The day you bought your motorcycle was likely an exciting day. You finally had the bike you’ve been dreaming of. You could rest your hands on the handlebars, feel the smooth, buttery leather of the seat and the hard metal of the body. Like a classic car, a motorcycle is likely something you dreamed about for a long time, and now, you have it and like most of your favorite toys, you wanna take it everywhere you go with you. Unfortunately, that’s a lot more complicated than tucking your favorite toy into the back seat with you, now to bring your motorcycle with you on all of your adventures, you’ll need a trailer for it. But most importantly, you’ll need a trailer you can trust. For loading a motorcycle safely, strapping it down correctly and ensuring everything is right is no small task and, obviously, has much at stake for you. So, let’s take a look at the importance of a safely loaded trailer and how you can stay safe on your journeys afar.
Why Choose a Trailer?
Some may, first, question if a motorcycle trailer is indeed the best way to keep your motorcycle safe. While there are carriers and pick-up trucks, they have their disadvantages. A motorcycle carrier is an uncovered device that you hook to the back of your receiver hitch. It often comes equipped with a built-in ramp or comes with a separate ramp that you can tuck away. However, for a carrier to be a viable option, you’ll have to possess a vehicle with the proper tongue weight capacity. The tongue weight is the downward force from the tongue of a carrier to the hitch of your vehicle. The trouble is a carrier comes equipped with no wheels and there is no trailer, thus, nothing will be touching the ground. Obviously, this is much less secure than a proper motorcycle trailer and they are known to wobble at high speeds.
The other option beyond a motorcycle trailer is a pickup truck. This is only a viable method when you’re supporting dirt bikes though because it’s very dangerous with any heavier bikes. You’ll also need to buy a ramp system that can be anchored to the vehicle and you’ll have to use the bike’s engine to get it up the ramp, which is no easy task with a larger, heavier bike that’s harder to control when it’s moving.
In reality, you only really have the option of a proper motorcycle trailer to cart your bike from place to place safely. The only choice you’ll have to make there is whether you’d prefer a trailer that’s enclosed or open and if you’d like steel or aluminum as the main metal component of the trailer. They’re harder to tow, but they’re far safer than the other options and leave your bike securely fastened in the back.
The Intricacies of Tugging a Trailer
It may come as no surprise to you, but taking a valuable vehicle like a motorcycle onto a freeway at high speeds and maintaining those speeds for a long time is quite an undertaking. Lots of things can go wrong and trailers are hard enough to manipulate when they’re only holding things like excess firewood or a cheap chest of drawers you picked up at the flea market. With a motorcycle trailer, you’ll be carrying your baby around, so it’s important to think through the most dangerous possibilities and take precautions to protect your property.
Hauling With An Open Trailer Is Sometimes Easier
Tying a bike in with an open trailer is far easier, and seeing where you are going is also easier with an open motorcycle trailer. Open trailers tend to sit low to the ground, while enclosed trailers sometimes sit higher up. This can make it difficult to see what’s going on behind you, a crucial part of driving on any freeway, really difficult if your vehicle just doesn’t have the clearance to see over the handlebars out the back. However, enclosed trailers offer obvious benefits. For example, your bike will be far more protected in the long-run from road debris, the weather and the all-powerful sun that rarely offers any respite when you’re barreling down the freeway. If you’re going on longer trips, where you’ll be staying the night close to the freeway so you can get back on early in the morning, you’ll also need to consider the safety of leaving the bike outside with nothing but a few tethers to keep it locked down and yours. An enclosed motorcycle trailer can make keeping your bike secure far easier overnight, which is an important consideration, even though it’s a different type of safety.
Keep The Trailer In Working Order
One of the things non-frequent travelers often forget is to keep their trailer in working order. If you’re one of those people who simply wants to tuck the trailer away in the third garage and not bother with it until your next big adventure, it may require a little more maintenance than if you were using it all the time. For example, you’ll need to keep the connector on your trailer in good shape, or else the mechanical functions will deteriorate on it quite quickly. You can keep the connector happy by covering it with a film of dielectric grease when you’re not using it to prevent any corrosion and keep the connection component in good shape. Also, be sure to keep the lights cleaned off and give them a test before you set off. All of the light functions must work, so test the blinkers, the taillights, the brake signals and anything else you can think of to be sure that it’s performing how you’d like it to. Otherwise, you’ll be on the freeway without a visible blinker, which isn’t just not safe for the bike in the back, it’s also not safe for you.
Obviously, a safe drive starts with your hitch. Securing the safety of your bike means keeping the connection between what your bike is riding on and what you’re riding on secure is the most important part. Before you start hooking up, be sure that your hitch and ball are sized correctly for the load you intend to tow. Don’t think it’s “ok” to drop an inch or two in diameter for the corresponding sizes, as that sacrifices the snugness of the fit and therefore the safety of your bike, you and the other drivers on the road. Then make sure your hitch is locking on right by pulling on it, see and feel that it’s secure like you would when you pull on some bungee cords. Once you’ve confirmed the safety of the hitch, snap a padlock on the handle for the sake of security, but also for the sake of safety, as it could be the thing that holds between you and certain disaster.
You’ll need to ensure that there are two safety chains secured to the hitch and that they don’t have enough slack to drag on the pavement beneath. This can be made more secure by crossing them up and over the tongue of the trailer itself. Once that’s tightened down, check the receiver locking pin and make sure it’s both the right size and is firmly locked into place so it couldn’t wiggle out even if it wanted to.
Your final safety check before you get on the road and start driving will include making sure that any brakes the trailer is equipped with, whether those be inertia brakes of electric brakes are working properly. Then you’ll need to do a quick assessment of how the trailer’s body itself is doing. You’ll need to see if any cracks or corrosion in the frame has developed since that last time you loaded it. Check on the condition of the shocks and the springs as well to ensure they’re supporting the weight of the bike with ease.
The door on an enclosed trailer is not strong enough to hold should your bike come loose and fall out the back. Your bike will fall into the road, be destroyed and cause a considerable accident in your wake. The tie-down step and the loading step are, perhaps, the second most important part of hauling any trailer with your bike. A proper, full-sized motorcycle is remarkably heavy and it will be dangerous if not given the attention it requires. Invest in a ramp that makes it easy for you to walk the bike up into the trailer and follow behind without too much maneuvering. You should be able to move around the trailer with ease to ensure the bike is stuck in an upright position. Use as many straps to hold the bike in place as possible and to ensure that you’ll be comfortable driving at high speeds without worrying about the safety of the bike and those around you.
Invest in The Right Trailer From Drop Tail Trailers
Getting the right trailer upfront is so much easier than trying to fix an old one to be safe. Don’t endanger the bike, yourself and the others on the road with you when you can get a perfectly safe trailer that’s easier to hook up, secure and keep in good shape. Shop our excellently crafted motorcycle trailers to get a taste of how much easier traveling with your bike could be now.