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Towing my Motorcycle

Discussion in 'Towing' started by The Big O, May 22, 2011.

  1. May 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM
    #1
    The Big O

    The Big O [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Here is the set up I have to tow my bike. I'm going to be towing it about 3 hours each way this weekend and I just have one question about my set up.

    I was wondering what the best setting for my rear shocks would be. There are 3 settings. I was thinking the lowest setting (the least resistance) so its easier on the shocks. I was also thinking the highest setting (the most resistance) so when you you tighten the straps you know its on there tight. Anybody run a setup like this? Any better suggestions?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. May 22, 2011 at 1:26 PM
    #2
    JDCPA

    JDCPA Well-Known Member

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    I'd leave it at the lowest setting to ensure the shocks are fully compressed.
     
  3. May 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM
    #3
    Too Many Toys

    Too Many Toys New Member

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    Since in the photo you have the swingarm lashed down, not the sprung part, it doesn't matter. Only thing compressible is the rear tire, which with proper inflation won't compress much. That is unless you changed tie-down procedures after this picture. Regardless, I've never changed suspension setting just for the tow.

    The only recommendation I have is get at least one set of actual motorcycle tie-downs & use 2 pair of tie-downs on the front of the bike. I've had brand new high quality tie-downs both slip & break. Now days unless its inside my van where it can't get out, I double strap the front.
     
  4. May 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM
    #4
    The Big O

    The Big O [OP] Well-Known Member

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    After this picture I decided to do 2 straps in the front instead of one, and I'm probably gonna throw some extras on there to be safe... I am kinda worried about the straps breaking even though they seem pretty safe... I wouldn't wanna lose my bike on the highway :eek:
     
  5. May 22, 2011 at 3:54 PM
    #5
    paul's08

    paul's08 Active Member

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    The front fork should be compressed with the tie downs. That anchors the front of the bike to the trailer. It looks like an eye bolt is being used for the front tie point. From the picture it is hard to tell how large the eye bolt is. You don't want it to bend or open up.
     
  6. May 22, 2011 at 4:16 PM
    #6
    The Big O

    The Big O [OP] Well-Known Member

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    The eye bolts def. wont bend. The guy we bought the trailer from only used those to tie down his quad. We added the yellow strap tiedowns and the wood frame for the bike.
     
  7. May 22, 2011 at 6:23 PM
    #7
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    2 straps in the front (one for each side) and the straps on the back are just insurance. Make sure you've got hte front forks partially compressed to keep the tension on the straps. With that wood rail system you have, the back can't bounce around so all you need is a strap on either side in the back to keep it from bouncing. You really don't need to mess with shock settings. I'd get some more suitable (smaller) straps for the back end, those big ass ratchet straps are way too big for the bike, that's not necessarily a bad thing but you really have to make sure you don't overtighten them.

    That's a pretty stable set-up you've got.
     
  8. May 22, 2011 at 6:28 PM
    #8
    Hoyal

    Hoyal Whiskey bent and hell bound.

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    The front straps should be tightened to compress the front forks no more than half the travel of the shocks, a little less is OK, but about half way is the max. Full compression will damage the shocks. The idea is to have the springs in the shocks provide a tension force on the straps but still allow travel to compensate for turns and bouncing.
     
  9. May 22, 2011 at 6:30 PM
    #9
    Sheppymach

    Sheppymach Well-Known Member

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    i've only ever used one on each side and one across the back. never had a problem. you will be fine
     
  10. May 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM
    #10
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    I would go to Cycle Gear and find a Canyon Dancer--this is a device that slips over the bars and allows you to use tie-downs on them. If you're still feeling like you need some extra on the front, go from the fork brace just below the headlight. When you tie the bike down in front, you will want to tie it down on both sides. Same with the rear--you don't want that to skip around.

    About the straps, find some that tighten and stay tight. Preferably with a soft-strap for the fork legs. The last thing you want is for the bike to slide off the trailer.

