Is Motorcycle Trailering For Me?

So, lately you’ve been thinking about pulling a trailer with your motorcycle. Is trailering the best solution for you? The only way to come to the right conclusion is to get the answer to a few basic questions which we’ll consider in this section.

Here’s the first one: What does owning a trailer help me achieve as a rider? Why am I even thinking about owning a trailer? For most people, the answer to this question can be summed up in a word—convenience.

How much time do you spend before a trip trying to figure out how to get all your gear on the bike? How many strategies have you concocted for getting all your gear on board? Ever had a fight with your co-rider about who gets what space? Adding a trailer to your bike will almost surely eliminate the fussing and carping that precedes any long ride.

Packing up in the morning is a snap.  Toss your gear into the trailer, drop the lid, and ride off. When you’re riding with friends, you’ll make the whole trip more enjoyable for your buddies when you offer them a little extra space to pack some gear in your trailer. And you’re not limited to towing your trailer with your motorcycle. You can easily tow your trailer with any vehicle.

Pulling a trailer has some potential safety benefits, too. Trailering makes your bike more visible on the road. Your physical size on the road increases, making you easier for other vehicles to spot. Your trailer also improves your conspicuity at night with its extra lights. And, if you’re the type who stacks their bike high with gear and a co-rider, a trailer will make your ride safer simply by eliminating the top-heavy feel of your bike and restoring its balance.

Trailering with a pop-up camper makes motorcycle camping a blast. Have you passed the age when sleeping on the ground was fun, but still enjoy sitting around the campfire with other riding buddies? A pop-up camper will allow you to really enjoy this aspect of riding. Campers not only making setting up camp easier, they are also more comfortable when you need to ride out a bad weather spell. And have you priced hotel rooms lately? Even at middle-level hotels? For the price difference, you can recoup the cost of a motorcycle camper in just a year or two if you attend a couple of rallies each year or take a couple of long trips.

Trailering your gear means it will stay dry and secure. It means you won’t need to stop to put rain covers on your soft luggage, and your rain gear, kept on top of everything else in your trailer, will be easy to get to quickly without unpacking a bunch of stuff.

Your gear will be far more secure, too, than when strapped to your bike in a couple of soft bags. When you stop for lunch or call it a day, you can easily secure your trailer and its contents without spending time securing your gear or worrying about it when it’s out of sight for a few minutes.

The bottom line is this—a motorcycle trailer will help you enjoy the motorcycle touring experience and, quite possibly, encourage you to ride further and take more trips. How can that be a bad thing?

Is Trailering Safe?

When I talk to a rider who has never pulled a trailer before, I often hear something that starts like this…

“I know this guy who knows a guy who heard that a guy was towing a trailer and it caught the edge of a bridge abutment and yanked his bike so hard it threw him over the bridge onto the Interstate and a truck runned over him.

“I heard about this guy that had a pop-up camper and it popped open whilst he was a running down the Interstate and caught like a parachute and throwed him off.”

“I heard about this guy who…”

Once you’ve heard a few of those stories, you probably start thinking, “Jeez, is towing a trailer safe?”

I understand what people mean when they ask this question, but it’s the wrong question. After all, is riding a motorcycle safe? Motorcycling is an activity that entails risk. Those who ride have judged that they are willing to accept the risks in order to enjoy the reward of riding. Smart riders do things to reduce their risks.

Similarly, towing a trailer with a motorcycle can add some risk to the act of riding. Sometimes people forget they are pulling a trailer or ride too aggressively, and when the trailer hits an unexpected bump or falls off the shoulder of the road, it can momentarily upset a bike’s handling. If you’re caught completely off guard, it might lead you to over correct and crash. On the other hand, if you’re a smart rider, you choose the right trailer, and you learn good habits, your actions can offset those risks. One of the primary aims of this site is to help you make good decisions and learn good habits.