Advice for using U-haul to transport a Commando

Nortorious

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I need to trailer my bike to get some very exciting work done soon. I just got done watching a ton of YouTube videos and reading forums but frankly I don't trust what I saw so I want to hear from folks on this forum. It will be a 9 hour drive that includes mountains and curves. The U-Haul near me offers these three options for one way rentals:
1. Enclosed 4'x8' Cargo Trailer
2. Open 5'x9' Utility Trailer with ramp
3. If necessary, the larger enclosed 5'x8' Cargo Trailer

I'll probably need to add a chock to any of these setups. I've seen people shove their bike into the corner of the trailer as a "chock" but that seems like a bad move. U-Haul does offer an unenclosed motorcycle specific trailer with a built in chock, but they don't allow one way trips with the motorcycle trailer so I'd have to haul it back which isn't ideal. So if I go with an open trailer the 5x9 seems to be the one.

I'm looking for some wisdom here on what has worked well for you. The last thing I want is to damage my Commando on the way to get some restoration work done.

I have a 2,000 lb tow capacity with my car so the smaller the load the better, but it can handle any of the options listed.

Has anyone used the enclosed U-Haul for bike transportation? Did the 4x8 work or is the 5x9 necessary? Or would it make sense to use the open trailer and somehow protect the bike from kicked up rocks and bad weather?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
 

KiwiShane

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I need to trailer my bike to get some very exciting work done soon. I just got done watching a ton of YouTube videos and reading forums but frankly I don't trust what I saw so I want to hear from folks on this forum. It will be a 9 hour drive that includes mountains and curves. The U-Haul near me offers these three options for one way rentals:
1. Enclosed 4'x8' Cargo Trailer
2. Open 5'x9' Utility Trailer with ramp
3. If necessary, the larger enclosed 5'x8' Cargo Trailer

I'll probably need to add a chock to any of these setups. I've seen people shove their bike into the corner of the trailer as a "chock" but that seems like a bad move. U-Haul does offer an unenclosed motorcycle specific trailer with a built in chock, but they don't allow one way trips with the motorcycle trailer so I'd have to haul it back which isn't ideal. So if I go with an open trailer the 5x9 seems to be the one.

I'm looking for some wisdom here on what has worked well for you. The last thing I want is to damage my Commando on the way to get some restoration work done.

I have a 2,000 lb tow capacity with my car so the smaller the load the better, but it can handle any of the options listed.

Has anyone used the enclosed U-Haul for bike transportation? Did the 4x8 work or is the 5x9 necessary? Or would it make sense to use the open trailer and somehow protect the bike from kicked up rocks and bad weather?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
 

gortnipper

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I need to trailer my bike to get some very exciting work done soon. I just got done watching a ton of YouTube videos and reading forums but frankly I don't trust what I saw so I want to hear from folks on this forum. It will be a 9 hour drive that includes mountains and curves. The U-Haul near me offers these three options for one way rentals:
1. Enclosed 4'x8' Cargo Trailer
2. Open 5'x9' Utility Trailer with ramp
3. If necessary, the larger enclosed 5'x8' Cargo Trailer

I'll probably need to add a chock to any of these setups. I've seen people shove their bike into the corner of the trailer as a "chock" but that seems like a bad move. U-Haul does offer an unenclosed motorcycle specific trailer with a built in chock, but they don't allow one way trips with the motorcycle trailer so I'd have to haul it back which isn't ideal. So if I go with an open trailer the 5x9 seems to be the one.

I'm looking for some wisdom here on what has worked well for you. The last thing I want is to damage my Commando on the way to get some restoration work done.

I have a 2,000 lb tow capacity with my car so the smaller the load the better, but it can handle any of the options listed.

Has anyone used the enclosed U-Haul for bike transportation? Did the 4x8 work or is the 5x9 necessary? Or would it make sense to use the open trailer and somehow protect the bike from kicked up rocks and bad weather?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
I used to buy and export motorcycles from Seattle to the UK. I had a SR5 Longbed pickup (7' bed) and could get most bikes in the bed with the gate shut. 8' should be fine.

If you do go open, take the tank and panels off and wrap the spine tightly to protect from rain.
 

YING

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Nortorious,
Do you have someone to help you load?If not,the utility trailer with the ramp is a big help.
Mike
 

batrider

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I use a 5x9 open landscaper trailer. I have a cheapo tubular loop for the bike's front wheel and a piece of U channel for the back wheel, with 4 tiedowns.This has been fine except if traveling involves an overnight stop. I worry about security.
Many of these small trailers are rated at 2990 lbs GVWR which is too much for your car. Also look at the tongue weight and what class hitch might be available for your car. I tow mine with a Subaru Forester big 4 cylinder and before that I had a Saturn Vue with V6. Hitch is Class 2 (2" ball).
Russ
 

Curt13

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U-Haul has open motorcycle trailers with a built in chock. I can easily load a MC by myself. Ratchet tie downs front and rear. They rent for $25.00 1/2 day or $50.00 per day local. Local means bringing it back from location you rented from. If you drop it at your destination it can double or more the cost. If it's a show bike go enclosed.
 

