EDs Motorcycle Trailer Owners Blog Learn about motorcycle trailers, informational articles and reviews. 2017-05-13T20:15:39Z http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/feed/atom/ WordPress http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-eds-head-32x32.png admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[WILL MY TRIKE FIT?]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=2471 2017-05-13T20:15:39Z 2017-05-13T20:15:39Z Read More ›]]> At Ironhorse Trailers, the leading streamlined fiberglass cycle carrier on the market, this question seems to come up more and more often, especially since the introduction of the new Harley trike.  There are three issues—length, width and height, and we have three different fliptops—(see www.ironhorsetrailers.com).This triglide trailer could be yours

The wide body trailerOur WideBody is our widest, longest and tallest cycle hauler and will accommodate two of anything up to and including two Boss Hosses.  With a tailgate opening that is 90+ inches wide, a usable internal width at the handlebars of 101+ inches, an internal height of almost 64 inches, a usable internal length of 132 inches and a top that flips up from the rear, it’s very user friendly.  Goldwing trikes with Tulsa windshields are well within its limits as are Can-Am Spyders, Thoroughbred Stallions and even some VW trike conversions.  With the tailgate down and the top up, it looks from the rear like a C130 ready for loading.

Our two-bike flip top can handle most but not necessarily all trikes.  What you have to keep in mind is that even though a trailer may have the internal width to accommodate your ride, you’ve still got to get through the tailgate opening.  Unfortunately this is not as simple as it sounds.  The tailgate of our two bike cycle hauler is 72 inches wide but the door jambs and stabilizer jack housings cut the available width to 67 inches.  Fortunately that’s plenty wide for Honda and Harley trike conversions and Can-Am Spyders and still leaves enough room to step off and walk out rather than having to climb over your tour pack.  But but side-car motorcycles and VW trike conversions are simply out of the question.

In some cases, width isn’t an issue, but length is.   A Thoroughbred Stallion will fit through the door of our two-bike cycle hauler, but it’s just a little bit too long for it.  Although the trailer is a little longer than the Stallion, the proprietary hinge for the top is mounted exactly in the middle of the front of the trailer and is about a foot and a half wide.  The hinge combined with the rearward slope of the front of the body limits the usable length at the two foot level to 120 inches..

With a tailgate opening that is only 49 inches wide, our one bike fliptop is one heck of a single motorcycle trailer but it does have its limits.  Although it’s wide enough for two scooters or motorcross bikes, there are only a few narrow track trikes that will fit through the door.  .

Hopefully this answers your capacity questions.  If not, get the specs for what you want to haul and call us at 931-668-8860. Towing will never be as much fun as riding but Ironhorse Trailers make it a lot less painful.


USA Built motorcycle trailer

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[Why People Believe Ironhorse Trailers are worth the money!]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=2464 2017-05-13T19:10:37Z 2017-05-13T19:10:09Z Read More ›]]>

Because they are as outrageously user-friendly as they are beautiful.

Economy—mpg—tow with anything
Safety & stress—cross winds—semis—fishtailing—forget it’s back there

Easy to tow—start —downshift
Stress-free–easy to stop—no push/pull jostling

Tongue weight—xmission position—hard to over or under load
Tongue length—hard to jack knife—no fishtailing
Axle—independent suspension rubber torsion axle

Safety–full width tailgate/loading ramp
Convenience 1—proprietary ride-on step-off wheel chocks
Convenience 2—no tow vehicle required

Tie Down
Security—5,000 d-rings and front wheel chocks pre-installed
Convenience 1–d-rings in the right place for 2 strap tie-down
Convenience 2—no need to crawl around front—tie down in middle

Hitch/Unhitch–Put away/Retrieve
Convenience 1—front rolling jack—move tongue as needed
Convenience 2—front rolling jack—move trailer by hand—even loaded

Convenience 1—Low enough to fit under standard garage door
Convenience 2—Can use as garage within a garage for bikes

Exterior—no rivets–gelcoat easy to hose down/wipe off—long life
Hardware—LED lights and aluminum wheels last forever
Wheel bearings—E-Z lube

Responsiveness—Heroic customer service when circumstances warrant
Technical advice—As close as your phone—as specific as your problem
Longevity—Nominal warranty term vs. actual term

Resale/Trade-in Value
Why sell—family demands, physical issues, financial reversals
Ironhorse resale–75% of IH price new price after several years
Low price alt resale—50% after a couple of years
Trade-in—IH always takes its trailers in trade

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[Choosing a Trailer for Your Trike ?]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=2438 2017-05-13T19:01:19Z 2017-05-05T11:51:15Z Read More ›]]> This triglide trailer could be yoursAt Ironhorse Trailers, a leading manufacturer of premium cycle trailers, a larger and larger percentage of our sales are to trike owners.  Choosing a trailer sounds like a pretty simple decision but like many other things, there’s more to it than first appears.

