Towing a motorcycle trailer

Did you know that in 1984 it became legal to tow with a motorcycle? Of course many will question why you’d want to, especially if you also hold a category B (car) licence.

Yet undoubtedly there are riders out there for whom a bike is their preferred or only form of transport. For these, the ability to tow a trailer could prove useful. Whether it’s for carrying bulky goods, or a weekend camping trip, motorcycle trailers can be a safer more practical alternative to loading your bike high and wide.

The law surrounding motorcycle trailers is relatively straightforward.

  • The motorcycle must exceed 125cc engine capacity
  • The trailer must not exceed 100cm in width
  • The distance between the motorcycle rear axel, and the rear of the trailer must not exceed 250cm
  • The kerb weight (i.e wet ready to ride weight) must be clearly marked on the bike
  • The trailer should be marked with its unladen (empty) weight

It goes without saying that once coupled to a trailer your motorcycle will handle differently. You’ll need to allow extra time for braking, and additional space for manoeuvres. Also remember that when towing a trailer you are restricted to 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 50mph on other roads where no lower speed limit applies.  

Single wheel motorcycle trailers

As the name suggests single wheel trailers utilise a single (often a scooter wheel) mounted along the centreline of the trailer, and are suspended by a standard monoshock. Single wheel trailers are smaller and lighter than their multi-wheeled counter parts, and allow the bike learn into corners just as it would without a trailer. Most often, single wheeled trailers are narrower than a bike with panniers, meaning limited filtering might still be an option.

Dual wheel motorcycle trailers

Dual wheeled trailers resemble more those that you’d typically pull with a car. While they are heavier than single wheel trailers, they are inherently more stable, and so better at carrying larger and/or more awkward loads. As these trailers cannot lean, a tilting or swivel hitch is needed to allow the bike to lean into corners as normal. The width of these trailers means that filtering on all but the widest of roads is impractical.

 

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