Touring on a motorcycle is fun but limited storage space under the seat or in saddlebags restricts your ability to bring along necessary items. When you need to carry more luggage and supplies, consider buying a cargo trailer, specially designed to pull behind your bike. When choosing a trailer, consider quality before price.
- Skill level:
Go light. Look for a cargo trailer that weighs in at less than 300 lbs. fully loaded. Obviously, the more the trailer weighs the less cargo you can haul. An empty trailer should not weigh more than 130 lbs.
Inspect the structure of the cargo trailer frame for sturdiness. Tubular steel is a good choice since it strong and weighs less than angle iron or flat stock. Look carefully at the fiberglass construction. Hand-laid fiberglass is preferable for strength and durability.
Measure the width of the trailer and compare it to the total width of your touring bike with fully loaded saddlebags. The cargo trailer should not exceed this measurement. If it does, you may experience destabilizing turbulence. In addition, a wide trailer will force you to drive in the middle of the lane where road oils accumulate.
Look for an aerodynamic design to increase gas mileage and prevent carbon monoxide fumes from re-circulating in your breathing space. A trailer with a low-sloped front allows air and exhaust to flow safely behind the bike. A high, abrupt front edge may cause fumes to circulate into the low-pressure area just behind your windscreen, creating a toxic breathing situation.
Choose an inside storage area without special compartments. Some cargo trailers offer all kinds of built-in nooks and crannies but they restrict space for large items like golf clubs, tents or coolers. Instead, opt for a large, unrestricted storage area and pack your items carefully.
Tips and warnings
- Consider price secondary to quality. An inexpensive but poorly designed trailer may slow down your trip whereas a quality one can haul many items and actually step-up the stability of your bike as it increases the overall gravity base, making your ride smoother and safer.