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Old 02-13-2013, 08:46 AM   #1
jules083 OP
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Guys that pull trailers with a bike.

I've been really thinking about a trailer for a few years now, might be pulling the trigger soon. Main 'tow rig' will be a Road King. Depending on how it handles a trailer I might someday get a hitch for my Sportster and/or FJR, but I doubt it. I just don't know about it. Guys say they can't tell it's back there, and reviews say they like it, but I'm still nervous about hooking to a loaded trailer and heading out. Traveling with the girlfriend on the back would be way easier, as we nearly always camp and sometimes go on an actual vacation, meaning stay in the same spot for a few days. Vacation trips involve normal vacation packing. Clothes, hair drier, make-up, kitchen sink, etc.

One of the biggest things that worries me is the trailer hitting a pothole with one tire and starting to sway, I'm not sure how a bike would react to that. I've felt sway with a truck, it's not fun at all. It was an extreme example of an overloaded truck and trailer, but it almost put me on the roof. Truck was sliding sideways and all I could do was hang on. Smaller examples have happened to me, notable the trailer hitting a bump and starting to bounce while hooked to a smaller tow rig. My dually doesn't care what's back there, but I've towed with my Lincoln town car and it's pretty noticeable. Heavy car, soft suspension. I'd imagine tuning the trailer suspension to a specific load would help, maybe with some added shocks or something.

I'd be looking to loosely follow this build:

http://www.gadgetjq.com/trailer.htm

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Old 02-13-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
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In before Dakez's "folly" comments.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jules083 View Post
I've been really thinking about a trailer for a few years now, might be pulling the trigger soon. Main 'tow rig' will be a Road King. Depending on how it handles a trailer I might someday get a hitch for my Sportster and/or FJR, but I doubt it. I just don't know about it. Guys say they can't tell it's back there, and reviews say they like it, but I'm still nervous about hooking to a loaded trailer and heading out. Traveling with the girlfriend on the back would be way easier, as we nearly always camp and sometimes go on an actual vacation, meaning stay in the same spot for a few days. Vacation trips involve normal vacation packing. Clothes, hair drier, make-up, kitchen sink, etc.

One of the biggest things that worries me is the trailer hitting a pothole with one tire and starting to sway, I'm not sure how a bike would react to that. I've felt sway with a truck, it's not fun at all. It was an extreme example of an overloaded truck and trailer, but it almost put me on the roof. Truck was sliding sideways and all I could do was hang on. Smaller examples have happened to me, notable the trailer hitting a bump and starting to bounce while hooked to a smaller tow rig. My dually doesn't care what's back there, but I've towed with my Lincoln town car and it's pretty noticeable. Heavy car, soft suspension. I'd imagine tuning the trailer suspension to a specific load would help, maybe with some added shocks or something.

I'd be looking to loosely follow this build:

http://www.gadgetjq.com/trailer.htm

I did quite a few trips towing a pop up tent trailer with my K100, it was never really an issue on the road. Adjust for braking distance, lower fuel economy, length of rig around obstacles, etc.

Only incident was stopping on a steep hill and not getting on the brakes hard enough or soon enough.......
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Montague screwed with this post 02-15-2013 at 10:38 AM Reason: I don't spel so good
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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I've had a Bushtec for 20 years. I've pulled several different trailers before I made the decision to by the bushtec. at the time it was the safest motorcycle trailer made. I love mine.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciferMutt View Post
In before Dakez's "folly" comments.



I know a inmate who tows behind his Wee strom. Trailer? Wee strom? That should "really" fire Dakez up.
I like his setup so much I've been thinking of duplicating it. I'll see if I can get him over here to comment.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #6
jules083 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montague View Post
I did quite a few trips towing a pop up tent trailer with my K100, it was never really an issue on the road. Adjust for breaking distance, lower fuel economy, length of rig around obstacles, etc.

Only incident was stopping on a steep hill and not getting on the brakes hard enough or soon enough.......

Hmm.... A tent trailer is likely heavier than what I would pull, and a K100 is maybe 150-250 pounds lighter than my Road King. No dirt or gravel roads for me with a trailer, but I'd assume that twisty 2 lanes aren't a problem, just go slower? I've also heard that a bike with trailer handles better than an overloaded bike. I know there's a huge handling difference in the Road King when I have all of our crap strapped on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by crampfan View Post
I've had a Bushtec for 20 years. I've pulled several different trailers before I made the decision to by the bushtec. at the time it was the safest motorcycle trailer made. I love mine.
What made the others not good? Or did you just want a Bushtec? I can't spend a whole bunch of money here, that's why I was looking at the Harbor Freight frame and work on it from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwalsh View Post


I know a inmate who tows behind his Wee strom. Trailer? Wee strom? That should "really" fire Dakez up.
I like his setup so much I've been thinking of duplicating it. I'll see if I can get him over here to comment.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jules083 View Post



What made the others not good? Or did you just want a Bushtec? I can't spend a whole bunch of money here, that's why I was looking at the Harbor Freight frame and work on it from there.



The biggest thing was scaring myself with a friends set up. I was not paying proper attn. and hit a pot hole with his trailer, the trailer about flipped and with a ball hitch, It almost put me down. I was talking to a CHP friend of mine about the ordeal, and he told me about the bushtec. Hands down the best / safest set up, although not cheap now.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciferMutt View Post
In before Dakez's "folly" comments.



