It’s funny – swivel hitches actually have nothing to do with hitches. A “swivel hitch” is really a swivel adapter that attaches to the coupler on your trailer, not the hitch on your bike. A swivel adapter allows the coupler on your trailer to rotate further than it would with the standard ball-and-socket connection with the hitch.
Is that a good thing, or not? The use of swivel is hotly debated on many motorcycle forums. Folks in the “pro-swivel” camp say that a swivel will help a trailer tow smoother because it pivots easier and further than the ball-and-socket joint that couples the bike and trailer. “Anti-swivel” folks cite that it doesn’t make the trailer feel that much different and is just a waste of money.
I’ve towed trailers with and without swivels and here’s what I think. If your only reason for buying a swivel is to make the trailer “feel” better, it’s probably not worth the money. (And I say that as someone who sells them! But keep reading…). When I’m towing a cargo trailer, I can’t really feel any difference, and that’s regardless how aggressive I’m riding. When towing a heavy trailer, it does make the trailer set up a little faster behind the bike, and that makes it more comfortable. But I’d tow the same trailer without a swivel anyway.
Now, there is one good reason why I do have a swivel on my camper, and it has nothing to do with feel. I put a swivel on my trailer because it’s cheap insurance in case the bike, with trailer attached, falls over in a parking lot. Over the years, I’ve made good money selling replacement hitches and tongues to folks who had their bike tip over in a parking lot with trailer attached, and bent the tongue and hitch. With a swivel, there’s little chance you’ll damage anything other than your pride.
Swivels install easily,and I’ve created a video showing how it works. Take a look at this:
Safe riding, and happy swiveling!