How to Safely Tow a Trailer with a MotorcycleJuly 18, 2019 by Kyle McFarlane
Whether you’re riding for fun, running some errands or travelling a long distance, you’ve probably had to think about storage space at some point. After all, you can only pack so much in those saddlebags. Instead of surrendering and hiring a car or even worse, a pickup van, why not attach a trailer to your motorcycle? Towing a trailer with a motorcycle is becoming more and more popular and for good reason. Buying a trailer works for some people but for many others, renting a trailer is the ideal solution to your storage problems.
TYPES OF MOTORCYCLE TRAILERS
Now, before you ready your luggage and rent just any trailer, you need to be aware of the different options you have. This is crucial – rent the wrong type of trailer and you’ll do a lot more harm than good: you could put yourself and other drivers in danger.
Typically, the most budget-friendly motorcycle trailer is the Open Trailer. These are incredibly versatile and can accommodate a range of items since they’re not as spatially constrained as other trailers. The major drawback is that you’ll need to think carefully about securing your luggage and leaving valuables exposed.
Your other option is an enclosed trailer. As you’ve probably guessed, these come at a higher cost but provide you with peace of mind, since your valuables are locked away. Some models are designed to accommodate a generous amount of storage, and that storage is less exposed when you’re riding too. You’ll also find Adventure Trailers, Coffin and Hearse Trailers, Single Wheel Trailers and more. There’s an astonishing variety when it comes to choosing your trailer type.
HOW TO TOW A TRAILER SAFELY
Now that you have a rough idea of the type of trailer you want, let’s look at the practicalities of renting it. There are a few golden rules you need to stick with.
First of all, choose a trailer that your motorcycle can handle. Not every motorcycle is compatible with every trailer: make sure your motorcycle has enough power to safely tow a fully loaded trailer. Equally important is making sure that your trailer is not significantly wider than your motorcycle. If it is, you’re going to have trouble turning and parking.
Even with these two important considerations, riding a motorcycle while towing a trailer is a very different riding experience. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of towing a trailer.
Do your research! If you choose your trailer without checking its suitability, you could be heading for disaster.
Make sure that the dimensions of your bike suit the trailer. This applies to both power and width – make sure the trailer is lightweight, even when fully loaded, and not too wide for your bike.
Check your tire pressure, regularly. The load on your bike will be significant and this puts extra pressure on both wheels.
Even if you’ve selected a suitable trailer for your motorcycle, you need to get the connection right. It could be a pivoting hitch, a switch hitch or a u-joint – make sure it’s the right one.
Do not expect to ride the way you would normally. Quite a few things need to change. Namely, give yourself plenty of extra braking time. All that extra weight means more momentum and a longer stopping time.
Don’t head straight to the highway! Especially if you’re an inexperienced rider, you’re going to need to practice towing a trailer on quiet, wide roads.
When riding, don’t stray too wide. You’ll want to stick closer to the lane center than normal and give yourself plenty of space to maneuver.
McFarlane carries trailers from the best brands and ensures you’re getting the best-fitting trailer for your bike. With McFarlane, renting a trailer has never been easier.