Length—How long does it need to be?  At a minimum, its platform or runners have got to be as long as the wheelbase of your trike.  If it has a tailgate and/or a sloped top, it’s got to be long enough for them to close as well.  But that’s just part of the answer.  Trike have much more weight behind the seat than equivalent bikes.  So you have to load trikes further forward on a given trailer than you would a bike.  Otherwise your loaded trailer will fishtail when you tow it and may even sit on its rear when it’s unhitched.

Width—How wide does it need to be?  It depends on where you are talkingabout.  The door opening clearly needs to be wide enough for your to ride through it with about three or four inches to spare. But that’s only part of the story.  Unless you are a gymnast you need enough room between the wheel wells to walk out with having to climb over the wheel wells or your tour pack.  Surprisingly perhaps, width is just as critical on open trailers as narrow trailers with side rails can be deadly trip hazards.

This trike trailer was just deliveredHeight—Do you need to be able to park your trailer under a garage?  If so, a low profile trailer is in your future.  But there are two types of low profile trailers—fixed tops and flip tops.  With fixed tops you take your life in your hands every time you ride through the door opening and if you are very tall, there are only two possibilities.  You’ll have to remember to duck the entire time you are inside your trailer or you’ll have to put up with a lot of headaches.  And you can forget that 19 inch windshield you’ve had your eye on; it ain’t gonna happen.

Driveway maneuverability—You can buy a lightweight, well-balanced single axle Ironhorse flip top trailer with a rolling jack and enjoy zero-turn handling and parking.  Or  you can buy a tandem axle metal box trailer from the competition and forget about moving it around by hand—ever!

Fuel Efficiency—Most metal box trailers are shaped like a giant brick and tow like one as well.  Even the ones with V-noses and flat sides generate a lot of turbulence which has to be dragged along with the trailer, effectively increasing its cross-section and wind resistance.  By contrast, Ironhorse Trailers (see www.ironhorsetrailers) look more like a bullet and slide effortlessly through the air as well.  So much so that many Ironhorse owners say that they get 50 percent better mileage than they did with their metal boxes..

Towing fun—Come to think about it, maybe that’s going too far.  Windy weather, highway expansion joints, and hills and mountains pretty much guarantee that towing is never going to be fun.  But an Ironhorse Trailer can certainly make it a lot less painful.  Call 1-888-793-6184 if you have any questions.


Trike Trailer

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ed http://www.ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[All About Wind Resistance]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=2430 2017-05-05T08:48:04Z 2017-05-05T08:48:04Z Read More ›]]> How hard a trailer is to tow is a function of the total forces tying to keep it from moving forward:

Wind Resistance

+            Rolling Resistance

+            Weight X Acceleration

+          Grade ( < 1 for downhill, > 1 for Uphill)


=          Total Resistance

So what does this have to do with choosing a motorcycle trailer?  Generally fiberglass and aluminum cycle haulers are much lighter than steel ones of similar size and shape.  Likewise, trailers with four tires will generally have more rolling resistance than identical ones with two tires.  But rolling resistance is the same whether you are sitting still or towing your bike hauler 90 miles per hour.

So what, besides towing slower, can you do to conserve fuel and money?  That’s where it gets really interesting because with respect to towing ease and fuel economy, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is wind resistance. So let’s look at what that is all about..

Check our the drag

The force required to overcome wind resistance is given by:

Trailer drag coefficient (a constant)

X         The frontal area of the trailer (a variable)

X            Trailer air speed squared (a variable)

X         Air density factor (another constant)


=          Force required to overcome wind resistance

Identical trailers have the same drag coefficient, but different trailers or other vehicles have different coefficients.  If you look closely at the arithmetic above, a couple of things become clear.  Holding everything else constant and then checking the first three lines in the arithmetic above one by one leads to some interesting conclusions:

  • A trailer with twice as great a drag coefficient as some other trailer will require twice as much force to overcome wind resistance.
  • A trailer with twice as large a frontal area as some other trailer will require twice as much force to overcome wind resistance.
  • A trailer at 100 mph will require 100 times the force required to overcome wind resistance at 10 mph.

