What Trailer can i really tow?


Information, ideas, experiences and help with camping, pulling a trailer and roughing it on your Goldwing
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Chompper26
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What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Chompper26 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:21 am



Ok so i have seen all these pics of folks pulling a small tent trailer with their 1500 and 1800 GWs. I would like to get something like that as i enjoy camping and it would be great to have for long roadtrips. (bring your own hotel room kinda thing). My issue though is that i have an 85 GL1200 Limited and i just got the bike and im not really sure what kind of weight it could tow or if towing a trailer with it is even a remotely good idea. Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated. The bike is in good running order and no maintenance issues at all. I can always stick to my old 3 man tent and gear which would easily fit onboard the bikes luggage of course but the tent trailers look alot more comfortable for a week long trip. And i like the idea of not sleeping on the ground as my old injuries from the service are catching up with me. Im sure there are plenty of people that have modified their bikes to tow heavier weights or swapped some gear or something to make it tow something its not regularly rated for but im hoping for the only mods needing to be done is a trailer wiring kit and a hitch.



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themainviking
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by themainviking » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:20 am

The lightest tent trailers available commercially are at least 300 pounds. Add some gear and you go up. I do not think that I personally would try a tent trailer behind a 1200, but some people have. The most important part of trailering though is stopping efficiently. With your bike, if your braking system is up to the task, it is as safe as with any other bike. I towed a tent trailer with a 1340 Harley one year, and it was about the scariest thing I have ever done. I got home, and removed the trailer hitch from the Harley and never did it again with that bike. It was a 1987, in new condition. The brakes just were not up to the task. I certainly understand the old bones up off the ground scenario, but if my bike won't stop my trailer, I won't pull it. Suggestion: Put on a trailer hitch and wire the bike for a friends tent trailer and try it out. It is far less expensive than buying your own tent trailer. If it seems too much for the bike, go with a small cargo trailer instead, which can be packed with your gear, AND an army folding cot. Good wishes with whichever direction you go with this. I have been tent trailer to cargo trailer to three more tent trailers in a row, and never really did get to what made me most happy, after last year and all the rain. It took me about twenty years to get to this point, or maybe a bit more, and I cannot say I have not had a great time. I still love camping, but got real tired of being wet or at least damp. Who knows what the future may hold.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:14 am

don't remember how the brakes were on my 1200s.

but the 1800 has very good brakes and I don't have a problem with the trailer in my avatar.

when it is loaded, it is about all I can do to lift up one side to get the wheel up off the ground.

so, say 300-350 lbs total?

just make sure whatever you pull, only has about 25-30 lbs hitch weight.
~John

Chompper26
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Chompper26 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:05 pm

Your 1800 is 600 bigger than mine. Its gonna be able to tow more. But 300 to 350 max is prolly about right thats what i was thinking but im just not sure what weight the bike will handle.

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Dusty Boots
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Dusty Boots » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:23 pm

Why not invest in a nice cargo trailer?
You could pack more stuff than on your bike, including a little larger tent and a cot! :idea:

No real weight/stopping issues as with a tent trailer and that spare axle gets a lot of weight off of the bike itself!!
I invested just under $275 for my home built one using a HF kit trailer (I modified the frame to fit) along with a free car top cargo carrier I was given (about 130 lbs empty) and it holds plenty of gear!























Dusty

Chompper26
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Chompper26 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:51 pm

Thats the other way i was thinking of going with a mototent v2 and cargo trailer. My thinking is i want something that i can pitch up and have an add a room for the bike or like the mototent a garage section. So that when i stop for the night/ weekend i can keep the bike out of the elements a bit at least. My only real concern is tents really are not made very sturdy these days and a decent wind plus rain will shred a tent pretty quick. Thats why i was thinking the tent trailer as they are built to withstand a bit more in terms of weather.

Chompper26
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Chompper26 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:52 pm

Oh and that is a nice setup you got there Dusty.

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Rednaxs60
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Rednaxs60 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:26 am

Check out some of the other forums. Lots of people on 1000/1100/1200 pulling trailers. I have one, but don't pull it, collecting dust in the garage.

Cheers
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SilverDave
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by SilverDave » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:19 pm

I have pulled a utility trailer for years with all sorts of camping gear, and I've had no stopping problems ( But I do use sintered brake pads ) .

