Motorcycle Cargo Trailer
Flatbed Motorcycle Trailer Review
| Owner Comments (Below)
Diamond C Motorcycle Trailer Review |
Folding Motorcycle Trailer Review
Take a look at the webBikeWorld
Trailers page and you'll find that there are literally
dozens of different types of trailers available for
My neighbor had a motorcycle trailer that we
used to transport many bikes, but it was a purpose-built
trailer, not designed for carrying any other
type of cargo.
No problem with that, but when I finally realized
that it was time to have our own dedicated webBikeWorld
trailer (i.e., when I finally wore out my welcome with
the neighbor!), I decided that it would be nice to have
a multi-purpose utility trailer that could haul many
different types of cargo.
I wanted something that would work well for hauling
motorcycles, but that would also work for hauling things
like a riding lawnmower, hay and feed for my wife's
horses, or carrying trash to the local recycling center.
We have a small Ford Ranger pickup truck that is used for various
webBikeWorld chores, and I considered the idea of
transporting a motorcycle in the truck bed, but I'm not
too keen on the idea of pushing a motorcycle up a long
ramp to the height of the tailgate. It can be
done, no doubt, and maybe we'll get a set of ramps to
try it one day, but the trailer was my first choice.
The other nice feature about a trailer is that it can
be used behind a car or other vehicle. This gives
it some added flexibility, with the downside of having
to store the trailer somewhere in the backyard when it's
not being used.
I visited every one of the motorcycle trailer
retailers listed on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Trailers
page, and I found some very nice trailers. Some
were very expensive and some not so expensive, but in
the end, I purchased a "Top Brand" trailer at the local
trailer and RV center.
The price was right -- only $750.00 for this brand-new,
4' by 8' bed trailer with 13" wheels. They had one
size smaller, but with 10" wheels. The 13" wheels
are one of the features that sold me: they turn fewer RPMs at speed, keeping the wheel bearings theoretically
cooler, besides having a higher load rating.
I haven't been able to find a website for the "Top
Brand" brand flatbed trailers, but I've seen them at
just about every trailer store up and down the East
Coast, so they should be easy to find. I've also
seen other brands of very similar trailers.
This must be one of the most common designs for flatbed
This trailer configuration is available in many
sizes, from the smaller 4' by 6' with 10" wheels, up to
big cargo trailers with huge dual wheels on either side,
used for hauling tractors and other heavy equipment.
There are a few important features to look for when
choosing a motorcycle trailer.
This particular trailer seems robust - it uses 2"
wide by 3/16" thick angle plate all around.
The welds certainly aren't artistic, but they do the
Various pieces of plate have been welded into the
corners for support. The photo illustrates one of
the corner supports; a section of diamond plate welded
under the front cross-member that helps strengthen the
The tongue is made from
a large piece of box section tubing, and it extends under the first
third of the trailer floor to the second horizontal
cross-member (see photo). This trailer has a
non-reinforced tongue; the larger trailers all have box
or angle section framing welded from the front
horizontal cross-member and extending up the tongue
towards the hitch, forming a triangular support frame.
The extra framing provides additional support and
helps to prevent the trailer bed from torsion when
carrying heavy loads, but it also adds a lot more weight
to the trailer and I don't think it's at all necessary
for my purposes. This trailer has no problems with
twisting, even when fully loaded.
The floor of the trailer is made from 2" by 4"
treated lumber, rather than the cheaper plywood used on
many small cargo trailers. This makes it easier to replace a
section if necessary; it adds strength to the trailer
itself; and the 2x4's make a good platform to mount
motorcycle wheel chocks, such as the
Bike-Grab shown in these photos.
The tires are good quality trailer tires 175/80-13 on
4" wide rims with 5 lug nuts. The trailer tires
are specifically designed for trailers and they carry a
higher load rating than normal automobile tires.
Top Brand must use multiple suppliers for tires, because
some of the trailers had Kelly tires, others had
Goodyear or several other name brands.
I learned that trailer tires require much higher tire
pressures than car tires. The tires on this
trailer require 50 psi, which is also the maximum
pressure printed on the sidewall. Make sure you
follow the trailer manufacturer's recommendations for
The high pressure usually means that the tires will
cause the trailer to bounce around quite a bit when it's
not loaded. We've found that at certain speeds,
usually around 30-40 MPH, the empty trailer causes some
type of harmonic with our Ford Ranger pickup truck and
it bounces around rather severely, and it can definitely
be felt in the truck. Over about 40 MPH, the
trailer becomes very smooth, and it rides along nicely
at 60-65 MPH or so, both empty and loaded.
