Originally Posted by nbbusa
I need some help. If all goes well I will be picking up a K1200LT on Saturday and I will be trailering it. My questions are as follows.
What it the minimum size trailer (enclosed) that I could get away with?
What is the best way to tie this bike down without any damage. ( will a canyon strap work on this bike)?
Well, you will need a trailer cavity that is at the very least the size of the bike: 4ft wide, 8ft long and 5-1/2ft high. Realistically though, you will need at least a foot or two more in every direction to give yourself enough workspace in an enclosed trailer.
With regards to strapping: BMW recommends strapping the front wheel tight and pulling the rear slightly (details further on). I do a little more, as I'll describe.
Canyon Straps: as all previous replies correctly stated, you cannot support an 'LT with these. The "tiller" steering bars are not designed to handle such downward stress and you'd risk breaking them. However: I actually do use the Canyons, for an initial setup.
See atached picture. My trailer does not allow me to extend the sidestand and I must somehow temporarily strap the bike after riding up or before riding down - I am usually loading by myself, without any help.
I temporarily hook the Canyon Straps and allow the bike to gently lean eagainst them while I get off the saddle and proceed to cinch the wheel. I do NOT put any more pressure that required to support the bike: I do not compress the front or the handle bars. Once the other straps are installed, the Canyons are loose and I use bungee cords to prevent them from flapping in the wind and messing up the bodywork - as you can see in the photo. (I do not take them off, on the theory that if other straps fail, I may have a busted handle bar, but will not lose the bike).
If you can set your bike on the trailer on a side- or center-stand, all these gyrations with the Canyons are not necessary and I'd avoid them.
Now: the most important strapping is on the front wheel. You should use soft strap extensions (like those made by Ancra) wrapped around the fork cross-bar (just above the fender) - pull them hard down/forward with straps. I use the ratcheting type, although some riders do not like that. Watch the brake line on right fork leg: you may have to route the soft strap around both fork and brake line to avoid bending the hose or coupling. Depending on location of floor hooks, you may have to remove the front fender to prevent straps from scratching it.
In the rear, look under the sidecases. At their rear inboard ends (i.e., next to wheel), you will see the metal frame that supports them (a metal rod about 3/8" dia.). Slip a strap around that frame and lightly tighten the bike down. This only serves to prevent the bike from bouncing up and down - it is not intended to hold it stiffly. Make sure that there is not much pressure on rear shock or you'll blow it if it is depressed for extended periods of time.
These four straps (front wheel and rear sidecases) are the ONLY ones recommended by BMW. I add the following:
The key to trailering is to stabilize front wheel. On my trailer, I add one more strap around the wheel and pull it hard into the "V"-nose of the trailer. The point here is that you must block the wheel itself, not the steering - pressure must not be applied to front fork/shock.
Finally, I add one more set of straps around the front fork crossbar on top of the fender and attach them to another set of floor hooks. This is only for sake of redundancy, in case the other set around the same brace fails. The front wheel holds the whole bike and I am worried about the consequences of a bad ratchet or strap.
For the road, I retract the stand and make sure transmission is in Neutral: you do not want either to be stressed when the trailer hops over potholes.
So, to summarize, I install the following:
1. Canyon Straps - temporarily, to help me get off/on the bike when loading or unloading. Not needed if you can put the bike on the stand or have a helper.
2. Tightly-pulled straps over top of front wheel (via extensions looped over fork crosss-bar on top of fender).
3. Lightly pulled straps connected to support frame under rear bottom of sidecases.
4. Tightly-pulled strap to lock the front wheel to whatever blocks its movement forward.
5. Extra security set of straps, duplicating those in #2.
This method has served me well for many miles. Contrary to pooh-poohing of our colleagues here in the forum, I do trailer the bike occasionally. By myself I'll do real long-distance; however, on two-up vacations my wife will not go for a multi-day ride, but I can talk her into a motorcycling trip if we trailer the bike to a nice destination and do day-loops there.
You do what you can...
Anyway, I hope that this description is of some use. Regards.