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 Post subject: Trailers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:07 am 
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SuperMoto Dude
SuperMoto Dude

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:05 pm
Posts: 321
Location: Albany, West Oz
Hi gize, this is a composite of some posts I've made in another forum. As I've not seen anything on this topic here I thought it'd be timely to open the topic for discussion here too. Someone will hopefully have just that little pearl of wisdom missing from my plans.

My answer to transporting a modicum of comfort for the last 30+ years has been to tow a trailer. Pulling a rolling load behind the bike "loads it up" much less than having it all stacked on the bike. Not saying the bike doesn't look a bit like a 2 wheeled pyramid also. For my DR650 I have a trailer under construction which "legally" has a GVM of 167Kg. I say "legally" because it's well easy to put much more in it than that, and dare say I will. The rules in my state don't allow a bike to tow more than its own quoted dry weight, whether or not the trailer is braked. I've had much bigger trailers in the past for dragging behind my Beemers particularly, but this new one (not yet complete) will be quite compact because it'll spend a lot of its miles on dirt roads and tracks, and also because a 650 will be the smallest machine I've used to tow one.

I'm making a fairly light steel tube frame with a box very similar to one of these http://www.autoanything.com/roof-racks/ ... argo-boxes mounted on it. I've not tried this method before, but I can't see why it wouldn't work. I've owned the luggage box for about 15 years but haven't used it in at least the last 10. There is a chance that the box won't do well with all the vibrations and bouncing/banging about on rough roads, but I'll have it well tethered to the frame and cushioned a little too. Being somewhat more advanced in years now, my wife and I want a little comfort whist still wanting the pleasure and freedom of 2 wheeled travel.

My trailer build has been a bit slow (as am I these days!), but as I'm due to pick up my new 2016 DR650 next Friday (Dec16) (very special deal to get rid of the 2016 models) I figure I'd better extract the digit and get into it. Trailers behind bikes are just the bees' knees imo. You get to take all (or most) of the comforts along whilst putting the least stress on your bike. The handling is pretty well unaffected other than the slight hit on acceleration and top speed - neither of which concern me when I'm off for a tour somewhere. I hope my idea of using one of those plastic rooftop boxes is a goer. My trailer frame is made from 30 x 30 x 1.6mm square steel tube with a bit of latticing under the box so as to support much more load than they're meant to on a car rooftop. The main backbone and cross support for the axle is just 2mm "C" section galvanised pressed steel. I can keep construction quite light because the whole trailer GVM is so low. This time (for the first time) I'm using leaf springs simply because the nice rubber torsion block/trailing arms ( https://www.alltrailerspares.com.au/ass ... 0specs.pdf ) I've always used before are just too expensive now.

This time I've found the perfect wheel/stub axles ever for a bike trailer. A lot of young kids (16ish) in West Oz ride small, well restricted (speed limited to 60Kph) 50cc scooters. Many of the brands use a single sided front fork with a ready made stub axle already there. There are so many of these things wrecked or worn out or otherwise discarded that one is able to pick these front ends up for nothing. I got 4 of them, identical (including colour), each in absolutely perfect condition, on 1 Saturday morning for the cost of a bit of petrol to go and pick them up. The stub axles are bolted in (not welded) and the wheels are 10" x about 3" or 4" wide, and the ones I got each have near new tyres on 'em too - Bonus!! A bit of heavy walled pipe (steam pipe), cut to length, the ends turned out (lathe) just enough to accept the stub axles, and a nice bead of mig weld and voila!! The perfect bike trailer transaxle.

Electrically I'll use exclusively LED lighting, including some of those LED strip lights inside for finding stuff in the dark. I'm welding a battery carrier onto the front of the frame immediately in front of the plastic box where I'll mount a good deep cycle battery. I'm also planning for about a 100 watt solar panel mounted onto the roof of the plastic box, plus charging from the bike as well. Providing electrickery will be a non-issue. For some years now I've used exclusively LED lights (ALL lights) on my bikes and the only extra I use plugged in o the bike's electrical system is a GPS. I also take a satellite phone and an ePIRB, but they only need occasional charging. Providing electrickery is a non-issue. Because of the remote emptiness of our desert regions and depending where exactly I go, I carry up to 25litres of spare petrol and at least 10litres of drinking water. I've struck upon a new idea (for me) for spare petrol. I bought a 25litre portable plastic outboard motor petrol tank and a small 12V fuel pump. I can have the spare petrol centralised over my trailer axle (no balance issues) and use the 12V pump to fill the bike tank via an outboard motor fuel hose. Works a-treat!

I've looked at the single wheel trailers, but they're more complex to build (especially the tow hitch), but worse still is that they throw half of their GVM straight onto the rear-most point of your sub-frame. A 2 wheeled trailer should be loaded to throw only about 5 to 7% of its weight onto the tow hitch, so in my case that should be <10Kg. You can build 2 wheeled trailers quite slim and the rule here in WestOz (quite a sensible rule for once) is that the trailer is not to be higher than it is wide. If my plastic box idea works out as I hope, then the boxes are available in all shapes and sizes, including some quite long, low and skinny ones, so most people's needs will be catered for. My touring desires these days are mostly for desert tracks, so width is not a concern for me.

Oz has about 1,000,000 sq miles of deserts to explore Some with rough, unkept roads but mostly barely discernible sand tracks. No water, no petrol and no people for (literally) 100s of miles. Think of Death Valley in Ca - on steroids! (check this out https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/21/ ... e-1923-24/ ). One plans a foray into these areas very carefully, and police at both ends are appraised of one's intentions. Let's face it, 90% of Oz is wide open spaces. Oz is the same size as your contiguous 48, but instead of having 300,000,000 people we have 22,000,000 with over 80% of them huddling together in the 5 major coastal capital cities. Iirc >90% of Ozzies live on the coast. Of course, If you have a good look at the place you'll quickly see why. Most of the rest of it's a waste-land. The highest point is Mount Kosciuszko, at a towering 7,310 ft ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kosciuszko ) so tuning one's bike for altitude isn't heard of except in Nth American fora such as this.
I'll try to remember to take some pix as I go and post them up here. I do have many years experience with trailers, so if I can help any who may interested, just ask.

Any'ow, I think I've rambled enough for now. If I've raised interest in trailers, in Oz or other places, give a me a "Hoy!"
Cheers
Dins

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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:50 am 
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Adventure Rider
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:56 am
Posts: 533
Location: Minneapolis
BTDT, many thousands of miles, west coast and back.. a few concerns I had, do you follow law and use a safety chain which "could" pull you down in a mishap or flat tire.. if you don't use then it could get loose and kill someone else.
long tongue improves ride.. since the pic I did shorten it a bit. I got a 4'x4' trailer from somewhere and cut/welded it to be narrower, might have been 36" wide. never had a problem with the roof type cargo box.

Please post some pics of your hitch, the bike part not trailer .. do you run something thru the axle or how does it mount?

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:13 pm 
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Adventure Rider
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Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:27 pm
Posts: 1315
Location: FM-19
My only question is how do you get it up hill climbs :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:47 pm 
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Adventure Rider
Adventure Rider

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:55 am
Posts: 659
Location: Toledo, Ohio
http://www.moto-mule.com/shop/

I saw one of these this past summer, very nice set up but too pricey for me. His riding buddy also had one that he fabricated using the Moto Mule as a idea/design at a fraction of a cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:39 am 
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SuperMoto Dude
SuperMoto Dude

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:05 pm
Posts: 321
Location: Albany, West Oz
BugginsDR wrote:
http://www.moto-mule.com/shop/

I saw one of these this past summer, very nice set up but too pricey for me. His riding buddy also had one that he fabricated using the Moto Mule as a idea/design at a fraction of a cost.

Don't like the single wheel trailers for the reasons given above. The other problem is that for any given dimensions you can't carry anywhere near as much stuff as you can with 2 wheels. I used to see them around a bit 30+ years ago, but in Oz they appear to have lost popularity somewhat (for good reason imo). The 2 wheelers are easier to make, easier to use, easier on the back end of your bike and have no real discernible effect on handling (at sensible touring speeds. If you're gunna spend your time playing "boy racer" then you won't be loaded up the hilt anyway). Stacking a ton of stuff on the rear of your bike will have a greater -ve effect on your handling. I guess it would be possible to load so much stuff in your trailer that the clutch/transmission is over stressed, but if I remain within the laws in my state that's not gunna happen. The rolling load behind the bike is much easier for the bike than having stuff stacked up to the sky on the back of the bike imo.

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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:08 am 
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SuperMoto Dude
SuperMoto Dude

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:05 pm
Posts: 321
Location: Albany, West Oz
fotoguzzi wrote:
BTDT, many thousands of miles, west coast and back.. a few concerns I had, do you follow law and use a safety chain which "could" pull you down in a mishap or flat tire.. if you don't use then it could get loose and kill someone else.
long tongue improves ride.. since the pic I did shorten it a bit. I got a 4'x4' trailer from somewhere and cut/welded it to be narrower, might have been 36" wide. never had a problem with the roof type cargo box.

Please post some pics of your hitch, the bike part not trailer .. do you run something thru the axle or how does it mount?

Image

From what I can see that looks like a really nice, neat trailer, and a "Gutz" would be as eminently suitable to pull it as my Beemers. My last one (before the one I'm making now) was a bit bigger than that one, and was in fact too big. My first one was probably a little smaller and my second attempt was suitable for Goldilocks herself! This new one will be the smallest one I've made, but the DR is pretty hard up for power and torque.

In the past I've used a standard "ball" hitch - standard in Oz at least. This time I'm gunna try something different. Find someone into windsurfing and have a look at how the mast is attached to the board. Check out the "euro-pin" style connector. I'm looking at adapting something like that. Still not settled exactly on what I'll do, but will keep y'all informed. On the bike side, my tow-bars have always been fixed to the frame and I'll be doing that this time too, but I do pull from as near as possible to the rear axle height. Too far above and you can't keep the front wheel on the ground. I can't see any up side to pulling directly off the rear axle. I know it's done that way on bicycles, but I won't be doing it.

As for the "draw bar" on the trailer (as different from the tongue on the towbar), I've just made them look aesthetically pleasing enough and left it at that. Probably about 2/3 to 3/4 of what I see on yours. The long draw bar is good for a car or truck, where you have to reverse it (the longer the better), but for me that's a non-issue with a bike trailer.

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 Post subject: Re: Trailers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:41 am 
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Adventure Rider
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:09 am
Posts: 2602
Location: Melbourne, Australia
:lurk:

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