When towing motorcycles in Class III trailer hitches, the most important thing is the trailer hitch. It must be a strong, frame-mounted type. Strength depends on the kind of vehicle and varies based on desired load capacity. Some lighter capacity hitches can be made to work by welding them to the vehicle. Some vehicles uni-body cannot handle long-term heavy loads. A Chevy Astro van is a good example. When the supports in the uni-body stretch, the hitch comes loose. Small gussets need to be installed by welding in place, to help disperse the load over more surface area of the thin metal frame. As these new style smaller SUV’s become more popular and prevalent the tongue weight limit will become more critical. Vehicles like the X-TERRA have a frame like traditional trucks. The Ford Escape, Honda Element, most mini vans (other than Ford Aero star) are made with the uni-body style, i.e. no true frame. Paying attention to the mounts every time a hauler is used is very important on vehicles of this nature. A little common sense can save you from embarrassment, your bike from damage or, more importantly, someone’s life.
Our “hitch carriers” come out of the hitch with 2 in. square tubing, which is 1/4" thick. From here, we use our imagination to create haulers to handle varying loads. People dream up what they wish to take with them on trips, and we make it happen. Just when we think we have done it all, along comes a guy who wants to take two bikes on the front (XR200, Trail 90) and two bikes on the back, plus surf boards, a grill, gear bags, gas, and firewood. Our haulers can take it, but in cases like this, they need to be strongly reinforced.
Regarding locking hitch pins, the only hauler we’ve heard of falling off a truck used a locking hitch pin. The guy called to tell me he couldn’t remember if he installed it correctly or not, but wanted us to know that the bike and hauler stayed upright and slid gently to a stop on the shoulder. There was no damage, but the hauler is slightly lighter now! Our suggestion is to use a cable-type lock and a clip style hitch pin. This offers better flexibility, versatility, acts as a safety chain, and you can use it on rides or in the garage to lock your bike.
Place the carrier in the hitch and install the pin. Position the tie-downs before rolling the bike in place. Most of our customers as well as myself do not use ramps but for larger bikes and scooters ramps are needed. Longer ramps are necessary to roll street bikes up to avoid a high center, chipped chrome, or damaged chin fairings. Dirt bikes and some scooters can use shorter ramps because they have more ground clearance. Make sure to put the tie-down hooks in the hard way (hook tip facing away from bike) so they cannot fall out.*SEE DIRTBIKE VIDEO*
*SEE CRUISER VIDEO*
One reason people enjoy using a hitch-type hauler is drivability. No worries backing up, and no left lane or passing prohibitions. Some states have speed limits for trailers (55 mph in California). When loaded up and driving, it is very important to watch out for dips in the pavement. When entering or exiting driveways, drive carefully to avoid bottoming out. Hitting a major pothole may require a good visual check of the equipment, hitch, and hauler. Be careful out there!!! We know the hauler can handle anything, but we cannot check every hitch during use.
Two haulers I know of have been run over by other vehicles and have had the wheel rails bent down. These were done in tight parking situations, without cycles on the rack. Some creative placement of 2x4’s and a long bar straightened them. Another guy ripped down a light pole in San Francisco. When he pulled out of a parallel parking space, his loaded double hooked a 30ft. Concrete lamppost. The extreme crown of a 125-year old road contributed to this. The post, weighing approximately 1200 lbs., crashed down, just missing the driver’s mirror. The driver was quite shaken and admitted that a lot of bystanders were surprised as well. Thankfully, nobody was injured. The 32ft 440 Dodge Hemi motor home took the brunt of the damage; with the bent rear frame holding the two bikes all the way back to San Diego before repairs were made. The hauler was totally un-repairable and we gladly replaced it with a new one.
Use caution when unloading. Bikes tend to go where you look, and this could take a little practice. Avoid looking over your shoulder while walking backwards instead look down at your feet. Like tying your shoes, once you do it a few times, it gets easier with practice. Have someone spot you the first couple of times by standing on the opposite side to save you before a spill occurs. This is important until you become familiar with the process. *SEE DIRTBIKE VIDEO*
*SEE CRUISER VIDEO*
I keep my hauler out by the trash cans leaning on the fence. The hauler is powdercoated which will last for many years. Even if your hauler were only painted black with spraypaint the steel will last. We dug an old carrier out of the ice plants after it had been there for over 8 years and still use it. It has become our "tetnus hauler" we loan it out to friends. Usually they will bring it back and buy a powdercoated one.
