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Greetings my fellow riders,



This is my first post here. I need a little help please. I am starting up a company that will make open trailers for hauling motorcycles. These will be rock solid, low profile design, using torsion arm suspension systems. I would like to know what overall length and width is required for hauling and holding these full dress Gold Wing cruisers. The red tape required to manufacture these trailers legally is beyond imagination, unlike the dimensions and design aspects. Any constructive feedback, regarding likes or dislikes about hauling motorcycles, is greatly appreciated. :)



Brian
 

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Look into hauling Harleys, you will never make any money hauling Gold Wings.:goofygrin:
 

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Just find a three rail motorcycle trailer and take the dimensions from it and then adjust to what you would make your design. I have one of these and it is about 6 feet wide by 12 feet long with the rail length about 7' 4". The wheel width is about 5'6" center to center. I have been using this trailer to haul two full dress bikes when we cannot ride due to weather or (never will happen) breakdown, and have have never had any problems except for normal maintenance.
 

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Yea, yea, I already know that 95% of all Harleys are still on the road today, and that only 5% made it home… :shock:


Ok, so you are saying it only needs to be 36 inches wide, between the trailer fenders, to accommodate 1-full dress Gold Wing, (inside dimensions with cycle luggage bags) and 144 inches in length? 72 inches is enough room to accommodate the width of two Gold Wings comfortably, with the trailer fenders, should the fenders happen to fall in line with the side mounted luggage bins? It’s a one size fits all concept I am shooting for. Personally, I ride a ZL900 Eliminator, with a 2.9-gallon stock tank. it keeps me passing everything but gas stations... :waving:



Brian

 

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So where were you when I was fixing up my trailer? Anyway, here is what I figured out from experiments with a loaded 87 Aspencade.

From the rise of your front chock to the balance point is 50", the center stand is 2" further aft). I used a 51" dimension and got a well balanced load on my trailer with just the right 40 pound add on my tongue.
Overall length is 94"
Width is 32"

Now if you will make a trailer low enough, frankly I am not as worried about suspension. When you load up, compressing the bike's own suspension halfway gives it sufficient travel remaining to where the trailer can be unsprung without adverse effects. Suspension on the trailer is redundant and as it interferes with loading, I say, do away with it. Also producing a trailer without unnecessary suspension would allow you to arrive at an attractive price.

I envision a trailer where the ground clearance would be that minimally prudent so I could conveniently roll on and off of it without the dramatic folding over that goes on most of the time with higher trailers. They may be fine with light bikes, but a Wing is a monster to load and unload. I want a trailer I can load and unload single handed, and that means one that is low enough to provide minimal slope when I roll on or off. Even perhaps one designed to be backed up to a normal curb for loading/unloading.
 

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I have a 77" by 144" bed dimension trailer.

The length could be shorter and the width is very tight for 2 Gold Wings.

81" bed width (between fenders) would be optimal.

The issue I have is getting the tie-downs out at a great enough angle when hauling 2 bikes, need to have at least a 30 degree angle 45 or more would be better. The load on tie-downs goes way up with smaller numerically angles. At 90 degrees the tie-down load is equal to weight, at 45 degrees it's 1 1/2 times the weight of the load, at 30 degrees it's almost 2 times the load weight. So those 2,000 pound tie downs are reaching their max load at 30 degrees.
 

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Brogees, On a trailer with no springs,if you draw the suspension down half way, won't the bike's tie downs go slack when the trailer goes over big bumps, then get yanked hard as the bike wobbles as the suspension rebounds?
The basic idea sounds good, but how would you tie down the motorcycle to allow it's suspension to work while keeping the bike secure?
 

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Not really.

Look we tow on highways, not off road on Jeep trails. With the suspension at mid compression it is sufficiently stiff to resist most normal highway bumps. The best I can say is, try it.

Look when a sprung trailer goes over a bump it is doing the same, up down and back, so the bike is still being bounced. The big difference is the bikes has shock dampening whereas trailer usually do not.

And remember you will get the positive of easy loading. If I had a welding shop or knew how to weld, I would have already built one just as I am describing.
 

