Side Loaded on a Trailer - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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Old Feb 14th, 2018, 4:40 pm Thread Starter
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Side Loaded on a Trailer

I have over 104,000 miles on my LT, so she's no trailer queen, but I'm moving to another state and need to trailer the LT and a Subaru on the same trailer. I have a 20 foot flat-bed trailer, and was thinking about putting the LT on the very front of the trailer sideways, with the Subaru forward or aft as needed to get the balance right. The whole trailer/car/bike combo should come in about 8,000 pounds, with an 800 to 1,000 pound tongue weight. The towing vehicle and trailer are well within capacity; the trip is about 2,000 miles.

My question is this: In my review of the few main trailer-tiedown threads, several times it was pointed out to NEVER trailer the LT backwards. Nothing was ever said about sideways. I feel fairly confident that I can securely and safely secure the bike to the trailer. I realize that putting any motorcycle on a trailer sideways isn't ideal, but that's what I have to work with. Any thoughts or concerns from the collective about doing such? if you did trailer sideways, which side would you put facing fore and aft? Would you remove the windshield?
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Old Feb 14th, 2018, 5:59 pm
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

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Originally Posted by WildernessJeep View Post
I have over 104,000 miles on my LT, so she's no trailer queen, but I'm moving to another state and need to trailer the LT and a Subaru on the same trailer. I have a 20 foot flat-bed trailer, and was thinking about putting the LT on the very front of the trailer sideways, with the Subaru forward or aft as needed to get the balance right. The whole trailer/car/bike combo should come in about 8,000 pounds, with an 800 to 1,000 pound tongue weight. The towing vehicle and trailer are well within capacity; the trip is about 2,000 miles.

My question is this: In my review of the few main trailer-tiedown threads, several times it was pointed out to NEVER trailer the LT backwards. Nothing was ever said about sideways. I feel fairly confident that I can securely and safely secure the bike to the trailer. I realize that putting any motorcycle on a trailer sideways isn't ideal, but that's what I have to work with. Any thoughts or concerns from the collective about doing such? if you did trailer sideways, which side would you put facing fore and aft? Would you remove the windshield?
I would put the Subaru up front & the LT in back of it. I have pulled a lot of heavy stuff & more tongue weight was always better for me. You don't say what your towing vehicle is but hopefully its at least a 1 ton pickup.
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Old Feb 14th, 2018, 6:06 pm
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

the problem is that if you have to do an emergency brake i would think it would break either the straps/connections or the bike, the anchor points are at the lower portion of the bike, top heavy and kinetic energy would take over. its doable over a short run but I wouldn't try it over such a long distance.

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Old Feb 14th, 2018, 10:16 pm
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

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Originally Posted by Axle View Post
the problem is that if you have to do an emergency brake i would think it would break either the straps/connections or the bike, the anchor points are at the lower portion of the bike, top heavy and kinetic energy would take over. its doable over a short run but I wouldn't try it over such a long distance.
I doubt braking forces will be an issue. Few street vehicles can brake at even 1G. Let's assume the LT weighs 850 lbs. I am not sure the height of the Cg of the LT, but I suspect the front fork attach point is at or above the Cg. The rear side case frame attach point may be a little below the Cg, which would increase the force a little.

If we assume a 1G braking acceleration, that will put ~850 lbs of lateral force on the strap attach points, which is ~425 at each end. Probably a little more at the front given the forward weight bias of an unladen LT. Let's say 500 lbs at the front and 450 at the rear assuming some amplification if the attach point is below the Cg.

If we assume a 30 degree angle between the straps and the bike vertical axis, the lateral force will be multiplied by two when vectored into the strap. So, the front strap needs to resist 1,000 lbs tension and the rear 900 lbs. Straps that will handle 2,000 lbs are readily available. I have no doubt the fork will handle that force, but I am less confident about the side case rack. I would probably try to find a second attach point for the rear.

I think the bigger issue is aerodynamic forces on the windshield and top case. However, assuming the trailer is behind a tall vehicle like a pickup or SUV, that is likely not an issue. I would probably remove both windshield and trunk since both can be done relatively easily. That would be extra peace of mind for a long trip.
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Old Feb 15th, 2018, 12:29 pm Thread Starter
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Smile Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

I'm towing with an American diesel truck and a 14,000 GVWR trailer with electric brakes on both axles. I'm not worried about the weight.

After reading the generous responses, I'm taking the following points:

1) Ensure tongue weight is proper. I'll still put the motorcycle up front for protection and ease of loading, but I'll double check the trailer balance after all is said and done. I have a hitch gauge, so I know what my tongue weight is to about 50 pounds (those things are great).
2) Load it facing to the driver's left, so I can use the centerstand grab handle as an additional support for the rear brace strap in the event of a sudden stop. I'll throw a couple of additional straps on it, in accordance with the several trailering posts before (nothing on the handlebars!).
3) Make sure to use at least 2,000 pound straps on each corner.
4) Remove windshield and top box.
5) Drive slowly and carefully, which will be the hardest part by far.


Thanks for the tips guys!!! I'll send and post some pics!

R
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Old Feb 15th, 2018, 1:06 pm
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

Voyager, I was mentally going through the same calculations as you last night and was going to post today. Your methodology is sound. I doubt that 1g deceleration is possible with a vehicle towing that kind of weight but we can call that "safety margin". It might be a good idea to find a spot on the frame in back to tie to but I suspect the standard anchor point should be ok. Might not be a bad idea to screw long 2x4's into the floor parallel to the axle on both sides of the wheels to prevent them from sliding in the event of a quick stop.
I've always heard that you should have 10% of weight on the tongue.
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Old Feb 15th, 2018, 2:27 pm
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

It isn't the vehicle that limits your stopping ability to less than 1g, it's the friction of the road surface you're on. +1g is easily achieved on the proper surface, however the only place I've ever found that is on a very well maintained runway. Most roadways can only offer about .8, on a good day.
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Old Feb 16th, 2018, 12:08 am
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

All calculations mean nothing if that American diesel truck hits something.
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Old Jun 24th, 2019, 7:34 am
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Re: Side Loaded on a Trailer

can anyone suggest me a good trailer for car towing? a reliable and durable have to use for best price towing queens ny.
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