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Hi guys, looking for some advice. I have decided that it is a trailer I need. I would love the Kendon foldable 3 dirt bike trailer, but not in the budget so does anyone recommend a good second choice. I definitely need it to carry two bikes. Also, what are the most important things I need to look for when shopping for a trailer. I have zero experience towing. I appreciate any thoughts. I figured this is a good time of year to get my research done and find a good used one over winter. Thanks!
 

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Great, another freakin' oil thread.





I've given up on rail trailers for bikes. Too many slips and falls. I'll take a solid bed every time. Virtually every problem I've ever seen anyone have with trailering motorcycles stems from cutting corners on equipment and/or neglect. You don't have to pay extra for Harley or Beemer branded gear, but it is not wise to cut corners too sharply.



Anywho, I've been quite satisfied with my Harbor Freight cheapo 4x8 kit. Best bang for the buck. Be sure to spring for the 5.30-12 LRC 6-ply rated wheels and tires. The bigger, heavier-duty wheels and tires provide a smoother ride and last longer than smaller tires, and the difference in cost is minimal. Be aware that trailer tires have relatively thin sidewalls and will normally lose pressure over time. Be sure to max out the tire pressure EVERY time you hook up the trailer or the tires will fail from under-inflation or overloading that cause heat to build up.



Clean and repack the wheel bearings and hubs with a real quality wheel bearing grease. The provided grease is no better than slime scraped off dead fish. It actually smells like fish slime. Repack wheelbearings every 2 years or 10,000 miles and you'll never have a problem.



Take the quadralateral piece that goes on top of the junction of the tongue and the two angle brackets and duplicate it in 1/4-inch steel. Bolt the extra reinforcement on the bottom of the tongue and brackets directly below the original.



Bolt a 6-foot long piece of 1 1/2-inch angle iron between the front cross member of the bed and the tongue assembly, with 1 foot sticking out each side. I just drilled the angle where the stock assembly bolts go. No problems. Give the angle a coat or two of Rust-O-Leum and it's good for years.



With these few mods, you should now have a rolling trailer frame. Next thing you'll need is a deck for the frame. When you assemble the trailer kit, do not try to make it fold. The trailer is much more solid if you forego the folding option and do not cut the 5/8-inch plywood. Spring for pressure treated exterior plywood so you won't have to worry with paint, rot, or the glue dissolving. As you bolt the bed down, use an eyebolt in the middle of the front edge instead of a bolt to provide a central tiedown point. Later, after the pressure treating chemicals have dried out, you can paint the top of the bed with a porch and deck enamel if you want. Stir in a bit of fine sand for a non-skid surface.



A second piece of angle iron under the back of the trailer frame provides a good outboard position for rear tiedown points, as well as more substantial mounts for the lights. Watch your shins. You have been warned!



Next thing you'll need is wheel chocks. The tubular steel kind can be had in widths suitable for TW tires. They can be fastened firectly to the wooden bed using fender washers to prevent pulling through the bed. If you buy as removable kit like http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-5-MOTORCYCLE-TIRE-WHEEL-CHOCK-REMOVABLE-CHOCKS-BLACK-/160563931280?hash=item25625b2890&item=160563931280&pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr Be sure to provide adequate backing plates under the bed. Tubular chocks are significantly lighter than other options, work well, and not really a good place to scrimp.



Next, you'll need ramps to load and unload your bikes. A simple ramp kit such as http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/KEE0/05674.oap?ck=Search_N0771_-1_2270&pt=N0771&ppt=C0373 is another place scrimping can cause serious regrets. The ramp tops have holes to take bolts that then slip into holes drilled in the bed to prevent the ramps from slipping. Cheap insurance. Bike in 1st at idle pulling itself up one ramp, you trotting along beside up the other. Takes a bit of confidence, but easiest way ever to load a TW. Unload by rolling the bike down one ramp while walking on the other, using the front brake to control speed. Easy-peazy. Add a couple 2x4 to the bottom of each ramp, and they fit in the stake pockets for easy storage. Be sure to use clevis pins to keep them from bouncing out.