As long as the trailer is balanced front to back, and left to right , and the tongue weight is around 25 to 30 lbs ... no problems.
I use a 50 lb fish scale to always check . My gear/trailer probably weighs 350 lbs max . I don't go tearing thru the twists with a trailer, but most of the time I am not even aware its there .

Only incident I recall was once leaving a campsite in the pouring rain... too distracted to pack properly or even weigh tongue . ( I just wanted to get home ....)

Anyway from the bad handling, I knew something was wrong after about 2 miles. Front end felt very light , and back end was wiggling around .

I stopped, in the pouring rain and weighed tongue ( 85 lbs ) .... and .....all the heavy wet tent gear had slid to the front .
Repacked everything ( in the pouring rain ) and got home with no further troubles .

Moral of the tale .... get a fish scale, and use it ..

LOL

SilverDave

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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by SilverDave » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:51 pm

...and it looks good, too !!


SilverDave

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:12 am

Some folks have added electric brakes to their tag-along trailers.

There is a very good way to make that work, and that is with the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 electric brake controller.
The Prodigy uses inertial sensing...


I just installed of those on my Suburban, and it works great.

It is programmable so that you can set the trailer's brakes up in any manner that you want.
Aggressive, lighter than the tow vehicle, slightly heavier than the tow vehicle...

The controller can be mounted anywhere, it is necessary to have it in a special position.
~John

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PastoT
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by PastoT » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:44 pm

Take my advice with a regain of salt as I ride an 1800. I've towed 500-600# in both my Time Out tent camper and my HF Tag-Along and had little issue short of decreased mpg. My hitch is lower than what I've seen on earlier models and still I had occasional steering issues as it would attempt to push the bike back to vertical in a close turn, but nothing hazardous just noticeable (I always slow well in advance). You always have to leave more room for stopping and accelerating. I think If I had a 1200 I'd be more tempted to use a cot or air mattress, tent and a cargo trailer and keep it to 300# or less. Tent campers start empty about 300-350# and quickly get heavy as you load them up. I've not had too much issue with packing a large tent in the HF trailer with everything I needed for a week. I also added an electric cooler to the tongue leaving the tongue weight at about 60# max (25-30# is ideal) with the spare tire hung off the rear of the trailer. I needed to convert 5 wire tail lights for the 4 wire LED lit trailer, not too much of an issue with the aftermarket PnP connection kits available. Certainly attend to your brakes if there is any question about their age and wear. Start out with a near empty trailer and spare and practice handling, starting braking turning and work slowly up to a full load and it will help you adjust and get a feeling of what your bike will handle like and what performance, braking and mpg you're willing to sacrifice. Also note parking down hill with a trailer has its issues... you might not be able to back up so insure you can pull out going forward (unless you have reverse), the trailer could push the bike forward and off the side or center stand. You'll also want to enhance your roadside tool kit to address trailer repairs.
Tom, in Mountain Home, Idaho
2002 GL1800 (Illusion Red) Non-ABS, 122k miles
Retired Air Force

"Audentes Fortuna Juvat"

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:35 pm

very good points.


My 1800 handles my trailer very well, but the above mentioned points need to be adhered to.

I do have a swivel coupler on it, adding that "seemed to me" to make the trailer less noticeable behind the bike.
Towed the trailer about a 1,000 miles before I added the swivel hitch. After that, I was able to dive into the twisties with the best of the other riders and the trailer did not push me at all.....

BUT, my rear tire is a Michelin Prodigy with all terrain tread.... there is twice as much rubber on the ground than with the previous Dunlop E3 it had on it.


I moved the spare tire from the back, to the front of the tongue, to make the empty trailer weight give about 25 lbs hitch load.
~John

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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:02 pm

I find that my trailer is very sensitive to tongue weight. With my trailer at its normal camping load, I need as close to possible as 30 lbs weight on the tongue at the hitch. I carry along a luggage scale to check this. Too much weight on the tongue and it starts pushing my bike through corners. Too little weight on the tongue and the trailer starts to sway a bit at highway speeds. 30 lbs on the tongue and it's rock solid!

I also carry a very simple, lightweight, cheap and unbreakable (no moving parts!) jack for my trailer in case I need to change a tire:

Lightweight Trailer Jack

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:43 am

WingAdmin wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:02 pm
I find that my trailer is very sensitive to tongue weight. With my trailer at its normal camping load, I need as close to possible as 30 lbs weight on the tongue at the hitch. I carry along a luggage scale to check this. Too much weight on the tongue and it starts pushing my bike through corners. Too little weight on the tongue and the trailer starts to sway a bit at highway speeds. 30 lbs on the tongue and it's rock solid!

