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How Motorcycle Towing Trailers Work


Flatbed Motorcycle Towing
Flatbed trailers provide an excellent means of motorcycle trailer towing.
Flatbed trailers provide an excellent means of motorcycle trailer towing.
©iStockphoto.com/Nick Tzlov

Motorcycle towing isn't a complicated endeavor -- at least no more so than safely moving any heavy piece of machinery. You want to make sure the cargo is secure to prevent damages, and you want to check that the towing vehicle and trailer can handle the weight. If you drive a truck with a large enough cargo hold, then you're already halfway there. Otherwise, you can always connect a flatbed trailer to your trailer hitch.

More than likely, you've seen a flatbed trailer before. It's essentially a flat cargo space on wheels that you tow behind your vehicle. Some have two wheels, others four, depending on how much weight they're designed to support. Two-wheel trailers typically have either a fold-down foot or dolly wheel under the trailer tongue. This feature allows users to secure the trailer when it's not attached to a vehicle.

Flatbed trailers generally offer you enough room to haul around various types of cargo. Depending on the particular model, you might have enough room for a couple of motorcycles or even an entire automobile. It all depends on the specific flatbed trailer you choose and your vehicle's towing capacity. Either way, you're going to have to secure your cycle or cycles to the trailer. You can accomplish this with the use of ratcheting, nylon tow straps. Just take care to attach the straps to the front and rear suspension forks, or other firm parts of the vehicle frame. Don't secure them across the seat or bodywork.

In addition, you can use a motorcycle rail, wheel cradle or wheel chock to help lock the cycle in place. A motorcycle rail is exactly what it sounds like: a single length of metal with enough room to accommodate the width of the cycle's tires. A wheel cradle, on the other hand, provides a shorter, C-shaped length of rail to cradle the front wheel. These devices may lock or strap in place on a flatbed or require drilling to install. Some designs even remove the necessity for straps.

By using these towing accessories, you can turn many flatbed trailers into motorcycle towing trailers. Many enclosed cargo trailers can be adapted similarly, allowing you to protect your bike from the elements. In fact, some trailer rental companies offer the necessary chocks to do just this. Just be sure to check to make sure the trailer and towing vehicle can handle the weight.

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Looking for a more cycle-specific towing method? On the next page, we'll look at two-wheel motorcycle trailers.


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