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Jun 2, 2008
I have a 1975 Interstate Mk III and need to trailer it at times up to a couple hundred miles on the freeway. Looking to buy a trailer and would like some advice. Single motorcycle trailers seem to run from $500 to about $2500. I don't want to spend more than neccessary but don't want something so flimsy that I lose the bike and trailer on the freeway. I have to put the bike on and off myself so ease of loading/unloading is important. Thanks for the advice. Rick
I had the same needs and I finally gave up on the trailer option and kind of combined two hitch carriers to make one suitable for my 850 Interstate. It isn't the easiest to load although if I did it more, I think I would get down to a science. Later I bought a trialer for $550 for a small race car that could be a good motorcycle trailer especially for two bikes. That's just my experience on this subject.
About 6 years ago I bought a light weight 4'x8' utility trailer from Lowes Hardware for about $450.00. It's has a metal mesh floor but does not have the large metal mesh tailgate like most have today.

I used some 1"x6" treated lumber to make an "L" shape guide for the bike. The horizontal and vertical parts of the guide are held together by electrical conduit. This serves to keep the front wheel staight and secure.

I installed several eyehooks for the tiedowns.

An 8' ramp makes loading and unlaoding a breeze. It's less than 18" from the ground to the trailer bed

The trailer's 12" tires are okay for highway speeds.

Lots and lots of highway miles and no problems.

The downside is that it's only good for 1 bike. The upside is that it's a great utility trailer.

I thought about the Harbor Freight trailers (for about 3 seconds) before dertermining that they were just too cheesey.
I have some painful experiences here. :cry:
Stay away from the lightweight dual rail "dirtbike" trailer. Years ago, I lost a hub (cracked around the stud holes) and flipped one of these dragging it down the freeway upside down with two Commandos lashed on. I was lucky as one had a fiberglass tank that could have ended in a big fire. Damage to the bikes was surprisingly limited.

Your choice of a tow rig and how far you expect to take it would be my main determining factors in selecting a trailer. A lightweight open "landscaper" trailer with a drop gate works well if you are using a 4-cylinder truck or car to tow it. A minimum of 13 inch wheels if you are traveling anything other than short distances at speed. Smaller wheels spin the bearings faster. A drop gate makes one person loading and unloading much easier. Downside is the bike is subject to weather, wind, and objects dropped from passing vehicles. Never cover the bike with a tarp while towing this way. The flapping tarp will destroy your paint.

If you have a full size truck or SUV, an enclosed 6X10 with side door and drop gate is great. It gives protection from the weather and if you are traveling overnight, provides a lockable "garage" to keep prying eyes and fingers away. Also, if a tiedown should fail, the bike won't fall off the trailer at speed. A bonus is it provides additional weatherproof storage at home.

We have been taking my buddy's enclosed 6X12 to Daytona the last few years and it seems ideal. Tandem axle with electric brakes, V-nose for better aerodynamics, and plenty of room for two bikes, gear, spares, and the swapmeet treasures we bring back. The tandem axle gives peace of mind in the rare occurence of a blow-out.

Think about this when you tow your Norton, it's probably a $6-15K value that goes beyond money in investment in labor and pride. Are you willing to see that destroyed because you wanted to save money on a trailer? It's a scary sight to look in your review mirror and see your bikes bouncing off the freeway by the safety chains. :shock:

If you can't afford to buy a good trailer, rent one. :wink:
I use a utility trailer purchased from a Home Depot in Kansas. They don't sell them here in Colorado for some reason. I had tie down eyelets welded on and installed a Pingel wheel chock for the bike. The tailgate drops and I can load the bikes fairly easily by myself. No way could I get a 400 lb motorcycle into the back of a pickup without helpers.

My car, a Toyota RAV4, doesn't have much towing capacity but it can tow this without trouble. I took my Norton to the INOA rally at Torrey (500 miles) last year with it, and took it to the Four Corners Rally (400 miles) this year. I don't know if I'd want to drive across the country with it though.

I'd love to have an enclosed trailer but I don't have the big truck to tow it with and don't really want to buy one.

Here's a photo of the trailer with my 850 project bike, coming home in a snowstorm last March:

Ok - I confess. I bought one of those cheapo Harbor Freight type trailers 4 seasons ago, not from Harbor Freight but it is the same generic unit. Spent an afternoon putting it together in the driveway. I think it was just under $300.

I had a friend weld up a U-channel from sheet, some plywood for a deck, moved the axle back a few inches for weight distribution. To load I just tilt till the channel hits the ground, rest the neck on the tailgate(with a blanket underneath), once the bike is up/on, I slide the trailer back and set it on the hitch. Can be done solo, more technique than muscles.

