? My research indicates trailer tires should be inflated to maximum psi; whatever is listed on sidewall of the tire. My thoughts: If using at maximum load, yes, maximum pressure. However, as in my situation, I won’t be at maximum load so my thinking is to use a pressure which corresponds percentage wise to the load. For example, if at 60% of load and tire maximum pressure is 80 psi, I would use 48, or 50, psi. Comments?:hmmmmm
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  18. Tall Man

    Tall Man My my! At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender.

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    The trailer documentation, the original owner's counsel, the tire sidewall information and my towing experience to date (to include observed tread wear) all match: the tires should be inflated to 80 psi.

    The foregoing is my own situation, and not necessarily advice. With the Ural loaded thereon, the trailer's 1,300 lb. weight is equal to 59% of it's GVWR of 2,200 lbs.
    #18
  19. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    Tires arrived:clap . Load range D at 1250 pounds at 105psi:eek2
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  20. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

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    The fit works as I have enough room to run my hand under the fender. I currently have them inflated to 92psi, a little under the 105psi because the Texas cold weather is currently mid 90’s.
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