Don't buy cheap tiedown straps. Scrimping on straps is probably the #1 cause of motorcycles falling off trailers. Many straps sold today have the hooks cut too short. Hooks on right good, hooks on left bad:





Avoid cam buckle straps--they have a bad habit of slipping and dumping your bike. Ratchets are the way to go. Best straps I've ever had--good hooks with safeties, ratchets with big handles, built-in soft ties:





Here you can see the rear angle iron in use:



Note how one of the ramps fits across the back of the trailer.



Note how the angle iron is used to position outboard tiedown points front and rear.



You can see the sideboards and a second ramp being used as a headboard.



The Harbor Freight trailer kit is all you need for two dualsport bikes. Set up as described it will do double duty as a utility/stakeside, too.
 

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I too have solid bed for all sorts of duty. When I bought my Van got the trailer with it.



NOTE: Many friends without garages spend the relatively big money for a box trailer and use it as the toy garage too.



Before you leap at least to a general craigslist search people are in and out of that stuff almost daily
 

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qwerty



Have you thot about collecting your more informative posts into a I-book? Damn! But you and they are good. This comment of yours should at least be copied to http://tw200.wiki-site.com .



No this isn't a man-crush; just an appreciative acknowledgement of your willingness to share your understanding about a myriad of matters pertaining to our poco burro.
 

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Northern Tool Has a bunch of trailers & most have free shipping. http://www.northernt...-parts+trailers



I bought the one below from them and have been very happy with it.. The tires are bigger then the real cheap trailers and rated for as fast as my Ranger can go. I added a tongue jack & spare tire to the front , then two drop down stabilizers to the back so I could load it without the trailer being hooked up to the tow car.








Another idea is to search for a old small single axle horse or travel trailer. Then Strip it and re-purpose it.



I sometimes still use my motorcycle hitch carrier for my tw & rv90. Similar setup below.

Works great if you have a hitch rated for the weight and good suspension.













If I had had 2k laying around I would have bought one of these instead...





 

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Or you could make your own, like I did. I would stay away from HF junk.
Who do you trust, some mechanical engineer that happens to be Chinese or some self-proclaimed judgemental internet "expert"?



I worked for a trailer manufacturer for a few years and a big part of my job was doing failure analysis. The vast majority of failures were caused by neglect and mis-use, not by shoddy engineering or manufacturing. What I've seen with home-builders has been extreme over-engineering resulting in longevity at the price of higher initial cost and lower operating efficiency. A 3500 pound capacity axle and springs under a single TW can spend as much time airborne as in contact with a bumpy road, leading to a jacknife in an emergency stop situation. Even 2 TWs, fuel, and gear barely adequately load a 3500 pound axle and springs. Never thought of under-load problems, didja? Of course, homemade isn't always expensive--significant scavenging can be done to find usable components at a low price, which provides parts and materials of unknown stress damage. Even then, add in the cost of machining, welding, and painting, or machining, welding, and painting equipment and supplies, and the cost can skyrocket. That said, a complete good used trailer that actually meets the user's needs will often be the most cost effective option.



For the purpose of towing two dualsport bikes and gear up to a total of 800 pounds or so, the Harbor Freight trailer kit is about ideal when the simple mods I outlined are incorporated.
 

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... some self-proclaimed judgemental internet "expert"?...


Would that be you?






I, too, prefer a small utility trailer that can have many other uses, as shown in Qwerty's photo.



This 4' x 8' professionally built trailer is light, strong, well-balanced, and can be easily towed behind a small 4 cylinder car.







jb
 

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Would that be you?






I, too, prefer a small utility trailer that can have many other uses, as shown in Qwerty's photo.



This 4' x 8' professionally built trailer is light, strong, well-balanced, and can be easily towed behind a small 4 cylinder car.







jb


I've worked in the industry and 56 years RV experience. Counts for more than "stay away from HF junk."



