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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I believe that there is 2 laws of physics at work for towing a trailer.
  1. The law of 2 wheels being parallel to each other as in a trailer.
  2. The laws of 2 wheels in the same line as in a bike or motorcycle.
I feel that these 2 laws do not work well together based on my experiences of following M/C towing trailers and having seen accidents involving the same.
I feel that if they were safe you would see M/C mfg in the business of selling them.
Now this is my opinion and would like someone to prove me right or wrong.

This is not meant to hurt anyones feelings but rather to foster debate on if towing a trailer is safe.
Thanks BobbyBHB
 

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There are a number of single wheel trailers out there. So your primary argument can probably be debunked.

The motorcycle manufacturers absolutely don't want to enter the trailer game. They are quite content letting after market suppliers fill the need...but some bike, like the new Goldwing, were designed with electrical harnesses near the rear fender to facilitate power to the trailer.

I've driven about 10,000 miles with a motorcycle trailer, and only had two problems, resulting from having the inability to stop with the extra weight. In one case, the leaders of a group suddenly turned off the road (without warning) for a scenic viewpoint, which was a soft gravel road. I'd have wiped out even without the trailer, most likely, and two other riders seriously fishtailed in front of me.

The other was on the Highway of the Sun up at Glacier National. A group of hikers just marched into the road without thinking of waiting for a pause in traffic...and everyone (cars, motorcycles, RVs) came skidding to a halt. The extra weight didn't allow me to stop in time, and down I went. Again, it might have happened even without the trailer.

I think you CAN make a case that trailer brakes should be required...but other than the hit that you take on mileage on a motorcycle, there's no better way to bring enough stuff to camp and travel long-distance.
 

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Since I've never towed a trailer on a bike, I'm far from an expert. So, I consulted a friend at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and while they are a non-profit organization and do not recommend specific products, they focus on safety and awareness. Although his response is not a company statement, it comes from a seasoned rider/racer:

I have no official comment, but a former editor of Cycle magazine once referred to bike trailers as "death by third axle."

Would I personally ever ride a bike with a trailer on the back? No. I want all the maneuverability I can get in all situations. I don't want to risk jack-knifing on a bike while emergency braking. I don't want a lot of extra weight hampering my braking efforts. Generally, more mass means longer braking distances. That said, I'm sure there are hundreds of riders who have successfully used a trailer for many miles without a problem. But I just don't think I have the skills to handle a trailer in many of the traffic situations I encounter, and I've been riding well and racing for 35-plus years.

Your reader clearly has the imagination to picture a difficult deal in traffic. That's the first step in true safety. Imagine the worst and what you would do or could do to prevent it.

I've learned to pack lighter and ship gear ahead of me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks PBR. His response really echos my feelings on trailer towing with a MC. I too ship my extra goods ahead and the same for what I bought while on route.
I was the director here in Calgary for the HOG group back in 86-90. I had the pleasure to meet many fine people through this group. On couple I met rode a white and gold FLHTC and thoroughly explained their travels of the USA and Canada with their trailer. "How would we take all of stuff without it"? Well a week or so later the trailer passed them and the husband wasn't so lucky this time. She made it out OK.
I was that close to buying their debate. So hence I've paid special attention to MCs towing trailers and the handling issues that one can see from afar. My learned friend, Choirguy, also says that under heavy braking that he has had only two problems. One might be enough or too many.
There must be some physics guys out there that can explain the 2- 2 wheeled differences.
BobbyBHB
 

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Have towed a trailer with my TC for Last 4 seasons, and no problems.
Its the same deal if I'm trailing behind a car or truck, it takes longer to stop, and is less agile.
Don't forget you have a trailer back there, Keep your mind on what you are doing.
Vicguy
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As a matter of fact it is my road
 

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I have pulled a trailer for about 10 yrs. now with no problems. I fell the bigger bikes like the goldwings, which I have, the Harley Ultra Classics and such is no problem. I would never pull one with my 06 Kingpin. The breaks on the pin are not the best and the extra weight of a trailer is not safe.
 

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Maybe I was just unlucky, but I bought a custom M/C trailer 3 years ago (with cabinets, beds, etc.) so that I could attend rallys such as Sturgis and avoid some bad weather that you typically encounter on long trips. Anyway, I traveled from Maryland to the Catskills in New York and made it up there fine...but, on the way back the trailer disengaged from my truck on a highway in Pennsylvania. I had it under control until the chains suddenly snapped and the trailer luckily swerved off to the right into an embankment (thankfully not to the left into oncoming traffic) bounced back into the road and turned over. The Vic had about $5,000. worth of damage but the trailer (about $10,000.) was totalled. Both were luckily insured!
I have not purchased another trailer and ride my Kingpin to events now (no matter where they are) and I will never again trailer a motorcycle...I'll chance getting wet and cold!
 

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Has anyone ever experienced a "push" type effect when towing a trailer? As in leaning the bike into a turn but the trailer wants to continue going straight forward and push the rear tire of the bike a bit? Not going so far as feeling unsafe, but makinga bit of a squirelley feeling?
 

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I have utilized a trailer to carry extra items for several of my longer rides. I have pulled it two up and solo with no issues. I always try to remember that it is behind me and give myself the extra cushion necessary to safely stop. I'm currently riding a VTX 1800. This is a rather heavy bike and pulls my trailer like it isn't behind me. I've never noticed having difficulty stopping with my trailer behind me either. I don't know if I will continue to pull the trailer with my Vision or not. I shouldn't need it with the extra storage space on the Vision. Clearly pulling a trailer with a motorcycle isn't for everyone, but it works for me.
 

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Not for me. If someone pulls out in front of you or changes lanes into you your done. If there was no other trafic on the road I could pull one fine. Just cannot rely on other drivers. Pocket full of money and no trailer for me.
 
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