Single rail trailer for behind the family car.


Keep er' Between the Ditches
So here's the skinny, I live in Ohio, and my wife is from Georgia. We end up down there 6 or so times a year and I like to take a dirt machine down with me as often as I can. That usually means throwing a bike in the old Silver-ay-do and cozying up in the single cab. That was all fine and well, but now there is a baby on the way, so trips in the pickup truck will be much trickier. My wife's car is a 2015 Chevy equinox fwd with a 4 banger. It already has a 2" reciever hitch mounted and has a 1500 lb. towing capacity. It's not the "ideal" tow vehicle, but I can't justify buying her a Tahoe when this thing gets around 30mpg all the time.

The plan is to build a lightweight (shooting for sub 300lb.) and simple single rail/ bike trailer that will pull down the highway behind the car. I'm designing it so that dimensionally it will haul my DR650, R90/6 and TW200. Most often the trips to Georgia (about 600 miles each way) will just be hauling my TW200 which weights about 290 lbs stock wet, and I'm hoping for a bit less once I'm done with it, but the small amount of weight loss will be menial when it comes to towing. The dr650 is a hair less than 400lbs wet and farkled, and ill just have to see how the car handles with the weight. The R90/6 is around 475 lbs wet, and while I'm sure the trailer will handle it, I don't have much reason to pull it to Georgia, as the off-road riding is what I generally like to do while I'm there.

Posted below are a few inspiration trailers. I like designing and building cool stuff, but for this project, I have to keep reminding myself of the k.i.s.s. (keep it simple stupid) philosophy. There are a few fold up models on the market, but what I don't like about most of them are the tiny little tires and usually the lack of suspension.

I will remedy both "issues" on this trailer with a set of 14" aluminum ford ranger wheels that I have kicking around and a set of torsion half axles that should be here Friday will satisfy the suspension needs.

Some inspiration....

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I started some fab work today on the main frame of the trailer. The tongue is made from 3/16" wall 2" square tubing and the rest is 1/8" wall 1"x2" rectangular tubing. The entire trailer is 10' long overall, and should accommodate a hinged fold up aluminum ramp that will stay attached and still clear the rear tire of the bike. The "rail" itself will have to be a bit wider than most to accommodate the 8" wide rear tire on the tw200. More to come soon.

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advCo said:
What about the trailer for behind the DR?

its still sitting there, partially completed. I am in the process of possibly acquiring a more "over the road" worthy bike. The DR650 will travel and go the distance, but after a few 200-300 mile days at the helm, though the bike is capable, its pretty rough on the body. Im thinking about completing the trailer to be pulled behind the "new" bike if/ when it comes.
Re: Single rail trailer for behind the family car.

I got a bit more accomplished today. Cut and tacked in the cross braces and bent up some 1" square tubing for a wheel chock brace thingy. Also plasma cut a set of gusset plates that will help stiffen up the joint between the tongue and the rails.

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Re: Single rail trailer for behind the family car.

trek97 said:
Oh now thats cool. Im gonna do the same w my old HF trailer.
It is kind of funny, while looking for different tire options, I was looking up reviews on different brands online. One of them led me to an Amazon review where I was reading about a guy that use them on a bike trailer to haul a couple bikes from Illinois to Birmingham. Got to the end of the review and realize that it was you lol. Just so you know it is the top review on that tire on Amazon hahaha

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Welcome aboard mike.

Came home to the torsion half axles on the porch. I can now finalize the axle frame design.

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Nice! Of the four examples, that first one looks to have the most potential strength. Of course keep the axle a bit towards the rear so you have plenty of tongue weight.
Right. Weight in the front. Second pic with the Suzuki. The last two pics look like disasters. With one bike, weight is not your enemy. With a 500 lb bike and a 200 lb trailer (exaggerated I know) that's 700lb. With an extreme trailer with the wheels as far behind the rear wheel of the bike as the tongue is ahead of the front, that's still only 350 lbs on the tongue. With the wheels directly under the rear wheel of the bike, your probably around 200 lb-250 lb in this extreme example. Even a very small car can easily handle that for tongue weight. That is a fair bit to manually lift off the hitch, but it is a small price to pay for rock solid stability when towing. It is a blessing detached from the car as well as the trailer stays where you put it - just add one of those swing down-hand crank landing gear assemblies up front. Stability comes from 3 places. Trailer length (tongue to wheel center), height of center of mass, and front to back center of mass. The longer the trailer is the more stable it will be (not to mention how much easier it will be to back up!). The lower the center of mass the better, and the further forward the center of mass the better. Your trailer will be pretty short, so put the wheels as far back as you can, make the rail for the bike as low as possible (bikes carry a lot of weight very high, so this will help. Being only a single bike will help a lot too compared to multi bike.) And by all means keep the weight forward as much as possible within reason. Definitely do NOT balance the rig so it is easy to lift off the hitch and move around. Keeping the bike low will also help ( a little) with air drag, which is by far the biggest energy eater and is noticed a lot when you tow at high speed.
A wheeled tongue jack would be a good idea for lots of reasons on this as well. they are cheap as chips at HF and you can get your lights and shit at the same time.
thanks for the input fellas. Ive been reading a lot online and was going to go for the "standard" 15% tongue weight, which for a 700lb total rig would be around 105 lb total tongue weight and would also put the axle about right under the engine of the bike. The max tongue weight on our equinox is 350 lb, so I can justify a putting the axle back farther than planned. Im far more concerned with towablility than I am ease of moving it while unhooked for sure.
Once of these on the tongue will make life and loading so much better, I have one on my utility trailer and can load bikes on without it being hooked to the car.
Maritime said:
Once of these on the tongue will make life and loading so much better, I have one on my utility trailer and can load bikes on without it being hooked to the car.

Ill have to measure and check that my tongue is long enough to accommodate that folded up. the spare tire is also going to be mounted ahead of the wheel chock upright piece, which may use up some of that space
Should be able to mount tire on one side and jack on the other. there may be a smaller version from another source but they make a huge difference in flexibility of use on the trailer.
irk miller said:
Not sure why the flip version is any more necessary than the crank type.

this is true, but I also gotta make sure that the rear decklid can be opened while the trailer is attached. I don't think I fixed one would get in the way, but ill have to check. The clamp on style can be added at any point anyways
The flip is only needed when the tongue sits too low for the crank when all the way up. My tongue on the utility sits about 8-10"from the ground when hooked to the CRV, I literally have to crank the wheel up and the flip the jack up to put the coupler on the ball LOL. a fixed one would drag on the ground. I could see the same issue in the bike hauler as you want it low for loading
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