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View Full Version : Motorcycle towing.....this seems like a really bad idea



winchman
06-13-2008, 03:48 AM
I've never owned or ridden a motorcycle, so I admit to total ignorance. I ran across this rig for towing one, and I was wondering if it's as bad an idea as it looks.

http://i5.ebayimg.com/04/i/000/f5/1c/cefb_1.JPG

More pics at:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Cycle-Tow-Motorcycle-Trailer-Trailers_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ50072QQihZ005Q QitemZ150255034561QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW

Roger

macona
06-13-2008, 04:23 AM
I think I would like some higher quality straps but I cant think of any reason this wouldnt work. Most bikes are well under 500 lbs so there is not a whole lot of stress.

Just make darn sure its out of gear!

bob308
06-13-2008, 06:27 AM
you can tow yours that way but i would not tow mine. how does the transmission lube? you mite be runnin g it dry that way.

Dawai
06-13-2008, 07:12 AM
Not my motorcycle, He sure does a lot of explanations in the ebay ad that he "designed and manufactured" the tow rig. Hurrah for him.

As many lawyers that ride nowadays I'd not stir that shark pool with hundred dollar bills on the hooks. Lots of them the fad has ran out and they can't get more than they paid for that noisy hobby. (like they could)

My 800+lb motorcycle "rides", if it does get onto a trailer it will be a stable one. I have race car straps also, not puny tie downs.

Oiling? OLDER model harleys have spacers w/grooves to oil the transmission. It carries the oil into the roller bearings. if it turns, it oils. Unless you flip the grooved washers, then it machines the non-retained rollers each rotation. *saw that before, never caused it, but fixed it a few times.

Roger, you've met me.. I think I could wad that rig up with my hands. Sometimes I am surprised, but I have been pitched by a motorcycle for twenty feet and know who the real boss of inertia is. I think it'd eventually hurt the neck bearings and twist things that don't need twisting. (high speed wobble?)

wierdscience
06-13-2008, 07:29 AM
Looks like one of those rigs I try to hurry up and get around on the interstate:D

A.K. Boomer
06-13-2008, 07:45 AM
If it was done up right It could do in a pinch but at the cost of rear tires Its not something you would want to use cross country - I dont think the tranny getting lube would be a prob. on a typical jap bike (the countershaft would actually be swimming in it at that angle) but i dont know about the "thing" in the picture, honda also made some automatics and dont know there either,
"If done up right" It Could be a great tool for a motorcycle mechanic to haul around in the back of his truck or SUV or even trunk of car.
But like stated, I cringe at the thought of a strap coming undone (and also hope thats one stout piece of angle iron on the front holdown but like Dave said, looks very cheesy)
Its also doesnt look like a failsafe solo act, and that right there sucks, It might be a workable idea but not in the manner that this guy went about it, Never trust a man who doesnt even know which direction to leave his eye hooks bolted, its bad enough that there not a full circle welded loop, but this hillbilly has them facing load side to the opened end.

Running a MC service department for years Iv seen just about everything in how to transport a motorcycle, The winner goes to a kid from westcliffe colo. who showed up at the shop with his can-am 250 with the bike strapped to the top of his old stationwagon, gets out of the car, loosens the straps and rides the bike down the windshield and off the front of the car --- this explained all the cracks down the center of his windshield, Then me and the boss-man witness the kid picking up his ride after a new tire was put on the back of the bike, pulls the wagons front end up to one of our MX test hills and rides the bike onto the front end and up the windshield onto the roof where he then gets off and proceeds to lift the rear tire to one side and then drops the bike onto the roof of the wagon...

Edit; "if done up right" would actually require it to be at least twice the weight and not be reliant on just straps ------- Im thinking the same thing I used to hold bikes on the pneumatic lift, a very heavy gage wheel sandwich clamp -- its possible to have this and a center pivot, you pre-set your clamp and ride/wedge the bikes front tire into it (just like I used to do on the lift) then you fully clamp the wheel - then you have a built in portable very light duty and small cable winch that pivots the bike up to a stop where a pin is inserted, Or strategically placed strap anchors and ratchet straps that do it for you, Insert pin and totally hunker straps --- then you can feel good about driving around wearing out your $200.00 rear tire...

