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I picked up my new GW and towed it on a new Big Tex trailer with a ramp gate. I was told that rather than getting a bike-specific trailer (like the Diamond Back), getting a "real" trailer could also be used to haul other stuff, not just a bike. The new trailer was just long enough to fit the bike. My only vehicle with a tow hitch was my motorhome. I pulled into my garage (a 2400 sq feet, free-standing steel garage), lowered the ramp and proceeded to back the bike onto the ramp as I sat on it. My wife spotted me, but there was little she could do. I'm only 5'4" and she's only an inch taller and a lot thinner. As I backed down the ramp and the rear tire got on the concrete garage floor, the ground clearance increased (due to the angle of the ramp on the floor) and I could no longer touch the ground. The inevitable happened. Fortunately, there was no damage to me or the bike but raising that heavy bike back up wasn't easy. I needed a better way!

I read an old discussion here about trailers and how to back off the bike from the trailer in a 2007 posting. Someone, then, suggested backing the trailer into a gulley and then off-loading or using a curb. Campgrounds don't usually have either and backing the trailer into either in my neighborhood isn't really practical. I thought of 2 solutions that could work anywhere and I would like to read any experienced riders' advice about these or any other solutions.

1) The rider backs up the bike using reverse while standing on the right side of the bike and carefully and slowly walking next to it while using the hand brake to slow its descent. The rider's left hand is on the rear hand grip to help balance it. When the bike is off the ramp, the rider gets on the bike from the right side.

2) Using 8 foot long 4x4 wooden posts, place one on each side of the bike going from the top of the ramp to the ground. The rider sits on the bike and keeps it balanced with his/her feet on the posts while slowly backing down the ramp. This also requires carrying the posts on the trailer.

I think one person has to be able to do this alone. Which methods have you successfully used when unloading onto flat terrain?

(Lord, help me: I hope I haven't bitten off my than I can chew. This is one big bike. I take the beginner's motorcycle training course in about 2 weeks. This is not easy.)
 

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Yep,,,,,,,, it's a big bike for sure. I've only trailered my bike once and it was the day I brought it home ( in the rain). So I can't really say what is right or wrong. But I think I would always walk beside it while working the hand brake.

I have a carmate trailer that only has 2 narrow ramps that are made of angle iron. When I was backing the bike off ( it's a 1500) I got the rear tire to the ground and thats when the front slid off the side. It's a wonder I didn't throw my back out, but I managed to keep her from going down.

You'll get lots of other ideas from here for sure.
 

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I do not use reverse when I am backing it down and when the bikes gets on the ramp I just let it go and it is only a split second that your feet do not touch the ground .If you use the reverse gear it is too slow and you end up with your feet dangling in the air ,I know it is only for a second ,but that is when you lose balance and drop the bike ,So forget about reverse and just free wheel it down ,Ciaran
 

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I'm with Wexy on this,

I back out of my shed everyday and have to go down a ramp so there is always a time when my feet wont hit the ground.

But I do it at some speed free wheeling in nuetral, So like Wexy says, it is only a second or so.

But I can see if you are used to the bike or get wobbly it would be a hairy experience.

I too have walked the bike down while standing on the left side, While riding the front hand brake But it doesn't feel as secure to me.

Like you mentioned though.

You could always back onto the trailer with reverse. With help or a higher walk board for your feet to help you.

Then ride off the trailer when you get where you are going.

That to me, seems more secure to me in your case.

Good Luck and let us know what you figure out.

Mohawk

This way
 

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Whatever you figure out one thing to keep an eye on with the 1800 with loading or unloading on any trailer is the coolant tank. It seems to be just in the right spot to hit the rear of a trailer bed and punch a hole in the tank.

Kit
 

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When necessity dictates,(only once and that was the clutch going out) I haul mine on a tilt bed trailer. I walk along the left side and use my hip to help balance. I am 5'8" and have no problems. If your wife can help it is easy for her to help balance by the trunk. Gravity will get the bike of the trailer without reverse gearing. Just be sure to use the brake.

Kevin E
 

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I 'm not sure how you are going to fix this. I would say maybe trade the trailer for something easier to use. I have a small enclosed with a ramp door. I just come out down the ramp using the front brake. The is still a small part where my feet just barely mmake ground contact and I am 6 foot. I you want to keep the traier you have try to build some type of full width ramp so the is a place for your feet. Most car trailers I have seem have a ramp about 18" wide to load onto.
 

