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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of building a lightweight trailer for my TW.



I plan on using a car roof top box similar to this.







I wondered if anyone has any experience with towing trailers with a bike?



I wont be towing heavy stuff My Gf's got a Bulldog (about 25KG) and i plan on making a hatch in it for him to stick his head out of. maybe use it when we go somwhere for a couple of days on a road trip, so would just be a few clothes in there, laptop and some light odds and ends.



i plan to use thin lightwight motorcycle wheels and a very basic frame to keep the weight down. Standard ball and socket tow hitch that can be removed from bike when not using the trailer.



Does anyone see any saftey issues with this? Plenty of people seem to do it with big bikes. Everyone i speak to in Thailand seems to bag the idea and say its unsafe, probably because it's not the Thai style way i think. They prefere home made side cars for heavier weights.



Anyone got any experience with this or advice. Seems like it should be fine to me if i break slowly and dont make it too heavy.



Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am pretty sure I have seen a guy here with something similar he towed around for long rides. Do a search.
Thanks, yea i think it might be tw2007 your refering too i read a post by a member on the old forum who mentioned building a trailer for a road trip, will keep searching thanks. Be nice to know how it handles and any build ideas.
 

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Braking is the biggest danger. You don't want to be shoved out into traffic.



If you build a two wheeled trailer, consider a swivel hitch. If the bike lays over and the trailer cannot, something will probably bend. It could be your frame. I have heard of this happening with the bigger bikes.



BS
 

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That looks good, I was wondering if I could make a mount on the back of my TW to tow my kayak trailer to the water to launch the boats, I think it's feasible after seeing your set up, thanks. Nice mods on the cycle rack I found mine needed mods also, I cut the back bar that turns up 90 deg and welded it back on straight out the back, so i have a handle still and I can use my Givi removable trunks, Plus I added a loop on the bottom to keep my soft bags out of the wheel.
 

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Braking is the biggest danger. You don't want to be shoved out into traffic.



If you build a two wheeled trailer, consider a swivel hitch. If the bike lays over and the trailer cannot, something will probably bend. It could be your frame. I have heard of this happening with the bigger bikes.



BS
The swivel sounds like a good idea. Think of what might happen if a top heavy load does a highside on a corner.



Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Braking is the biggest danger. You don't want to be shoved out into traffic.



If you build a two wheeled trailer, consider a swivel hitch. If the bike lays over and the trailer cannot, something will probably bend. It could be your frame. I have heard of this happening with the bigger bikes.



BS
Very good point had not considered that factor, thanks for the input.
 

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I'm thinking an auto roof box might be a little big for a TW. This one came from Walmart. It's lightweight, lockable, and has lasted thousands of miles on Tdubs back fender. There is a larger version.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm thinking an auto roof box might be a little big for a TW. This one came from Walmart. It's lightweight, lockable, and has lasted thousands of miles on Tdubs back fender. There is a larger version.

Yea looks a good solid box for small loads. gf might be a tad angry with me if i try cram her bulldog in there though


you may be right about a car topper being to big, but hoping to find a small one and make a lightweight frame. Still searching for a small one.

Single wheel trailer idea is good too for leaning and weight, possible to make out of a trashed scooter rear end maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some ideas? I plan on building one to haul a deer out of the woods.













Ronnydog
Thanks Ronnydog, realy like the towing arrangment in the bottom picture. I think i'll steal that idea! I had been thinking of attaching it to the swinging arm, but attaching it to the bolts on the rear footpeg brackets, in a similar whay to that guy has done looks much better.

Just a tow hitch, dog box and trailer base to consider now. Be nice to have somthing big enough for towing some basic camping or fishing gear when not used to chauffer his nibs, but i guess i shouldnt go to heavy.



I am thinking i may not use a universal ball and socket type hitch. They are not common here and are expensive. May get the type of arrangment below knocked up localy, it allows movement horizontaly and verticaly. I guess a single wheel trailer would eliminate the need for a swivel hitch and allow the bike to lean. cheaper option.





Some similar single wheel designs





 

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Oh yeah! I love the milk can trailer.



Better yet, make one from a beer keg!


 

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I'm no expert, but I have some experience and a few opinions. I think the best guy to listen to would be the Mike, the fellow that towed a trailed attached to his TW many hundreds of miles (pictured above).



Many years ago, I designed (1940 copy) the Pac Wagon bicycle trailer. Much of my 'durability' testing was done with the trailer hitched to my Honda Trail 110. I was even able to (easily) get this trailer plated for the road (1978).



In my opinion, going with a single wheel trailer will minimize two issues that I found a two wheel trailer can present. Though it was never a 'huge' negative, on occasion one of my trailer wheels would hit an object on the road that would cause that wheel to pitch up. Should the trailer be very light (mine was) that pitch/rotation could be felt, and as well changed the camber of the other wheel for a brief moment. Though never a major problem for me, it was clear (to me) a light weight two wheel trailer had the potential for some major rear orifice pucker. I am sure a hitch design could minimize this potential. I am of the opinion that a single wheel may make this (my experience) almost a non-issue.



As well, a single wheel trailer will afford you a chance to pull closer to the side of the road (you likely will be going slower more) to allow faster traffic to pass.



It would seem a dog shifting about in a single wheel trailer would not be a pleasant experience (a guess).



Perhaps a heavier two wheel trail always traveling a modest speed would never impact hard enough to pitch up. Just some thoughts from another two wheeled trailer puller. Gerry







 

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From the mechanical perspective... the lower the hitch the less leverage the trailer has to pull you over sideways. It's good for the hitch to be near or below rear axle height.