Dawai
06-13-2008, 08:35 AM
Some of you guys might know this fella from the late seventies? there was a guy with a 69-70s caddy with a channel iron up the back he'd load his FXE onto..

I saw the old black caddy everywhere for a number of years. He must've been rich or living off dancers? From Wisconsin or Canada, I forget.. One of them cold places where it probably was a joy to visit warmer climates.

Milacron of PM
06-13-2008, 10:00 AM
"If done up right" It Could be a great tool for a motorcycle mechanic to haul around in the back of his truck or SUV or even trunk of car.


Alternatively....

http://trailerinabag.com/index.html

kendall
06-13-2008, 12:40 PM
As many lawyers that ride nowadays I'd not stir that shark pool with hundred dollar bills on the hooks. Lots of them the fad has ran out and they can't get more than they paid for that noisy hobby. (like they could)

Agreed, as a fad it's old, too many hit the road and as a fad all it's done is make it more expensive for the real enthusiast.
Price has gone down a great deal on the harley clones all accross the board.

HAve seen many rigs like that for bikes, but I wouldn't put any of mine on one.
I have a trailer with a couple rails I throw on when I want to haul a bike around, if I don't have to haul it, I ride it.

Ken.

gnm109
06-13-2008, 01:10 PM
Agreed, as a fad it's old, too many hit the road and as a fad all it's done is make it more expensive for the real enthusiast.
Price has gone down a great deal on the harley clones all accross the board.

HAve seen many rigs like that for bikes, but I wouldn't put any of mine on one.
I have a trailer with a couple rails I throw on when I want to haul a bike around, if I don't have to haul it, I ride it.

Ken.

I'm certainly glad to hear that the fad for bikes is over. Now the rest of us who do it because we like it rather than how we might be perceived can get back to riding. Ha.

As to the method shown for trailing a bike, I certainly wouldn't do it for a long distance. There's too great a chance of the bike getting away, not to mention wear on the rear tire.

I live about 10 miles form the local Harley dealer. I would never let them touch my motorcycle at $95 per hour. But if I did, I might consider such a method for a short distance like that. I would use some better tie downs, however.

dp
06-13-2008, 01:20 PM
I hope it comes with a lockout for the shifter so the towing vehicle cannot possibly back up. Steering head components on a Harley are not cheap. Come to think of it, nothing is cheap on a Harley.

And I'm pretty sure the tranny was not designed to be towed in neutral very far, so this would likely be a bad way to get to Sturgis. There are small trailers that work fine for this problem and they're pretty cheap. Probably half the cost of a new H-D transmission.

biometrics
06-13-2008, 04:55 PM
I had a tow hitch like that back in the early '70s... but it was for my lightweight (if you will excuse the expression) Yamaha 250 dirt bike... it worked fine with a bike you can easily pick up the front end by yourself, but to use it you loosened and removed the chain from the sprocket and wired it out of place so the only thing you are driving are the rear wheel bearings. I haven't seen one of these for many years. The closest thing I have seen is the kind you roll a car up on when you are driving the rental moving van and you car is following behind you. I would only use that on a front wheel drive car.

I agree that this would not be a good practice for any distance with a street bike that used a shaft, or was as heavy as a Harley... How the heck would you get the front wheel up there without some kind of hoist?

x39
06-13-2008, 05:46 PM
Some of you guys might know this fella from the late seventies? there was a guy with a 69-70s caddy with a channel iron up the back he'd load his FXE onto.
I saw that rig or one like it at Daytona in '82.

QSIMDO
06-13-2008, 06:25 PM
Not to mention the muhng and schmutz blasting the bike from being that close.

dp
06-13-2008, 06:35 PM
Not to mention the muhng and schmutz blasting the bike from being that close.

Reminds me of an interesting stretch of road I experienced while biking across central Kansas. There was this road crossing, and apparently a couple hundred hogs were on the wrong side of the road so they were walked across to the other side...

