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Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike (Read 394 times)
Oldfeller
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Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
06/21/13 at 15:57:17
 

I am now an ex-newbie at trailering, and I bumped into some items that may or may not be commonly seen when trailering on these relatively stiff sprung bike trailers that we are using.

#1   REMEMBER TO CUT YOUR PETCOCK "OFF"    Every interstate slab tilt bump and bridge start bump can jar your float valve off the seat for a microsecond and allow some extra fuel to flow into the bowl.   This results (mild case) into a flooded "won't start" condition when you first try to start the bike upon attempting to de-trailer it at your destination.   A bad case is gas in your oil and gas in your air filter box.

By cutting the petcock off before putting the straps on you make sure there is no path for that extra "bump" gas to get into your carburetor's float bowl.

#2   Verslagen reminds us all NOT TO PUT DOWN YOUR KICKSTAND when trailering, or else you will bend your kickstand due to the clinch up forces plus the bump forces your bike will see.  Trailer the bike upright, held in location just by your straps.

#3  DO NOT FILL YOUR GAS TANK UP 100% WHEN TRAILERING   This one is pretty straight forward, your bike may be stiffly held upright but your gasoline in the tank sees "G" forces in every interstate mountain turn.    The slosh makes a mess out of the top of your gas tank and only a paper towel wetted with gasoline can clean it up correctly.

#4   CHECK YOUR STRAPS AT EVERY STOP    They get loose over time as the nylon stretches due to tension.   If you get a mist rain, check them again as nylon picks up moisture and expands very slightly (a hygroscopic material in other words).

#5   USE TWICE AS MANY STRAPS AS YOU "REALLY" NEED   Straps carry a 300 pound working load rating, but they begin to stretch well below that rating.  I started out with 4 straps and stopped and bought some more because I had one get loose on me --- it was likely my own operator error not clinching the buckle back down good, but by having a "backup" strap I am safe from operator error like that.   Plus, extra straps mean the tension level per strap goes down, which helps eliminate the stretch thing.

#6   DO NOT TAKE OUT ALL THE SHOCK TRAVEL AT EITHER FRONT OR BACK, just take out a little more than half of it.   This keeps the bike under non-strap stretching tension and allows a little shock action to keep the bike from getting pounded quite so badly on the interstate.  A really really bad bump will momentarily loosen up your straps so make sure your hook up methods cannot "unhook" themselves at all easily .....
Several members shared horror stories about this happening to them, and I too may well be a +1 on the topic as I had a loose strap too.

#7    CHECK YOUR TRAILER HITCH BALL "CLOSED" TENSION BEFORE STARTING BACK.  OK, it was adjusted right when you started but I bet it has gotten loose when your check it as you start to go back.

#8   Trailer bearings apparently leak some if you put the recommended amount and weight of grease inside them.   When the leaking stops after 4-5 trips it is time to shoot in some more grease.

(a heavier grease of course  Wink  )
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(all mods except BIG piston and carb change have been done, but do not show)
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #1 - 08/08/13 at 04:29:24
 
I'm just curious as to what points you guys use on the bike to tie straps to and where a strap shouldn't be tied to.  I wouldn't want to bend something or break something on the bike from a strap being misplaced.  Pictures would be great, if any of you have a picture of your bike on a trailer.

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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #2 - 08/08/13 at 04:47:58
 

Front strap tie off points are on the triple tree.   Watch out for your wiring and do the two wraps around method with the strap itself, making sure the hook isn't resting on wiring.  Do not use the handle bars as wiring & brakes & throttle & things on the bars can get tweeked or damaged under tensioning loads.

Rear strap points are top shock mounts.   Some use the sissy bar but a few have bent the sissy bar mount points/fender a little bit under heavy loads.

Hint:  avoid heavy tensioning loads.   Backwards and forwards straps should balance each other out, a bike should "float" between the strap forces at a little over half front fork compression, not being crushed by them in either direction.

Make sure tie off "hook" methods don't pull and unhook under sudden tension.  Consider wrapping in the other direction and see where strap and hook wind up relative to a sudden pull load.