I also purchased a spare tire, and I carry it, a
spare jack, a selection of tools and some extra tie-down
straps whenever I'm hauling a motorcycle or other cargo.
The other very nice feature on this particular
trailer is the built-in ramp. This type of ramp is
commonly found on the cargo trailers used by lawn
service companies. The ramp is held upright by two
flat bars on either side, which simply and easily slide
into a welded pin on either side of the ramp and are
held by clevis pins.
Top Brand did a great job of balancing this trailer.
When the ramp is in place, the tongue weight is minimal
and the trailer is easily balanced and can be moved
around by one person.
The ramp can also be removed by sliding out the long
rod at the back that serves as a hinge. I remove
the ramp and lay it on the trailer bed for storage, and
a 4' by 8" tarp is a perfectly sized cover.
When choosing and purchasing a motorcycle cargo
trailer, make sure that it meets the legal safety
specifications in your country.
In the U.S.A., all trailers must conform to the
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. A label
should appear somewhere on the trailer testifying to its
This trailer was also manufactured to the guidelines
of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.
Other countries have government set standards, but in
the U.S.A, standards are normally set by the private
sector, mostly through trade associations.
They are sometimes called "standards" and sometimes
"guidelines". Our advice is to make sure your
trailer meets all necessary safety standards and
This trailer also has square-section tie-down points
on the side towards the front. However, the angle
plate that's welded to the sides of the trailer are
located with the angle towards the side, leaving a gap
underneath. We find this space to be very useful
for placing the hooks at the end of the ratcheting
tie-down straps. Here is a 550x350 pixel photo of
the Tiger loaded on the trailer, with arrows showing
some of the various features and tie-down points.
We immediately put this cargo trailer to good use,
hauling several different motorcycles back and forth
over several hundred miles. Other than the
aforementioned bouncing when empty and some occasional
bouncing when accelerating through certain speeds when
loaded, we're very pleased with this trailer.
Although we haven't tried it, I think the trailer
could easily hold two motorcycles side by side for
transport. The Bike-Grab front wheel chock works
very well with this trailer also, and now that it's
bolted to the Bike-Grab mounting plate on the floor of
the trailer, it's easy to remove when the trailer is
needed for other duties.
Other than some help required to push the motorcycle
up the ramp and on to the trailer bed, one person can
easily tie down the trailer in about 5 minutes using the
Bike-Grab and some ratcheting straps.
We think the price of $750.00 for this trailer is
very reasonable when compared to other motorcycle cargo
trailers, especially considering the multiple uses for
this type of flatbed trailer.
Review: Motorcycle Cargo Trailer
From: Top Brand (no website)
Retail Price: $750.00
Comments: Flatbed utility trailer works very well for
hauling motorcycles or other cargo. Easy to use attached ramp and
13" tires make a big difference. Well made with heavy-duty angle
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From "J.S.", who sent this
suggestion about adding shock absorbers to cure bouncing
trailers: "I don't want to give you this info to
just think about, it works, so if you or a friend can do
a little welding, it's fairly easy, just weld your
mounts on the axle and frame.
But first, go to an
auto parts shop (Schuck's, etc..., because they'll give
you a life time warranty) and buy the smallest shocks
(in length) and cheapest shocks they have. Nothing
spendy, cuz any normal shock will go 30 - 50,000 miles
on you car, which will last forever on your trailer.
I have them on a single axle trailer, 2 axle, and my
boat (and many grateful friends).
I have built about 8 trailers over the years and shocks
really work (try taking one off of your car and see what
happens and how it handles ... so why not a trailer).
I almost got rid of a boat and trailer years ago (single
axle), do to the unreal balancing at hi-way speeds (you
could look back in the mirror and see under the tire as
it bounced off the road!!!)
After you do this once, you'll see and feel the
difference in handling and wear on tires, you'll do it
on all of your trailers even a new store bought one (I
wish I could say I thought of this, but a friend showed
me years ago). Now a 2 axle doesn't bounce as much
as a single, because they kind of work against each
other and stop the bouncing effect somewhat.
I'm happy to have helped out, please pass it on, and
I'll send you a couple of picture's after this email of
my rigs (below).
Another tip on
installing the shocks (with the trailer empty), is to measure the full extended
length and fully retracted length of the shock, then weld your steel mounts
(with holes that you drill in them for your bolts) in the middle of your
measurement, this will insure enough travel for a loaded trailer and when it's
empty too. Also, most shock's come in a box with bolts, nuts, and washers
that you will be able to use.