Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Trailers for Buyers


There are numerous types of motorcycle trailers that can be used to transport them and there are also several types that the motorcycle can tow. There are simply a dozen choices to go through when considering how best to tow a motorcycle either across town or even across the country.

If you intend to get a trailer that can pull just one motorcycle then a kit you can put together will cost you a few hundred dollars while an enclosed carrier with custom options and paint will cost you over $11,000. Motorcycle trailers typically require either class 1, 2 or 3 hitch. These range from what could be installed in a small SUV or a small car to what you could find in larger pick-up tracks or SUVs.

Under federal law, the trailer needs to have tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, side marker lights as well as side and rear reflectors that are operable. Most trailers come with back-up lights as well. You could check with your state for deferent requirements and when traveling, inquire about the state you are going to. For instance, most of the time brakes are only needed for a loaded weight exceeding 1,500 lbs.

According to Featherlite trailers’ advertising and public relations specialist Nicole Ausdemore, The fuel economy, durability, and resale value all depend on what the trailer is constructed of. While most trailers are made of steel or alloy and steel combinations accompanies by fiberglass tops, Featherlite trailers are constructed using strong, light and non corroding aluminum apart from highly stress areas where steel is really needed.

The next thing that makes a difference is where you mount the motorcycle in regards to the trailer axle or axles. If you position the weight too forward for instance, it will overweight the tongue and back of the towing vehicle, which means it could un-weight the front wheels to an extent of affecting handling and braking. According to Ed Heard, the co-owner of Ironhorse Trailers in Morrison, Tenn, If you have unbalanced loading or having a trailer that is too long for a towing vehicle could possibly cause “explosive oscillations” that could lead to a “jackknife” on the road.

The next thing you need to place in consideration is to think twice before you attempt to protect your motorbike using a tarp or a fabric cover if the trailer is open. The wind could flap the cover, making it chafe the bike’s finish and it could be blown or shredded off.

Open Flatbed Trailers

These are the more general utility trailers or those that are intended for power sports but with added wheel chocks as well as tie-down points. One of the best things about these general purpose trailers is that you can use them to haul anything. For instance, contractors could use them for work during the week then use them for play during the weekends. One of their downsides is that in an open trailer, the motorbike will not be protected from weather elements or the grit kicked up by the tow vehicle. Certain trailers come with a frontal barrier to overcome this.

Open Rail Type and Specialized Motorbike Trailers

Most of these come designed for one or two bikes. They are usually lightweight but like flatbeds, they offer very little protection from weather or chips but at least they are less expensive. Some of them even come with rails to accommodate trikes while some are foldable and others semi-foldable. If you have minimal storage then you need to consider a foldable trailer or at least one you can disassemble. Of course, it is best you check the designs before you purchase anything.

Enclosed Trailers

These are the general cargo trailer or a “toy hauler”, which is a long trailer that comes with a rear garage to load toys. Some toy haulers come with certain camping amenities like a kitchen, beds, shower, TV, toilet and anything else you might like. Of course, they could be heavy and will certainly need powerful tow vehicles. An advantage of general cargo or similar designs is similar to that of open trailers, you can move anything else like lumber with them. In addition to that, you will have no problems with precipitation, chipping rocks or even bugs while the bike will be inside and will be out of sight from potential thieves.  Most enclosed trailers come with square sides and on open roads with crosswinds and tractor trailers passing by affects handling. Others come as V-shaped in order to help with fuel economy.

Specialized Enclosed Trailers

There are some manufacturers catering to the affluent baby boomers as well as those who want special treatment for their motorbikes but do not need the trailer for other general purposes. For trailers with the capability of holding one to two bikes, these are quite expensive but they come with some unique features as well leaving a curve on the market niche. For instance, when it comes to the Ironhorse brand, a “clamshell” designs that are made of fiberglass come with low roof height. Heard claimed his trailers could fit in a standard garage.

There are more aerodynamic shapes that could actually allow about 60% improved fuel economy comparing them to square enclosed trailers. Their tie-down points and the balance of the bikes are quite ideal as well. These designs are also very light weight, quite easy to back up and handle very well. Retro-esque or Swoopy styles are also a selling feature.

Trailers That Motorbikes Can Pull

Larger motorcycles could also make excellent tow vehicles according to Andrew Preston, the general manager of Bushtec Trailers in Jacksboro, Tenn. Instead of using the trailer ball that attaches to the special hitch on the bike, the Bushtec designs use a 360-degree swivel pin coupling. They use two 16” motorbike wheels on a special suspension that keeps the unit from bouncing.

In most cases, the riders report not even noticing the trailer behind them. Other designs come with one wheel on each side while others come with single inline wheels. Some manufacturers say that their designs only remain stable at speeds of 130 to 150 miles per hour. People with small sports cars are advised to buy two wheeled trailers because they have more capacity than single wheeled ones. Some trailers can also pull canoes while others can pull dogs like horse trailers.


Regardless of whether you want to pull your motorcycle or are using it to pull, there are numerous options available including degrees or sophistication for suspension. You could have either leaf springs, torsion bars or rubber suspensions depending on your brand and style. Some major trailer manufacturers like Featherlite with over 400 employees and supplying race car trailers to about 85 % of NASCAR teams manufacture some of the best trailers. 

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