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The longer the ramp the less angle at the ground.

If you will be trailering the bike regularly an extension of the ramp would work. You can buy aluminum ramps. I have one that is 3 sections wide for snowmobiles. Put a set of blocks under the rear of the trailer gate, put the ramp on the trailer gate and you can nearly eliminate that low spot.

Another alternative would be to have someone at a welding shop fabricate an extension on the trailer gate. I have seen some that are hinged so they don't add height to the trailer when in the stowed position. A set of legs directly under the hinge for strength and it would be good to go.
 

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I have to agree with Wexy. You can also put a floor jack under the motor home hitch and jack it up a little. That will lessen the angle of the trailer ramp. Once you do it once it becomes second thought.:waving:
 

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AVA AUTO TECH wrote:
I have to agree with Wexy. You can also put a floor jack under the motor home hitch and jack it up a little. That will lessen the angle of the trailer ramp. Once you do it once it becomes second thought.:waving:
This may not work for a motor home but I use the jack attached to the trailer tongue to jack up the rear of my pickup and the trailer tongue. I can lower the back of the trailer about 4 or 5 inches this way. :action:
 

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You can do what DougW suggests and have someone attach a swing up gate that is as wide as the trailer and long enough so that the angle isn't to intimidating. That is how I built my trailer and used expanded steel so there is not much drag from wind. Another thing is your axle above or below the springs. If you can set the axle on top of spring you may get trailer closer to the ground. Or you can do what I will be doing and thats building another trailer with rubber torsion axle and a deck that you can lower to the ground easily without it being hooked up to the vehicle. I found a website from a guy who builds them for $1900.00 but with my fabricating and welding skills I can build one cheaper. I will look up his web address and shoot it over to you.
 

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Wow! Tom, that sure is a beauty of a bike!!

[line]

Year before last, I had touse5 different trailers in less than a year.

1. Ramp needs to be wide enough for feet to touch.

2. Go slow - Go down [is a rule of thumb for Goldwings].

If a big bike needs trailering, it should be on a bike trailer [6-8 inches ground clearance]. Horses on horse trailers, etc.

Logically, if rigging a utility trailer for an unintended purpose, an unintended result should be expected.

I have loaded several big bikes onto pickups with a single 10 inch wide ramp. Not MY bikes & not my idea.:gunhead:
 

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Ask the harley guys, they have alot more experiance at trailering a big motorcycle than we do.
 

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Lower trailers are better. Angle is a problem as the middle of the 'wing can get stuck.

I hate putting the 'wing on a trailer
 

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I have never owner a trailer but I have transported all of my bikes in the pickup bed of an F150 Offroad 4x4 with a higher than average tailgate. I have a 3 piece ramp where I can place my feet beside the bike at nearly every step of the way - except that last couple of feet once the rear wheel makes contact with the ground. The whole activity is a game of angles. I have had to do some very tought angles - but they are all doable. Some suggestions:

1) Get the front end of the carrying vehicle (your trailer) higher than the rear end - this reduces the steepness of your ramp. This can be achieved by parking uphill against an opposite incline. For example: Trailer facing the center crown of your street, wheels against the curb or at the the seam of the beginning of your driveway (this assumes- asmost driveways have some incline, that you have one of "most driveways")with the ramp laid out heading "up" a driveway" - if you don't have this it is usually just a matter of finding some sort of depression in your terrain to achieve the same.

2) Work with the preload setting on your new Goldwing - there is a big difference in seat height between 0 and 25 settings. BUT - be aware that at 0 you also have the lowest ground clearance so you still need to decrease your angle in one above to avoid hitting your rear fender on the ground.

3) Be sure you have a wide enough ramp. I know many people that use one thing 12 inch wide ramp - too risky for me. I use a 3 panel ramp - like this one:









You can see how the bike can be "walked up" by playing the throttle and clutch to - it is a bit delicate - especially while loading on a steep incline - which I have done many time - you really need to give it gas and be prepared to clutch and brake quickly - but you can find the right feather for the clutch and do it well.

Even in the best of circumstances you will have a moment in the load and/or unload that your feet will be off the ground. I go 6'4" and I do. This is the point between when the rear wheel is on the ramp (with the rest of the bike) and the angle at which your feet (tip toes) can touch the ground while the front wheel is on the ramp and the rear wheel is off. if you think about it it is only a few feet (5 maybe?) - this is the point that when offloading you have to roll through it as suggested above or if onloading ride through it to load.

