A trailer pulled by a car is the most practical way to transport a motorcycle, but how about the other way around? Is it possible for a bike to pull a trailer? How does it work? What are the things you need to know to tow a trailer safely? Let’s find out.
I own a motorcycle and love riding it. So, I thought about how I could take my bike with me when I go camping, hiking, fishing, or just traveling on vacation. I came up with the idea of using a motorcycle pull-behind trailer to make my motorcycle and my gear much easier to transport.
Pulling a trailer with your bike: a word of caution
When it comes to motorcycles and trailers, you have to be extra cautious. If not done correctly, a bike pulling a trailer is dangerous for you and the vehicles around you.
Can motorcycles safely pull trailers?
Let’s be clear. Motorcycles were never designed to pull trailers. Some riders who need the extra space have added hitch mounts to their bikes so they can tow trailers. If your bike comes with a hitch or is rated to carry a certain weight, it’s a good indicator of whether or not your bike can pull a trailer. However, just because it doesn’t have a hitch, it doesn’t mean it cannot be used to pull one. See the chart below for weight pulling guide.
GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
If you need to pull a trailer behind your bike, there is one thing you need to find out – what is your motorcycle’s gross vehicle weight rating.
GVRW is the total weight of your bike (with fuel, oil, etc.), the accessories, the max weight of the rider, pillion, and the cargo that your motorcycle can safely carry. This needs to be calculated before the trip, and you need to ensure that you do not exceed the recommended weight. Otherwise, you risk the stability and handling, resulting in a possible accident.
The GVWR is a piece of readily available information, and you can find them in several places:
- Find the VIN (vehicle identification number) plate. It’s usually stamped into the steering neck or nearby frame.
- Owners Manual
- Service Manual/Repair Manual
- The manufacturer’s website
Here are examples of what they look like:
Here is a table for the GVWR of several motorcycles and brand models. Note that the maximum weight capacity column below is a total load of your trailer and whatever is on it.
|Brands||Curb Weight (lbs.)||GVWR||Max Towing Capacity|
|Honda GL1000 Gold Wing||584||944||360|
|Honda GL1100 Gold Wing||764||1105||341|
|Honda GL1200 Gold Wing||780||1170||390|
|Honda GL1500I Gold Wing Interstate||848||1257||408|
|Honda GL1800 Gold Wing||833||1256||423|
|Honda Click 125i||234||503||269|
|Honda shadow 750||553||954||401|
|Harley Davidson FLH series||880||1360||480|
|Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883||564||950||386|
|2016 Kawasaki Concurs, with bags||690||1193||503|
|2016 BMW 1200 RT||603||1089||486|
|Suzuki DL650 V-Storm||520||926||406|
|Suzuki DL1000 V-Storm||590||965||375|
|Yamaha YZF-R6 (2010-2016)||417||827||410|
|Yamaha Royal Star Venture Tour Delux||842||1241||399|
|Yamaha v-star 650||514||911||397|
Using a motorcycle pull-behind trailer
A pull-behind trailer is designed to be towed behind a motorcycle, similar to a car trailer. The trailer is usually not more than 12 feet long and is slightly wider than your motorcycle. They are made for short or long trips and can be used for hauling.
What are the different types of pull-behind trailers?
This is perfect if your bike has minimal storage and needs to haul a large baggage capacity. Cargo trailers are made from either aluminum or fiberglass and come in various designs.
Dog trailers have become extremely popular in recent years because they provide an excellent way for pet owners to travel in style. They are instrumental when traveling long distances.
A clamshell camping trailer has the advantage of being light and compact. It can be used on various terrain, and it’s effortless to set up. A platform camping trailer is typically a bit heavier and more durable. It also provides a more comfortable sleeping space.
Utility trailers are great for transporting large and bulky objects. These trailers are very light, and you can use them to transport large objects if the weather permits. If you are planning on using your bike as a utility trailer, you need to make sure that you have a bike that’s strong enough to handle the weight of the trailer.
Pull-Behind Camper Trailers For Motorcycles
1. Kompact Kamp Mini Mate Camper ($3,295)
When you’re out camping, you need the kind of camper that gives you instant overnight comfort and the freedom to enjoy the outdoors without any worries. That’s what the Mini Mate Camper delivers.
The Mini Mate is light enough for motorcycles and cars to tow. It quickly sets up as a full-size bed that comfortably accommodates two adults. Quality materials and craftsmanship and several unique features make the Mini Mate your best investment for adding to the enjoyment and economy of your next touring adventure.
2. Aspen Campers Classic ($2,999)
The Aspen Classic is the best-selling trail trailer with the most storage and camping space. It also has a quick tow for motorcycles and small cars.
You don’t need a big, expensive tow vehicle if you have an Aspen. Just a hitch will do the trick.
With all of our campers taking just a few minutes to assemble and take down, it’s easy to set up our tent in less than perfect weather conditions.
Pulling a motorcycle trailer changes the dynamics of riding and handling a motorcycle. As such, the activity requires you to have a lot of experience in motorcycle riding. In short, pulling a trailer is not recommended for first-time riders.
So long as you know how to ride a motorcycle, pulling a trailer isn’t that hard. However, before the day of the ride, you need to practice riding your bike with a trailer in tow.
To stay safe on the ride, remember to keep a safe speed and look out for rocks, potholes, a wide space for your bike and trailer to go through, and more than enough room to stop. Also, remember that the trailer is wider than your bike, so getting caught in a tight space can lead to an accident. Finally, remember to do it gradually and carefully if you need to stop. Slamming on the brakes will push the trailer’s weight towards your bike, potentially leading to a crash.
Safely pulling a trailer on your bike is possible. You need to remember to practice before the day of the ride. Anyone who wants to tow a trailer behind their motorcycle should find the tips in this article helpful.
Indeed, you don’t need to be a professional rider to pull a trailer; it’s just a matter of practice and knowledge.