My friends in the Gold Wing Touring Association realized this with the different hitches available for them. The lower the hitch the less they felt the trailer. Some of them were towing pop up campers.



So... since the TW frame doesn't drop low behind/around the rear wheel like a GW, what would be better for handling?

Which would transfer less road bump back up to the bike?



1) An attachment off the back frame, like a pannier rack that drops low enough?

2) Long loop off the rear foot peg mounts?

3) Short loop off the swing arm near/at the rear axle?



Personally I like the foot peg loop design. It keeps the forces and weight of the trailer and hitch low compared to the bikes center of gravity, and doesn't change the spring weight and other dynamics of the rear suspension. Plus, if you come off the swing arm, you shake the trailer as the rear tire bounces over the road.





Edit:

This one posted by Ronnydog is what I'd likely design.



Low and light, remove two bolts at the campsite and the bike is stock, no extra weight in the woods.



Not sure about one wheel or two, I'll have to think about that for a while. Swing arm and shock from a salvage yard would make single wheel easy. Two wheel axle is also mechanically simple. One wheel tracks better over rough roads. Two wheels cuts down on the torque of the trailer load pulling the bike over sideways (having to balance the whole rig vs. just the bikes weight).







Edit again:

Thinking about it some more... if I where planning on riding way back into rough areas with the trailer I'd want single wheel, for the better tracking. Especially if I might run into single track on my route. If I plan on parking in a camp site, dropping the trailer, then day tripping into the wilderness, I'd go with two wheels for easier balancing of heavy loads.

 

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The Pav seems to be the common denominator for single wheel motorcycle trailers. My dad told me he use to see these in Europe back in the 1930s but not under that name.



The TW200 has no trouble pulling a trailer a 14/55 gearing works well.



Single wheeled trailer benefits are: less wind resistance, follow in a single track, (straight line, anyway). Some downsides: heavily loaded and not parked properly can cause bike and trailer to tip over, and unlike a two wheeled trailer which when cornering understeers, single wheeled trailers oversteer.



Braking is not an issue pulling a trailer behind the TW (the bike's brakes are adequate) for two reasons; the trailer you will be pulling is not that heavy and the TW is not very fast especially when pulling a trailer. But, brake pads do wear out more quickly.



If you want to use a trailer on aggressive single track you will need to get the hitch as high as possible and will need to look at designing a system with excellent ground clearance otherwise on rapid changes in pitch; the trailer, tow bar or hitch will strike the ground.



Almost all manufacturers' of motorcycle trailers do no recommend the use of trailer brakes and site safety issues as the reason.



Hitches for single wheel trailers are normally installed above the axle height somewhere in the 18 to 25 inch range and sometimes even higher above the tire/road surface.



When loading a single wheeled trailer the heavy stuff needs to be placed low and near the rear tire



If security is not an issue design a trailer that you can then put stuff into waterproofed soft bags and thereby save weight.



Do invest in a good suspension



Here is a link to a single wheeled trailer-hopefully this will give you some ideas:



Royal Enfield Inder



Note: The hitch for a single wheeled trailer is a type of Universal Joint permitting motion both up/down and left/right.



This is my trailer (below) and it has about 20,000 miles on it and about 7,000 behind the TW. It has crossed the Rockys behind the TW and I have pulled it behind a Goldwing (tested it up to 120 plus mph and its very stable) so behind the TW there are no issues. I'm now making a hitch for my F650GS which will be set to the same height as it is on the TW. Also I'm going to design some sort of method so I can remove the tub and carry soft bags.



 

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Yeah, ground clearance... I hadn't thought of that. Have to give up some stability to get over the rough spots. That's why off road bikes are tall and most road cruisers are built low.



So... With my off-road riding experience (actually lack thereof) my personal preference would be to drop the trailer at camp & then go ride. I think I'll be designing a two wheeler for myself.

 

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Yeah, ground clearance... I hadn't thought of that. Have to give up some stability to get over the rough spots. That's why off road bikes are tall and most road cruisers are built low.



So... With my off-road riding experience (actually lack thereof) my personal preference would be to drop the trailer at camp & then go ride. I think I'll be designing a two wheeler for myself.






That's really not a bad way to go.









You can't see it on the picture but the tongue attaches to the trailer with 4 bolts. There's a series of bolt holes which permits adjustment (six positions) on the trailer that lets you raise or lower the clearance of trailer.







I went with a single wheeled rig because when I started this project for the TW ---I wanted to reduce drag (both rolling resistance and wind resistance) and be able to travel on dirt roads where the trailer tracked behind me I didn't want to risk straddling ruts with a two wheeled trailer.



The trailer is over built and has proven quite reliable.



The bigger issue with single wheel trailers is the hitch (especially at freeway speeds-not an issue for the TW)-any slop in the universal can cause control issues at higher speeds. When we ran the trailer behind the Goldwing for testing-- I would video tape the trailer's movements relative to the bike. It actually led to a redesign of the hitch.



With this trailer I can carry 8 gallons of fuel. This fuel quantity was selected based on an expected gas mileage of 50mpg and on a planned trip that I'm still hoping to go on to Wood Buffalo Park on the Alberta/NWT border. With what the trailer can carry I can set up a nice base camp and have good cache of fuel for exploring, plus camera gear.



It turns out the TW pulling this trailer gets 62-68mpg (non-oxygenated fuel) so it provides a nice range of 450 to 500 miles.
 
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