Anyone pulled a trailer?


Information, ideas, experiences and help with camping, pulling a trailer and roughing it on your Goldwing
Redwing822
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Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Redwing822 »



I wanted to throw the question out- has anyone had experience pulling a small trailer with a wing, or any other bike, for that matter? Does the tail wag the dog? Does it destroy the bike’s handling or make it unsafe? If it turns a trip into a hassle, then I might as well take the car. 😳 Opinions welcome.

Thanks


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DenverWinger
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by DenverWinger »

I have a camper trailer I have pulled cross-country several times with my 1100, and now the 1500. It weighs about 350 lbs empty, probably 550 lbs loaded. I try to balance my load in the trailer so I have about 40 lbs weight on the trailer hitch. Improperly loaded trailer can cause any number of issues, including dangerous swaying.

Loaded properly, going down the highway I hardly know it's there. You will notice it in city driving though, especially taking off from a stop or making a slow turn at an intersection. And always leave extra room in front, bike with trailer stops pretty good if you get on the brakes but doesn't stop as fast as just a bike. Some trailers have electric brakes which helps, but most do not.

A Goldwing could probably pull up to 1000 lbs though I wouldn't recommend it, and at that weight the trailer better have it's own brakes. My trailer at 550 lbs is about as heavy as I'd want to pull without the trailer brakes.
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Viking
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Viking »

I have pulled many trailers with several motorcycles, and there is a learning curve. It is not a long nor a harsh learning curve, but it is there. Stopping distance gets worse the heavier the trailer, unless as mentioned, you get one with electric brakes. Tent trailers are heavier and therefore a bit more of a challenge. Loading is critical. You need enough tongue weight but not too much and your load has to be secure and distributed evenly over the axle of the trailer. But yes, a Goldwing, and especially a GL1800 can pull a trailer with no effort at all. Any motorcycle can pull a trailer, and I have pulled a tent trailer with a 1200 Harley chopper. The hitch rigidity is very important in this case, and the front brake becomes a useless item. If you ride with more awareness, it is not a problem.
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dingdong
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by dingdong »

Ditto to all previous posts. I have been pulling a trailer since 1983 with a gl1100. I have pulled a trailer with my Gl1000 for many k miles. Now with the Gl1500 I figure I have trailered for at least 50 k combined miles. Never had a problem towing. I did have a fender break loos from it's mount once and it dropped down on the tire resulting in Smoking melting tire. Pointed out to me by a passing car. Fortunately I had a spare.
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DenverWinger
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by DenverWinger »

My camper all set up for a week of camping in Michigan. My brother showed up in his Jeep and pitched tent with us a few days.


Here's a picture of my rig, all packed up and ready to hit the road, returning to Denver from Michigan. That's the blue canopy strapped to the top of the trailer.


Also, check out the Campers and Trailers forum, lots of interesting threads.....
viewforum.php?f=22
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Viking
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Viking »

DenverWinger, I like the framework you have to put your blue canopy in. Do you have a use for it "while camping?" Like, do you use it as a bench to sit on?
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DenverWinger
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by DenverWinger »

I suppose you could, but I don't really use it for anything besides carrying the canopy. You can see it in the top picture next to the camper with the trailer cover on top of it. We carry a couple "foldy" chairs in the camper.

First time I tried carrying the canopy on top of the trailer on a local camping trip I simply strapped it directly on top. Disappointing results, it crushed into the camper cover and distorted the canopy frame. So I built the framework. :idea:
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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AZgl1800
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by AZgl1800 »

I have pulled my square box trailer many thousand miles, and can't even tell it is behind me, have to look in mirror just to be sure.
~John

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offcenter
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by offcenter »

I have pulled my home made trailer over 5,000 miles years ago, with my BMW R90/6.
Haven't tried pulling a trailer yet with my GL-1500, only because I haven't needed to yet.
But I wouldn't hesitate to do it if I was going on a long trip.
George in Jersey.
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echinus1988
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by echinus1988 »

I'm riding a 2006 GL1800 pulling a bunkhouse trailer. I started pulling with a 1982 GL1100 Aspencade.

The GL1100 would pull the trailer but I knew it was there. Starting out and stopping. Also, my gas mileage suffered badly. I went from 40 mpg to 25-27 mpg tops. That dropped my range on one tank of gas to about 100 miles! I carried 2 gallons of gas in my saddlebags.

I wondered how the GL1800 would handle the same trailer. Last year I put over 10,000 miles in two trips hauling my bunkhouse trailer behind the 1800. Year before I put on about 7,000 miles pulling the trailer. This year I only put on about 6,000 miles with the trailer due to having to cancel my fall motorcycle trip for a class reunion.