I have taken it on a dozen or so trips on the highway about 1-2 hours long with no problems. Well there was that one leaf spring that broke in half, but that was just the secondary leaf...:oops: Took me a while to figure out what that "BING BING BING " sound was....

I keep a close eye on it during the year in case it decides to shed more parts on the 400 series (highways) and check the tires and bearings often. I rubber mounted the leafspring bolts with shock mount rubbers to cut down on the hillbilly-clack-and-rattle. Now it is silent.
It is also handy for taking the mower for it's weekly trips to cut my parents grass. :roll:
I originally towed the bike behind my tiny Mazda 323 - no problem. Now I pull it behind a Mazda Protege5 with a Hidden Hitch. No problems as it is a really light unit even loaded.

My failure with the lightweight trailer was that the hub flange cracked from stud to stud and the wheel and part of the flange separated from the hub and bearings. The hub was cool and still turned freely. Freak failure? Not according to at least one trailer supply dealer.

You have a beautiful bike, if you continue to haul on that little trailer, please check the hub flanges for cracking.
Thanks, Ron I'll take a look. :shock: I totally agree with your position on money in bike = get a decent trailer, but this little guy will have to do for at least one more season. Fingers crossed.
Thanks-and more questions

Thank you all for the advice. Very helpful. I've been thinking about the Diamondback single trailer. Looks like it is truly designned for one person operation. You can ride the bike up and have platforms on each side of the bike to use your feet. Their video looks very good. Expensive, but then the bike is worth a lot and the peace of mind is worth something too. The aluminum is never going to rust either. WOULD YOU GET THE 13 INCH WHEELS AND RADIAL TIRES OR DO YOU THINK THE 12'S ARE GOOD ENOUGH? Thanks, Rick
I bought a used Kendon a couple years back for 900.00.
I love it.
It has torsion bar suspension for a low height, very user friendly for one person.
Folds up and sits under my garge eave out of the way.

Here's the web site, mine is the older model.
Think I'll do this...

I spoke to the owner of Rad Industries, the makers of the Diamondback Motorcycle Trailer. Very pleasant fellow. He said that for towing a Norton MK III which weighs approx 500 lbs, the 12 inch wheels would be more than adequate. He said they use top quality parts, including bearings, and there would be no problem at all. For about $150 savings I can do with the white 12 inchers instead of the chrome 13's. I can buy their wheel chock for that and then I'll have a truley one man operation to load and unload.

Thanks for all the helpful info. This is a great forum. Rick
I purchased a 5X10 utility trailer manufactured by Big Tex. Cost around $1500 and has a 2000 lb capacity and the trailer weighs about 1000 lb. I bought a removable wheel chock and some snap-out tie downs from Pingel and permanently installed the mounting hardware on the bed. The trailer has a tall expanded metal tail gate that drops down and makes a great ramp. It's an easy one-person job to get the bike in the trailer. Also, with the 5' wide bed, I could get 2 bikes in it if I needed to.

The trailer is overkill for just hauling a bike, but it's also incredibly convenient to use for general stuff like hauling top soil, runs to the dump, picking up large furniture, moving kids into apartments, etc. Much better than having a pickup truck, IMO.
I purchased this bike trailer at the Ipswich motorcycle show last year mainly because unlike some of the others on offer it dropped right down to the ground for loading and didn’t need a ramp.
As I’m fairly short this was a big bonus making one person loading and tying down a doddle.
Its weight rating and design makes it suitable for carrying everything from a small trials bike to a Girly Davidson.
I’ve never used it in anger on my own bike yet (tempting fate by saying that I know) but I’ve recovered a couple of mate’s bikes when they’ve broken down without any problems.
It has eight inch wheels but that doesn’t concern me at all, the trailer towing speed limit is 60 MPH in the UK and from 1959 until the late 80’s the mini car produced by British Leyland had ten inch wheels and they were capable of travelling at much higher speeds and covering far greater mileages than a trailer ever will.
In fact during all my time in the motor trade wheel bearing or hub failure was very uncommon. I would hazard a guess that most Minis went for scrap still with the bearings and hubs that were fitted at the factory and that Ron l's failure was possibly a one off caused by a bad hub casting or poorly fitted bearings putting abnormal pressure on the structure of the hub.

Anyway here’s the link to the manufacturers website and there’s a YouTube link there too in the galleries section so you can see the trailer actually being loaded……….
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