Mechanically connecting a trailer to a motorcycle - Page 3 - GL1800Riders
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post #21 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 03:26 PM
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So I guess the best possible trailer has 2 axles ( front axle pivoting for steering ) and a pivoting and rotating drawbar attachment where it attached to the trailer and the bike respectively.




What say you Tom?

2009 GL1800 8A / Triumph Scrambler 900. Ridden where the geography includes glaciers, fiords, mountains, plains, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, and miles of coastline are all within easy reach of each.
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post #22 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Finch View Post
If you can lay the bike on the guards with a narrow necked ball and standard hitch coupler, would like to understand the swivel thing especially with Dave's trailer which is quite stable. I always like to learn what is everyone's mind relative to pulling trailers with bikes.

A trailer with a propensity for rolling over I would understand. I certainly appreciate your comments and photos. Thanks much.
If I had access to a narrow necked 1 7/8" ball that I know is strong, I might do that. I'm not concerned at all about the trailer flipping. I think if that ever happens there will be some more serious problems I will need to be concerned about. I'm concerned about ever laying the Wing over with a trailer attached. I thing there would be some serious damage to the rear of the Wing where the hitch attaches if that ever happens with a heavy trailer attached AND if the neck of the ball catches the coupler before the Wing settles on its side. So far I haven't ever dropped it but I'm sure I will one day and I don't want any chance of additional stress that I even have a chance of avoiding.

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post #23 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:12 PM
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Welcome back Tom,
I have always enjoyed your explanations. You are one engineer that makes sense to me, that does not happen often...

Thanks for sharing what you have been given.

Mike

View our 3 min. video of the Mokie Dugway in Utaha! Its not far from Mexican Hat.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCJAZo6ipyc

I believe most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the seat to the handlebars.

Ride long and prosper!

Have completed numerous SaddleSore 1000s, a Bun Burner and a Bun Burner Gold.
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post #24 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
So I guess the best possible trailer has 2 axles ( front axle pivoting for steering ) and a pivoting and rotating drawbar attachment where it attached to the trailer and the bike respectively.




What say you Tom?
If I am understanding your description, that of a trailer with axles on both ends with the front one steering, that is called a wagon type trailer which I have pulled with a car. I even backed it. it takes a mind understanding second order effects to back such a trailer. Not reasonable to pull without brakes.

Another variant is a dolly like that used to piggy back trailers wth semis. I have see that lash up with bike trailer before. Not meant for backing up.

Help downsize Government! Encourage private industry!
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Ship goods out. Bring dollars in. Strengthen America!!
Texan since 36, Rider since 52, Bike/Trailer riden' since 57. Passed 1,000,000 motorcycle miles 6/16/08.
'10 GL 1800A '04 GL 1800A, '04 Tailwind XTc (We make 'em), '75 TEFCO Streamliner



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post #25 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Mike View Post
Welcome back Tom,
I have always enjoyed your explanations. You are one engineer that makes sense to me, that does not happen often...

Thanks for sharing what you have been given.

Mike
Mike, Thank you for the comment. To me an engineer is a guy that operates steam locomotives which I never got to do but would have loved as a life.

Starting when I was 10 years old, I spent many a Saturday morning walking around he MP roundhouse in San Antonio whenever the supervisor was not there. The guys changing boiler tubes or making rod bearings got used to this kid being everywhere around and they would warn me before the super showed up. I learned about metal fatigue when I was 11 years old and made a suspension for the trailer I had made for my bicycle that I carried my baby brother in. The platform that carried the axle was attached along the front edge with a row of nails and there were bed springs on the back edge. The nails fatigued so I switched to barn door hinges and that worked out well. I built a large crossbow from scratch when I was 12, finding out soon that lemon wood that was said to be good for a bow was unreliable so my second choice was a piece of spring steel from St. Louis Spring Company on Avenue E. I selected 1/4" by 2" by 60" and did my grinding and drilling and took it back to them to temper. The trigger mechanism was rough and had to be refined, and several iterations took me to 1/8" aircraft control cable before there was a bow string strong enough. The first time I fired it knocked my skinny body several feet backward and I hit on my back and head. It would shoot very very hard but not very accurate.

I guess I never stopped designing and making things because it was too much fun. Because I was designing bass horns I met another audiophile who was Ed Swearingen. At the time he was helping Bil Lear design the L2 Auto pilot but he decided to start an airplane company and build a business twin called the Merlin, making a new body to fly on Beech Twin Bonanza Wings and horizontal tail. His next step was a whole new airplane so he had a group of engineers designing a P-51 airfoil wing. I walked buy them one day on my way to where the pipe organs we built were happening and saw these engineers designing the wing flaps with Ed telling them how he wanted it done with four-bar links. Knowing unsolicited advice was seldom appreciated, I told Ed that his links would be subjected to twisting because the wing was tapered and therefore the motion lines would fan out and back. Ed said that wouldn't hurt because the links would just wind up. I said bad design and for the first time in our some years friendship he got mad at me and said "if you are so f****ing smart go design the son of a B***ch your self" So I did. Then the ailerons. Then the landing gear. Gust lock, Flap interconnect, and on and on and soon was the head of R&D of Swearingen Aircraft.

