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jamesm113

Lightweight Motorcycle trailers

21 posts in this topic

I've been using a 4x8 Harbor Freight folding trailer to haul 2-3 dirt bikes around (250's/450's/etc), but it's starting to fall apart.  In the first 1.5 years, a tire blew on the highway, and now one of the part of the frame has a big crack.  While the replacement parts are cheap from harbor freight, there's a 8-10 week shipping time (straight from china, I suppose :goofy:)

I'm looking into alternatives.  One that has caught my attention was the carry on 5x8G utility trailer.  Trailers Plus has them for $800-$900, and Lowe's for $729.  Trailers Plus has generally good reviews for them, but Lowe's has more of a mixed bag of reviews.

I prefer to have something lightweight and that can haul 3 bikes.  Would like to be able to move the trailer around by hand (unloaded), as I am horrible at backing it up and have a narrow driveway.

Any experience or recommendations?

 

EDIT- here's a link to the Carry On trailer at lowes. Common issues are poor paint quality, weak mesh and excessive side to side play in the front of the trailer. 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Carry-On-Trailer-5-ft-x-8-ft-Wire-Mesh-Utility-Trailer-with-Ramp-Gate/3005264

Edited by jamesm113

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Stay away from mesh, wood in much stronger and lasts longer. 10ft length is MUCH better, allows more area for stuff. Put a roll around wheel jack on the tongue.

Edited by YHGEORGE
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Carry on is a step above HF & Northern's trailers. Should last a bit longer. I'd try to find a better quality used one.

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Yup, I have a wheel jack on my HF trailer and plan on putting one on the new trailer too.  I probably plan on putting on wood on over the mesh.  10 feet might be a little too long for me, my tow car is a Subaru Outback, so I'm trying to limit the weight and length a bit.  The 375 lbs weight on the carry on 5x8 is appealing for that reason too.

Is carry on a lot better than HF/Northern Tool, or just slightly better?  Used prices in my area (greater southern california) for carry on trailers are more than new ones...

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Yup, I have a wheel jack on my HF trailer and plan on putting one on the new trailer too.  I probably plan on putting on wood on over the mesh.  10 feet might be a little too long for me, my tow car is a Subaru Outback, so I'm trying to limit the weight and length a bit.  The 375 lbs weight on the carry on 5x8 is appealing for that reason too.
Is carry on a lot better than HF/Northern Tool, or just slightly better?  Used prices in my area (greater southern california) for carry on trailers are more than new ones...

Well that changes things. Rust kills everything faster here. In CA that shouldn't be an issue. Carry on is good for price, and should work well for hauling bikes. I haul firewood, and they won't hold up doing that. I'd up grade wheels and tires. Always have a spare tire and a hub is a good idea.
This is my utility trailer, it's not finished yet, in pic.We are correcting welder's big screw up. I used an old TT frame and modded it. I hired a welder fabricator, who screwed up spring mounts. We parted ways, and my friend corrected the springs. Even with having frame, I have about 1000.00 in it. That includes welder's "labor" all the rest was free labor. I I can haul 3000-3500 lbs with it. It's an odd size, because I got some ash boards that a newbie logger cut around 9'.
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Is there any other brands I should be looking into besides the carry on?  Perhaps one with known for having little better quality record?

I'm tired of having to fix the HF trailer :)

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I have been using. triton ATV88 model trailer for five years.  It’s all aluminum and is also available in a larger size to haul more bikes/gear.  The 88 model’s deck about 7’ wide by 9’ Long.  It has a lockable, wide ramp that pulls out from under the bed that works great.   I haul two big cruisers and an enduro back and forth from NY to FL.  I’ve been very pleased with this trailer in every way and, it has never let me down.  I also use it for hauling construction materials and the like in my remodeling business.  It’s not as cheap as a steel trailer but, it’s worth every dollar I paid for it.  Triton offers a variety of trailers- http://www.tritontrailers.com/atv-utv/aluminum-wood/

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I have a Top Hat 4-1/2 x 9, 13" wheels, something like 2500# GVWR. Good build quality. Can drag around by hand, even in dirt. Paid $1075 new with a spare. Wife has a Forester and I think it would pull it but haven't tried. Being narrow would be a plus?

:excuseme:

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I'm sure there is but other than Carry on, most are local. There is a nice builder about 40 miles from me. They cost 1800-2000 just for their smaller trailers. Built to order, you pick capacity width and length. They order a Dexter axle to match your choice. They use 15" wheels, then you can + more options.
A Carry on for 800-900, or custom 1800-2000, most will go Carry on.
I wrote this yesterday and it never posted

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Trailers are a regional thing, many excellent brands in many areas. Not rocket surgery.

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Thanks for tips.  The triton line looks appealing - aluminum means no rust, which is always a good thing.

I guess I don't know which regional brands are good and which ones were not.

Until I stumbled upon the Lowe's reviews, I thought the Carry On brand was high quality.