Do I know the trailer is there? A little bit but I really don't feel it unless I am doing low speed maneuvers. Then I know it's there. Starting from a stop my bike is not affected much. Accelerating to pass someone it hardly slows me down. Stopping, no problem thanks to the electric brakes. I did a sloppy plug in for the brakes once and I won't do it again!! I can really tell the difference between with and without the brakes. Fuel mileage, I hit around 35-37 mpg which really surprised me since I expected a lot lower. I still have the low speed wobble in slow tighter turns but I am guessing I need to get off my lazy a%* and adjust my front bearing for the steering.

To say the least I am very happy that I have the trailer and can pull it so easily with my 1800.

Ride Safe!
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823JIM
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by 823JIM »

Home assembled trailer, Harbor Freight trailer, two alum pick-up tool boxes (TSC). Alum. diamond plate deck and aerodynamics around cooler mount area. This trailer has been pulled at highway speeds 25,000 miles over the last ten years and does a great job with out to large of investment. All LED lighting. Under 400 lbs. loaded, pulls great no issues at all. Only negative is small wheels (8") just need to keep good tires on it and wheel bearings packed, and be aware of braking.
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Rednaxs60
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Rednaxs60 »

When I got back into riding decided I'd never tow a trailer. Fast forward some 5 years and a trip to the Yukon and back, bought and towed a trailer. My pillion mentioned we didn't need one, but after the trip admitted it was very convenient having the trailer. Towed with my 1500.

It's an N-Line single wheel trailer, same width as the bike so where the bike goes the trailer will as well. The design is such that it mimics how the bike is riding, bike leans it leans. Has a carrying capacity of 100 lbs and weighs approximately 80 lbs empty. Worked quite well. Easy to back up as well.

Now that we have used one, it will be coming on the extended trips. Short ones no.


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AZgl1800
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by AZgl1800 »

I don't like the Uni-wheel trailers, too easy to get the load unbalanced side to side.

My wooden square box is only about six inches wider on each side than the bike, it has never been a problem, not one Gas Pump Island has ever complained about me abusing it :shock:

carry tools, spare battery, spare alternator, jumper cables, food, boots, duffel etc... in it and lots of room left.... 32x32x14 interior.

it has followed me on some very severe twisties and I was never aware of it being behind me.
~John

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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by bstig60 »

I have pulled both a timeout camping trailer and a luggage trailer with two Goldwings without any problems. Just have to pack it carefully and watch where you go with it. Backing up is no fun.





Time Out set  up
Time Out set up

Bill
Ed Brock
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Ed Brock »

We have logged many, many, many, miles pulling a trailer. I built one for my lab after he outgrew the back seat on our GS100- E.
It is, I still have it, a dual trailing swing arm with motorcycle shocks,wheels and tires. It is about 3 feet wide and 4 feet long.

The "trick" to no fishtailing is to have the tongue length, messaged from the front of the frame to the beginning of the connection point, about 1 1/2 to 2 times the length of the front of frame to the center of the wheel. I'm just giving an approximant dimension here. There is an actual formula to use, I don't remember it now, but I do need to find it, so if I do, I will add a post later.

The issue of dropping the bike on it's side while pulling a trailer is a mute point IF you build or buy a 360 degree swivel hitch. Don't forget safety chains. If built correctly and factoring in weight placement you should not have any fishtailing. Just like on cars. If you load all your weight on the tail, you are going to fishtail, again, just like on cars.

Do your homework, Make sure your bike has the ability to handle a 3rd and 4th persons weight. Meaning, is your suspension up to it? how about your brakes? Do you have enough stopping to handle 3 times you normal weight? Is your bike skittish in front with your normal weight loading?

I would suggest going to an empty lot and practice, with out a passenger, starting, stopping and make big wide turns at first then work at making tighter turns and even learn how to do U turns. You MUST, remember you have more weight on board so your stopping distance WILL BE greater and you will need to delay your normal 90 degree turn points.
Practice, practice, practice lone. once you get the feel for the bike repeat your learning curve with a passenger. I know people sometimes just hook up and learn as they go. I just like to know how to handle something new before I get into a problem.
Ed
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AZgl1800
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by AZgl1800 »

1.5 times the width of the axle is the minimum that I have found to work well.

2.0 times is even more stable.
~John

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Ed Brock
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Ed Brock »

AZg1800,
I agree you on tongue length. I tried 2.25 times for a tongue length but for some reason it just acted funny. I still don't quiet know how to describe funny, but, it did not play well with my bike.
Ed
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Ed Brock »

AZgl1800,
I forgot to add that the 2.25 tongue length funny felling may have been because of the design. A dual trailing swing arm.
Ed
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AZgl1800
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by AZgl1800 »

Ed Brock wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:49 pm AZgl1800,
I forgot to add that the 2.25 tongue length funny felling may have been because of the design. A dual trailing swing arm.
Ed
that may have entered into the 'funny feeling'....
the long dual arms are not tied together solid, like my solid axle and two leaf springs.