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Thanks again for all the info,



A low slung torsion arm suspension system only adds about $150-$180 to the price of the trailer, (less then 10% of the total price). Yet, it takes all the road stresses out of the trailer frame and helps with trailer control as superior stability, (i.e., less tip-over possibility), and also spares the trailer tires from bruising due to excessive bouncing, (i.e., resonating) while towing. With only 8-inches of ground clearance, this is a low-riding trailer. The prototype trailer did fine all the way to “Vintage Bike Days”, July-2005 in Mansfield Ohio, (approximately 16-hours round trip). I was not looking to build trailers, but people kept giving me their business cards and said they wanted one of these; they just needed it to be wider and longer, for the big cruisers. And I do not mean just a few people; the number by the end of the event was ridiculous. I believe I can hit a sell price of about $1500 plus freight. That is why I am looking for a wish list before I start making a few of them, once state approved. The constructive criticism is best discussed before stating production. These discussions are very useful to me, thanks again.



Brian
 

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the biggest problem I had when I trailered two GOLD WINGS accross country (wife drove truck/trailor and I drove my HARLEY)... was trying to tie them down. I was using a 6x12 flatbed. which did not have wheel chocks. Also, it was hard to find good places to connect on the bikes without rubbing against things.
 

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johnmac wrote:
Brogees, On a trailer with no springs,if you draw the suspension down half way, won't the bike's tie downs go slack when the trailer goes over big bumps, then get yanked hard as the bike wobbles as the suspension rebounds?
The basic idea sounds good, but how would you tie down the motorcycle to allow it's suspension to work while keeping the bike secure?
Right question> when we brought out our goldwings, I had cinched them down really tight (the trailer had suspension). So here we are pulling out of a gas station and my wife drops the right wheel of the trailer into a rut. I thought the bikes were going to bounce off the trailer. And, as I said they were cinched down really good.
 

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As seen in the trailer photo that I attached in my previous post, I grab the lower-outer fork pipes, the non-moving portion of the front shocks, and “ratchet” them snuggly into the self-locking wheel chock while compressing the tire slightly. This eliminates two real world possibilities,



(1), eliminates all play in the tie-down straps on the front end, thereby eliminating unwanted shock loading.



(2), no possibility of blowing out the front fork seals.



Pennsylvania has the worst roads in the country, and that’s no secret, http://www.pahighways.com/



Case in point…this provides me with a great test bed for any product deemed road worthy.



Pennsylvania’s report card… http://www.asce.org/reportcard/2005/page.cfm?id=78



Shock loading occurs when the motorcycle's suspension compresses to absorb the shock, the tie-down straps then go slack, and are snapped tight as the suspension expands. To eliminate shock loading that is associated with compression of the front shock absorbers, tie down on the outer fork pipe, not the inner fork tube, or parts above the moving portion of the front suspension system. “Working Load Limit” is often exceeded as shock loading approaches the “Break Strength Rating” of the straps, (i.e., weakening or diminishing of their previously rated “Safe Working Load Limit”).



Please, keep the info and stories coming people, knowledge is power, and by over building vehicles, (i.e., overkill), brings peace of mind.



Thanks again,



Brian
 

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knightkadosh wrote:
Thanks again for all the info,



A low slung torsion arm suspension system only adds about $150-$180 to the price of the trailer, (less then 10% of the total price). Yet, it takes all the road stresses out of the trailer frame and helps with trailer control as superior stability, (i.e., less tip-over possibility), and also spares the trailer tires from bruising due to excessive bouncing, (i.e., resonating) while towing. With only 8-inches of ground clearance, this is a low-riding trailer. The prototype trailer did fine all the way to “Vintage Bike Days”, July-2005 in Mansfield Ohio, (approximately 16-hours round trip). I was not looking to build trailers, but people kept giving me their business cards and said they wanted one of these; they just needed it to be wider and longer, for the big cruisers. And I do not mean just a few people; the number by the end of the event was ridiculous. I believe I can hit a sell price of about $1500 plus freight. That is why I am looking for a wish list before I start making a few of them, once state approved. The constructive criticism is best discussed before stating production. These discussions are very useful to me, thanks again.



Brian
Brian,

A Goldwing weighs ~ 850 to 1000 pounds. Your design puts all that on the tongue. I tow with a Honda Accord. No way would I want that tongue weight.

My preference is a trailer that assumes the weight load itself only providing enough tongue weight to maintain control. We are of a much different school of thought.

Good luck in you venture.
 

