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All You need to Know About Motorcycle Trailers

As motorcycle riders, we know it’s hardly ever about the destination, it’s about the ride. But what happens if the ride you want to enjoy is on the other side of the country, and you only have a limited amount of vacation time?

As motorcycle riders, we know it’s hardly ever about the destination, it’s about the ride. But what happens if the ride you want to enjoy is on the other side of the country, and you only have a limited amount of vacation time? A fly and ride motorcycle rental is a option, but what if you prefer to ride your own motorcycle? This is where motorcycle trailers come in.

For many riders, trailering a motorcycle to a rally, an event, or a riding vacation is a great solution. It could be because of limited vacation time, or it could be as simple as not wanting to ride thousands of boring miles. For some, riding long, fatiguing distances is simply out of the question because of health reasons. For newer motorcycle riders, riding long daily mileages day after day might just be too overwhelming and unsafe. All that might just seem more like more work than like a vacation.

Modern motorcycle trailers can be very cost effective, take up a small amount of space, and be so lightweight and easy to handle that they can be a truly great solution. Especially when you want to your bike in Sturgis but live in New York, or when you want to experience the Pacific Coast Highway on your own bike but can’t afford to take the time off to travel across the country.

To help you figure out whether a motorcycle trailer would be a good option for you, we've put together this comprehensive guide to trailers and the trailer rental options available to you.

Why Trailer Your Bike?

Many riders have that romantic notion of being a true motorcycle nomad and living on the road off our bikes, at least for a short while. The reality for most of us, however, is that we have a lot of commitments and responsibilities, and precious little time to just hit the road and ride. This is why, for example, you'll see so many riders trailering their bikes to events like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, but few of us can simply take off and cover those miles, enjoy the event, and then ride back home. Trailering your motorcycle to a destination or event doesn’t mean you aren’t a real rider, it just means you’re passionate about the riding and frugal with your time.

In addition, very often trailering your motorcycle can be a matter of safety. Sure, we can ride 500-mile days if we need to, but is that actually safe? Riding while fatigued can be dangerous, especially if there's challenging weather. Trailering your bike for at least part of the way, if not all the way to your destination, can be a terrific time-saving and safety option for traveling to ride a long distance away.

A motorcycle trailer comes in handy around home, too. If your bike breaks down, you can simply trailer it to the nearest bike shop and get it repaired, instead of calling an expensive roadside assistance service. If you love hitting the off-road trails but don’t enjoy doing highway miles on your dirt bike to get there, again a trailer is a terrific solution. It saves wear and tear on your motorcycle and on your person.

Finally, a motorcycle trailer can be a great tool for enjoying a vacation with your family. If your loved ones don’t ride but love traveling with you, trailering your bike can be the perfect way to enjoy your family vacation and still get in some saddle time.

Motorcycle Trailer Styles

A motorcycle rack is the simplest and least expensive solution if you are trailering one motorcycle, but these are meant for smaller bikes. The motorcycle rack mounts directly into the hitch receiver on a vehicle. These racks are meant for larger vehicles, such as for SUV’s, and are similar to bicycle racks. They can be installed within minutes and are perfect for short trailering trips. Motorcycle racks come in various styles and can cost as little as $200. If traveling in an RV, there are “fifth wheel” motorcycle racks available which cost a bit more. These attach to the back of the RV, providing extra stability while able to carry a slightly heavier motorcycle.

If you are looking for a trailer that can accommodate several motorcycles, there are many trailer options to choose from. These can range from simple tie-down affairs to trailers with built-in front wheel chocks, which lock the front end of the motorcycle into place.  Most riders with large road bikes or adventure motorcycles opt for these kinds of trailers, as they are more secure.

Folding trailers are gaining popularity for their simplicity, light weight, and minimalist look, as well as the fact that they take up so little space in the garage. Folding trailers cost anywhere between $1,500 and $3,500 new, are safe and easy to handle, and can be attached to any vehicle with a hitch. We especially like this foldable trailer because it has a wide ramp and can haul any motorcycle, whether it’s as small as a dirt bike or as large as a Honda Gold Wing.

The downside of the small flatbed and foldable trailers is that they typically only safely hold one or two motorcycles. They also do not protect the bike from the weather and road grime kicked up from the tow vehicle. If you own several motorcycles, or plan to trailer your and your friends’ motorcycles together, or are hauling bikes a long distance, consider getting a larger enclosed trailer or renting one at EagleRider.

Motorcycle trailers can weigh anywhere from 325 to more than 3,000 pounds. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive and the number, size, and weight of motorcycles you plan to trailer, choose the one that is the easiest for you to handle and is safest for your tow vehicle and motorcycles.

