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Wednesday, 28 August 2019 10:51

Hauling a Motorcycle with Your RV Featured

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Motorcycles are a valid local transportation alternative to four-down towing.

Dinghy towing is becoming more popular but also more difficult in one respect: Many models that could be towed four-down years earlier are no longer eligible because of changes in equipment, often a switch to continuously variable transmissions or different transfer cases.

Motorcycles can be towed behind or mounted to motorhomes, and they can be tucked into toy hauler trailers. Although they can’t be towed behind or mounted to the rear of a travel trailer, they can be mounted to the tow vehicle in some cases or secured in the bed of a pickup.

A motorcycle can get you into town for supplies if you equip it with cargo accessories. It can easily transport you, and probably a companion, to a movie or restaurant. And if it’s a dirt bike, it can also take you exploring while you’re boondocking, at least where motorcycles are allowed. And of course it will deliver better mileage than most cars or SUVs. The disadvantage is that bikes aren’t the best choice for foul-weather travel or, for some folks, long distances.

Helmet laws vary by state, so make sure that as you travel, you know where a helmet is required.

Motorcycle Hitch Mounts

A hitch mount works fine on a motorhome. Think of it as a giant bicycle rack. It fits into the female receiver tube on the back of the motorhome.

It can also fit onto the hitch of a tow vehicle. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Great. I can mount a motorcycle carrier to the tow vehicle hitch, but then I can’t pull a trailer.” Some motorcycle carriers, such as the Versa Haul Sport, have trailer hitches of their own that extend off the back of the motorcycle carrier. The hitch on the VH Sport can tow trailers up to 3,000 pounds.

Motorcycle hitch mounts tilt or have a ramp to allow the bike to be placed on the rack. Make sure you like the arrangement on the hitch you buy.

Not all motorcycle hitch mounts are alike. Some things to consider:

  • Capacity. Some carriers can support bikes weighing up to 800 pounds, others less. Know your bike’s weight and the carrier’s capacity.
  • Tire width accommodation. Not all motorcycle hitch mounts can accommodate wide tires on sportier bikes.
  • Materials. Some carriers are steel; some are aluminum, which weighs less and doesn’t rust.
  • Hitch compatibility. Know which class hitch is on your vehicle and whether its receiver tube accepts the male connector on the carrier.
  • Trailer compatibility. If you want to tow a trailer and carry a bike on a hitch mount, make sure the bike hitch can accommodate a trailer as well, and know the maximum trailer weight allowed.

Another type of trailer hitch mount is a carrier rack, which places the front motorcycle wheel off the ground and lets the rear tire roll on the road. These carrier racks will attach to motorhome hitches for considerable savings compared to mounts that have both wheels off the ground. Most manual-transmission bikes can be towed this way, but check your owner’s manual.

Bedtime

If you use a pickup to tow a trailer, you can often secure a bike—or two—in the bed of the pickup. That’s easiest with an 8-foot bed, but a 6-foot bed will often suffice. You’ll need strong ratchet straps that you can attach to cargo hooks in the bed, and wheel chocks.

If you lack the necessary tie-downs, there are brackets that attach permanently to your bed and can help, such as the Bed Buddy brace. You’ll also need a ramp that you buy or make. Follow these instructions on securing motorcycles in a pickup bed.

One caution: Make sure the tongue weight of your loaded trailer, plus the weight of passengers and your bikes, does not exceed the maximum payload of your truck.

Motorcycle Trailers

Motorcycle trailers, depending on the model, will accommodate one or two motorcycles behind a motorhome. Uncovered doubles typically cost $2,000 to $3,000, and singles, $1,000 to $2,000. They provide the support your bike will need to be towed securely.

For an enclosed cargo trailer that accommodates two bikes, figure on about $3,500 or more. Enclosed trailers, although higher priced, protect your bikes from weather and grime, and provide security.

And if you’re not ready to buy a trailer? You can rent one, giving you a chance to try out towing a bike.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Jeffrey M. Dean

Read 23 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 September 2019 10:58

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