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Motorcycle Trailer Pulling Memories

Posted by Karl Steinmeyer on May 25th 2015

I remember the first time I towed a motorcycle trailer like it was yesterday- the struggles that you deal with with just one little attachment are almost unbelievable compared to how simple it is to operate your motorcycle on a regular basis. In fact, I've never had a problem except when I was towing- and it all started simply going into a parking lot in a small restaurant in West Michigan.

Motorcycle trailer pros and cons

The Big Challenge

A parking lot is the optimal places for bikers, right? Wrong. This particular parking lot was completely packed- and there were blocked lanes everywhere. I couldn't even back up properly or make a three-point maneuver, because my bike was about 8 feet longer than usual, and there was a lot of extra equipment attached right behind me that wouldn't let me maneuver.

Imagine my embarrassment: I was stuck in a parking lot. I immediately started to regret buying my trailer- and the thing was, I had just picked it up a few hours earlier. I'd told my friends it wouldn't be a problem, after all, it operated perfectly on the road. My wife was able to pack anything and everything she wanted to pack (even the kitchen sink) and we'd had plenty of room left for a few more stuff, but it really was starting to look like a bad investment. 

After all, what is a motorcycle if it's not maneuverable?

We decided that we'd work on the problem after a little bit of breakfast, so we waited for the parking lot to clear and finally found enough room to park the hog. I'd caught some serious flack from my friends and my wife, and I had just about had enough of it. By the time we had finished eating, the parking lot was a lot more clear, so it wasn't such an issue pulling out and getting my bike back on the open road, but I had definitely decided that it was time to put a little more thought into my actions before I pulled into a parking lot with a trailer.

Those first few weeks…..

I'd gained a lot of experience over the next week or so- traveling two thousand miles in ten states, and no matter what we saw- sunny skies, cloudy skies, rain or shine, gravel, asphalt or mud, cold or hot weather, on two or four lanes cruising through the majestic American scenery. I finally decided that my purchase was exactly what I wanted, but I should have bought my trailer immediately when I picked up my bike. That way, it would be more of an extension, instead of another learning curve.

The problem isn't that it's HARD to pull a trailer with your motorcycle, it's exactly the opposite - you forget you're even towing it. 

Everywhere we went I had some sort of hassle associated with my trailer. Our first stop at the local Quick Trip I nearly passed the pump and almost backed my trailer into the car behind me. I'd reverse too sharp, jackknife the trailer, and immediately hear about it from my wife. I never even had an issue with the trailer causing jarring or bumpiness with the ride on my bike- it was completely perfect- even my handling was fine, but I initially had a huge amount of trouble simply getting in the hang of it. As long as I turned my bike tight, made sure I went into the turns slowly and took my time, I never had a problem turning or driving on my bike, and it really didn't affect my mileage anything drastic- maybe a mile here and there.

No matter what your wife wants to bring with her- toiletries, trinkets and souvenirs, you'll have room for it all plus some. Going from packing a motorcycle to having an entire trailer is like moving from a trailer house to a mansion, you'll be amazed how much you can carry. Besides, the labor and time involved with packing are always a hassle. We're constantly plotting and planning to try and get the best stuff in the best places- which was never the case with our trailer- we just packed our bags, threw them into the trailer, and fit small stuff in our saddlebags, just like we were going on vacation in one of our bigger trucks. It used to be that me and my old lady would have a few disagreements here and there on whether or not we could pack her hair dryer or bigger clothing options- and this problem completely disappeared when I got my trailer.

Plus, there were a ton of little conveniences that my new trailer afforded us - we could pack a cooler with some beverages so we didn't have to stop, we had all of our jackets, gloves and gear right where we needed it without digging through huge amounts of luggage. Additionally, the added size that came with the trailer gave us more visibility on the road, making us a bigger target for traffic to notice us and avoid us on the road.

The Experienced Hauler.

It's pretty obvious how awesome it is to have a trailer when you're setting up camp- but you have to keep a few things in the back of your mind:

-You have additional added weight and length when you're pulling a trailer. This might seem obvious, but these factors make your bike accelerate and brake completely differently.

-When you're turning and avoiding obstacles, you have to keep your trailer in mind because you're less maneuverable. You have to break further from the stopping point, add a little more clutch, and throttle more when you start to get the trailer up and running

-Unlike my experience, you HAVE to practice strategic parking. You can back up a trailer on a motorcycle, but it's hard to be precise, because you haven't got a whole lot of space between the bike and the tongue of the trailer, so it's more prone to jackknife

When you have these factors in mind, it's not a problem at all to pull a trailer. Don't avoid motorcycles and long trips on your bike because there's no space, just get a trailer! Plus, you'll be able to go camping, set up shop practically anywhere, and it won't bog you down- a win-win situation.