Do You Need A Tow-Behind Trailer For Your Motorcycle? I’m Converted!

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I was doing some research this morning for an article. And like most days, I ended up browsing the many videos on YouTube.

Hours passed me by as I was dragged ever deeper into the murky depths of the internet.

And somehow (I’m still not sure how), I ended up watching a video where some guy was packing a trailer for his upcoming motorcycle trip.

And I was dumbstruck by this borderline-insane concept that someone would hitch a tow-behind trailer to a frigging motorcycle!

honda motorcycle with tow-behind trailer
I couldn’t decide who would want to tow a motorcycle trailer!

I mean come on, really?

I sat there shaking my head in disbelief as he loaded his motorcycle trailer right next to his huge American truck.

And I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just take the damn truck if he needed so much kit.

Watching him pack all this shit into a tow-behind trailer when his motorcycle was next to his pickup truck actually began to irritate me.

But the minutes ticked by. And despite my disbelief, I watched the entire video.

Which led me to another.

And another.

In the end, I found myself searching videos of these crazy people dragging around a motorcycle trailer behind them.

bmw gs with luggage
It turns out more people want a tow-behind trailer for their motorcycle than I thought (Image: LoftyBob)

Tow-Behind Trailers For A Motorcycle In The UK

For those of you who don’t know, Motorcycle Tourer is based in the UK. And I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen a tow-behind trailer being pulled by a motorcycle in the UK or in Europe.

The only guy I remember seeing was an eccentric old bike builder in his 70’s. He was riding a bright yellow homemade Trike made from half a Goldwing. And he wore a matching yellow waistcoat covered in butterflies and badges.

But maybe I haven’t seen many bikes pulling trailers because I live and ride in the UK and Europe.

We just don’t have the roads to warrant them here. And because of that, the idea of using one seems so ludicrous.

cruiser - with tow-behind trailer for motorcycle
We don’t have the roads in the UK for Harley-Davidson’s and trailers

“Light Is Right”

The other reason I struggled to come to terms with a motorcycle trailer is due to the fact that I sit on the side of the fence that promotes traveling light.

For me, touring involves fast, twisty, technical roads.

Or an off-road adventure on trails.

And whilst both of these scenarios can be undertaken on big, heavy bikes, I still maintain that lighter is better.

Now, unless you’re a riding mortal with natural, God-given riding ability, technical roads (or trails) are almost always easier with a lighter bike and minimal luggage.

So when you combine the fact that I live and ride in the UK and Europe with the fact that we just don’t have the right roads for a motorcycle trailer, it’s hardly surprising that the concept of one eluded me.

harley-davidson and trailer
With UK concepts of riding, I found it hard to understand the appeal of a motorcycle trailer (Image: Classic)

It Sort Of Makes Sense In The States

After watching a dozen or so of these crazy people hitching a tow-behind trailer to a motorcycle, I realised they were all American. And they were all packing for quintessentially American road trips.

They were packing tents and the entire contents of their wardrobes. They had freezer boxes and fishing rods.

And they had actual beds that they were putting up in tents bigger than my home.

They had clothes for hiking, clothes for riding, clothes for social occasions, and spare clothes just in case.

And they were two up! So all of the above needed to be doubled.

There was no ‘light is right’ mantra going on here. In fact, it was the opposite.

tow-behind trailer for motorcycle - honda goldwing
I don’t believe this is following the rule of light is right! (Image: Sioux City Journal)

Maybe It Was Me That Was Wrong

It was only when I started to put myself in their shoes that these silly contraptions started to make sense.

For a start, none of these people rode small-capacity, lightweight bikes. They all rode Goldwings or big Harley-Davidson’s.

So the ‘light is right’ option is already shot to shit when you’re riding a 400kg motorcycle.

They aren’t riding technical, 200-mile days over mountain passes like we are in Europe. They’re riding 600-mile days on straight, flat, well-surfaced roads.

And they aren’t in a rush – because it’s a road trip. The trip takes as long as it takes.

tow-behind trailer for motorcycle and camping
Finally, the penny dropped – maybe I was being too closed-minded (Image: Dronesfest)

It’s about following your nose and discovering America until the sun goes down.

And then you pitch your massive tent and make a comfortable home-from-home before starting again in the morning.

And I must admit that I genuinely find this concept rather appealing.

You see, the reason they don’t pack light is because they don’t have a plan. It might take them a few weeks or it might take them a few months.

Who knows?!

And who cares when you’ve got everything you need, anyway?

motorcycle and tent - tow behind trailer for motorcycle
The length of your trip doesn’t matter if you have a tow-behind trailer for your motorcycle

How Can You Tow A Trailer With A Motorcycle?

It’s actually not too dissimilar to the way a car tows a caravan.

There is a hitch that attaches to your motorcycle, and then the tow-behind trailer attaches to the hitch. Just like a car and a caravan.

From here, two chains usually cross from the trailer to the motorcycle. These are safety measures in case the hitch fails.

cruiser motorcycle with trailer
Motorcycle with trailer, hitch, and chains (Image: USA trailer store)

Tow-Behind Trailer Types For Your Motorcycle

It turns out trailers are quite a personlised accessory!

Some people prefer larger, 2-wheeled trailers, whilst others prefer single-wheeled trailers which track better with the bike but hold less luggage.

There are trailers for sportsbikes, trailers for tourers, trailers for adventure bikes, and trailers for everything in between.

tow-behind trailer for motorcycle - ducati sportsbike
Yep, you can even get trailers for Ducati’s!

And for those who want an extra challenge, you can even buy a kit which makes it easy for you to build your own tow-behind trailer for your motorcycle.

Different countries have different rules on what trailers a bike can tow. Be sure to check with your own government legislation before you purchase.

adventure bike trailer
Adventure-specific trailers are available

Moby1 C2 Tow-Behind Motorcycle Trailer

I actually couldn’t believe it when I saw this.

The Moby1 C2 trailer is a tiny, customisable trailer that can be built for your own purposes.

It’s large enough to accommodate a double mattress. And it holds cooking equipment and cabinets.

From what I can see, it’s the next best thing to bringing your actual house!

tow-behind trailer for motorcycle - moby1 c2
Quite literally a home from home! (Image: Moby1)

The Tow-Behind Motorcycle Trailer For Tiddles & Rover

Before I finish this post, I couldn’t neglect to mention the pet-friendly trailers that enable you to bring your furry member of the family on tour with you.

Most of these pet trailers are customisable to suit the pet. And they feature various windows, partitions, vented areas, and even solar panels.

The world’s gone mad!

dogs in motorcycle trailer
Because dogs are part of the family

Do You Need A Tow-Behind Motorcycle Trailer? Conclusion

The thought of riding with a motorcycle trailer had never even crossed my mind until this morning.

Indeed, my opinion of them was far from favourable when I first started to watch the YouTube videos.

But who am I to judge?

Whether we choose to tour on a lightweight bike with a lightweight setup, or on a 400kg Harley-Davidson with a caravan and the pet dog in tow, we are all bikers.

tow-behind trailer for GS motorcycle
No matter what we ride, we are ALL bikers (Image: UKGSer)

And we should take the time to discover other rider’s preferences rather than being so closed-minded that we can only see our own way of doing things.

Do I feel the need to go out right now and buy a motorcycle trailer?

No, I don’t.

But if somebody offered me the chance to tour from the east coast to the west coast of America and back again, would I take them up on their offer?

Of course I would! And I’d be more than happy to pack all my camping gear into the trailer and pull it along on a thumping Harley-Davidson.

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