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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys

I just yesterday got my hitch and wiring hooked up on my wing. Naturally I took it for a quick ride with my small trailer attached and was pleased that it pulled as well as it did. I did not have any weight in my trailer but will try it soon with 150 lbs of ballast in it just to see how that feels. But empty, I did not feel any real difference in the way the bike handled or cornered. So that makes me wonder if there is anything that I should be doing differently now that I am pulling a small trailer. I'm pretty sure that my braking will be shorter, but how about cornering? Slow down or keep it same ol same ol? I do like to touch my pegs down every now and then and wonder if within reason that I can still be doing this. I have been riding since 1966 but first time with a trailer and would like any advise and tips regarding trailering.
 

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Rustydust, You'll get plenty of advice on this subject, I'm sure, and there's lots of old threads about pulling a trailer that you can dig up with a search. I have never noticed any real difference when pulling my Escapade; I have to constantly check the mirrors to make sure it's back there. I use a thin-neck ball and drag pedals like I'm flying solo and never have felt any complaints from behind. I've even laid the bike on it's side to prove to myself that there's still clearance between the ball neck and the hitch. Just remember to load the trailer correctly (a little more weight to the front of the axle than behind it, and make sure that you have the mfg-recommended weight on the tongue (typically 10%-15% of the trailer's loaded weight). The trailer needs to be level when coupled to the ball; high or low will adversely affect the handling and especially the deceleration and braking. Keep the heavy things in the bottom of the trailer to keep your center of gravity as low as possible, and pack to prevent cargo from shifting around. Allow yourself some extra room for following and for stopping; remember that a 300-400+ pound loaded trailer doesn't have brakes and won't be trying to slow you down like the bike brakes will. (Expect your brake pads to wear a little quicker so inspect them often.) Remember to swing a little wide when turning into a driveway; your bike and trailer together could be longer than many cars, and bike trailers don't jump curbs near as well as we wish they did...

Think twice before pulling into a head-in parking space; ask yourself will you be able to back out easily? Backing a trailer behind a bike takes some practice to get good at. Be extra alert for loose gravel under your feet when backing it up, too; your foot will come out from underneath you faster than you can say "Kodak moment!" Don't forget to check the bearings and keep them greased. It's not hard to do yourself and it will save you grief in the middle of nowhere...

Here are a few websites that have good tips:

http://www.rcmedic.com/trailers.asp

http://www.vwh.ca/rider-ed-canada/Towing-a-Trailer.pdf

http://www.motorcycle-touring-made-easy.com/motorcycle-touring-trailer.html

A trailer is a joy to have with you on trips, short or long, and it doesn't take long before it's a necessity! Happy Hauling!
 

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I pull an Escaped also. The best advice I can give is to widen your stopping distance when loaded. Stay well behind vehicles in traffic, but not so much that vehicles will fill the gap and cause you to stop short. Enjoy the experience it can be a blast.

Ride safe
 

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Agreed with the above posts. Takes longer to stop, and allow extra space when passing, before pulling back into your lane. Also, watch how you load the trailer (heavier towards front--but don't over-do it), and find some way of securing the load so it doesn't shift about on you.
 

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A friend of mine has a fish scale that he weighs the tongue weight before attaching to the bike. He swears by 28 pounds. I just give it a "seat of the pants (or arm in this case)" weigh-in. Make sure your trailer is level, or even a slight nose-down. If you have to brake hard, the trailer will try to lift the rear tire off the ground if the nose is in the air. Then let yourself get used to the extra braking distance, and the ever so slightly more clutch as you take off, then ride it like you stole it...
 

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Watch the posts beside the gas pumps.. You will forget the trailer is back there at some point and it IS wider than the bike. This what I have HEARD... I wouldn't know personally... like from experience... how much paint gets removed from the post when a trailer hits it, which I don't remember having ever personally done... I think.

anyway...Don't hit the posts.:eek:4:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK guys! Thanks for the advice. I did not know about the tongue weight and keeping the trailer level and all so good to know. I think that tomorrow I will put a couple of 70 bags of sand in the trailer and take it for a 50 mile spin and see what that is like. I plan on only carrying camping gear so doubt there will ever be anything close to 150 lbs in it, but if it works OK with that much weight I will feel better knowing that I will be fine.
 

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Beside the additional stopping distance. Be aware of traffic around you, especially at toll booths. Most drivers don't expect a trailer behind a motorcycle.
 

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<...>anyway...Don't hit the posts.:eek:4:
I caught my first post back in June...

Actually, it was the pillar holding up the awning in front of the motel; just grazed it with the fender, the tire caught & tossed the trailer away, as I was duck-walking the bike. Only a couple of scratches on the fender, so I didn't feel bad at all at my lack of focus.

Sometimes - especially in the middle of week two - you'll forget that sucker is back there.

Just keep looking for it in the mirrors...and reminding yourself it's back there.
 

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If you are going to do some serious twisty mountain road riding, be very careful on the right-hand curves. Get too close to the white fog line with you bike's wheels and the inside tire of your trailer will be off-roading.
 

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I always try to keep in mind that while braking, the trailer's momentum is pushing the bike in a forward motion relative to the trailer. This means, that it is more important than usual to avoid hard braking while in a turn, and even more important when traction is already compromised by slick road conditions.

Smooth braking while upright and travelling (generally) straight is fundamental, but even more important when pulling a trailer. The importance also increases with increasing weight of the trailer.
 

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Like a bat out of he11.

The way I see it, make sure all your equipment is up to snuff and the best it can be (lean angles, loading, connections, etc.) and let the loose ends flap. It doesn't require much thought or rehearsing, just get going and adapt. Alot of times, you can fight the extra weight or use it (ie, cornering...drifting out in a turn, let off the gas, it tends to stand the bike up...not good. Roll on a little throttle, it "pulls" the bike into a tighter turn).

Use the force, Luke.

Z
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I just got back from a 50 mile ride and can say that it pulled every bit as well as I hoped that it would. Maybe not "can't tell that it's back there" but certainly I could easily forget that it was back there. I weighed the bike/trailer combo and with a quarter tank of gas and an empty trailer and empty ice chest it weighed a total of 1160 lbs. Fully loaded trailer and bike I think that I will still be under 1300 lbs. Now I am ready for a camping trip and give the thing a real test. I better get a move on because the fall starts early here in Idaho.

Thanks again for the advise, guys!
 

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Two differences I notice with the trailer:

1) Need to accelerate longer, prior to making a right turn at a stop light --eg If I make my normal turn, I will fall over, due to the extra weight of the trailer slowing me down

2) When stopping on an uphill, use the Rear brake to stop and park --The front brake may become effectively disabled, due the front tire sliding... because the trailer tongue's weight makes the front of the bike lighter.
 

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All good points. The point about using the rear brake on a hill is something I hadn't considered but a valid point.

Braking distance and effort is 1st and foremost to me followed closely by the turning when getting fuel or entering parking lots with cut curbs.

Great forum for information that's for sure.
 

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Be aware of side winds. You have some extra surface area that may catch the wind.Opinions vary on this,but my experience says to be cautious.

Be aware of how you feel in downhill turns.

When I rode the California coast with a 400 pound(loaded) Bushtec,I felt like the trailer might push the rear out in a downhill turn. I kept it slow and never had a problem,but felt there might be a problem at higher speeds.
 
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