5 Essential Motorcycle Towing Tips

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So you’ve done it. You’ve bought your first motorcycle camper or trailer, equipped your bike with a hitch and an isolating wiring harness, hooked it up and…now what? What do you do next to make sure you gain experience safely and enjoy many trouble free miles on the open road? Here are a few tips.

1) Don’t make Day One of your cross-country journey the first day of your towing experience. Get your bike outfitted and get your trailer at least a couple of weeks ahead of your trip. Preferably as early as possible. You can experience delays in getting a hitch, installation, getting your bike wired, getting your camper or trailer, setting it up — that’s not to sound negative. It is what it is. So when you decide to do a trip that involves outfitting your bike and getting a trailer, do it well in advance so that you can not only get everything sorted out, but also so that you can…

2) Take a few practice runs. You’ll definitely want to get the feel of a loaded vehicle attached to the back of your bike. You’ll want to understand how it affects your bike’s feel when you pull away from a standing stop. How it feels when you brake. And how it affects the bike’s handling (It should be very minimal). After you feel comfortable with it behind you, take it out for a longer run over some familiar roads. It will probably feel pretty good. Then, take it into a tight or busy parking lot, like a restaurant. The truth is, you’ll feel your tow more in a parking lot at walking speeds than you will on the highway at Interstate speeds. In fact, when you are out on those high speed highways…

3) Don’t forget it’s back there. Easy to do. Most trailers are very well behaved behind bikes and it can be easy to forget they’re there. Everyone who has towed a trailer has done it. (True story: I once learned my camper had a problem, not because I observed the jackstand dragging on the ground, but because I heard a couple of truckers talking about it over the CB radio.) Let’s say you encounter a shredded truck tire on the road. On two wheels alone, you could just steer around it. But with a trailer in tow, would the trailer’s tires hit it? If you haven’t forgotten you’re towing, you can make a better, and possibly different, decision about how to avoid the debris.

4) Check it over. There isn’t much that can go wrong with a motorcycle camper or trailer, but it is another piece of equipment operating at high speeds. And with it being connected to your bike, any failure could have a possible impact on you. On a daily basis, check two things. 1) make sure your tire pressure