When weather dictates that it’s just not practical to ride or you just don’t want to put thousands of miles on your bike by riding to the Sunshine State, an easy alternative is to trailer your bike and head south. Diehard riders may scoff at you, even call you a pussy but your arthritic knees are pain free and you know you’re doing the right thing.
These tips pertain to trailers hauling 1 or 2 bikes where auxiliary brakes are not required. Enclosed trailers are nice but we prefer open trailers because a quick glance in the rear view mirror will tell you if your bike is riding properly and side mirrors will let you know if you have a loose strap.
· Whether you are pulling a new trailer or a used unit you should always check it over before loading your bike onto it
· If it’s a used trailer check the wheel bearings for grease or have this done by a mechanic
· Hook the trailer up to your tow vehicle then check all lights including brake lights and turn signals
· Check tires for tread wear and air pressure and adjust to manufacturer’s specifications
· If your loading ramp is long enough so that the angle of incline is not steep you may be tempted to ride your motorcycle onto the deck – although we don’t recommend this method of loading if you try it just be sure to brake as soon as the bike clears the ramp in order to avoid ramming the tire stop
· Also your trailer should have a wide enough ramp so that you can put your feet down for balance when loading and unloading
· A safer way to load is to have help to push the bike up the ramp and on
· Do not trailer your bike with it leaning on the side stand
· You need a helper to hold the bike upright while you string and tighten the tie-down straps
· Always use straps that are rated for more than the weight of the bike and use ratchet straps for ease of tightening
· You must have the bike standing upright while ratcheting the straps and it is very important to tighten the straps until the bike’s suspension bottoms out
· This is accomplished by alternating the ratcheting from side to side to pull the bike down evenly and keep it up straight
· Failure to bottom out the bike’s suspension results in the flexing of the bike and loosening of the straps
· It can also cause the trailer to steer the tow vehicle due to suspension rebounding on the bike, the trailer and the tow vehicle so make certain your straps are tight and check them at every stop
· It’s also a good idea to tie off the loose end of each strap to keep them from whipping around and loosening
We hope these tips help you to have a safe and memorable motorcycle vacation. Thanks for visiting Motorcycling Florida.