Fortunately, over time I had some chances to do things and got to be with some very neat people. Bill and Moya Lear, Sam Williams, Clay Lacy, Sir Ralph Robbns, Norm Wilson and many others called me Tom or Tommy. One night there was a kick off Diner when the company I worked for, DHC, won the contract to build the flying command post for Saudi under King Fahad. Jim Austin, top engineering manager at that time for Boeing addressed me directly from the podium at the dinner and said we (DHC) would never be able to certify the massive job with the FAA. Probably 75 very high level people at that dinner in Seattle. We did certify it and Boeing Ops management said that I knew more about the 747 than any man alive. That just simply was what needed to happen because we had done what Boeing said was the larges modification of an aircraft in the world. Boeing had people that knew a lot more about landing gear than me and others that know a lot more about control rigging than me but no one in Boeing needed to know the whole airplane. The 747 was designed by several companies like Northrop, and others who each had a part of the plane to do.

I still liked steam locomotives and motorcycles. I did airplanes because they needed to be done.

Guess I got runaway fingers again.
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Help downsize Government! Encourage private industry!
Make things here, sell them in the Mid and Far East!!
Ship goods out. Bring dollars in. Strengthen America!!
Texan since 36, Rider since 52, Bike/Trailer riden' since 57. Passed 1,000,000 motorcycle miles 6/16/08.
'10 GL 1800A '04 GL 1800A, '04 Tailwind XTc (We make 'em), '75 TEFCO Streamliner



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post #26 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 11:24 AM
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Hi Tom,
Thanks for sharing your life.
What a great story! Sounds like a life well lived.

Looking back, what would you have done differently?
What kept you going when things got tough?

Appreciate your thoughts.

Best,

Mike

View our 3 min. video of the Mokie Dugway in Utaha! Its not far from Mexican Hat.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCJAZo6ipyc

I believe most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the seat to the handlebars.

Ride long and prosper!

Have completed numerous SaddleSore 1000s, a Bun Burner and a Bun Burner Gold.
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post #27 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Finch View Post
If I am understanding your description, that of a trailer with axles on both ends with the front one steering, that is called a wagon type trailer which I have pulled with a car. I even backed it. it takes a mind understanding second order effects to back such a trailer. Not reasonable to pull without brakes. .
That's the one Tom, a wagon type.
I hope you don't mind me bouncing a few ideas off you, please say if you don't wish to.


I have been thinking on a trailer for some time. Made mostly of welded lightweight alloy to keep the weight to a minimum.

So if for instance you were to fit up a set of rear wheels, with a braking option, say a hydraulic disc brake system, with an electronic or manual piston system it could be a goer. You could offset the axle to lower the box making it handle better and more stable when cornering.


Any thoughts on the ideal length required for the drawbar from the front pivot to the tow bar?
I am thinking of a box of 2m or so I guess its got to do with the wheelbase of the Wing.


As for backing, I entirely agree with you having to get your head around where to steer it, pretty sure I could master that having driven a large truck and trailer while serving with NZIR.
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2009 GL1800 8A / Triumph Scrambler 900. Ridden where the geography includes glaciers, fiords, mountains, plains, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, and miles of coastline are all within easy reach of each.

Last edited by Kiwi; 05-20-2017 at 03:26 PM.
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post #28 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 05:07 PM
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When I was growing up we had 4 wheel wagon type trailers. We had hitches on the front bumpers of the pull vehicles that were used for backing the wagons. I would not want to pull this type trailer with a motorcycle, especially at speed.

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post #29 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 05:42 PM
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When I was growing up we had 4 wheel wagon type trailers. We had hitches on the front bumpers of the pull vehicles that were used for backing the wagons. I would not want to pull this type trailer with a motorcycle, especially at speed.

Millions of vehicles throughout the world tow the same set up, on a road at highway speeds, seemingly without difficulty.


I am curious to know why you have that opinion. Care to share?

2009 GL1800 8A / Triumph Scrambler 900. Ridden where the geography includes glaciers, fiords, mountains, plains, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, and miles of coastline are all within easy reach of each.
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post #30 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 06:23 PM
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Don't remember seeing any motorcycles pulling 4 wheel wagons at highway speed. Has been long ago but the wagons I remember had more of a tendency to wag/weave when pulled at speed especially if there were problems like low tire pressure, too much free play in front axle or incorrect wheel alignment. I am sure one built with modern components will pull better. Trailers like the tailwind can be safely pulled fully loaded at speed and with very little change in fuel mileage.

2008 Titanium Gl1800
G709 @ 39 psi
Yokohama Avid Envigor ZPS RFT @ 28 to 30 psi
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