    Something like this will work....

    [​IMG]

    As far as the fork settings, leave it. Unless the seals are dry or cracked, you won't need to worry about it.

    In the end, you want it to look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    HTH
     
  11. May 23, 2011 at 3:59 AM
    #11
    Too Many Toys

    Too Many Toys New Member

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    To edit my other post, are you calling the front suspenders 'shocks'? Those are 'forks' on MC speak, but you still don't need to change the settings (didn't realize a Sporty had adjustable front suspension).
     
  12. May 23, 2011 at 4:26 AM
    #12
    PAlittlematty

    PAlittlematty "the soulless ginger"

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    Just 2 straps on the front. That things heavy enough that the back shouldn't move inside the framework you have. Friends of mine hauled 3 trials bikes from PA to KY recently n didn't tie the rear down. Honda sells a good set of tie downs. About $15 a pair
     
  13. May 23, 2011 at 4:44 AM
    #13
    eschmunk

    eschmunk Well-Known Member

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    When I trailer my bike to the track, I use a pitbull trailer restraint. No straps, no pictures either, but you can google it.
     
  14. May 23, 2011 at 4:47 AM
    #14
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    You don't need a canyon dancer if you have a cruiser that allows you to hook directly to the handlebar. The canyon dancer is for full fairing sport bikes that do not accessible have tie down points. Going directly to the handlebar is a much better way to tie down the bike, don't use the canyon dancer unless you need to.

    We're referring to the rear shocks, not the forks. The rear shocks are pre-load adjustable (like the bilstein 5100 fronts).
     
  15. May 23, 2011 at 4:56 AM
    #15
    Firetech

    Firetech Well-Known Member

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    Keep an eye on those tires and wheel bearings, they are small and have to turn at least twice as fast as the tires on your truck. They may over heat at high speeds.
     
  16. May 23, 2011 at 5:05 AM
    #16
    devilstonic

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    I have the suspension on both my motorcycles dialed in for my weight, so I don't change anything when I haul them. Just make sure the straps are secure, you don't need to sinch it down too tight to ensure its safety. Besides if you crank it down too much, you could end up blowing the seals in your forks and the like.
     
  17. May 23, 2011 at 7:32 AM
    #17
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    The reason for using it has more to do with scratching the bars than anything.

    Don't worry about adjusting anything for towing.
     
  18. May 23, 2011 at 8:06 AM
    #18
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    But, the canyon dancer puts all the stress at the very tip of the handlebar and that's a lot of stress when you start talking about bigger cruisers. Put a rag around the handlebar if you're that concerned with it or wrap it with rubber (old cut up bicycle tubes work well). I would only use the canyon dancer set-up in a situation where you do not have anything else to attach to.
     
  19. May 23, 2011 at 8:40 AM
    #19
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    Any strap puts stress on the bars. Whether it's down near the triple clamp or out at the edges, you're still loading the bars. More so with a heavier bike and even more so if you ratchet down on the straps (remember, the goal is to keep the bike on the trailer and steady and it doesn't take much to do that).

    Rags/old bike tubes, that works too and there's nothing wrong with doing it that way either.

    So with a big cruiser, you need to tie the bike down not only at the bars or the front fork but at the rear as well to spread the load and to keep it from moving.
     
  20. May 23, 2011 at 8:55 AM
    #20
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    You're correct, any strap puts stress on the bar but you put significantly more stress on the bars with the canyon dancer since it's at the outter most portion of the handlebar vs. right next to the triple clamp (it's like prying on something with a 6" prybar vs. 24" prybar, you have a lot more torque with the longer bar). You run the risk of bending the handlebars with the canyon dancer set-up. I'm not saying they don't work, I use one for my sport bike, but if there were any way around it I'd ditch it in a heartbeat. I would not use one for a heavier cruiser especially when the handlebars are exposed like the OP's.
     
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