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Discussion Starter #1
Comments on the use of this type of tow system.



Anybody use one?



I am not concerned about transmission wear and tear as I would remove the chain. On the TW with the oiled outer shaft bearing I would expect towing with only rear wheel turning (and engine NOT running) would be a problem as the outer bearing would not be getting oil.



I would guess this type of tow system would be OK for short tows (<100 miles) but how about a long cross country?



I would also guess that for most lighter tow vehicles midsize SUV and down or compact pickup this would tow better than using the sideways rear mount that holds the whole bike up near the rear bumper.



Your thoughts please.



 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wonder how it is when you need to back up? Gerry




They warn you on the site that sells them that it is like backing a VERY short trailer and that it can jackknife very quickly.



That said, with a TW on it I suppose you could just get out pick up the rear wheel and straighten it out if you got into a jackknife situation.



They also inform you that the cycle will lean on turns and to try to make wide turns if possible.



These seem to run about $150 which seems a little steep to me but I guess when a rear or front rack runs about that also it is just going price for a little steel fab work.
 

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For just a little more money, and not much, you can get a Harbor Freight trailer which would be more secure and more utilitarian in the long run, and you don't have to take the bike apart and wear out your rear tire on a cross country trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For just a little more money, and not much, you can get a Harbor Freight trailer which would be more secure and more utilitarian in the long run, and you don't have to take the bike apart and wear out your rear tire on a cross country trip.


OK I'll add to the question - How have the Harbor Freight Trailers worked out for anyone?



Most things at HF that have moving parts scare me as to quality. Can the small trailer wheels spinning at 70 mph last? Anyone have any luck using one long distance?



I like the idea of the folding trailer as I do not have a spot to store a trailer but could stand the folding one up inside.
 

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I have a cheap 4 x 8 HF trailer. It probably has 10,000 miles or more. Most miles are from long trips. Fort Worth to Terlingua. Fort Worth to North Carolina. North Carolina to northwest Tennessee. Fort Worth to Florida. The second set of tires are about worn out. Sustained speeds to 80mph.



I bought 5.30-12 6-ply wheels for mine. Taller tires ride smoother. The trailer is still low enough i can idle Tdub up in first and step up from the ground quite easily. 6-ply tires carry load better. Inflate tires to 60% of maximum when the trailer is empty, maximum on the sidewall when loaded, every time you use the trailer. Little trailer tires take significantly more air pressure than car tires and they leak relatively quickly. Replace when you start seeing craxks from dry rot. Underinflation, overloading, and age kill tires. Avoid those things and you'll avoid most problems.



Clean the spindles, hubs, and wheel bearings and repack with a good synthetic wheelbearing grease before installing the hubs. You'd have to go about 180mph to overspeed tapered roller bearings with 8-inch wheels and tires so tire diameter is pretty much not going to amount to a hill of beans as far as bearing life goes. Repack bearings once a year or every 5000 miles, whichever comes first. Repack if you have to drive through deep puddles. Do not use the grease fittings to "repack" bearings. You'll overfill the hub, cause excess heat to build up, which kills the good properties of the grease, and the bearings will fail. Neglect, overloading, and water contamination kill small trailer bearings. Avoid those things and you'll never have a problem.



Forget the folding feature and use a solid sheet of plywood for a floor. The trailer will be much stiffer if you don't cut the plywood.



1x1 heavy angle 6-feet long bolted across the front and rear of the trailer frame make excellent outboard tiedown mounts if hauling more than 1 bike. They also make excellent places to mount clearance and tail lights. Whatch your shins.



The stake brackets are handy for mounting loading ramps. My RamParts instructions figured 4 feet as the proper length for the bed height. Head and tail boards are fitted with Rampart tops. Bolts in the tops fit in holes in the bed to prevent slipping while loading.



Eye bolts instead of bolts used to hold down the plywood floor make excellent tiedown points.











Use straps with good hooks. Red bad. Orange good. Black best.











Use straps with ratchets. Camlocks will loosen.



Edited to add black straps.
 

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I have a similar unit that I have used to tow a variety of bikes with - Harleys, sportbikes, dualsports and dirtbikes. I have not used it for my TW but it should work fine as long as the front wheel fits securely into the cradle. I've only used mine for short trips (less than 50 miles), typically to pick up/drop off bikes that I have bought or sold, or to pick up bikes that my sons have crashed. It is handy because it doesn't take up much storage space and you can just toss it in the back of the SUV when it is needed. Straps are definitely needed to prevent some very weird and disconcerting leaning and I simply avoided situations that required backing up. If you don't have space for a trailer, or just have an occasional need to tow a wide range of bikes, this type of carrier can be a good option.