When it comes to towing ease and fuel economy, it’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of the frontal area and the drag coefficient of a particular trailer design.

The frontal area of a trailer is simply how tall it is multiplied by how wide it is. But the drag coefficient can only be approximated by some terribly complex mathematical calculations, or by wind tunnel testing.

What was that?  Was that the cry of the far from extinct “yeah, but” bird?  Sure it was and rightly so.  Yes, but what about the fact that there’s always a tow vehicle pushing the air out of the way in front of your bike hauler?  Yep, that cuts down on the wind resistance your trailer meets—some, but not as much as you might think.  Just remember  how much the wind buffets your bike when you tow it on an open trailer.  A trailer with a smaller frontal area will still meet less wind resistance than one with a larger front area, etc.

Where can you get the drag coefficients for different trailers?  Don’t hold your breath waiting on box trailer manufacturers to supply them.  And unless you work for a well known racing team, you probably don’t have access to a wind tunnel.  So where does that leave you?  Take a look at these published drag coefficients I dug up.

.                                   Shape                                      Drag Coefficient

2005 Toyota Camry                            .28

2006 Corvette                                     .34

2004 Dodge Durango                        .39

2003 H2 Hummer                             .57

A typical truck            .                      .60

A person on a bicycle                        .90

A smooth brick                                    2.1

So how can use this information?  Stand 100 feet back from the front of the trailer you already have or are thinking about buying.  If it’s seven feet wide by seven feet tall, it may be called a low hauler low profile motorcycle trailer, but it’s frontal area is still forty nine square feet.

Yeah, but what if it’s nose is not flat? When it comes to frontal area, shape doesn’t matter, but remember that shape, primarily the shape of the nose, determines the drag coefficient of trailers.  And if the trailer in question has a flat nose, it’s just like a big shiny brick.   So you may as well plan on keeping your fuel card on the console next to you because you’ll need it again before you know it.   What if it has a bulbous. sloped or a V nose?  Well it’ll pull easier than a huge oversized brick but I expect its drag coefficient will still be a lot closer to the brick end of the scale than it will be to a Toyota Camry.


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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[The Tandem Axle Fallacy]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=427 2017-05-05T07:49:04Z 2015-01-04T11:10:56Z Read More ›]]> There is no opinion stronger than one totally unsupported by evidence, experience or education. That describes the widely held opinion that tandem axle trailers are naturally superior to single axle trailers. I’ve got an opinion too but, by contrast, it’s based on well over a million miles of firsthand experience, not to mention the secondhand experience we get from our customers.

Specifically, we’ve used six or seven drivers to deliver Ironhorse trailers all over the U.S. So far those drivers have racked up well over a million miles. Roughly half of those were in a dually towing a tandem axle transport trailer with zero, one, two and three Ironhorse trailers on board. The rest of the miles were rolled up using pickups and SUV’s to ground tow one or two single torsion axle Ironhorse trailers at a time.

So why do so many believe tandem axle trailers are naturally superior? Typically it seems to be that they are fixated on a single imaginary advantage. Specifically, what we hear most often is the opinion that: 1) if you have a flat or blowout on one side, the other tire will keep you from running off the road, 2) a tandem axle trailer is much more stable, 3) if the trailer comes off the ball, a tandem axle trailer won’t go crazy like a single axle trailer will, and 4) you can carry more load with a tandem axle trailer than with a single axle trailer.

Flats and Blowouts
So what happened when our drivers had blowouts? As you might expect, it depended on whether they were towing tandem or single axle trailers. When a tandem axle trailer had a blowout nothing much happened, unless someone flagged the driver down. BUT that’s not typically what happened. Instead the remaining good tire on that side carried the load only a few more miles before it failed too. Just what you would expect since the remaining tire was only strong enough to carry half the load.

If somebody flagged the driver down before the second tire blew, it was easier to change the flat—just roll the remaining tire up on something thick enough to get the flat off the ground. That is much easier than jacking up a single axle trailer under similar conditions. BUT if nobody flagged the driver down and he wound up with two flat tires, not only did he have to jack up the double axle trailer, he had to change and we had to replace two tires.

What about the running off the road bit? To make a long story short, it didn’t happen. Instead both our tandem axle transporters and single axle trailers continued to pull straight and true. In either case, until one flat tire on the single axle trailers and two flat tires on the tandem axle trailers came completely apart, the driver would first notice that his tow vehicle seemed to be a little bit sluggish. Next he might notice some minor but rapidly increasing vibration which would eventually become strong enough to get his attention.