Richard Tool

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I use a 4x8 enclosed trailer with ramp door and drive in Condor chock and tie down rings (4) in each corner . It tows fine with my Honda Element or my full size pickup, even with 700+ lb ST 1300 in it . If you are not concerned about exposure or security the U haul motorcycle trailer mentioned above seems like the most economic solution.
A word of caution- whatever you choose , be sure to compress the motorcycle suspension as far as possible when tying down .
I have loaned my trailer out twice and twice it was returned to me damaged because of bikes coming adrift - see dimples on side .
I don’t loan it anymore.
229A14FE-CA17-43A7-A268-763FF8A5D4E9.jpeg
 

marshg246

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I need to trailer my bike to get some very exciting work done soon. I just got done watching a ton of YouTube videos and reading forums but frankly I don't trust what I saw so I want to hear from folks on this forum. It will be a 9 hour drive that includes mountains and curves. The U-Haul near me offers these three options for one way rentals:
1. Enclosed 4'x8' Cargo Trailer
2. Open 5'x9' Utility Trailer with ramp
3. If necessary, the larger enclosed 5'x8' Cargo Trailer

I'll probably need to add a chock to any of these setups. I've seen people shove their bike into the corner of the trailer as a "chock" but that seems like a bad move. U-Haul does offer an unenclosed motorcycle specific trailer with a built in chock, but they don't allow one way trips with the motorcycle trailer so I'd have to haul it back which isn't ideal. So if I go with an open trailer the 5x9 seems to be the one.

I'm looking for some wisdom here on what has worked well for you. The last thing I want is to damage my Commando on the way to get some restoration work done.

I have a 2,000 lb tow capacity with my car so the smaller the load the better, but it can handle any of the options listed.

Has anyone used the enclosed U-Haul for bike transportation? Did the 4x8 work or is the 5x9 necessary? Or would it make sense to use the open trailer and somehow protect the bike from kicked up rocks and bad weather?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
There's nothing wrong with using the corner as a "chock' as long as there is a tiedown on each side that can be used to keep the handlebars from turning and can compress the front end to about half its travel. Used to be a very common tactic in pickup trucks and the backend of the bike was usually not secured for short trips.

If using an open trailer (IMHO not preferred), I would get a good tarp that has plenty of tiedown holes and wrap the bike so it does not get wet and so the cover cannot lift. I know an old couple that does this behind their motorhome, and they basically travel full-time taking one of his Nortons with them.

For the open trailer without chock, it is possible (not ideal) to tie the front wheel to the front railing tight and the use a hold down on both sides that both keeps the handlebars from turning and compresses the front end. This assumes that the front railing is strong.
 

elefantrider

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Compress the forks with straps around the bottom tripple clamp but don't leave overnigtht or the springs can take "a set".
Use ratchet type straps but be sure to learn the correct way to operate them.
 
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Nortorious

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Thank you all! It sounds like the 4x8 enclosed is the way to go. It's 850 lbs empty, so the 2,000 lb tow limit should be fine with the Norton.. I do need to check tongue weight and make sure the car can handle it. It's a 5 cyl turbo AWD with a Class I hitch. My biggest concern is just making sure I don't get my car in over it's head.

The other alternative is to rent a box truck but the tie downs are less ideal and I think U-Haul specifically says not to transport bikes in those, while they say it's ok in the enclosed trailers. Deck height is higher too, although I have some friendly neighbors.

Thanks for all the tie down advice!

For those that asked, the reason I'm avoiding the motorcycle trailer is that it's not allowed for one way trips (even with a fee) so I'd have to tow it back empty. Plus it's open and my bike is in good shape so I'd really rather go enclosed if possible. I use them all the time for in-town jobs and they are great for that.
 

Nortorious

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Ok one more update.. I called U-Haul and cautiously asked questions because I didn't want to get banned since it sounds like some locations don't like the idea of vehicles in their trailers. Here's what I learned, for posterity..

The smaller box trucks just have the wood strips around the sides for holding up stuff, but she said these are just held in with screws and really meant for holding up mattresses and such. She said she has seen a dolly rip out the screws going around turns. So the people on YouTube who are tying their bikes into the wood beams are taking some risks..

The enclosed and unenclosed trailers have proper anchors. I'm inclined to get the 4x8 trailer if I can figure out a way to get the bike in but that's questionable. I think I'd have basically crawl the bike in which isn't ideal (4 ft high). But there is also a 5x8 which is just slightly better.
 

marshg246

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Ok one more update.. I called U-Haul and cautiously asked questions because I didn't want to get banned since it sounds like some locations don't like the idea of vehicles in their trailers. Here's what I learned, for posterity..