Enclosed Motorcycle Trailers vs. Open Motorcycle Trailers

The choice of an enclosed or open motorcycle trailer depends on several factors. Weather is certainly one factor. If you live in a place where it’s warm and sunny year-round, an open trailer might be just the thing. If you live in a climate with rain and snow, however, or if you will be trailering your bike where there may be changeable weather, consider buying an enclosed trailer to protect your bike(s) from the elements.

An enclosed motorcycle trailer will protect your bike(s) from road grime and detritus thrown up by other vehicles. Motorcycles in an enclosed trailer are also less susceptible to theft, since the contents are hidden. An added bonus is that you have more room to carry a few tools, spares, and even store your motorcycle apparel in the trailer, rather than taking up space in your vehicle.

On the other hand, open trailers are much more economical, smaller, and easier to handle. If you are trailering your bike over a long distance, consider putting a sturdy bike cover over the motorcycle to protect it from the weather and road debris. Fitting an anti-theft device such as a Find It Now (FIN) or an alarm can be effective in preventing motorcycle theft as well.

Trailer Amenities and Add-Ons

Often times you may need to purchase some add-ons to haul your bike safely or to customize your trailer. Tie-down straps are seldom included when you purchase a trailer. Wheel chocks or stands (also typically sold separately) are very useful in order to make sure your motorcycle is secured properly and they keep it from rolling back and forth. When it comes to customizing a motorcycle trailer, some trailer manufacturers offer extra wide ramps, suspension upgrades, or snap tracks in the floor or on the walls for additional tie down points. Some even offer an upgrade with custom wheels.

While stock motorcycle trailers typically suffice for a short haul, you may want to do some in-depth research if you’re hauling more than two bikes or if you are trailering motorcycles on a regular basis. If you know you will be loading and unloading your motorcycle frequently, proper ramps that connect to the trailer without moving are a must. And you'll find that extra attachment points on the trailer come in handy, especially when you are packing a full load.

How Much Do Motorcycle Trailers Cost?

The cost of motorcycle trailers varies as much as their weight and loading capacity. A simple hitch rack mount for a SUV or RV can cost as little as $200-$400. A small flatbed trailer may cost less than $2,000, while a mid-range enclosed trailer is usually around $5,000. A large, multi-purpose enclosed trailer can cost as little as $5,000 or upwards of $12,000 (and more). It all depends on the features and the quality of the build.

These cost estimates are for brand new motorcycle trailers. You can always opt for a second-hand motorcycle trailer or share the cost with your riding buddies if you plan to haul bikes together. If you're not hauling motorcycles frequently, then the most cost-effective solution of course is renting a motorcycle. When determining the right solution for your motorcycle trailering needs it’s important to calculate not only the cost of purchasing a trailer, but also the additional expenses of registering and maintaining one.

Trailering a Motorcycle vs. Renting a Motorcycle

When it comes right down to it, are you better off renting a motorcycle or trailering your own? The answer depends on the amount of time you have for your trip, your budget, and how often you plan to trailer a motorcycle. Trailering and renting a motorcycle trailer each have their pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Motorcycle rentals are a fantastic way to explore new parts of the country without having to cover the long distances to get there. With our extensive location network, options to drop the rentals off in different locations, and our special deals and offers, EagleRider is the perfect solution if you are planning a one-time motorcycle vacation far from home. Renting a motorcycle and flying to your chosen destination is by far the least time-consuming, easiest and the most comfortable way to enjoy your two-wheeled vacation.

Your motorcycle rental will be waiting for you at your selected pickup spot, road-ready, mechanically sound, insured and all prepped to go. There is zero maintenance hassle. You can simply fly in, get on the bike, and hit the road. EagleRider has prepared dozens of carefully designed itineraries and route suggestions, saving you both route planning and research time. This gives you more time to enjoy your motorcycle vacation. You can also join one of our guided motorcycle tours if you prefer a done-for-you motorcycle experience. Everything from the route to sightseeing highlights as well as accommodations are prepared for you.

An EagleRider Club membership is a great way to enjoy motorcycle rentals year-round, especially if you travel often and love to ride wherever you go. Club membership enables you to save on rentals and collect rewards each time you rent a motorcycle, enabling you to get even more bang for your buck.

Using a rented or owned motorcycle trailer may be the best solution if your preference is to travel on your own and only ride your own motorcycle. A motorcycle trailer gives you that extra bit of freedom to head out on your own on your own timing. It just may take longer to get to your destination, cutting into your riding time. And if you have a maintenance problem along the way, you'll be able to haul your bike to the dealership yourself and get it fixed.

If you need any additional information or advice, please contact ius and we will do our best to help. Here at EagleRider, we always love chatting with other motorcyclists and enjoy being a solution for your motorcycle travel needs.

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