In one case, a customer was towing his single axle WideBody with a Class A motorhome when a truck driver tried to flag him down. Although there were two Harley Street Glides and one mini golf cart in the trailer, when he looked at his rear view camera display, he kept going because he couldn’t anything wrong. But the truck driver didn’t give up and, if anything, redoubled his efforts. Ultimately, our customer stopped only to find a tire completely gone except for some of the radial wire circles around the wheel. When he looked a little closer, about 3/16” was worn off the outer edges of the aluminum wheel!

How about the difference between the stability of single axle trailers and tandem axle trailers? Our experience suggests there isn’t any. On the other hand, single axle trailers with very short distances between the coupler and the axle are much less stable than tandem axles trailers with a much greater distance between the coupler and a point midway between the two axles. Likewise, single axle trailers are generally harder to load properly—too far forward and you get bumper sag, too far backward and your trailer tends to sway from side to side. Tandem axle trailers, while still not idiot proof, are nevertheless less sensitive to load imbalances.

What about the relative stability of the two types of trailers under extreme conditions? Specifically what happens to each when they “come off the ball”? It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s caused by human or mechanical error. The result in either event is a severe case of the safety chain mamba. According to a couple of our drivers who experienced this sphincter tightening experience, it doesn’t seem to matter whether one is towing a single or tandem axle trailer. It’s terrifying either way.

Load Carrying Capacity
It is well known that in the enclosed cargo trailer market, low price, not cash, is king. Clearly trailer builders can’t sell for less unless they build for less and you can bet that the largest low price builders have figured out how to do that. Not only do they use a lot of automation, each component of their trailers is designed to meet specific cost and performance targets. No less and no more—excess component performance capability raises costs and makes a specific model less competitive.

Now suppose one of these trailer builders has a hot selling single axle model with a 3500 lb. maximum weight with moderate sales while the sales arm of the company insists an identical trailer with a 5000 lb. maximum weight would sell even better. That leaves the builder in a quandary. One option is to switch to a 5000 lb. single axle and beef up the chassis to handle the extra stress. A second option is to slap two 2500 lb. axles on the original chassis and hope that spreading the load over a longer portion of the chassis will be enough to keep it from failing under hard use.

The third, and least attractive, option for the builder is to redesign the chassis to accommodate tandem 2500 lb. axles–not the least cost path nor the path of least resistance. That’s something to remember the next time you are tempted by a relatively small but nevertheless flashy looking tandem axle motorcycle trailer.

While some of the widely held biases against single axle trailers are obviously incorrect, clearly there must be some limit to how long a single axle trailer can be. Not really, as long as the trailer chassis frame rails are strong enough to support the entire load concentrated over the few inches where the axle is attached. Long fifth wheel trailers with single width axles with dual tires on each side are especially common in areas with stiff per axle tolls. In this case, of course, the single axle is mounted so far to the rear and the front is so firmly supported by the rear suspension of the trucks towing them that there is little danger of loading such a trailer too far to the rear.

Why else do knowledgeable buyers often prefer single axle to dual axle trailers? Maneuverability is the main issue. Add a rolling jack to the front of a single axle “personal” trailer and its owner can move it around at will. A fact that greatly simplifies hitching and unhitching and putting it away and retrieving it. Put dual axles on the same trailer and you have to get the ball on your tow vehicle directly under the coupler before you can hitch the trailer—no matter how many tries that may take.

Turn a loaded tandem axle trailer too sharply and it pivots on one of the tires on the inside of the turn. Sadly, it can and often does actually drag one or more of the other tires off the rim. And even if it doesn’t, the cumulative effect of overstressing the sidewalls dramatically shortens tire life. That’s why trailers used to deliver goods to retail outlets rarely have tandem axles. Because of the sharp turns such trailers have to make and the tire problems that result, single axles make a lot more sense. This is such a common problem that back along the way the tire industry developed “Special Trailer” tires with extra strong sidewalls. (Although ST tires are widely used on single and dual axle trailers, it’s not absolutely clear that they are even necessary on single axle trailers.)

Tandem trailers have their place but it is not self-evident that they are superior for every trailer application.

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[Ironhorse Transitions to Aluminum Chassis]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=398 2017-05-05T07:53:00Z 2014-10-02T15:23:53Z Read More ›]]> Despite our many improvements over the years, a couple of deficiencies continued to concern us. Switching to aluminum eliminated a deficiency that, although quite minor, was seen by some to be quite serious. Simultaneously, it simplified eliminating the other more real deficiency and yielded a great side effect as well.

