For carrying motorcycles
Motorcycle carrying trailers may be open or enclosed. They may be wide, for two bikes side-by-side, or narrow, for just a single bike. The main features that distinguishes them from other flatbed or enclosed trailers are track(s) to keep the wheels from sliding side to side and sufficient tiedown points to keep the motorcycle(s) from tipping. They may also tilt, or include ramp(s) to facilitate the loading and unloading of motorcycles. Trailer manufacturers often offer trailers specifically designed for carrying motorcycles.
Enclosed trailers, as seen in the photos, have the advantage of protecting motorcycles within from the weather and from prying eyes, and of being able to lock the motorcycles up securely. However, they are heavier than open trailers and create more wind resistance, decreasing the mileage of the towing vehicle. An enclosed motorcycle-specific trailer can be built low enough so as not to increase resistance due to wind, and therefore mileage, substantially.
Collapsible or folding motorcycle trailers are available to overcome storage problems that might prevent use of a non-collapsible trailer, some such trailers are sufficiently compact to allow the user to carry the trailer in the trunk of a car when not in use.
For being pulled by motorcycles
Trailers towed behind motorcycles are distinguished by their relatively small size, especially narrow wheelbase. They are also often styled to match the look of the motorcycle they are intended to be towed behind. This styling can include the overall shape, fender shape, lights, chrome, etc.
The Guinness World Record for a motorcycle and trailer is 139.5 mph, set in 2002 by Motor Cycle News (UK) towing a Squire sidecars D21 trailer behind a Kawasaki ZZ-R1100.
In the United Kingdom there are some legal restrictions on towing trailers.
- Only motorcycles over 125 cm3 (7.6 cu in) may tow.
- The bike must be marked with its kerbside weight.
- The trailer must not be wider than 1 m (3 ft 3 in).
- The distance between the rear axle of the motorcycle and the rear most part of the trailer must not exceed 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in).
- The laden weight of the trailer must not exceed 150 kg (331 lb) or two-thirds of the kerbside weight of the motorcycle - whichever is lighter.
- The trailer must be clearly and indelibly marked with its unladen weight.
- The UK speed limit is 60 mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 50 mph on all other roads unless a lesser limit is in force.
- You must display the same number plate as your towing vehicle on the trailer.
- Trailers must have two red sidelights, two red stop lights, a number plate light, two triangular red reflectors and amber indicators (which flash between 60 and 120 times per minute) at the rear.
- All trailers built after September 30, 1990 also require white front reflectors.
Safety tips for towing include:
- Motorcycle manufacturers do not recommend that trailers be towed by their motorcycles because of the increased safety hazards. All towing is done at the operator's own risk.
- The ball hitch should be well greased at all times to facilitate smooth cornering.
- "While towing your trailer, you must remember to ride closer to the center of the road. You have the width of your trailer to worry about. Be careful of the "oil strip" in the center of the road at intersections. Also, watch for uneven road surfaces and road edges which can unbalance the trailer."
- It is important to "keep enough of the weight forward of the axle center point to maintain a positive hitch load" when loading the trailer."
The Pav 40/41/100:
The Pav trailers were manufactured in the Czech Republic, originally by "AVIA n.p". and later by "KOVOZAVODY SEMILY" by Jawa Motors. Earliest examples made in the mid to late '50s, which pre-date the PAV 40. The PAV 40 debuted in approximately in 1958 or 1959. At some point the PAV 41 replaced the PAV 40 and was produced into the 70's. Pav trailers feature a 4-inch (102 mm) wheel and are rated to 80 km/h (50 mph). They were made to be attached to Jawa motorcycles, although they make excellent accessories for Vespa, Lambretta, Cezeta, Heinkel, Fuji, Zundapp, Cushman, or any other vintage motorcycle, scooter or microcar (like Isetta or Messerschmitt).
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- "Fact Sheet: Trailers Drawn By Motor Cycles". Department for Transport. April 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- "California DOT Towing Your Trailer Safely". Retrieved 2007-03-01.
- "Loading your cargo trailer for motorcycle use: A Question of Balance". Retrieved 2007-03-01.