Dawai
06-13-2008, 08:17 PM
Was looking at a rear axle out of a caravan dodge.. had nice heavy bearings, 5 lug wheels.. dropped about four inches..

A piece of square tube with a piece of six inch channel laid down on it and away you go. Less than $200 if you can find a deal on the channel and tube.

I learned, almost the hard way, channel alone twists and dumps the bike into the road. It must have a backbone underneath it. The bike fell off the trailer as I was cinching it up with the big straps. It was built a lot heavier than the "above" mentioned bike tow trailer hitch....

On the bright side, I cranked my wrecker and backed it out of the shop with the proper clutch setup in it this time, it'll have a rescue hitch to roll a bike up onto the wheel lift soon... Heck, I may even build a dumpster loader for it.. I could use one for scrap around here.

http://www.bbssystem.com/viewtopic.php?t=1521&highlight=roadking
http://www.bbssystem.com//files/motorcycle_loader_846.jpg

Check out this bike loader built on the miller site, it's over on Adrian's Metalillness site..

Winches that lil thing right on up there onto the truck.

Racerx
06-13-2008, 08:50 PM
I've actually towed a Honda 750 several thousand miles that way, from New Jersey to Texas and back three or four times when I was in college. It worked fine. I had a little car, (a Volvo 122) no trailer, and I needed to get the bike home for summers and back to school in the fall.
On my tow rig, I took the front wheel off, and bolted the front axle to a piece of channel iron I attached to the bottom of the trailer hitch on the car. I also took the chain off the motorcycle. The rear tire didn't wear all that much, probably because the rear wheel was just rolling, it wasn't trying to drive or stop the motorcycle. I certainly wore the rear tire out a lot more doing burnouts while riding the bike!
If you were careful, you could even back the rig up a short distance. You had to keep everything pretty straight, as the bike would jack knife real quick and the car couldn't turn sharp enough to get it back in line.
What's really crazy is I never had a functioning taillight on the motorcycle while towing it, and the cops never hassled me about it. The car's taillights were perfectly visable, and I guess the cops in the 70's just didn't care. I doubt you could get away with that today.

Ausserdog
06-14-2008, 07:09 AM
I had similar experiences to Racerx. Towed my Yamaha 400 behind my (new, but still a POS) Datsun 200SX from Peoria to Atlanta and back several times. My "hitch" was bolted directly to the bumper. Took the front wheel off and put it in the trunk, along with the disconnected drive chain. The front axle then went back through the forks and into the hitch brackets. Still put safety straps from the handle bars to the trunk lid seam though. It didn't wear the rear tire appreciably, at least enough to notice.

Cops didn't bother me either. I think the law (at least at the time) was that if the towing vehicle's tail lights were visible, no other ones were needed. Although I still turned the running lights on the bike on when driving at night.

Got a lot of strange looks towing the bike like that. Especially when going through the toll booths and the attendant not realizing there was an extra axle to charge for until I drove through!

All that said, I have to agree that the one winchman showed looks a little too light weight and cantilevered for my taste. Those straps look like they need an upgrade - especially for a bike of that weight.

kendall
06-14-2008, 09:35 AM
What's really crazy is I never had a functioning taillight on the motorcycle while towing it, and the cops never hassled me about it. The car's taillights were perfectly visable, and I guess the cops in the 70's just didn't care. I doubt you could get away with that today.

Some states only require trailer lightsif you can't see the vehicle

When it comes to seeing things go down the road that make you nervous, check out some mobile home movers, I've seen them go down the road with the axles loose, tires wobbling, and with three flat tires on one side.


I wouldn't want my bike on one, but I've seen them do long hauls also. I prefer a regular trailer simply because it's far more versatile, and I'd feel a lot better with it securely locked down.

Ken.

mcassill
06-14-2008, 09:53 AM
I was wondering if it's as bad an idea as it looks.

http://i5.ebayimg.com/04/i/000/f5/1c/cefb_1.JPG

The basic concept might be workable, but I sure as heck would use something better than rubber bungies to hold down my $18,000 bike. :eek::eek::eek: If mine has to be hauled somewhere it will go in the back of my full-size pickup; that is what trucks are FOR, after all.
Mark