So, I guess we need to be cautious when simply making a statement that "Longer is better".

OTR trucks are a good example of have a very long tongue on the trailer behind them. I have seen some where the tongue was as along as the entire trailer that is full of debris/rock/soil etc... but, those trailer are not independent suspension AFIK
~John

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2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc
Ed Brock
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Ed Brock »

AZgl1800,
Yes, the twin trailing arm are tied together. Otherwise they flop from side to side like crazy. Using a tie rod assemble out of a 4x4 Dodge truck. That way I can adjust the toe in or out as needed. I'm not using the tie rod joints, have cut them off and bolted the unit to the trailing arms.
Ed
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CrystalPistol
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by CrystalPistol »

Redwing822 wrote: Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:54 pm I wanted to throw the question out- has anyone had experience pulling a small trailer with a wing, or any other bike, for that matter? Does the tail wag the dog? Does it destroy the bike’s handling or make it unsafe? If it turns a trip into a hassle, then I might as well take the car. 😳 Opinions welcome.

Thanks

Just swing a little wide around gas pumps & islands, curbs, major holes, posts, and other stuff like that. Try to load so you have 10-15% more trailer & load on hitch (ie … if trailer & load weigh 200 pounds, it'd be good to have at least 20-30 pounds on the hitch ball). Brake early before entering a turn, apply power as you exit. There are no "quick" passes of slower traffic, steady is the best you can hope for. Conservative speeds are good. Watch those gas pump islands, curbs, major holes, posts, and other stuff like that.
Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)
Ed Brock
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by Ed Brock »

I agree with your trailering driving mode. My trailer loaded is good up to 70 mph. Empty I have also be doing 70 mph. Cross winds can be more interesting at times, not always, however. Todays roads require your constant attention. I will warn you, pulling a trailer with a bike causes people to look AT you. Ours is a wooden stake bed style, so people do look because it is different. Be careful. You will get somewhat more attention then cars pulling a trailer. Unless you drive a Toyota Preiss, at that point your open to any action.
Remember, relax and have fun. It's the journey that matters when all else fades.
Ed
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AZgl1800
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by AZgl1800 »

Ed Brock wrote: Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:06 pm I agree with your trailering driving mode. My trailer loaded is good up to 70 mph. Empty I have also be doing 70 mph. Cross winds can be more interesting at times, not always, however. Todays roads require your constant attention. I will warn you, pulling a trailer with a bike causes people to look AT you. Ours is a wooden stake bed style, so people do look because it is different. Be careful. You will get somewhat more attention then cars pulling a trailer. Unless you drive a Toyota Preiss, at that point your open to any action.
Remember, relax and have fun. It's the journey that matters when all else fades.
Ed
I agree with this, I bike and trailer together commanded much more attention than just the bike alone.
~John

'02 GL1800
2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc
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DenverWinger
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by DenverWinger »

I recently upgraded the saddlebag and trunk side lights to LED, I bought a 17' reel of 300 lumen/ft Red LED strip. Nice and bright! Got about 6' of LED strip left over. Too bright for the rear of the bike, they'd look like brake lights on. If I do put them on the rear of the bike I'd have to build a PWM circuit to dim them down like running lights, and I could have the brake light circuit "Bypass" the PWM when I hit the brakes.

Even if I do that, I'll still have about 4 feet of leftover Red LED strip. Thinking about cutting that in half, putting inside of clear plastic tubing and mounting to both sides frame rails underneath the trailer. That bright red light from under the trailer would get a lot of attention at night!
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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CrystalPistol
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Re: Anyone pulled a trailer?

Post by CrystalPistol »

I watched a video of the in line trailer being pulled through twisties, I liked it.

I had drawn up plans to build my own to pull behind the 1200 when I had it and no trike. I was gonna use a car type U-joint welded to a 1-1/4" square drawbar (I had a receiver I built for the 1200) at the front so the trailer would lean with the bike, always. Drew it up to be about 25" wide max, cargo box about 36-42" long. Simple & light frame, one GL1200 wheel all the way at rear. Two feet under front of cargo box, it could have been wheeled into a room like a wheel-borrow. Was gonna find a light weight material for the box, I found a black plastic storage box a with lid that was about right, would have hinged to side, bought it and now it resides in basement with stuff in it. Loading it side to side would present no more of an issue as loading the bike saddle bags, the MC rider would balance it as soon as moving. The weight carried might be split from bike and rear wheel, but it'd be low down. A MC rear tire would corner well.

But that was in a past life.

It would work behind the trike, the trike would hold it "up", but there's no need for it now. I very seldom use the trailer I have and it's great. I prefer to use my DIY hitch rack and action carrier if it suits anyway.


Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)
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