Author Topic: Design Consultation Request - trailer  (Read 783 times)

Offline kidsmoke

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Design Consultation Request - trailer
« on: April 10, 2018, 09:39:57 AM »
Has anyone here ever converted a small watercraft trailer for motorcycle use? A buddy of mine has one I may claim for this purpose. Before I do I thought I'd mine the hive....

advantages:
leaf sprung axle
lighting - rear as well as side markers
new tires and bearings
lower center of gravity with "hull" contour of the cross bracing.

Affixing a tray for the bike in the center seems straightforward. What concerns me is the wheel chock would then need a significant bit of fab to be secure at the same lower height.

OR

affix new "level" cross bars, and mount the chock on the tongue near where the winch is currently. This would raise the center of gravity on a narrow trailer, however.

this is a stock photo of the same basic trailer.

Thoughts?

« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 09:54:00 AM by kidsmoke »
'00 Jackal

Offline Scud

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 10:07:07 AM »
My brother in law adapted a 2-ski trailer for 2 bikes. He did it all with bolt-on stuff so he could convert it back to use for skis. Sorry, no pics - but I think some large U-bolts can easily secure a cross-rail for you to put a wheel chock on.
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Offline Zoom Zoom

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Re: Request design assistance - trailer
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 10:12:30 AM »
What is the weight of this trailer, and how much weight is it designed to carry?

Are you getting it for free or not?

Harbor freight makes a small frame that many have converted into a utility trailer by using a roof top carrier of some sort. Because of the load the HF trailer can carry, many remove one of the leaf springs leaving only the main leaf. Otherwise it is sprung too stiff for what we carry. (Camping gear, etc.)

This can be made for about 400 bucks, maybe a bit more. A trailer will cost you about 10 miles per gallon on your bike. The trailer I have, as described above weighs 152 pounds empty.

I had a hitch made that drew from the frame mount under the peg/muffler hanger mount. Some draw from the back bolt of the hanger. I know many people that have not had any trouble doing that, but I also know of some that have experienced the hanger breaking.  That can be nothing short of a PITA when it breaks.

As for towing, I knew it was back there but it was no big deal. You also need to ride more in the middle of your lane so the trailer tires are not over the line on either side. (Just a consideration but easy to overlook.) Many toll roads will hit you for an additional axle. Stupid, but that is the way it is.

Since a friend of mine got her own bike, I found it unnecessary to use it any more. We can carry everything needed on the back of the bikes. Of course everything is a trade off. When I needed it, it was handy even though I lost 50 miles per tank in range.

What you're considering might be starting out heavier than you desire, IDK.

John Henry
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 10:13:50 AM by Zoom Zoom »
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Offline pressureangle

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 10:23:39 AM »
It's perfect, as long as the weight rating on the tires and axle are up to the weight of your bike and gear.
Some of them have a too-short tongue, though this one looks good.
I'm keeping an eye out for one for exactly this reason, myself.
If you plan on hauling over a long distance at high speed, pay special attention to the tires and bearings. Buy the highest quality and rating tires you can find, put a size larger rim/tire combo if you can fit them, and pack the bearings with a high-quality synthetic bearing grease like Redline.
The most important thing I've learned about trailers (over 100k miles pulling racebikes) is that loose bearings make you nervous but never fail; tight bearings burn up every time, usually after dark on the south side of Chicago.
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Offline kidsmoke

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Re: Request design assistance - trailer
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 10:37:23 AM »
What is the weight of this trailer, and how much weight is it designed to carry?

Hey John, thanks for the thoughtful reply, but I'm planning to trailer the bike, not put a trailer on it!!

But good questions! it's about a 300 pound trailer with a 1250# capacity. Steel
'00 Jackal

Offline Zoom Zoom

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 10:40:21 AM »
Ah, I see. If you are able to modify to suit your needs, it should work out well.


John Henry
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 10:42:10 AM by Zoom Zoom »
A wide, unfettered road ahead,
and the flying motor singing.
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Offline kidsmoke

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 10:48:42 AM »
It's perfect, as long as the weight rating on the tires and axle are up to the weight of your bike and gear.

good stuff.