It is not a single tire hitting a pot-hole that brings the worst of it. It is a momentary loss of traction or slipping of the rear tire on some sort of road contaminant that will potentially get you killed.

It takes a few moments to gather the bike... Those moments can put you head on into oncoming traffic.

Pulling a trailer with a motorcycle IS a FOOLS game.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
crampfan
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Never once had an issue like that DAKEZ...but I ride a harley, so breaking the rear tire loose is not much of an issue is it?
found this, a bit corny at the end, but you get the idea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=fN08CFBcSwQ
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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I've also towed trailers with my bikes.

It's noisy. Largely from the noise reflected back at you from the trailer. But also the engine pulls harder, and the trailer makes noise itself.

Make sure your hitch on the bike is solid. I've made several over the years. Very solid ones work fine, wiggly ones give you nightmares.

Most motorcycle trailers are overbuilt and excessively heavy. I had one for years that weighed 40 lbs. The whole trailer. That pulled nicely.

Bigger wheels spin slower and easier than tiny wheels. Matters a whole lot on the interstate.

It's not the potholes that get you, it's the barriers around gas pumps and such. When you forget there's a trailer back there.

Always think through the turn around. Backing with a trailer on a bike is not fun.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #11
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I wouldn't do it, but I'll certainly respect you more than someone who has a bike on a trailer instead of in front of it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:12 PM   #12
Spirit_Rider
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trailer hitches

360 degree hitches are available if you want the safety without the extreme price of the Bushtec trailer.

I have one on a homemade HF type trailer. Now I just need the hitch for my bike.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:14 PM   #13
jules083 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crampfan View Post
Never once had an issue like that DAKEZ...but I ride a harley, so breaking the rear tire loose is not much of an issue is it?
found this, a bit corny at the end, but you get the idea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=fN08CFBcSwQ
Nice trailers for sure, but $2000 for their cheapest model is a bit out of range right now.

I've seen different ideas for the swivel hitch, but I don't know that it's really needed. For every guy that says you need one there's 3 or 4 more guys that don't have one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
I've also towed trailers with my bikes.

It's noisy. Largely from the noise reflected back at you from the trailer. But also the engine pulls harder, and the trailer makes noise itself.

Make sure your hitch on the bike is solid. I've made several over the years. Very solid ones work fine, wiggly ones give you nightmares.

Most motorcycle trailers are overbuilt and excessively heavy. I had one for years that weighed 40 lbs. The whole trailer. That pulled nicely.

Bigger wheels spin slower and easier than tiny wheels. Matters a whole lot on the interstate.

It's not the potholes that get you, it's the barriers around gas pumps and such. When you forget there's a trailer back there.

Always think through the turn around. Backing with a trailer on a bike is not fun.
I was thinking that if I go with the Harbor Freight trailer I'd probably dump the 8" tires for some skinny 12" ones, and do as much as possible to keep everything light.

According to the ad it weighs 130lbs, I'm thinking I can easily keep it under 150 with the box mounted and bigger tires. Maybe under 140. The bushtec trailers range from 125 to 140, so I'm in the ballpark. I might even be able to come in under the advertised weight, since I'll be removing one leaf spring per side and possibly shortening the trailer or changing fenders.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:27 PM   #14
foxtrapper
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Of the two HF mini trailers, I'd get the 90153, not the 42708. Look at the tire differences and the speed ratings. You'll spend your savings trying to upgrade the lesser.

Both are absurdly heavy duty for behind a motorcycle, but they are cheap. Put a box on either and you'll rapidly find yourself closing in on 200 lbs, not 150 lbs. Boxes weigh a lot more than you're given them credit for.

The spring is already a single leaf. Adjust air pressure in the tire for ride quality. Most folk run it way too high, making them bounce madly.

Don't discount a used trailer found on ebay or craigslist. They are there.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:23 PM   #15
jules083 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
Of the two HF mini trailers, I'd get the 90153, not the 42708. Look at the tire differences and the speed ratings. You'll spend your savings trying to upgrade the lesser.

Both are absurdly heavy duty for behind a motorcycle, but they are cheap. Put a box on either and you'll rapidly find yourself closing in on 200 lbs, not 150 lbs. Boxes weigh a lot more than you're given them credit for.

The spring is already a single leaf. Adjust air pressure in the tire for ride quality. Most folk run it way too high, making them bounce madly.

Don't discount a used trailer found on ebay or craigslist. They are there.
The smaller trailer is 20lbs lighter, that's one reason I was looking at it. I'd end up paying more in the end with bigger tires though. I'm going to ride up there and look, I may very well buy the heavier one. I have some ideas to get it lighter, but I need to see it in person first. Like you said it's 'absurdly heavy duty', so that tells me I might be able to lighten it.

I have a box in mind to mount on it, it's under 10lbs. Haven't picked it up empty in a few years but it should be about the right size and plenty strong. It't heavy gauge plastic, I wouldn't want anything else I don't think.


I'm leaving now to ride up HF and look around. Don't know if I'm buying now or not, but figured I'd ride up and see what I might be dealing with. If I do get it and it doesn't work out I still have a cheap trailer that I can use around the house. If nothing else it'll double the firewood capacity of my Gator. 10 cords a year is a lot of trips to the woods. I'll have my phone on me to check here for any more replies.
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