The problem was that not even powder coated steel frames are one hundred percent rust proof. The Ironhorse chasses from the worst part of the snowbelt and the coast seemed to develop a rust color faster than we or some of our customers expected. In fact the poorly painted (subcontractor) steel chasses we used for the first year or two lasted over a dozen years in that kind of environment before becoming structurally questionable. Although it takes a long time to rust through 11 gauge steel, powder coating slows it down even more. Since that ugly rust color was a real concern to some Ironhorse owners, switching to aluminum made a lot of sense.

The other issue was the durability of the wiring. To make a long story short, we deliberately chose thick aluminum C-channel for the perimeter rails on the new aluminum chassis. That allows us to run plastic conduit for the wiring on the inside of the channel. At the same time, we switched to heat shrink connectors instead of standard butt connectors. The overall result is more durable and reliable wiring.

The most dramatic side effect of the switch to aluminum was the weight loss that came with it. In fact it cut about 15% off the total weight of each of our trailers. But don’t look for that kind of drop in the published weights. While we knew some of the improvements we made over the years made our trailers heavier, we apparently neglected to update our published weights until now.
Now that we’ve eliminated the deficiencies above, when it comes to comes to convenience, economy, exclusivity, reliability, durability, security and resale value, Ironhorse has further extended its lead over the Motorcycle Trailers pack.

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[Thou Shalt Not Loan Thy Ironhorse Trailer]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=386 2017-05-05T07:46:28Z 2014-10-01T16:22:12Z Read More ›]]> As several Ironhorse owners have discovered, that really should be the first commandment of Ironhorse ownership.

Why? Think about it for a minute. First, if your friend had a trailer, he/she wouldn’t be borrowing yours. Second, if he/she doesn’t have a trailer, what’s the chance that he/she’s got any idea how to handle yours?

Oh, but your friend has a boat or utility trailer you say. That’s good, as far as it goes. That means he/she probably knows how to hitch and unhitch a trailer and maybe how to back it up. But those skills don’t help much when he/she tries to back an enclosed 8.5 feet wide Ironhorse through an eight foot opening. Nor do they keep him/her from towing your pride and joy through a fast food or bank drive thru. Or even when he/she cuts a corner short and drags it up on a curb and back down again.

Likewise, what’s the chance the borrower knows anything about loading a bike(s) into a trailer with a ride on step off wheel chock(s)? The open “wings” on the front of the wheel chocks that look so inviting from the bottom of the loading ramp are a lot harder to see as you ride into the trailer. And what do you suppose happens if your front tire is so far to one side that you ride up on the end of the wing? Just what you would think. When 500 lbs. comes down on the end of a piece of steel two inches wide and ¼” thick standing at a 45 degree angle from the floor, something has to give. In that case, it is typically the two inch wide and ¼” thick connector between the cradle’s front and rear “wings”–it twists the front “wing” and the connector to the side the tire rode up on.

That kind of episode leads to some highly strained and sometimes heated conversations. What are you going to say when your buddy brings your trailer back saying that those ride on step off wheel chocks don’t hold the bike up straight like you said they would? Or, better yet, how do you think he/she’s going to react when you tell him/her that it’s going to cost $700 to fix those three inch long scratches and/or gouges in your custom paint job.

But surely these kind of things are highly unusual. Not really. The basic truth is that nobody else will ever value your trailer as highly as you do. Even if they are trailer-proficient, they aren’t going to care for your trailer the way you do.

All in all, it’s pretty simple. If you value your trailer and your friendships, DON’T loan your buddy your Ironhorse.

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[FIBERGLASS VS. METAL TRAILER BODIES]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=377 2017-05-05T07:38:42Z 2013-11-19T03:09:38Z Read More ›]]> Ironhorse Motorcycle Trailers fiberglass walls respond differently from metal box trailer walls to the same kinds of road hazards, accidents, malicious mischief, and cumulative use. That’s because Ironhorse Trailers fiberglass walls consist of a thick, extremely resilient, substrate layer of glass fibers embedded in plastic and a thin, less resilient, surface layer of gelcoat.

Road Hazards

Have you ever seen a metal box trailer without an add-on aluminum gravel shield? Probably not, but if you find one, the front will be covered with small dents, rust spots and dings. But you never see an Ironhorse Motorcycle Trailer with an aluminum gravel shield. Nor do you see one with small dents, rust spots and dings. That’s because gelcoat is extremely tough, the fiberglass behind it is extremely flexible and the shapes of the Ironhorse Motorcycle Trailers noses are designed to divert stones to each side.

