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Thread: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Travel

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    Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Travel

    My wife and I are looking to do some cross country travel this summer and fall maybe 3 - 8 weeks at a time. If I were going alone I'd take the ST only. My wife enjoys riding with me but clearly would prefer to ride in the car for long stretches and then ride locally once we find a base.

    I know that in a perfect world an enclosed trailer would be preferable. Given my budget and the weight limits of my tow vehcile an open trailer makes more sense at the moment.

    SO - I'm wondering how much, if any damage, occurs to the bike on an open trailer if you tow it 4,000 - 6,000 miles. My assumption would be that it gets dirty and crappy like it might if I were riding it. I'm trying to figure out if towing it exposes it to any extra type of potential damage.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  2. #2
    Motorcycle nut the Ferret's Avatar
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    I have towed with both enclosed and open trailers and each one has advantages and disadvantages.

    Open ... Good: Lighter weight, you can often move the trailer to the tow vehicle, you can see the bike at all times, usually less expensive to buy, doesn't take as large of vehicle to tow it with, gets no more dirty or wet than if you were riding it. Lighter weight and less wind resistance translate to better gas mileage. You can see out the back windows of the tow vehicle and still use your inside rear view mirror.

    Bad: bike not hidden from prying eyes. Bike gets dirty and wet if weather is bad, possible stone chips if trailer is not set up with a stone guard. Loading* can be a little more risky than most enclosed trailers.

    Enclosed Good: bike cannot be seen by prying eyes, bike stays dry and clean, often extra room for gear, if tailgate drops easier to load. Protects bike from stone chips.

    Bad: Bike cannot be seen by you, vehicle has to be backed to trailer, heavier and less aerodynamic enclosed trailers cost gas mileage, requires heavier tow vehicles. usually cost a lot more to buy*, trailer blocks view out back of tow vehicle and all your rear vision comes from side mirrors.

    I am now in the same situation as you as my wife can no longer ride long distances, but still likes to ride. We took will be taking extended moto vacations across the country this summer. At 67 and being small in stature I am starting to get weary of riding my bike up any ramp. I am currently looking at a new type rampless trailer called a Zpro MC1200 sold in Indianaand have a thread in the trailer forum about it with video. It is an open trailer which I prefer because I like seeing my bike going down the road, and I hate backing up a vehicle to get it over a ball, I'd rather manuver the trailer to the tow vehicle) and being rampless the ramp goes down to the ground and you ride on and off at ground level so no more riding up ramps, which gives me some peace of mind loading and unloading. It costs about the same as an enclosed trailer however. I have also looked at a similar trailer called a Razor sold in Ga. Indiana is closer to me.

    If my son doesn't want my current open trailer I will be selling it to get a rampless model.

    Hope this gives you some things to think about.
    Last edited by the Ferret; 01-10-2018 at 10:52 PM.
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    the Ferret

    Thanks for the reply. Seems we are of a similar age and situation (though I'm still working I can't see myself doing any long distance recreational travel here in North America without taking the bike with me. I had seen your earlier posts regarding the rampless trailers and one of those types would be my clear preference for an open trailer - though they are a bit pricey compared to regular ramp trailers. I'll be interested to see/hear what you end up doing.

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    CDNolddude's Avatar
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    My buddy rides his bike and his wife drives the car to where they want to go. Then she does their daily smaller trips on the bike with him as she just can’t do the long haul on the bike. Works quite well for them but she does like to drive
    KEN
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    Quote Originally Posted by Moto-Charlie View Post
    SO - I'm wondering how much, if any damage, occurs to the bike on an open trailer if you tow it 4,000 - 6,000 miles. My assumption would be that it gets dirty and crappy like it might if I were riding it. I'm trying to figure out if towing it exposes it to any extra type of potential damage.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
    I don't think this can really be answered accurately... the outcome is way too dependent on weather, road condition, how fast you go, the tow vehicle, the type of traffic around you, construction, etc.

    That being said, under relatively normal circumstances, I don't think you'll have any damage that can't be washed off. It shouldn't really be any worse than riding that same 4,000-6,000 miles. I see people pulling bikes on open trailers on the highway all the time. You could remove the windscreen to protect it. You could also put a cover on it, making sure it's fastened well so flapping parts don't mar the paint.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip(s)!

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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    We have also done both and adding to, re iterating, Ferrets comments
    if storage is an issue, a folding open trailer such as a Kendon is great, but a stone guard is a must.
    you can store gear etc in an enclosed trailer if towing in adverse conditions in a truck with limited dry hauling space.
    I too would get a manual or electric/hydraulic ramp less trailer if I were to go that route again. In my 60ís as well, I no longer have the strength, courage or ability to load 600-900 lb bikes onto a trailer alone.
    Last edited by Trapperdog; 01-11-2018 at 09:40 AM.

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    Grabcon's Avatar
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    The thread in the link below was started by the Ferret.

    http://www.st-owners.com/forums/show...-trailer/page3

    post #29 is some pros and cons that I put together. My wife and I have pulled the two MC trailers described with two bikes many miles with here 2016 Mazda CX-5 with a 4 cylinder. We now use our bus to pull the trailer.

    I agree with the state about the rock guard on the Kendon, but it did two significant things, added tongue weight and decreased MPG.


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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    Quote Originally Posted by Grabcon View Post
    The thread in the link below was started by the Ferret.

    http://www.st-owners.com/forums/show...-trailer/page3

    post #29 is some pros and cons that I put together. My wife and I have pulled the two MC trailers described with two bikes many miles with here 2016 Mazda CX-5 with a 4 cylinder. We now use our bus to pull the trailer.

    I agree with the state about the rock guard on the Kendon, but it did two significant things, added tongue weight and decreased MPG.
    Haven’t thought about the tongue weight or mileage when using a small tow vehicle, good point. With my dually 1 ton trucks, both were moot points.

  9. #9
    Grabcon's Avatar
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    Quote Originally Posted by Trapperdog View Post
    With my dually 1 ton trucks, both were moot points.
    Actually I found the on my bus (Ford E450 6.0 Turbo Diesel) that with the rockguard on the Kendon and the Droptail which is 200 pounds heavier That I lost 2 mpg with the Kendon over the Droptail. I attribute this to the rock guard shape and wind turbulence behind the bus. When you travel several thousand miles with a 2 MPG loss it is big. I also have found that the Droptail pulls easier and is more quiet than the Kendon. The Droptail has an solid aluminum deck where the Kendon has a diamond mesh deck which a lot of road debris comes through the deck to the bikes.

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    SoCal Lane Splitting Commuter SupraSabre's Avatar
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    Re: Looking For Feedback on Condition or Damage to Motorcycle on Long Open Trailer Tr

    I've been trailering bikes since 1984. I've never owned a covered trailer, so it's always been open. I've never seen any real damage on any of the bikes I've trailered. If I'm traveling where I spend the night someplace along the road, I will cover the bike up at night, and then take the cover off the next morning. Mostly to keep the dampness off.

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