Trailering tips

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by Heritage Hank, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Heritage Hank

    Heritage Hank Member

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    OK, I've never put my bike on a trailer before and am looking for expertise so I don't make any stupid mistakes on the first go.
    What is the best location on a FLSTC to secure the bike? Should I leave the bike in gear during transit? Any pitfalls to avoid?

    I'm heading from Florida for 5 days of TN, NC, VA and can't wait to get there. Just want to make sure my bike arrives safely as well. Going to be using a u-haul motorcycle trailer.
     
  2. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

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    use a good quaity strap. I use a Rampage powerlift in my truck. I use 3 sets of straps on the front and one set on the rear. I tie the front from the crash bars, between the triple clamp and fork tube and a loose set around the handle bars. The rear I tie around passenger floor boards.
     
  3. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

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    When you compress the suspension DO NOT COMPRESS THE SHOCK OR FORKS ALL THE WAY DOWN. You will cause problems with the valving.

    Compress the front about an inch or so. The rear can be compressed about the same. This give you stability. You will notice you can still bounce the forks and shocks. Having the suspension move is not a problem. You want the suspension to move when the trailer hit bumps or holes.

    Ride the bike on the trailer, put it front tire in the shoe, jiffystand up or down is up to you. Leave it in gear and start tieing down front to rear. Use extension loops. This way the metal hooks are away from the bike. You can put the loops on the bottom triple tree. Or if the fairing interfers with using the bottom triple tree, attach the loops low on the frame. You can still compress the front forks with the straps on the frame. DO NOT USE THE HANDLE BARS!! You could bend or break 'em! This is very true if you bars are rubber mounted.

    For the rear, look under your bike and see if there is anywhere to attach the hooks, or use the loops again. There should be a frame support that you can use. I use an "X" pattern when tieing down the rear. Hook on the left rear side of bike goes to the right rear tightdown point. And the same for the opposite side. Tieing down the rear keeps it from swinging around.

    I tow using an enclosed trailer. Therefore, since I can't see the straps while I'm driving, I put an extra set on the front going to a different anchor point. Two sets make sure that if one fails, the bike won't be tossed around the trailer.

    Stop after the first 20 miles or so to check your straps. And then check 'em every time you stop.

    You did not tell us what type of trailer you'll be using... Let us know and maybe we can give you more specfic info.
     
  4. up@12

    up@12 Member

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    When you tie your bike down leave it in gear and go get a handle bar strap, then go and find some good mountain climbing clips, Use the clips on your front tie downs clip it to the bar strap and the trailer. Make sure all your straps are going forward. I use 4 straps per bike front two going forward and back straps going to almost the same spot as where the front straps are. This way the bike can't move backwards. In tieing the bike this way you also don't need to tie the front down as tight. Here is a pic of how I tie bikes down. Hope this helps

    Sorry for the type of bikes LOLOLOLOL
     

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
  5. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

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    All forward straps may allow the back of you bike to "jump" when going over holes in the road. With a set of straps pulling to the rear will keep this from happening.
     
  6. up@12

    up@12 Member

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    You could hang the bike upside down and the tire will never come off the trailer.:D Straps forward are the only way. I've done both and for many thousands on miles. Just my $0.02 worth
     
  7. UnkleBuk

    UnkleBuk Member

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    I strapped my Ultra when we went do Daytona for a cruise, which came back right in the middle of bike week, then trailered it across country a few months later when I retired from the Navy. All-in-all, about 3500 miles.

    I mounted a Bike Pro wheel chock in my trailer, then used powertyes, the 2" kit with the sheepskin sleeves to tie the bike down. Not a mark on the bike.

    As far as how I strapped it down, I put one strap each side attached to the frame above the cross piece on the frame. These came forward and down at a 45 degree angle. Tightened them down until the fork was compressed an inch or so, and then placed a strap on each side on the back of the bike attached at the passenger floorboard mounts. These were strapped to the floor of the trailer slightly to the rear of the floorboards. Tightened these up decently, didn't really look at the compression here, just made sure the front remained compressed (checked again after putting the rear straps on).

    I stopped after about 75 miles, tightened the straps a bit as they were new and I figured they'd stretch a bit with the ride. I then checked them at about 200 miles and every 200-300 miles after that.

    Made it to Daytona and back to Virginia Beach with no problems at all, then from VB to Denver, CO doing the same and absolutely no problems.........and not a single mark on the bike from the straps; which were touching the chrome engine guard, but the sheepskin sleeves did their thing and protected the bike.

    One word to NOTE-----If you use a Bike Pro wheel chock, MAKE SURE THE CHOCK IS MOUNTED GOOD AND TIGHT before loading the bike. I mounted mine, went to Daytona, and when I went to load the bike for the trip back, it was loose (it's a two piece unit...actually more, but two main parts that mount together). I took the tools out and after I finished I never had to worry about it being loose again.

    Now the trailer has served its purpose and I'm planning on selling it as I have no plans to ever trailer the bike again!:newsmile055:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  8. The Bad Man's Angel

    The Bad Man's Angel Active Member

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  9. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

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    This one I will disagree with... In your configuration you have a pivot point at the front wheel (the axle). With all straps pulling forward you have nothing to prevent the rotation around the pivot point. Enough bounce will compress your front suspension, unless you have it cranked down to the max, allowing the bike to pass "over center". Once over center, the bike will continue it's rotation around the axle. Also, compressing the bike forward puts undue stress on your front forks and neck bearings. If you are compressing the rear with the straps on the passenger pegs I just imagine the preload you are putting on the forks and bearings.

    One set of straps pulling to the rear will counter this effect. Just my .02...:s

    Alot of this comes down to what makes you feel safe. So, to each his own
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  10. up@12

    up@12 Member

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    The bike can't pass center it is in a whell chock. SledDog just want to make sure you know this is a friendly debate, sometimes these things can get way out of control for something that can be done a bunch of different ways.:D

    Cheers