Minor accidents

What about a baseball or golf ball hitting the trailer? The same accidental impact from one of these that leaves a permanent dent in a metal box trailer is unlikely to leave any mark on an Ironhorse Motorcycle Trailer.

Malicious mischief

What about a kid with a teenager who bangs the side of his fist against the side of a trailer. The same blow leaves a dent in a metal box trailer is unlikely to leave any kind of mark on an Ironhorse trailer.

Cumulative Wear

Most metal box trailers have vertical wall sections joined together and to wall studs with rivets. As the metal expands and contracts with temperature changes, the joints between the sections loosen, the walls bulge, and the rivets ultimately pop out. That’s why so many of them are known in the industry as “Two Year Trailers”. Other metal box trailer manufacturers have adopted space age adhesives as a way to combat this problem. But none, to my knowledge, has every found a way to keep metal from expanding and contracting and prevent the wall bulges that go with it. By contrast, Ironhorse Trailers Generation Three fiberglass bodies are one-piece and independent from the top. There are no joints that need to be riveted or glued nor, as a result, any bulges or rivets popping out of wall sections. Even better, Ironhorse one piece fiberglass bodies get harder and stronger with age.

Major collisions

A collision from the rear, the side, or partially head on typically not only ruins metal wall sections at the point of impact but also the metal studs behind the wall, the “rafters” that support the top and the cross members beneath the floor. Unfortunately repairing such damage requires removing and replacing wall sections and other components and is both time consuming and expensive. The same kind of collision will crush the fiberglass on an Ironhorse Trailer at the point of impact, but it will not typically damage the fiberglass top nor do any serious damage to any of the frame members. That’s because Ironhorse trailers have heavy duty tubular steel perimeter rails and a similar center rail that that runs from the coupler to the rear cross member not to mention heavy duty cross members as well. Fortunately, broken fiberglass and bent tubular steel are both readily repairable and rarely require removal and replacement.

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[Ten Things to Think about when Choosing Wheel Chock(s) for Your Motorcycle Trailer]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=228 2017-05-05T07:47:16Z 2012-08-21T01:59:00Z Read More ›]]> 1. Independence

Will you be able to ride your bike into your motorcycle trailer and step off, or will you have to put it on the kickstand and get somebody to hold it while you tie it down?

2. Put In Ease

Will your bike roll straight into your motorcycle trailer or will you need to “goose” the throttle to get it to up and over a cradle pivot point? How high is the pivot point?

3. Take Out

Can you just lean backwards and roll back or will getting it out of your motorcycle trailer require a major effort and maybe even somebody with a pry bar?

4. Removability

How hard is it to remove the chock from the floor of your motorcycle trailer, and replace it the next time you need it?

5. Tire Size

What kind of adjustments have to be made for different width and diameter tires and how hard are they?

6. Tire Damage

Are the areas where the chock contacts the tire large enough to distribute the pressure that is an inevitable result of your strapping your bike into the chock?

7. Ruggedness

Is it likely to collapse or is it so overbuilt that it adds fifty pounds or so the weight you’ll trailer? (Some Aisian copies of Made in U.S.A. chocks are made of MUCH thinner metals.)

8. Bulkiness

Is it compact enough to store easily when it is not in your motorcycle trailer or is it so awkwardly shaped that it takes up a lot of storage space?

9. Design

Is the design straightforward are is it over engineered with moving parts that can wear out or fail?

10. Price

Is its cost in line with its capabilities? (Motorcycle wheel chocks start around $40 and go up from there. While you won’t get much for $40, you also won’t get many more benefits if you spend more than $150.)

our motorcycle chocks at Ironhorse are the finest
The chocks at Ironhorse Trailers

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admin http://ironhorsetrailers.com <![CDATA[The Apples to Apples Trap]]> http://www.bestmotorcycletrailer.com/?p=218 2017-05-05T07:40:33Z 2011-12-13T15:58:19Z Read More ›]]> What do apples have to do with trailers?  Not a whole lot, but a comparison of ripe red apples to green apples prematurely picked from the tree is a good place to start thinking about what kind of motorcycle trailer you need and which one is likely to give you the most bang for the buck.

Suppose a ripe red apple costs $.37 at the local fruit stand but a green apple is only a $.25.  Well clearly the green apple is a much better deal, right?  Only if you ignore the taste, the texture, and the green apple quick step you’ll get from eating it raw.

