Author Topic: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF  (Read 22792 times)

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Offline S Smith

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Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« on: March 11, 2013, 11:05:29 am »
I came across this recent article by MSF.   Towing a trailer is not for me, but there are many riders who do it without incident.  I have also heard of situations where the trailer was the primary factor leading to a crash.  As usual, use common sense and your best judgement.  YMMV


-------------------

Towing a Trailer Behind a Motorcycle
 
Not Recommended

From time to time, we get questions about towing a trailer behind a motorcycle. You should never tow a trailer behind a motorcycle unless your motorcycle has been designed to do so.  However, we're not aware of any motorcycle manufacturer that has designed a two-wheeled motorcycle to tow a trailer.  In fact, motorcycle manufacturers warn against the towing of a trailer. 

For example, this warning appears in a late model Harley-Davidson touring bike owner's manual:
Do not pull a trailer with a motorcycle.  Pulling a trailer can cause tire overload, damage and failure, reduced braking performance, and adversely affect stability and handling, which could result in death or serious injury.

Additionally, tire manufacturers typically warn against this activity.

The following appears in the Dunlop motorcycle tire tips guide:
Trailers may contribute to motorcycle instability, grossly exaggerated tire stresses and overload.  Such stresses and overload can cause irreversible damage resulting in sudden tire failure, accident, injury or death.  Dunlop does not warrant tires used on motorcycles fitted with trailers.

These types of warnings are based on real issues.  First, not only are you pulling the weight of the trailer, but a portion of the load is bearing downward at the point where the trailer attaches to the motorcycle.  This is called trailer tongue weight (generally ten percent of the weight of a properly loaded trailer), and when added to the weight of the motorcycle, rider, passenger, other accessories and cargo, the total may exceed the allowable load for the motorcycle and its tires.  This can lead to tire blowout or suspension failure.

Second, the weight, momentum, and aerodynamics of a trailer may impair the bike’s maneuverability, traction, acceleration, and braking response.  Third, a manufacturer cannot test every aftermarket accessory with every model they make, and they warn consumers in their owner's manuals that modifications may put riders at risk.

Given these concerns, MSF cannot recommend the use of a trailer on a motorcycle that wasn’t designed or approved by the manufacturer for towing one.  We also urge riders to study the owner’s manual and warning labels, and the tire manufacturer's warnings, when they first take possession of a motorcycle, when they perform maintenance or repairs, and when they plan on making any changes to the bike’s configuration.
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Offline Camper Dave

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 10:19:21 pm »
Soooo.... If I use a car tire, I can pull a trailer?  >:D
2 wrongs make a right....right???  :rotflmao:
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Offline 2linby

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 01:41:26 am »
Soooo.... If I use a car tire, I can pull a trailer?  >:D
2 wrongs make a right....right???  :rotflmao:

No Dave!  Two wrongs do not make a right,

But three rights make a left!   :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
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Offline 2linby

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 01:43:16 am »
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS:

NOT RECOMMENDED BY M.A.R.W.S (MOTHERS AGAINST RUNNING WITH SCISSORS)  ;)
"2linby" Get it? "Tooling by" "Everything is simple, but nothing is easy".
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Offline danodemotoman

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 07:16:58 am »
 Half right Dave, half right ...   ;)

Soooo.... If I use a car tire, I can pull a trailer?  >:D
2 wrongs make a right....right???  :rotflmao:

Offline MSRev

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 01:40:02 pm »
So if you pull a trailer, do your on tires, use car motor oil (not really, gotta hyperbowl ((actually heard it said this way)) a little) and are a REV that rides a  motorcycle does that help make a right or just farther left?? :D

Pastor Tyler
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 03:05:50 pm by MSRev »

Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 03:31:33 pm »
I wonder what they think about the uni trailer . That's the only one I would consider .
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 01:31:52 am »
I wonder what they think about the uni trailer . That's the only one I would consider .
Who is they?
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 01:35:56 am »
Quote
The following appears in the Dunlop motorcycle tire tips guide:
Trailers may contribute to motorcycle instability, grossly exaggerated tire stresses and overload.  Such stresses and overload can cause irreversible damage resulting in sudden tire failure, accident, injury or death.  Dunlop does not warrant tires used on motorcycles fitted with trailers.

I'm thinkin it's a good thing I don't run Dunlops.  ;) ;)
Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SiSF)
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Offline Umfundisi

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 09:06:25 am »
Riding to Daytona Bike Week this past weekend,  I was passed by a Goldwing towing a trailer that was loaded with a Triumph motorcycle and some luggage.  The Goldwing was traveling at 85mph plus...  and I looked over at the driver as he eased passed me and thought..  That guy has some big brass ones..  Thats some scary stuff over there.

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Offline Dollartree

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2013, 04:10:18 am »
I have pulled a trailer behind a Wing for thousands of miles over lots of years.  Never have had any issues at all. 

I just got my Connie last fall and have every intention of putting a hitch on it and pulling my trailer with the C-14.
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Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 08:41:14 am »
I wonder what they think about the uni trailer . That's the only one I would consider .
Who is they?


MSF , the organization which is not recomending trailer towing .
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:23:10 am by cra-z1000 »
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Offline Umfundisi

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2013, 09:04:44 am »
I have pulled a trailer behind a Wing for thousands of miles over lots of years.  Never have had any issues at all. 

I just got my Connie last fall and have every intention of putting a hitch on it and pulling my trailer with the C-14.