The smaller box trucks just have the wood strips around the sides for holding up stuff, but she said these are just held in with screws and really meant for holding up mattresses and such. She said she has seen a dolly rip out the screws going around turns. So the people on YouTube who are tying their bikes into the wood beams are taking some risks..

The enclosed and unenclosed trailers have proper anchors. I'm inclined to get the 4x8 trailer if I can figure out a way to get the bike in but that's questionable. I think I'd have basically crawl the bike in which isn't ideal (4 ft high). But there is also a 5x8 which is just slightly better.
I guy picked up a bike from me last weekend. He had this: Amazon product
He used one for the bike and the other for a walkway. Small guy pushed his 73 750 on by himself - didn't want help. He had a van pulling an enclosed trainer like you're looking at. You issue could be that even folded they are too long for your car when you're done with the trainer.
 

cliffa

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I used to transport bikes as part of my job, and one thing I learned was to always pass a strap through the front rim and the centre stand (or side stand if that's all the bike has). That way if you hit a big bump the stand won't retract and let the bike fall. You don't need to ratchet down the bike as hard either, which as @elefantrider mentioned can ruin the springs. If it's on a flatbed once you think the bike is secured, grab the handlebars or a part of the frame high up then violently push / pull. The vehicle should move with the bike - if not it ain't secure.
 

Nortorious

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I guy picked up a bike from me last weekend. He had this:
These ramps look great I'm definitely picking these up, thanks.

I've also learned to attach the ramp firmly to the truck. Fortunately I learned that lesson by watching someone else but the ramp coming loose while being used is pretty nasty.
 

Nortorious

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I used to transport bikes as part of my job, and one thing I learned was to always pass a strap through the front rim and the centre stand (or side stand if that's all the bike has). That way if you hit a big bump the stand won't retract and let the bike fall.

What is the strategy with the stand on the Norton? On other bikes I leave the side stand down as an extra precaution but I've been warned to absolutely NOT put pressure on the Commando side stand when transporting because it can snap off or even worse, bend the frame.

I will be using the 5x9 enclosed trailer and either using the corner as a chock, or strapping in a chock or jig somehow. I plan to leave both the side stand and center stand up and have it just on the tires. That's the proper approach for a Commando right?
 

cliffa

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What is the strategy with the stand on the Norton? On other bikes I leave the side stand down as an extra precaution but I've been warned to absolutely NOT put pressure on the Commando side stand when transporting because it can snap off or even worse, bend the frame.

I will be using the 5x9 enclosed trailer and either using the corner as a chock, or strapping in a chock or jig somehow. I plan to leave both the side stand and center stand up and have it just on the tires. That's the proper approach for a Commando right?
As mentioned, I would only use the sidestand if that's all a bike had. The Commando sidestand is long and can exert a lot of twisting force on the poorly designed mount point, so the advice you received is correct.

If using the end or corner as a chock, get help to lift the bike and deploy the mainstand so it stays hard against. You don't really need to ratchet down the bike once you have the stand strapped as I mentioned before. Hopefully the trailer has strap attachment points, use as many as possible as high as possible on both sides of the bike and you will be ok.
 

BERT

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These ramps look great I'm definitely picking these up, thanks.

I've also learned to attach the ramp firmly to the truck. Fortunately I learned that lesson by watching someone else but the ramp coming loose while being used is pretty nasty.
Ratchet straps work well to hold the ramp to the tailgate.
I much prefer ropes with the proper knots in the right place to hold the machine from tipping over front and back once loaded. The weight is straight down and the center of gravity is easily managed by securing the attachment points at the top of the machine front and back at at an angle down to to the corners of the box.
 

marshg246

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What is the strategy with the stand on the Norton? On other bikes I leave the side stand down as an extra precaution but I've been warned to absolutely NOT put pressure on the Commando side stand when transporting because it can snap off or even worse, bend the frame.

I will be using the 5x9 enclosed trailer and either using the corner as a chock, or strapping in a chock or jig somehow. I plan to leave both the side stand and center stand up and have it just on the tires. That's the proper approach for a Commando right?
IMHO, no stand but I would do something to keep the rear end forward and not moving side-to-side as you are going a long way. I mostly move bikes in a Ford 350 with a very heavy rear suspension but short distances. If going far it is a strap looped twice through the front of the rear wheel and then snugged tight to forward tiedowns - more peace of mind than required.
 

YING

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What is the strategy with the stand on the Norton? On other bikes I leave the side stand down as an extra precaution but I've been warned to absolutely NOT put pressure on the Commando side stand when transporting because it can snap off or even worse, bend the frame.

I will be using the 5x9 enclosed trailer and either using the corner as a chock, or strapping in a chock or jig somehow. I plan to leave both the side stand and center stand up and have it just on the tires. That's the proper approach for a Commando right?
I have put bikes in trailers going cross country at least 5 times and really would dissuade you from using any of your side or center stands.
 
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