Few feelings are better than rushing along in your motorcycle, the wind against your helmet and rustling your clothes. The rush of adrenaline you get as you cruise down the highway is unlike any other.
If you could, you’d travel just about anywhere on your motorcycle. That gives you an idea. You recently bought a teardrop trailer. The vehicle is small and dependable enough that it suits your needs and budget.
Now you’re wondering, can you tow it with your motorcycle? The average weight of a motorcycle is 400 pounds. That means you should be able to tow some lightweight teardrop trailers that are close to that weight. Any vehicle that’s 1,000 pounds and over is too risky.
Can a Motorcycle Pull a Teardrop Trailer?
If your teardrop trailer is small enough, then yes, you should be able to tow it with a motorcycle no problem. Of course, this depends on the weight of your trailer. As you might recall from reading this blog, the average weight range of teardrop trailers is between 500 and 3,200 pounds.
As you could imagine, then, trailers that are on the heavier side of the spectrum are not eligible for towing with a motorcycle. You’d probably even be prohibited from using a car for towing, at least for your own safety. For teardrops that are 2,000 to 3,000 pounds and up, only pickup trucks and hardy SUVs will do.
What about the trailers that are in the 500 to 1,000-pound range? It depends. Most motorcycles weigh at least 400 pounds. Like any car or truck, they have a towing capacity. This is the max amount of weight the vehicle can safely pull.
Surpassing this weight threatens the engine and transmission. You’re also straining your brakes, drive belt, clutch, and the tires. Finally, pushing too far past your motorcycle’s towing capacity can put you and any passengers in danger.
The towing capacity is derived from the motorcycle’s Gross Vehicle Weight or GVW. This includes all passengers, cargo, and the weight of both the teardrop trailer and the motorcycle combined. We recommend you look in your owner’s manual or contact your motorcycle manufacturer to determine your bike’s towing capacity.
Given that most motorcycles weigh 400 pounds, it seems unlikely you’d be able to pull a trailer that’s more than 500 pounds. If you could swing it, you’d certainly be pushing the limits of your bike. Ideally, it’d be better to buy a lighter-weight trailer, one that’s 300 to 500 pounds.
While you are sacrificing space and amenities with a teardrop that small, they’re safe to tow with a motorcycle. You should be able to fit at least enough gear for an overnight trip. If you’re a light packer, you could even make a weekend out of it.
What Hitch Do You Need for the Job?
If you’ve ever towed a trailer or camper before, then you might have some spare hitches lying around your garage. These are not suitable for pulling a teardrop with a motorcycle. Instead, you need a specific hitch for the job.
It’s hard to track down these hitches. That’s because if you do an online search, you’ll find countless hitches for trucks or SUVs to pull a motorcycle. While this is handy, it’s not what you need, so disregard these listings.
One brand we found that does make hitches for motorcycles to pull trailers is called HitchDoc. They produce hitches for a variety of motorcycle brands, including BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Harley-Davidson, and more.
Their hitches are vertical receivers in a receiver system. With eight points of attachment, the HitchDoc is supposed to avoid ever clattering against your motorcycle. Each HitchDoc has a tongue weight of 40 pounds. Remember to keep the tongue weight percentage within 10 percent of the total weight of your teardrop.
The vertical receiver shaft of the hitch is made of solid steel that’s 1 1/8th inches. The receiver tongue is half an inch. If you don’t already own the right hitch for towing a trailer with your motorcycle, then HitchDoc is a great choice.
Tips for Towing a Teardrop Trailer with a Motorcycle
Okay, so you have a teardrop trailer that doesn’t surpass your motorcycle’s towing capacity. You’ve got your hitch attached and you’re ready to ride, right? Before you set off on a wondrous adventure, keep these tips in mind:
- Practice, practice, practice. Driving your motorcycle with a trailer behind you is going to feel very foreign at first. I recommend riding out to an empty parking lot and maneuvering around for a while. Then, once you’re comfortable, you can hit the open road.
- When you have to park, seek out pull-through spots. These are two parking spots that are vertical to one another. Parking here prevents you from having to back up. That can prove to be incredibly challenging in a motorcycle/trailer setup, so avoid backups if you can.
- Trailers like teardrops don’t always come with brakes. If they are indeed lacking brakes, that means all the stopping power has to come from your bike. Stopping well in advance and slowly is the way to go. This way, you prevent your trailer from crashing into the back of your motorcycle when you hit the brakes.
- Prepare to take wider and slower turns when towing a teardrop behind your motorcycle.
- When choosing lanes, get to the center. This may feel weird since most motorcyclists avoid the center line. This is only when you’re not towing a trailer. When you have a teardrop hitched to your bike, the center lane is your best friend.
- Make sure you’ve distributed the weight of your teardrop trailer evenly. If the trailer is too empty, it risks both swaying and bouncing as you ride. This makes you a liability on the road and puts you at a higher risk of an accident.
Never guess what your motorcycle can tow. Get familiar with the towing capacity and don’t surpass it. Also, make sure you have a hitch that’s meant for a motorcycle. Once you have all that taken care of, you’re ready to hit the road!