The cam-loc device is simply a wedge behind the hitch pin. Very similar to the gooseneck on a bicycle, the little wedge is pulled from the rear to tighten the space in the hitch, making for a snug fit. Our cam-loc is two straps welded to the wedge and traveling down to the end where they are attached to a 15/16” bolt. This is necessary to clear the 5/8” hitch pin. The nut is tightened, which takes up the movement in the receiver. Excessive tightening will twist the straps, making removal difficult (the 15/16” bolt head needs to be cut off). Simply tighten and wiggle up and down on the ends of the wheel rail until the bolt is snug (not white knuckle tight) or until the up and down movement no longer seems to lessen; which ever comes first. Sometimes these straps become bent in shipping and need to be cleared before tightening to make room for the pin to fit between. Simply remove the actuating bolt and slide the cam-loc device out of the main shaft. Place the wedge on the ground, wide part down (up-side down). Place a 24” bar between the straps where the pin would be and stand on one side with your foot. Hit the other side of the bar once with a 15 lb. sledge- hammer. Hit it only once and then re-check the fit. Repeat again if necessary. Be careful not to bend the strap too much. Too much stress to the strap steel could fatigue or elongate it and cause it to fail. *SEE VIDEO*
Keep the bolt greased to prevent gauling or sticking. If the bolt sticks the two straps will "barber shop pole" or twist. The bolt head will need to be cut or ground off to remove the carrier from the hitch. If this happens I will fix it for free for life. I'll need to know the overall length of the mainshaft with the wedge in place, to be sure we make it right. Also we've noticed that extreme bottoming out on the mainshaft can sometimes snap the small weld on top of the small part of the wedge. We can also repair this as well for free just mail it to us and we'll fix it and send it right back.
It takes a little longer to mount and dismount the cam-loc hauler, and you must remember to bring a wrench. The reward for long-term use is no rounding out of the pinhole or annoying rattling noise on bumpy roads. My personal haulers do not use cam-loc; I like to load and go fast. The wobble does not bother me or matter very much. Motorcycles are designed to hit bumps and it is the suspension that will keep the machine in place. DO NOT USE THE CAM-LOC LOOSE; DAMAGE CAN AND WILL OCCUR!!! *SEE VIDEO*
To remove the cam-loc, loosen the bolt about 3-5 turns and tap it inward towards the hitch. This will break the friction on the ramps of the wedge, making removal possible. The newer silent hitch pin is a clever and a sturdy replacement or alternative to our 12 year old cam-loc design. As always call us if you’re not sure, or have any questions, that’s why we’re here. 1-800-504-2441 *SEE VIDEO*
When using a double hauler carrier, there is a lot to consider. Most important is, make sure your hitch is strong (and not by piling a bunch of neighbors on it either). The dual comes with cam-loc standard, and is elevated 8 in. to clear speed bumps or get in and out of the gas station. It is necessary to always put the heavier bike on the inside. Because of this, some bike/vehicle combinations may require a longer ramp to clear the hump. When loading the first bike, watch out for the second bike’s hold down bar; it is right at knee level.
Double haulers come cam-loc standard, but they can be made without it upon request. It is important to follow the above cam-loc instructions and to call us if you’re not sure about anything.
It is difficult to imagine the many situations you may encounter on the road. Something to consider when using the dual hauler: take a look every so often on the hitch mounting bolts on your vehicle. Welding the hitch mount to the frame for extra security can help ease your mind while hauling.
As always, be careful. Relocate your lights if the hauler and bike(s) obstructs them. We have lights and wires available. If you need them, please ask. California law states that it is the driver’s responsibility to be sure that their lights are not obstructed and are working properly. Long travel dirt bikes with spoke wheels usually do not hinder light visibility. Cruiser bikes / scooters with fairings, mag-wheels and saddlebags are the most un-cooperative in this area. It is hard to consider everything for every customer every time, but we try. By asking a lot of questions, we can usually prevent most problems before they occur.
Joe Hauler set the industry standard with a 3 year warranty on all of our carriers, materials and workmanship. We've seen haulers come in 5 years later still looking and working good. We want to do this for our customers because we understand that sometimes work or weather can interfere with your riding or vacation schedule. We are the only company that offers a trade in program (at our location only, no shipping allowed). Because your towing needs can change as the kids grow up, or if your riding desires change or your partner buys a truck. We can sometimes trade up or down with you for a different carrier (sorry no cash refunds and shipping not allowed). We do not want this to be abused by becoming a rental program! This only applies to customers in the San Diego area, no shipping. Might be a good reason to take a vacation! Joe is the only one authorized to do trade in. Some restrictions apply. You will need to have a receipt or some record of price paid. Equipment needs to be in good usable condition. Paint quality can affect trade in value. Call for details.
Joe's Family & Staff 2007 - 1000lbs on a SingleHauler