Brian
 

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Speaking from experience, I will say "Do not attempt to make on of these tow systems unless you are VERY clear as to the physics/geometry of the design". To me, the idea seemed very straight forward. I have been making things for many years and generally things work out great. I welded up on of these a few years ago because the design seem efficient and easy to copy. I thought I had it all dialed in until I tried to make a U-turn. The sharpness of the turn bent a very robust rack and had the TW leaning at a very disconcerting angle. Did not waste alot of time trying to figure out what went wrong. Checked the TW frame, then went out and purchased a trailer. Use care. Gerry
 

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Hi Gerry,



I know exactly what you experienced. Without straps securing the handlebars to the rear corners of the tow vehicle, the bike is able to basically flop around. I almost crapped my pants after taking a pretty gentle freeway entrance ramp and watching the bike completely disappear from view in the rearview mirror. After that experience, I always used straps.



Brian
 

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I have two of those HF 4x8 Trailers.



One has been rigged with an extra long tongue and some bunk boards and I haul my Gheenoe on it.







The other one just has some 3/4 in plywood and sides and I use it for everything else.



I have probably close to 10k mi in the boat setup and other than greasing the bearings I have never had a problem. The boat one has rusted a bit because I am always dunking it in salt water but it is still pretty solid. I probably should sand it down and repaint it one of these days.



Both mine have the 12 inch tires.
 

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If I wanted a bare minimum motorcycle trailer I'd start with a piece of channel, weld a coupler to the front, weld some channel and strap for a tire chock, weld a piece of angle at the front about 4 feet long for tiedowns, a piece of square tube big enough to weld spindles in the ends for an axle, and mount up some wheels. I'd weld the axle well aft of the center of gravity, wrap a bungy around the rear tire to keep it on the rail, and let the rear suspension of the bike do its thing on bumps. Bolt on lights, and your good to go.
 

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I have used a very cheap (price wise - $175.00) Chinese kit utility trailer with 8 inch wheels for 15 years. I have pulled it with a motorcycle up to 10,000 kms at steady highway speeds on a single trip without a moment of trouble.



I rewired the trailer after 10 years and repacked the wheel bearings about every 3-4 years. I replaced the tires as the tread was gone at about 15,000 kms



In addition to hauling bikes, the trailer has hauled everything from gravel to furniture.





The trailer was a folding unit but I ignored that and built it rigid with a 1" deck



I have nothing but positives t say about this type of trailer
 

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Seems the Chinese trailers are fine if properly maintained. You could also watch Craig's List for a good used pipe or angle trailer, but unless you find a highly motivated seller you'll likely end up with a significant investment in replacing old tires, lighting, and perhaps wheel bearings and a coupler.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nothing yet. I do not even have a hitch on my RAV4 yet. So far I borrow.



Think I have ruled out the front wheel special.



Cannot park a trailer outside here. Homeowners Assoc rule.



Looking at making room in garage for the Harbor Freight folder.



Thanks for all the input.
 

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The HF folding trailer can be strengthened with either steel or wood stiffeners that you bolt on after opening it. I'm thinking of building a pair of side boxes that would bolt on.
 

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Stiffeners aren't really necessary, but the trailer is flimsy with the plywood cut. Folding is a pain in the rear--requires unbolting and bolting, as well as considerations for wires. It would be easier to hang it from the ceiling.
 

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Stiffeners aren't really necessary, but the trailer is flimsy with the plywood cut. Folding is a pain in the rear--requires unbolting and bolting, as well as considerations for wires. It would be easier to hang it from the ceiling.


I'm in an apartment with a rented garage. Can't hang too much on the walls or ceiling. Plus I already have my canoe, motorcycle, large & small tool boxes, and a work bench in there. Gonna have to fold the trailer just to get it in the %@#& door.
 

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i think the best trailers for motorcycles are the type you use for flat bottom boats. just remove everything from the fram surface and bolt down pressure treated plywood. i can fit my r6 and my tw with no prob and it handles the weight good enough to do 70 mph on the highway.
 

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I used to have an old monkey wards motorcycle trailer that the previous owner converted to a silgle bike so he could haul his goldwing on it. I needed a 2 bike trailer so i welded some bed frames the width of my tires on each side and used it for many miles. i did buy a set of bearing buddies to keep the bearings greased.
 
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