I dont think towing with a large/heavy bike is a bad thing
I do think its foolish to tow with a large heavy bike a load of similar or equal weight,  it doesnt take much for the tail to wag the dog.

The gentleman who rode past me on his wing at 85mph was towing a load that was very very close to his own weight.  Between the trailer, the bike loaded on the trailer and his luggage,  the weight differential between tow vehicle and trailer was negligible.   Safety at 85mph while towing such weights with brakes not designed for the additional load capacity,  tires not rated for the tongue weight, sway of the trailer, general traffic conditions going to Daytona during bike week.   All of these are safety considerations.   Hence, my feeling that he had some big brass ones as he eased passed me on I95.

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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2013, 01:34:37 pm »
I think he was pushing his luck. Ultimately his luck will run out.
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Offline danodemotoman

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 07:03:27 pm »
 Agreed Jim.
 Less likely to survive when you push to the extreme.

Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 07:26:06 pm »
Sounds like he just wanted to be a center of attention at bike week  :-\
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Offline Mcfly

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2013, 11:08:34 pm »
Sounds like legal disclaimers more than practical advise.

I'm sure someone lost it while pulling a trailer, then decided
to try and get rich quick by suing Dunlop, because the tire was
at fault, then MSF because they never said NOT to do it in their
Basic Course.

 ???
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Offline Bob_C_CT

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2013, 12:54:50 pm »
Agree with Mcfly, legal liability fixer.
There are a lot of dynamics in towing a trailer to be thought out though.
10% tongue weight of trailer when the bike is at a standstill changes all the time depending on braking, acceleration, road conditions, load in trailer in relationship to center of gravity (height). Consider when you are going down the highway and ride through a sudden dip in the road the transfer of weight increases the tongue weight exponentially and loads up rear tire.

Yea, I don't think it is the smartest thing travelling 85 mph and clearly being overloaded, like playing Russian roulette.
I wouldn't mind towing a modestly loaded trailer, riding modestly.

Had a new to me boat trailer snap an axle on highway while towing with a 4runner, was going 55-60 over a bump and felt like I had blown out a trailer tire and got to the side of the road and stopped pretty fast. Wouldn't of been that nice if axle came out of housing all the way, if it happened in a high speed turn or while pulling a trailer on a bike at 85mph.

If I were to get a bike trailer it would have to have good sized wheels (no 8 inch rims), good condition tires and kept up on axle/bearing maintenance.
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Offline smithr1

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2013, 06:15:02 pm »

If I were to get a bike trailer it would have to have good sized wheels (no 8 inch rims), good condition tires and kept up on axle/bearing maintenance.

In my experiences and testing rim sizes down to 8 is not an issue.  I trailer my C10 sometimes, on 8" rims.  The tires I have are great 5 ply and the bearings are the best I can get.  I towed the trailer over 2400 miles one trip and every time I checked the tires were warmer than the bearings.  After the trip the grease around the bearings still looked new. 

I forget the exact calculation but I think at 80mph the bearing is turning at about half the rated max rpm of the bearings.  Load is less than 1/4 max.  The trailer still has the original bearings and my guess for total mileage is something like 5k.  I went in to replace the bearings once and I could not find any reason to waist the money.
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Offline ray9898

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2013, 05:17:59 pm »
We recently had a similar situation here just north of Atlanta.  Gentleman on a full dress Harley pulling a trailer on the interstate.  Witnesses said a tractor trailer passed him and it caused the trailer to sway.  He was unable to recover and crashed at highway speed.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/paulding-funeral-director-killed-in-freak-motorcyc/nX2rh/
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 05:21:22 pm by ray9898 »

Offline GGerg1186

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2013, 01:29:03 pm »
I remember going to Ridercoach prep, all of the Ridercoach trainers showed up with their bikes (BMW's and HD's) towing trailers.  They did every exercise on the BRC, with their trailers.

Apparently they didn't get this message.   ;D

Quick off topic, can anyone point me in the direction of a hitch for my C14?  What's out there?

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2013, 06:40:42 pm »
Stupidest thing I ever seen was a guy on I85 in Charlotte, NC riding a Burgman 400 scooter with a trailer and a passenger. He passed me doing about 80 MPH. I was expecting to find them in pieces further up the road. Some people need to have their endorsement taken away.
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 08:40:26 pm »
Pulling a trailer is obviously not what motorcycles were designed for. That said, pulling a reasonably loaded and attended trailer is a safe proposition until it quits being so.  IOW, anytime emergency braking or maneuvering is required, things are likely to get real hairy quick.  Under normal and prudent riding situations (i.e. reasonable load for the vehicle towing, good mounting, balanced, negotiating typical unhurried maneuvers, passing on double yellows, etc.) cautiously towing a trailer can be done with a fair degree of safety.  However, too much weight, too much speed, too tight of maneuvering, too heavy braking, etc. and it ain't likely to stay all pretty.  Just my .02

I've pulled a trailer (no more than 150 loaded) for a little ways and found the way I ride (trail braking etc) is NOT safe at almost any speed.  Could I tow a trailer safely. Probably.  But it would take a conscious and concerted effort on my part.  I know some guys tow these suckers all over, but IMHO it makes me a bit afraid of traffic and corners.  Probably could learn, but I AM an old dog.
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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 12:50:19 am »
I didn't see any comments against pushing a trailer with a motorcycle, so that must be Okay, right?
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Offline mattchewn

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Re: Trailer towing - not recommended by MSF
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2013, 12:51:52 am »
O, A wise guy hey?
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