In other words, as long as you look only at the easily measurable cost of two similar items, you will continue to make highly questionable and sometimes flat wrong purchasing decisions;  decisions that wind up being hard to live with.

To avoid buying a motorcycle trailer that you’ll have trouble living with, you have to think through the whole trailering experience from A to Z.  That experience starts when you hitch your new trailer to your tow vehicle and continues until you trade it in for a later model, or sell it on Ebay or Craigslist because you no longer need it.

What kind of experience will you have hitching up your trailer?  If it weighs a ton, has tandem ales, and no wheel on the bottom of the jack, you can forget moving the tongue a little bit to get the coupler over the ball.  Instead, if you are by yourself, you’ll have to back up, get out and check, get back in and adjust your position, over and over until the coupler is exactly over the ball.  It’s pretty easy to spot tow vehicles used with this kind of trailer—most of them have dents in the rear bumper from hitching mistakes.

What kind of experience will you have loading and unloading your bike?  If your trailer has a barn door instead of a ramp door, you’ll need ramps–ramps that you have to keep up with and haul around with you when you transport your bike.  And don’t forget those heart-stopping moments when you are on the ramp but not in the trailer or on the ground, and your feet won’t touch the ground.  You can often spot bikes that are loaded and unloaded this way by bent brake or clutch handles, dents in the gas tank, paint chips on the fenders, etc.

What about securing your bikes?  It’s been said that good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.  Trailering beginners exercise bad judgment by not taking the time and making the effort to really understand the problem. The experience that gets them past the beginner stage is opening the door of their trailer only to find their bike lying on its side or, worse yet, one bike lying underneath another.  Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.  With the right chock, the right straps, d-rings in the right place and the right tie-on spots on your bike, one person can quickly and easily secure a bike for a 3,000 mile trip with only two straps.  (No need for any front-end around and over acrobatics as that’s not where the two straps go!)

To make bad matters worse, you have to be careful where you turn for help in making sure you have a positive trailering experience.  There’s a whole lot more trailer salespeople, bike dealership employees, and just plain biker friends who think they know how to tie bikes down than there are who really know how.  Consider the Honda dealership employee who told a trailer owner to put his Wing up on the center stand to tie it down.  That effectively turned the Wing into a pile driver which punched through the wood floor in roughly a dozen miles.

So when you are evaluating different trailers, unless you already fully understand the two strap tie down system, be careful! There’s ten times as much misinformation out there as there is good info.  And just because a trailer already has a few tiedowns and a couple of wheel chocks doesn’t mean they are in the right place for your bike(s).  Instead they are probably where somebody at the manufacturer though they should go.  And all of his experience may have been with motocross bikes when he was barely a teenager.

Driving is driving, right?  So your experience pulling one motorcycle trailer should be pretty much the same as it is pulling any other one.  Not hardly.  If the design of your motorcycle trailer causes or permits the front end to be overloaded (chocks against the front wall of a trailer considerably longer than your bikes), you may find yourself driving down the road with the front end of your tow vehicle much higher than normal and the backend practically dragging.  That might be a little hard on your nerves but it’ll probably be a lot harder on your tow vehicle.
On the other hand, fishtailing is not fun and as anyone who has ever experienced it knows all too well, it can be scary enough to really give your sphincter a workout.  Yet that’s what can happen if the inherent design of your motorcycle trailer encourages you to overload the rear of your trailer.  But if your motorcycle trailer has flat sides, a back end overload isn’t the only thing that can kick-off a fishtailing episode.

When you pass or are passed by an 18 wheeler at highway speeds, you have to be prepared to counter the sideways push-pull-push you feel.  As you get closer and as you leave its side, turbulence pushes you away from the semi.  But when you are side by side, the semi trailer sucks you toward it.  if you are back end loaded and towing over 55 mph, you’ll get a quick introduction to the “joys” of fishtailing.  And the LONGER, TALLER and the FLATTER the sides of your trailer, the worse the fishtailing will be.

Unfortunately fishtailing is not the only thing you have to worry about with a flat sided trailer.  Strong crosswinds can literally blow you off the road while even moderate ones can move you from one lane to another.  Steady strong cross winds are one thing; you just hang on to opposite side of the steering wheel with both hands.  But strong gusty cross wind are quite another. Your only real choices are to slow to a crawl, or find somewhere to hole up until the weather changes.  Again, the longer, taller and flatter the sides of your trailer, the more severe the problem and the worse the trailering experience you’re likely to have.