Reason to use 8 straps instead of 4 is you DECREASE the load per strap by half during tensioning.   Worst case, extra straps increase the number of straps that don't come loose during an accident or other event, keeping the bike on the trailer better.

If you see a bike flying down the road held by only 2 straps, check the guys truck bed for a crease or dent where the front wheel was mashed under tensioning pressure.   Was this good for the bike's front wheel roundness and run out?   No, and it wasn't good for the truck bed either.

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Stock silver 2002 ls650 with small saddle bags. Looks like Granny's old worn out bike, nothing special to it at all.
(all mods except BIG piston and carb change have been done, but do not show)
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #3 - 08/08/13 at 05:15:45
 
Thanks, that helps a lot.  The couple times that I have trailered mine, I put straps on the sissy bar.  That's exactly what I wanted to know.
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #4 - 10/22/13 at 15:09:53
 
I have had my tires slide from left to right, causing the bike to lean. I always run a strap across and around the rear tire at the lowest point possible, to keep it from moving left to right.

If you have your front wheel in a chock, wheel slide won't happen. I just did not have the opportunity or a place to strap the wheel in the front.

A wheel chock or rail is preferable to tie off your front tire, but if you do not have one, then make a slight "X" with your straps in front and back to keep it from going forward or backward and then do the wheel straps to keep the wheels from sliding left or right.
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #5 - 10/30/13 at 09:06:08
 
Good advice. I haven't ever had to trailer my bike yet, but I just got a new truck so I will be ready to haul soon enough.
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #6 - 11/04/13 at 11:28:19
 
Also thought of another one, Remove your saddlebags. You don't want your expensive prescious saddlebags to get dinged up or bent wihle in the trailer.  http://www.vikingbags.com/quick-disconnect-saddlebags-mounting-system-for-suz...
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #7 - 11/04/13 at 13:35:12
 
ahernandez74 wrote on 10/30/13 at 09:06:08:
Good advice. I haven't ever had to trailer my bike yet, but I just got a new truck so I will be ready to haul soon enough.



Here's a video of me loading my bike onto my truck by myself. It's pretty safe as long as you take it slow and not try to get a head start.
https://vimeo.com/25628093
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #8 - 11/07/13 at 17:39:16
 
Twice I have had my motorcycle tip over in my trailer.  When I hit a bump the front forks would compress, and the tie down hooks would drop out of the eyelets on the trailer.  Some tie down have snaps or keepers that prevent this....but mine do not, and not all hooks are the same:



I have tried to find a way to make my hooks with keepers that would prevent them from dropping out....and for a while I just used masking tape and I had to retape it every time.  I think I have come up with a better fix.  I cut a piece of rubber tube and slid it over the hook:


Then after you have attached the hook to the eyelet on the trailer - you just slip the rubber tube through the ring on the hook where the strap attaches.


I hooked the modified strap onto the eyelet on my trailer, and after putting the rubber tube through the eyelet I jiggled the strap up and down...and I could not make it come out of the eyelet.  I think this will work fine!


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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #9 - 12/26/13 at 20:40:02
 
I bent the piss out of the kickstand on my Magna doing this. I put the kickstand down because I typically load bikes myself and don't have anyone to run straps or hold the bike. Never had an issue until I released the passenger side strap first on the Magna which unloaded all the force onto the kick stand itself. I only use two straps, both to the triples, and pull the tire up tight against the trailer. On dirt bikes and enduros I strap to the handle bars since they have a center brace and are usually easy to get to. I strap the frame of my ZRX1200R because its easier and more solid. The only bike I use rear straps on is my Triumph Speed Triple 955i and they go to my swingarm to keep the rear from shifting.
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Re: Items to watch when TRAILERING your bike
Reply #10 - 03/13/16 at 08:53:18
 
I too commited f these mortal sins.    When i bought my bike i had no clue that the petcock was vaccum or had no off position and me thinking i knew what i was doing put the petcock to the prime position.

Top that off i didnt turn the key off, i turned it to park which I did notice about 30 miles down the road at a gas station and turned it to off.

Well i looked pretty stupid in front of the wife and kids when i backed her off the trailer and couldnt get it to start in front of everyone.

flooded out and dead battery only gave me a crank or two.  

lessons learned
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