Lastly, the easiest best way is to ride straight onto your tow vehicle. This is achieved by finding the following types of places:

A loading dock where the dock height is that of your trailer.

A "hill" of some kind where you can safely get the bike up on the hill and ride it across your straight ramp.

Also, as stated earlier the length of ramp is important. If you have a trailer with a pull down back that doubles as a ramp - you can increase the length and decrease the angle by getting a ramp to the ramp (tailgate) - and probably putting wood blocks (like at least 4x4's)to support the midpoint.

Oh and whenever using ramps of this type be sure to use safety straps to secure the ramp to the aera you are inclining to - I have seen the results if you don't and it is not pretty - pretty hard to see it and not laugh - I've had to walk away many times :cheeky1:

Hope all this helps. Good luck!!:waving:



LOL - oh and one more thing - I just saw this picture from JC Whitney. They are using it as a sales tool - but this is how NOT to load a bike! Why? First there is no one in the bed to stableize the bike. If you look carefully - if that bike rolls one more foot up into the bed it will bottom out on the edge of the tailgate. They "might"clear it with thatrice rocket - but not good practice. This is another example why angles are important to minimize :cheeky1:



 

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Matt G wrote:
Ask the harley guys, they have alot more experiance at trailering a big motorcycle than we do.
:) I saw a Harley on a trailer this morning on I-71 while on my way to work.

It was snowing, the roads were coated with salty slush, and the Harley was COVERED in salt and brown slush. I just shook my head as I went past.

In any case, as several other people have mentioned here - the faster you can do it, the better. Instead of creeping slowly and trying to keep it up, just let 'er rip, and ride it down backwards.

Someone here wrote "go slow = go down" for Goldwings. In a lot of cases that is true. However, I spend a LOT of time on my wing practicing going as slow as I can. It gives you a great feel for the bike, and helps your skill at handling it. The MSF ERC course I took this summer did a LOT of slow riding. I rode in our July 4th parade this year at a walking pace (because there were a lot of people walking!) and had no problems.
 

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reverse gear can break the bike while you go back. its good to keep ur hand on the brakes just to keep it on a steady speed. have someone to help you to balance the bike.
 

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I want to thank everyone who responded. I only posted this about 12 hours ago and, wow, what a wonderful group you have!

The trailer is a full width utility type, the deck is about 19" above the ground. The ramp is also the gate, steel, grated (so wind resistance is minimal), about 4 feet length and as wide as the trailer and it is heavy but my wife can lift it (no offense intended to any women here). Driving it up the ramp onto the deck and into the wheel chock was no problem but that might have beginner's luck (I only had about 2 minutes driving experience when I drove it up the ramp at the dealer!). I have the bike's riding position set at 1 and didn't bottom out going up or down the ramp. A ramp extension is a good idea if I can find someone to fabricate it.

I put it in reverse to move the bike out of the wheel chock to the edge of the deck and from there, sailed down the ramp carefully and slowly while riding on it and braking with the front brake only, not using the reverse gear (it wasn't needed). The rest you know.

The terrain here is real flat and one person needs to unload the bike in the same location that the trailer will be stored. Lifting the rear of the motorhome is not a bad idea - it's a 37 foot diesel pusher and I can lower the entire vehicle and then raise the rear hydraulic jacks. That might help the angle a bit. But when I get a tow hitch put on my wife's Toyota Highlander, that won't help.

Blackdog, those aluminum ramps don't look very safe.

Of course, learning to balance it going backwards would help, but I'm still learning to do that forwards! If time permits, I'll try some of these ideas tonight or tomorrow after work. I'll tell you-all what happens.
 

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AVA AUTO TECH wrote:
I have to agree with Wexy. You can also put a floor jack under the motor home hitch and jack it up a little. That will lessen the angle of the trailer ramp. Once you do it once it becomes second thought.:waving:
Good idea. Thx
 

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Jay50 wrote:
Blackdog, those aluminum ramps don't look very safe.
Which ones? What is not safe about them? The first one pictured have a 1500 pound capacity and are similar to mine - I assure you there has been no safety issue in the 50 or so times I've used them over the last 6 years.

I don't know about the last one that I posted did not look like the right way to load a bike. I wouldn't buy a ramp like that one.
 
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