How do you feel about fuel economy and frequent downshifting?  The heavier your trailer and the hillier the roads you travel, the more often your automatic transmission will downshift.  Check your owner’s manual and you’ll find some sound advice about how much downshifting is acceptable before you should turn your overdrive off.  But keep in mind, there’s no free lunch; clearly your engine will rev higher and it will likely burn more fuel.

Speaking of fuel, buy a tall heavy box-shaped motorcycle trailer and you can expect your towing mileage to be not much more than 45% of what the same vehicle gets when it isn’t towing.  Add a V shaped nose and you may be able to increase that up to as much as 55-60%.  Chop that extra foot off the top and there’s a chance you’ll see 60-65%. drop.  But you won’t see 80-90% unless you buy a low lightweight  trailer shaped a lot more like a bullet than a brick, and made out of something much lighter than steel.  (Mileage reductions are much less extreme for special purpose vehicles like diesel duallies.)

Let’s pause for a minute and remember that this is supposed to be about the whole trailering experience, and that experience includes a strong psychological component as well as the physical realities we’ve talked about so far.  If you are like most people who trailer, you are in a good mood on your way to some fun riding or coming home from such fun.  How long do you think that good mood will last when you stop for the umpteenth time to refuel?  How long do you think it will last if you have to fight to keep your vehicle on the road in crosswinds?  How long do you think it will last if you survive a serious fishtailing incident only to have to call a tow truck to get you out of the ditch and/or have to stop to clean out your pants?  Clearly when you ignore the emotional impact of buying one motorcycle trailer versus another, you may well live to regret it.

Unhitching your trailer is easy but putting it away and retrieving it can be a little harder.  Putting it away may be as simple as backing it into a regular parking space in a defined parking area or as complicated as parallel parking it.  Regardless of whether putting your trailer away and retrieving it are simple or complex, how hard they are depends on which trailer you choose.

If it has tandem axles, your manual options are limited.  Get enough help and depending on how heavy it is, you may be able to actually move it forward or backward.  But if you want to turn it and reposition it, you’ll need a small tractor.  By contrast, anything with only two wheels and weighing less than 1500 lbs can be moved around on level pavement or hard packed ground with a $59.95 dolly from Harbor Freight.   Even if it has a couple of big bikes in it.

But if your trailer is parked on sloping ground, you can forget moving it around by hand, loaded or unloaded.  It’s simply too hard to push uphill and too dangerous to pull down hill as even a light trailer can easily over run a really strong man.  So you need to think long and hard about just how you will use your trailer before your buy one.  In general, the more often you intend to use it and the more different temporary stops you expect to make, the more lack of maneuverability will limit your enjoyment of the trailering experience.

Let’s not forget storage.  After all, that’s where motorcycle trailers spend the lion’s share of their lives.  If the trailer you buy is too tall or too wide, it won’t fit through your garage door.  If it’s too heavy and has tandem wheels, forget about occasionally rolling it outside and hosing it off.  It’ll stay right where it is until the next time you really need to use it.

Last but not least, there’s resale value.  The current economic climate has literally put some major cargo trailer manufacturers out of business.  That’s allowed other trailer industry executives to acquire physical and human resources and raw material inventories at bargain basement prices.  The result is a flurry of cargo trailers so cheap they have to be seen to be believed.  Granted the quality of some of these trailers is so questionable that the new companies may not last long.  But while they are around, they put so much downward pressures on the resale value of similar looking trailers that any cash you put in one evaporates as soon as you tow it off the lot.

Fortunately cargo type motorcycle trailers are not your only option.  Ironhorse trailers look so different and are seen as so much better suited to motorcycle hauling that they are virtually immune to downward pressure from plummeting cargo trailer prices.  That, and their ever-growing popularity, has kept their resale values high.  The record as far as we can tell is an owner whose actual depreciation over several years amounted to less than $12 per month.

So the next time you are considering buying a motorcycle trailer, remember that there’s a lot more to buying apples and motorcycle trailers than simply comparing prices.  After all, if you are going to trailer your bike(s), you are buying not just a trailer but also a whole bundle of individual experiences.  And that the outcome of each of these individual experience can range from highly positive to extremely negative.  Clearly those who choose trailers with the biggest positive bundles will get the most out of trailering.  Those who ignore these factors will find that trailering can  be a real pain in the ass.

Copyright © 2009
This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.
The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright, unless you have attained written permission from Ironhorse Trailers, Inc. If this content is not in your news reader, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint: