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Towing a motorbike on a trailer

Taking your motorbike out on the road is an exhilarating experience, but there are times when the real adventure begins at the end of the journey – and that’s when you will want to think about towing a motorbike on a trailer.

Whether you’re transporting motocross bikes to the track or taking your classic to a rally, there are many different trailers available which are suitable for towing a motorbike. Your choice will most likely depend on budget and the type of vehicle you’re using to tow.

Most motorcycle trailers are lightweight, easy to tow and have a loading ramp. There will be an integrated channel or chock for the wheels and heavy-duty tie-down rings to support even the heaviest of motorcycles.

Enclosed trailers are handy for the more serious enthusiasts who want to carry equipment, spares and riding gear. These trailers are more secure and offer protection from the weather, but being heavier they create wind resistance, which in turn impacts the towing vehicle. Some enclosed trailers are built lower for this reason.

How to tow a motorbike on a trailer

It might seem simple – put the motorbike on the trailer and off you go. But motorbikes are heavy and unstable, so here are some tips to ensure your bike stays safe during transport.

  • Use a good-quality, strong trailer with wheel channels or chocks and the facility to attach straps securely.
  • Check the capacity of the towing vehicle to ensure it matches the weight of your motorbike and trailer load. (Refer to the owner’s manual for the towing capacity rating of your car.)
  • Put the bike into neutral and roll it onto the trailer, front-end first.
  • When the front wheel is locked into its chock, strap the bike down in a crisscross pattern.
  • Ensure the bike has no movement in any direction – sideways, forward or upward. This is essential as the trailer is sure to encounter bumps, corners and braking on the journey.
  • Keep an eye on the bike while travelling to make sure it’s handling the road and staying upright.

Keep it within the law

Before you hit the road with your two-wheeler on the trailer, there are a few things to check to ensure that you are within the law.

  • The load distribution between the towing vehicle and trailer must be properly balanced, front to rear and side-to-side.
  • Loads should be kept as low as possible and close to the axle.
  • All couplings must be strong enough to take the weight of the fully loaded trailer and equipped with a positive locking mechanism.
  • The loaded mass [Understanding maximum trailer mass] of the trailer must not exceed the lesser of the:

o   Rated capacity of the tow bar and tow coupling
o   Maximum towing capacity of the vehicle
o   Maximum carrying capacity of the trailer
o   Maximum rated carrying capacity of the tyres.

With a little planning and attention to the basics of trailer use, your two-wheeler will arrive in as good a condition as it left home. Enjoy the ride!

Keen to take your two-wheeler out on your own trailer? Have a look our buying guide to see which trailer is the best one for you.

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