Jackal comes in at about 560, plus the chock and tray...lets call it 620# to be safe.

I'd ONLY trailer long distance at high speeds, otherwise I'm on the bike.
'00 Jackal

Offline Chuck in Indiana

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 11:06:28 AM »
I don't see any reason it won't work. You *do* have to keep weight forward enough that at least 10-15% of the total weight of bike and trailer are on the hitch. That might affect where you can put the chock.
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Offline pressureangle

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 11:07:17 AM »
good stuff.

Jackal comes in at about 560, plus the chock and tray...lets call it 620# to be safe.

I'd ONLY trailer long distance at high speeds, otherwise I'm on the bike.

Also by the book, you should place the load where a minimum of 10% of the total combination weight is loaded on the ball- so if the bike is 600# and the trailer is 300#, you should have a minimum of 90# on the ball. You may find the bike is further back than you imagine. The further to the rear the axle is, the less you may get away with on the ball; ultimately, you want to minimize the polar moment around the trailer axle, in both vertical and horizontal axes. None of this is likely a problem with such a small rig, but the lighter your tow vehicle the more it matters.
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Offline fotoguzzi

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 11:43:31 AM »
the photo looks like the bike would end up too far forward of the axle and put too much weight on the hitch.. but you can maybe move the whole axle forward on the frame if it's attached with those U bolts.
you definitely want to get the balance right or it will tend to bounce or weave around.
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Offline oldbike54

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 11:54:13 AM »
 The only other thing to consider is that boat trailers are designed to carry a large portion of the load on the side rails , make sure the center rail is well supported .

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Offline kidsmoke

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 01:29:23 PM »
here you go, changes the proportions a bit.



the photo looks like the bike would end up too far forward of the axle and put too much weight on the hitch.. but you can maybe move the whole axle forward on the frame if it's attached with those U bolts.
you definitely want to get the balance right or it will tend to bounce or weave around.

didn't think so before, but with this pic especially, I feel you're correct.
The other option is to simply place a deck on the main rails and find the sweet spot, drop the chock and be done. I really like the idea of getting it low between the wheels though.
'00 Jackal

Offline rodekyll

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 01:33:22 PM »
I'm not shy about copying successful designs for my own use.  If I was going to convert this trailer, with respect to load and balance, I'd run down to the local U-Haul and see how they built their $14.99/day dedicated motorcycle trailer and copy that design.  U-Haul has done a really good job with bike trailers, and they built them with a price point, quality point, and the expertise of their customers in mind.  So what you'll see is simple, strong, inexpensive, and idiot-proof resistant.  The one I use when the trike breaks (always an adventure in moving) is so well thought out that one person can easily move it around and hitch it up.  The balance is so good that I can unhitch it from the tow vehicle, tip the tongue into the air, run the bike up the back, and let the bike gently drop the tongue back onto the tow rig as it rolls on.  Bring your camera.

Offline fotoguzzi

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 02:41:27 PM »








just for comparison since I have the pics.. the Guzzi balance point on my trailer is axle right below the transmission.
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Offline kirb

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 03:03:29 PM »
here you go, changes the proportions a bit.

I used to haul my buell on a similar trailer (more for jet skis- no curved cross members). I put an aluminum 'C' channel down the middle of the trailer and already had 'outriggers' for hauling mountain bikes next to a stand up ski (forks on outriggers, rear wheel by fender on rail).  The aluminum channel sat between the ski rails supported by the short cross piece in your photo and the rear cross brace. I left the ski winch/stop in place for the front wheel, no chock. The ramp was bungied to the trailer while under tow.

For bike only use, I would deck the trailer at frame level. Keep the deck to the frame dimensions. Use a condor wheel chock bolted to the frame/deck.
I would make a ramp out of a few of these bolted together to get 36"+ wide (I did for my trailer):
https://www.grainger.com/product/45NN92?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!50916706197!!!s!82690160997!&ef_id=WOznWAAAAbykRQ80:20180410195654:s

You should have enough room under that trailer to slide the ramp under the frame while still clearing the axle. Slide out ramps are kick ass.

