Frequently Asked Questions:
Why pull a trailer with a Dual Sport Motorcycle?
There are many types of adventures you might embark on with your dualsport bike. Adventure Riders continue to push the limits of how far they go and how long they stay gone. The most common way to haul gear is in bags or hard cases attached to the motorcycle via racks bolted to the subframe of the motorcycle. Although very popular, this adds a lot of weight to the motorcycle in the worst possible place, high in the air. This drastically alters the handling of the motorcycle, making it feel even heavier than just the weight you added, because of where it was added. The motorcycle is "attached" to the ground by it's tires. The further the weight is from the ground the heavier it feels. It's similar to holding 50lbs close to your chest versus holding 50lbs with your arms stretched out in front of you. A trailer keeps the weight close to the ground, thus altering the handling of the motorcycle much less than having the weight up high. Have you ever tried to pick up a fully loaded dual sport bike after dropping it on it's side? Think of how far you need to raise that weight when lifting the bike back up again. For some of us, an adventure ride might take us to place to set up a base camp, then allow us to explore the area near that camp. In this case, the trailer is removed in seconds without any tools and you have a lightweight dirt bike to go play on. How long would it take to remove bags and racks to lighten up your bike?
How much can it carry?
This is a complicated question with many variables. The short answer is: more than is safe to pull with a motorcycle. No matter how "heavy duty" the trailer is, the weight limit is set by the tow vehicle and the terrain. Adding weight to a motorcycle, on a trailer or in bags and racks, changes the way the motorcycle handles. Acceleration, braking, and turning are all affected by the extra weight. Having the weight in a trailer keeps that weight close to the ground and that helps with the handling issues but you still have to be able to slow down on loose terrain. When designing the moto-mule trailer, the balance between the strength of the trailer and the weight of the trailer was a key factor. Given that you can only safely pull so much weight, you want most of that weight to be cargo and not just the weight of the trailer. We have found that 50lbs of cargo in the trailer feels safe in most conditions on a Suzuki DR650. The trailer plus ActionPacker tub weighs 40lbs, that adds up to 90lbs total weight.
What is the trailer made out of?
In an effort to keep the trailer weight as low as possible, the frame of the trailer is built out of thin wall 4130 Chromoly Steel Tubing. The joints are TIG welded and the entire frame is powder coated to ensure a long lasting finish. The bearings in the steering pivot, swing arm pivot, and wheel are all sealed bearings to ensure low maintainance. Although an aluminum or composite trailer frame could be built and weigh even less, the chances of a farmer in the middle of no-where being able to help you fix a break would be worse than your chances of winning the lottery. Steel is real, easy to repair should anything ever break, and doesn't degrade over time like aluminum or other materials.
Why does it have only one wheel?
The moto-mule cargo trailer was designed for Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures. This means is must travel offroad down single track trails. A trailer with only one wheel follows the same path as the motorcycle. This design is often refered to as Single Wheel, One Wheel, Mono Wheel, and Uni Wheel trailers. Every design has it's advantages and disadvantages, the single wheel trailer trades weight capacity for manuverability over it's two wheeled cousin. The one wheel design keep the the trailer and load narrow, easily fitting between any obstacle the motorcycles handlebars fit between.
How does it attach to the motorcycle?
The moto-mule trailer hitches to the motorcycle at it's rear axle. In most cases, the motorcycle needs to have a hollow rear axle with a minimum inside diameter of 3/8". A "Skewer" slides through one side of the trailer hitch, through the hollow axle of the motorcycle, and through the other side of the trailer hitch securing the trailer to the motorcycle.
Shouldn't the trailer be attached to the frame of the motorcycle?
Yes, the ideal place to hitch a trailer to a motorcycle would be to a suspended frame member of the motorcycle. Just like attaching a trailer to the bumper of a truck. Once again, every design has it's advantages and disadvantages. Hitching to the rear axle trades ideal load placement for simplicity, weight, and cost. While on a Dual Sport Adventure Ride, most of us are not looking to catch big air or attack whoops at break neck speed. So, the fact that the load is not in the most ideal place for perfect suspension performance, is not an issue for most of us. However, the trailer IS very easy to remove should you find a great jump or section of whoops you just can't pass up!
Do I need to register the trailer to be street legal?
Each state has different laws and different levels of enforcement of their laws when it comes to pulling a trailer with a motorcycle. In most states you are legally required to register the trailer with the DMV. Several states only require registration if the trailer is over a certain weight, usually a weight much higher than this trailer. In some states, like California, they have very defined regulations when it comes to trailers pulled by motorcycles. In most states, pulling a trailer with a motorcycle fits into the "grey area" of regulations and is not well defined. I'm sure that as more riders start pulling trailers the regulations will evolve. Not only will the DMV not want to miss a chance to collect more fees, but their real goal is to keep our streets safe. I'd reccommend reading the California regulations, they are quite defined and should meet requirements for most other states. Here is a link to start your research: DMV Trailer Registration
How tough is the Rubbermaid ActionPacker tub?
In my opinion, the ActionPacker tub is the ideal gear container for this trailer. It is extremely lightweight, it weighs in just under 10lbs. It is flexible should you bump it into something or fall over. Although it's not completely water tight, it keeps all the mud and most of the water off of your contents inside. I pack stuff that has to stay completely dry, like clothing, in dry bags. Although the ActionPacker won't win any beauty contests, it's flat top is great to use as a table when you set up camp.
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