I also carry a very simple, lightweight, cheap and unbreakable (no moving parts!) jack for my trailer in case I need to change a tire:

Lightweight Trailer Jack

To me, that says the tongue is not near long enough.
I had to lengthen the tongue on my trailer to stop it from dog walking.

that along with making sure the hitch weight is about 25# or so, has made it rock solid at any speed, and my GPS tells me that I have passed 110 mph peak somewhere in the past while pulling it.... I would hazard that was when I was passing 3 semi trucks in a very short space of road, after having followed them over 30 miles of two lane.... I wanted around them, and now.
~John

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wingpilot08
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by wingpilot08 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:50 pm

PastoT wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:44 pm
I needed to convert 5 wire tail lights for the 4 wire LED lit trailer, not too much of an issue with the aftermarket PnP connection kits available.
I just recently went back to a 5 wire system, wasn't happy with the 4 wire converter on the 1800. Looks better have the correct amber turn signals on the trailer!
08' GL1800-HPNA - Red 32,000+ miles
1988 Bunkhouse Trailer/Camper
Darkside #1720
bikes owned:
1975 CB550-4 final mileage unknown
1982 Yamaha 650 Maximum 30,000 miles
1987 Yamaha XVZ-1300 Venture 109,000 miles
1996 Honda GL1500-SE 210,000 miles

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:33 pm

wingpilot08 wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:50 pm
PastoT wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:44 pm
I needed to convert 5 wire tail lights for the 4 wire LED lit trailer, not too much of an issue with the aftermarket PnP connection kits available.
I just recently went back to a 5 wire system, wasn't happy with the 4 wire converter on the 1800. Looks better have the correct amber turn signals on the trailer!
You and me both. I detest those 5 to 4 wire converters, they positively will NOT work correctly when you use the Emergency Flashers.... it burns up the converter..... ask me how I know that one.

Note in this video, that the Emergency Flashers are working... wish I had positioned the bike to show that the Amber lights were also flashing, but it is what it is.


here is how a trailer's lights should work. your trailer won't look like mine, but you can configure the lights this way with ease.... and you do NOT need any converter or isolator at all. Wired direct from bike to trailer, works like a champ.

There is an independent Flasher in the center of the back panel on the trailer, it flashes 10 times and goes solid. Activated by the brake lights.... this combo has given me over 14,000 miles of happy trailering, and NOT ONCE, has any vehicle crawled up on my bumper.... Every single time, they back off and give me MORE ROOM. That is the best insurance policy I ever bought.




~John

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SilverDave
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by SilverDave » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:32 pm

I have replaced several of the Trailer ( and Wing ) running lights with LED's ( Left the brake bulbs ... Incandescent " seem " brighter to me )
and added two 50 LED light bars from Harbour Freight . All the bike and trailer side running lights are quite bright LED's .

and .. best yet
My Back-Off module can handle both the Bike and Trailer's lights with a nice 1-2-3-long flash sequence .
The top box light bar is visible when flashing over the top of the trailer.

A Harley friend once said I look like a Freightliner when I am stopping .. and he also said it was quite "annoying " when following me ...

GOOD !!
I dom't want cagers crawling up my tail , especially when pulling a tailer.

SilverDave

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AZgl1800
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by AZgl1800 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:10 pm

For the Stop Lights,

I too think that filament bulbs do a better job.
Why?

Because the fill up the full entire globe with light, and you can be off angle at 30 degrees or more, and that light is still bright.

The SuperBright LED stop lights I have on my trailer?
Get off dead center and their apparent brightness drops by half.

So, Leave the OEM filament bulbs and just add on some more LED stop lights :)
the more the merrier
~John

Chompper26
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Chompper26 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:00 pm

Wow thank you all for your thoughts. I think im gonna downsize my camp gear to just get it all on the bike in the luggage i already have and add a cooler platform to the rear. Like one of those small cargo platforms that attaches straight to a reciver hitch. A small cooler but im not camping where i couldnt find food after getting there on the bike. And a mototent v2 rolls down small enough to just strap to the rear seat nice and neat. And i can strap a fold up cot to the luggage rack on the back in a drybag. Im not much of an electrician so ill leave the rewiring and building of trailers to my brother. Ill just travel a bit lighter. Thank you all for the input though.

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echinus1988
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by echinus1988 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:34 am

I haven't read all the answers but here is my experience.