You've got the superior wide base wheels and tires. Nice! My son has a similar trailer with the 5.30-12 wheels and tires. Have you ever tried towing without the ramp attached? Those hang a lot of wind. Maybe not so bad in your case since you tow with a boxy vehicle, but behind my admitedly weak Achieva it's an anchor. When we went to Memphis to pick up the trailer (craigslist find) it was so bad it kept downshifting on every hill at 70mph. We stopped aside the interstate, unbolted the ramp, and tied it flat on the bed. After that, didn't know it was back there. No problem hauling a riding mower around town, though.
 

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I've worked in the industry and 56 years RV experience. Counts for more than "stay away from HF junk."



You've got the superior wide base wheels and tires. Nice! My son has a similar trailer with the 5.30-12 wheels and tires. Have you ever tried towing without the ramp attached? Those hang a lot of wind. Maybe not so bad in your case since you tow with a boxy vehicle, but behind my admitedly weak Achieva it's an anchor. When we went to Memphis to pick up the trailer (craigslist find) it was so bad it kept downshifting on every hill at 70mph. We stopped aside the interstate, unbolted the ramp, and tied it flat on the bed. After that, didn't know it was back there. No problem hauling a riding mower around town, though.


my dad just bought a trailer with mesh walls like on this ramp. the tail is grooved with the rear walls to act like a tail gate, but is also grooved so it can be lifted out and lowered like a ramp. the sides are only 36 inches or so, so the ramp angle is a bit steeper, but it is a piece of cake.
 

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Most of the trailers I've seen here appear to be sturdy and well made, even if only made for somewhat light to medium loads. I ended up building my own about 15 years ago as the ones on the market at the time didn't look to be very durable. I have recently upgraded to a 3500# axle with electric brakes as the trailer is pulled with a Jeep TJ and can be easily overpowered by a weighted trailer.The springs are rated at 2000# to keep the bounce down when unloaded.The larger tires also help. I left the reach long to aid in offroading which also helps for tracking and backing. A paint job every 4 or 5 years keeps it looking pretty good.


 

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...You've got the superior wide base wheels and tires...
The trailer came with 4.80 X 12 tires on a 2000 lb EZ Lube axle... but I am afflicted with the "can't leave well enough alone" disease.



I changed the tires to 6 ply 20.5 x 8 x 10 from a pontoon boat tandem axle trailer. They are the same outside diameter as the 4.80x12 tires, so I can use a 4.80 as a spare. The wheels are galvanized... no rust.



Also changed the tail lights to waterproof, submersible, LED lights.



The trailer is a 15LT made by Big Tex. It's still in their brochures but they told me they don't make this trailer any more. I stopped at the new Big Tex plant in Cordele, Georgia (not yet in operation) to ask about it. I figured they still had the jig to make them.



http://bigtextrailers.com/trailers/single_axle.html



http://bigtextrailers.com



The woman in the office called the Texas plant and asked if they would make one for me. I gave them a deposit and 4 weeks later picked up the trailer in Cordele on one of my trips from NC to FL.



For $600 (IMO) it's better than anything I've found at the local big box stores.



Have you ever tried towing without the ramp attached?
Yes.



Whenever I tow an empty trailer, I remove the ramp and tie it flat on the deck. Makes a difference of about 2 to 3 miles per gallon on my non-aerodynamic Scion XB.



I've thought about leaving the tail gate at home and only taking the 6' aluminum ramps. Haven't done it because I occasionally use the trailer to haul lumber, plywood, fence posts, etc. The tail gate keeps those things from ending up on the road.



Here's the 5'x10' trailer I had custom made about 15 years ago: frame is made of rectangular tubing, 3,500 lb EZ Lube, 4" drop axle, and sprayed with Linex. It's still going strong.







jb
 

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I have rails on mine and I use an extra ratchet strap across and inbetween the spokes on the rear tire so it doesn't hop.
 
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