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Made the drive to the nearest tractor supply co (which is 45 minutes each way).  They had the Carry On 5x8SP for $749.  The 5x8SP model has 13" wheels. The 5x8G model that Lowe's carries for $729 has 12" tires.

While it's definitely a step up from my current harbor freight trailer, I wasn't all that impressed.  Several were rusted, the paint quality was pretty poor, and the mesh had a lot of give to it.  There was also some scrapes and dings, etc.

Triton's and Top hat's are pretty rare around here - I couldn't find any...

Another option is [url=https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200660344_200660344]an aluminum "Ultra-Tow" 5x8 folding trailer[/url] for $690 at northern tool.  And a "Ironton" steel 5x8 folding trailer for $490.  Not really good options, but options none the less..

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If you want a well built trailer stay from big box, Tractor Supply etc stores. They are there for the uninformed. There has to be several quality builders in your region. Homework is the key.

Edited by YHGEORGE
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There are several builders, but they are a several hour drive each way.  Hard to see trailers in person to judge the quality when it's so far away...  So i'm stuck doing my homework on the internet.

I found a carson dealer and a few big tex dealers, but again, at least a 2 hour drive each way.  Not clue if they are good or not.

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I got my new cargo trailer over the phone. I had drove a few times a couple hours away to look at trailers. One place had thousands, and I didn't like what I saw. Saw an ad online for a place over 4 hours away. It was bought over the phone. Dealer drove it about an hour away and met me. Very happy that it's a well built trailer. I also had a used Jeep I bought over the phone. Dealer delivered it the next day in time for me to drive it to work. Sometimes it works out if you do some investigating.

 

 

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I started with harbor freight crap.

I ended up building custom trailer using parts from Northern tool (online with free shipping). It has suspension(torsion axles). I spent 700 on materials total, with wheels, tires and fenders . Plus 300 powder coating.

My friends own machine shop in San Jose, so getting raw materials and fabrication was easy. 

Very light, I can lift rear and move it around. Its 4 years old with many thousands of miles(20k+). Up to 2 bikes(2 ktm 950).

It's very heavy duty for the weight. My friend used it frequently with her saturn to tow trials bike.

My preferred setup is 98 4 runner with hitch carrier and air bags in the rear suspension. But I sold it with 200k on it (also mpg was bad), and I dont ride that much unfortunately due to baby blues. 

If I can find airbags for forester I will go back to hitch carrier.

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Edited by Art666
added info
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I started with harbor freight crap.
I ended up building custom trailer using parts from Northern tool. It has suspension(torsion axles). I spent 700 on materials total, with wheels and fenders . Plus 300 powder coating.
Very light, I can lift rear and move it around. Its 4 years old with many thousands of miles. Up to 2 bikes(2 ktm 950)
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Nice and light for a small TV. Definitely not a heavy duty that I would need. I learned over and over. That I tend to misuse / over load my things. I went to a 1/2 ton pickup, thinking it would be "big" enough. NOT. So I had to get/build another trailer. I actually could use a tandem, but can't afford one. My home built at 3500# for 1000$ was way less than buying a similar custom built or stock build.

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That's a nice looking rig, Art.  That's a lot more heavy duty than my 1195-lb HF trailer setup :goofy:  I think I overloaded it a little bit :excuseme:  Got a few thousand miles out of it, and then I noticed the crack 2 weeks back. When I removed that bolt, the whole U piece fell out, so the weld on top failed too.

If I had to do it over, I should have started with the Carry-On from TSC.  Would have cost the same when it was all said and done.

Where in California did you find a Northern Tool?  Did you start with one of their trailer kits, or just raw materials?

 

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Edited by jamesm113
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That's a nice looking rig, Art.  That's a lot more heavy duty than my 1195-lb HF trailer setup :goofy:  I think I overloaded it a little bit :excuseme:  Got a few thousand miles out of it, and then I noticed the crack 2 weeks back. When I removed that bolt, the whole U piece fell out, so the weld on top failed too.
If I had to do it over, I should have started with the Carry-On from TSC.  Would have cost the same when it was all said and done.
Where in California did you find a Northern Tool?  Did you start with one of their trailer kits, or just raw materials?
 
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Common failure on them, read over on the TnTTT forum. People use them as a base for their custom tear drops and have had many issues. But for those that only need it once and awhile it's an option.
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18 hours ago, jamesm113 said:

There are several builders, but they are a several hour drive each way.  Hard to see trailers in person to judge the quality when it's so far away...  So i'm stuck doing my homework on the internet.

I found a carson dealer and a few big tex dealers, but again, at least a 2 hour drive each way.  Not clue if they are good or not.

Big Tex is excellent. In my area there are many dealers selling trailers made far away, brought in  on even bigger trailers. Are you in a very rural area? Have you asked the mfg folks about finding a dealer close to you?

Edited by YHGEORGE

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