The reason this works great is you can ride the bike up the ramp, put the wheel in the chock, and let the condor hold the bike while you strap it down. You are going to need to mount outriggers to allow strapping the bike forward at width. I would mount a piece of unistrut to  the underside of the frame if fabricating is not your thing (put eye hooks attached with strut nuts to secure):
https://www.grainger.com/product/45YV25?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!50916776517!!!g!81032040477!&ef_id=WOznWAAAAbykRQ80:20180410200101:s

For a few hundo + trailer you can have a sweet bike trailer. Don't worry about trying fab something to get the bike low... not worth it if you make the ramp long and use a condor. Key is to have the ramp and deck WIDE enough to flat foot the loading.

Offline Roebling3

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 04:12:09 PM »
If you are not using them already get 4 high quality ratchet straps. Reese, the hitch people, have good ones. Don't strap down a bike using its handle bars.  Don't travel with the bike in gear.  R3~ 

Online n3303j

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 06:55:23 PM »








Here's a used one I found on Craigslist for short money. It'll haul up to 3 skinny bikes, or one Ural. It's a solid rig. What's interesting is that it is 100% bolt together. Not a weld to be seen. So it's readily adjustable for balance and fit. Doesn't look a lot different than a boat trailer. Easy enought to buy some square tubing, angle iron and assorted bolts and U-Bolts to turn the boat or Jet Ski trailer into a suitable motorcycle hauler.
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Offline kidsmoke

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 07:41:46 PM »
I used to haul my buell on a similar trailer (more for jet skis- no curved cross members). I put an aluminum 'C' channel down the middle of the trailer and already had 'outriggers' for hauling mountain bikes next to a stand up ski (forks on outriggers, rear wheel by fender on rail).  The aluminum channel sat between the ski rails supported by the short cross piece in your photo and the rear cross brace. I left the ski winch/stop in place for the front wheel, no chock. The ramp was bungied to the trailer while under tow.

For bike only use, I would deck the trailer at frame level. Keep the deck to the frame dimensions. Use a condor wheel chock bolted to the frame/deck.
I would make a ramp out of a few of these bolted together to get 36"+ wide (I did for my trailer):
https://www.grainger.com/product/45NN92?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!50916706197!!!s!82690160997!&ef_id=WOznWAAAAbykRQ80:20180410195654:s

You should have enough room under that trailer to slide the ramp under the frame while still clearing the axle. Slide out ramps are kick ass.

The reason this works great is you can ride the bike up the ramp, put the wheel in the chock, and let the condor hold the bike while you strap it down. You are going to need to mount outriggers to allow strapping the bike forward at width. I would mount a piece of unistrut to  the underside of the frame if fabricating is not your thing (put eye hooks attached with strut nuts to secure):
https://www.grainger.com/product/45YV25?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!50916776517!!!g!81032040477!&ef_id=WOznWAAAAbykRQ80:20180410200101:s

For a few hundo + trailer you can have a sweet bike trailer. Don't worry about trying fab something to get the bike low... not worth it if you make the ramp long and use a condor. Key is to have the ramp and deck WIDE enough to flat foot the loading.

Good council there Kirb. We're on the same trail with the expanded metal. I was thinking of that as decking on either side of the rail. Your idea of a recessed ramp is brilliant. Your right that at deck height there is probably a segment 4-6" high and 40" wide to play with. My tow vehicle in the short term will be a FWD car with a hatch. A decent ramp would be a pain in the a** if not securable to the trailer.

@n3303j...is that trailer up in New England near you or elsewhere?

I'm convinced. Assuming the donor trailer is obtainable for a song, I'll go ahead with it. Thanks for all the suggestions.



'00 Jackal

Online n3303j

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 07:56:55 PM »
Trailer is in Eastern Massachusetts. But I'm 1,300 miles south in Florida avoiding all the weather Massachusetts is currently offering.
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Offline dsrdave

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Re: Design Consultation Request - trailer
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 09:49:01 PM »
I converted a small boat trailer for bike use.  It has the 8" wheels so it's relatively low.  I did dip the rear of the frame a bit to provide a slight beaver tail and reduce the break-over angle.  The ramp is only about 2' long. I used 1/8" aluminum diamond plate for the deck. It's very light, I tow with a prius and get 42mpg towing!!
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