I bought a 1998 bunkhouse trailer and towed it behind my 1982 GL1100 Aspencade See my avatar or pictures.

I was concerned about it's ability to tow but was assured by the previous owner that my bike was more than capable of towing it. I bought the trailer and wired it up. It already had a hitch. The test drives around the neighborhood went well. The test out on the highway found it capable of highway speeds. I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Dry weight, 340 lbs roughly. Packed I am estimating 450 lbs. Watch your tongue weight.

What did I discover on my first trip?

The trailer towed well behind the GL1100. I could feel it but really no problems. UNTIL...

Out in eastern Colorado it's pretty flat which means some good winds out there. I was towing at 65 - 70 and the wind started. Head winds almost the entire trip south into Texas. I couldn't give the bike enough throttle or downshift far enough to maintain anything better than 55 - 60. That was full throttle and the bike just could not tow and maintain anything faster. I relaxed and just gave it throttle to maintain what it could. Slowed us down but it was vacation. Gas mileage went from 38 - 41 mpg to 25 - 27 mpg. First gas stop I put in 5.28 gallons. About 130 miles. I carry 2 gallons with me just in case.

I found out the GL1100 has trouble handling uphill climbs. Same thing, throttle heavy, downshift, and maintain what you can. That's what I did and as long as I was patient and understanding, I could make it over the hill.

My conclusion? The GL1100 can tow but I just bought a 2006 GL1800 to get the extra power (well, I also got it because I didn't have to work on it as much. I don't mind working on bikes but prefer to ride.). But as long as you are not in a hurry, the GL1200 will do just fine I feel.

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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by jamocall » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:02 am

The bike I rode was larger: 1800. 2016 my wife and I travelled America. We covered around 40,000k in nine months. We towed a TimeOut camper trailer. It was our home the whole time, so had all our worldly goods: clothing, chairs, bedding, eating/cooking gear etc.
We loved it so much we brought it back to Oz with us. To get it registered here I had to get it weighed: 250kg, empty, but with spare wheel and jockey wheel.
We towed it through mountainous hills to flat lands up to 80mph with no troubles what so ever! Absolutely loved it, with no hassles.

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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Biker346 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:29 am

I have an 2010 1800 Wing. I have a Bushtec trailer air-suspension, swivel hitch, GL with all the bell and whistles. 6ply tires 16” Wheels. I have had this trailer fully packed up to 90mph without a wiggle! These trailers are guaranteed not bounce a second time if they hit a bump or hole. When the trailer is empty you can get behind it, pick it up and drop it and will suck right on the pavement. They are amazing!
I had a another trailer before the Bushtec. It had the 12” trailer tires that were wider. That trailer was scary at 65-70mph the way it would start swaying and you could feel the Bike being pulled.
I was on a trip heading down a mountain and saw 3 brand new GL1800’s going up the mountain pulling 3 brand new Large Coleman Pop-up campers. All I could figure is they had elec brakes on the campers or they might have a problem going back down the mountain.

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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by wmerryall » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:47 am

I used to tow a fully loaded four sleeper behind my 1984 GL1200 Aspencade. It was probably between 500-600 Lbs. This Wing towed the trailer cross country including mountain passes in Colorado without complaining. The only problem I had with it was one time when it was not properly loaded causing great difficulty braking while going down a very long hill into Scranton, PA. Proper loading is imperative when towing any trailer especially behind a motorcycle. I highly recommend reading "Pulling Your Tail, A Primer on the Art of MOTORCYCLE TRAILERING". https://www.amazon.com/Pulling-Your-Tai ... 0557017203

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Rednaxs60
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Re: What Trailer can i really tow?

Post by Rednaxs60 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:34 am

wmerryall wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:47 am
I used to tow a fully loaded four sleeper behind my 1984 GL1200 Aspencade. It was probably between 500-600 Lbs. This Wing towed the trailer cross country including mountain passes in Colorado without complaining. The only problem I had with it was one time when it was not properly loaded causing great difficulty braking while going down a very long hill into Scranton, PA. Proper loading is imperative when towing any trailer especially behind a motorcycle. I highly recommend reading "Pulling Your Tail, A Primer on the Art of MOTORCYCLE TRAILERING". https://www.amazon.com/Pulling-Your-Tai ... 0557017203
As soon as I read about Scrantion PA I was reminded of the song by Harry Chapin "Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas". Cheers


"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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