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Indeed, you are absolutely correct; yes, the axle is definitely too far back on the trailer, my prototype will labor a tow vehicles suspension system with that kind of heavy load on the tongue. I plan on moving the axle front as I lengthen my next trailer, during my next build. What I discovered, after some lengthy research, was this. When the trailer is empty, tongue weight must be between 10%-15% of the total weight of the trailer, this is the minimum, again, for towing the trailer when empty. However, when loaded that ratio will change somewhat. There is a sweet spot for fixed axle production trailers, it is known as the 60-40 rule. Put 60% of the trailers length in front of the axle, not including the tongue, with 40% of the length of the trailer behind the axle. These two rules of thumb for fixed axle production trailers will govern my next axle placement. This should take care of the problem that you currently see in my first prototype. Some tractor-trailers have movable rear axles; this allows them to hit the sweet spot when empty, and then adjust the axle location to hit the sweet spot when running loaded, ideally, that movable axle allows them to keep the load on the sweet spot at all times, balancing between the best of both worlds. This axle adjustment is also used for better maneuverability in tight places. Thank you for noticing and pointing out my design flaw, do you see anything else that may need addressing. I am wrestling with another issue, but need to do some research before making a final decision.
 

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Thanks guys for an interesting discussion about trailers. This discussion will help me in my quest to design and builda canoe trailer to tow behind my 1500. Long Tongue 1500.
 

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travelinmays wrote:
Look into hauling Harleys, you will never make any money hauling Gold Wings.:goofygrin:
:clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:

:leprechaun: :18red: :leprechaun:
 

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I realize I could build this trailer without a suspension system, but with the rough and tumble roads that we have around here, I worry about the added stress put on the welds and unsuspended axle, (i.e., metal fatigue).



Does this sound about right though?



The overall inside length for an open trailer hauling a Gold Wing needs to be about 100-108 inches long, and the overall gross width between fenders, needs to be 40-48 inches for a single rail hauler. With a trailer GVWR of 1500 pounds, assuming the empty trailer is 500-pounds or less, and considering my ramp folds upward just past 90 degrees when locked in place for towing.



On a two-rail model, must you have two bikes in order to tow safely, or can you load to one side, and still tow safely?



Brian
 

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What about mounting your axle assemby with shackled motor mounts? Then you get a "Suspension" (which I remain unconvinced as to the necessity of) while keeping the clearance very low. Also with a low clearance, no ramp is needed. You could even ofload and load with a curb, simple enough to find.

Allow the bike rail to be a piece of continuous channel, miter the web, heat bend it and weld the web back. Use the rail bending back horizontal to provide your hitch mount.

Simple jack roller to the side. You arrive, jack it up the least bit and roll off.

Look I really would like another trailer, but I want something very simple, light and inexpensive as my Wing is to ride, not tow.

This way I could even tow the trailer with the my Wing if I chose to.
 

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After some thorough checking, suspension systems must fall into one of two categories; DOT approved active suspension systems, and DOT approved non-active suspension systems, (i.e., and all hybrids thereof). According to SAE standards, if I chose to go with what they consider, a non-active system, they require certain engineering and safety guidelines to be followed. It is a rather simple rule of thumb, double the rating of everything. For example, for 1500-pound GVWR, here is the break down.



1. DOT approved active suspension system…(i.e., rims, tires, axles), and frame strength, must be rated for 1500-pound GVWR, for actual 1500-pound GVWR use.



2. DOT approved non-active suspension system…(i.e., rims, tires, axles), and frame strength, must be rated for 3000-pound GVWR, for actual 1500-pound GVWR use.



The problem comes into play because these trailers are for public use, as opposed to building just one for your/my own private use, not that you should deviate from their guidelines, it’s a case of product liability, (i.e., being sued for damages), either way, they come after the builder, whether it is one trailer built privately, or many trailers built and sold for public use.



Keep the thoughts, ideas, wish lists and constructive criticisms coming folks.



Brojees, this may still be a good viable option, and I am not ruling it out, I just need to do a cost and weight analysis to see if it is still as cost effective as initially suspected. This may also force me into using a larger profile tire, thereby losing the initial attractiveness of the low profile design. Since it’s taking forever to get the manufacturing license, and distributor license, I have plenty of time to do the research. I was initially leaning towards using 8-inch high-speed low profile tires. In the long line of things that needed to be done, the good news is this, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted me a legal license to do business under the entity of…



SolidMotion Trailers


Brian
 
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