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Motorcyle Trailer Packing Tips

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A motorcycle trip is quite different from a car trip. It takes a little more than just climbing on the bike with and taking off. And because motorcycle trips have a special place in our hearts, we somehow won't stop using them for long distance adventure, at least this biker won't. 

If you're one of those travelers who fancy the act of traveling using a motorcycle, these tips from some of the most experienced riders will give you a clue as to how to travel with your luggage well and safely.

Motorcycle Trailer Packing Tips

1  Making room

Obviously when traveling with luggage, you'll need to find a way to conveniently accommodate them. And seeing that motorcycle trip packing requires some luggage space, invest in a rack and some good saddlebags to help carry your things.

2 Never choke the engine

Hanging anything in the front fender or under the headlight is not a wise move. The top side of the fender pulls in cool air that goes directly to the engine. The same applies to space directly under your headlights. Therefore, if you block these areas, you risk overheating your engine during long trips. Small tool bags sometimes fit here, but nothing more.

3 Mass centralization

Riders need to be aware of their motorcycle's' center of gravity. The Center of Gravity (COG) spot is located somewhere near the transmission case. Now the problem is, when you start placing weights with disregard to the COG, you will feel the effect of that weight when handling the bike.

If you must travel with weights, place them on top of the fuel tank or in a saddlebag. Again, the best area for heavy items is the space that lies right after you on your back. Reserve the space between the fuel tank and headlight for light items. As you do this, try minimizing top-tank luggage so as to avoid blocking the speedometer.

4 Obey load limits

Improper load balancing or too much weight is a concern to motorcycle manufacturers. Both the VIN plate and owners manual will list the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR), the overall weight of the bike, and the maximum weight that the bike should carry.

What's more, the manufacturer of the motorcycle will have GAWR readings for the bike. This stands for both front and rear axle of the motorcycle. For instance, a passenger sitting on the rear seat will put most of their weight on the hind axle/suspension.

5 Interference caused by luggage

Over-loading your bike will definitely come with a number of repercussions to face. For instance, braking distance will change, handling will feel strange, plus you will also put more pressure on suspension and tires. This will increase the rate of wear and can lead to a blowout.

Tires have load limits that must be adhered to. Stay within those limits and reduce your risk of severe problems.

6 The right air pressure

Luggage is accommodated by the air inside the tires, and not the tires themselves. As a matter of fact, you should increase the pressure to the upper limits as you add more luggage. However, when it comes to riding with an under-inflated tire, you should take care so you don't ride with heavy load since your tires risk coming off.

7 Leather Saddlebags and Bag-guards

If you're carrying a huge amount of load behind your motorcycle and your bags seem to be away from the tires, you could still arrive at your destination with tire burns on your bags, why? Because wind pressure, or force applied by both rider and passenger may cause the bags to lean on your tires, and the results may be disastrous. 

You can always invest in thin loops which drop from the rear fender to shield bags from swinging toward the tire area. Furthermore, these special guards offer additional mounting support to provide reinforcement, so they are a sound investment for a motorcycle trip.

8 Exhaust pipes and chains are a no-go zone

Avoid placing luggage too close to the muffler, otherwise, they'll catch fire. But again, this also tends to be a problem with soft saddlebags. Even though they may look good once loaded at the start of a journey, they face the risk of sagging as the journey progresses, hence leaning on the pipe. Even with the toughest material for saddlebags, it is still possible to set the content on fire.

The drive chain is also a real danger. The more you compress the rear suspension, the more you get closer to it.

To deal with this problem, ensure your saddlebags aren't coming any closer to the chain even when the rear suspension is under full compression. Again, in the event that the saddlebags have straps, ensure these are secured in place so they don't get in the way of the chain work.

9 Use additional straps

It's always worth putting additional safety measures which include securing your luggage with a bungee. To prevent the bag from slipping under the bungee, have the bungee run through the handle or some other loop on a bag.

Don't always invest in cheap bungee nets. These will cost you in the end. Also, try bringing a few more into the trip so you can address problems in case they arise.

10 Get ready for the rain

Your luggage can be covered with a trash bag to keep precipitation away. So if there is a good chance that it will rain, store your rain gear within reach so you use them when the need arises.

Again, you will need to store useful items in the right bag. Emergency or nighttime items can be placed in the right-hand saddlebag. Equally, you could place these items on the space ahead of you (between the fuel tank and handle.

11 Take care of the paintwork

In a long trip, there is a fair chance that your luggage straps will scratch the paintwork when they come into contact with your motorcycle.

To prevent this from happening, use a masking or duct tape. You could also wax and apply a protective layer. However, the problem with this is that the surface will eventually peel off. The best way to protect your paintwork is to hook your straps around the rear fender. You could also use rubber tubing to protect the hooks that hold the bungee cords in place.

12 Backpacks

Backpacks are convenient for carrying small items you will need from time to time. What's more, you will find them convenient when you have to change bikes or separate from the rest of the group. 

Carrying soft materials in the backpack will also cushion you in case of a fall. On the other hand, hard objects could increase your chances of injury.

13 Bike with trailer in tow combination

Pulling a trailer with your motorcycle is an option that you will want to explore. Because you are here at The USA Trailer Store, we are going to re-hash all those useful tips on pulling a trailer with a motorcycle in just one tip.

Just check out:

  • » A Motorcycle Road Trip Across the United States
  • » 10 more great tips for your next motorcycle trip - even if you don't pull your trailer along.
  • » 50 Tips for motorcycling across the USA
  • » Trailer Pulling Memories
  • » Some Trailer Pulling Challenges that you need to know

14 Adjust according to the changing bike

You will probably need to take some time familiarizing yourself with the changes that have happened. For instance, you will need to adjust your suspension settings to match the load. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the bike's handling, braking and accelerations before setting out on a trip.

Here are a few more tips to save you in the worst-case scenarios:

  • Make sure you have enough money to cater for emergencies.
  • It's best that you come along with a traveler's check instead of huge amounts of cash. Don't counter-sign it before use.
  • Keep a copy of all your travelers checks safely with the person you trust.
  • A money belt would comfortably accommodate your money, airline ticket, passport and the rest.
  • Credit card expiry dates and spending limits must be checked before the trip can begin.
  • Ensure you've written your credit card numbers somewhere. In case you lose a card, you can trace it. Of course take note of the calling collect numbers too.
  • Inform your credit card issuer of your impending trip. Some companies have have filters setup on their credit cards because they were heavily used in an unfamiliar location.

Those are the basics for motorcycle trip packing. Observe them and you'll ride happily and conveniently. You will also minimize distraction that you're likely to encounter as a result of a disorganized trip.

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