v-650 not designed for trailer hitch or sidecar - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-11-2005, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
michiganstromrider's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hillsdale Michigan
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v-650 not designed for trailer hitch or sidecar

I just happened to read my owners manual today and found some language regarding trailer hitches for 650's.

It states that the 650 v-strom is not designed for trailer towing or obviously sidecars. I had been hoping to add a trailer hitch to pull a very small trailer. For safety's sake I will take the advice of Suzuki and not seek a trailer hitch.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-11-2005, 10:03 PM
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Location: Winchester, Virginia
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Other that maybe wings or a harley here or there, has any bike designed for trailers or hacks?

650...Anything more than a handfull is wasted
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-12-2005, 07:12 AM
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There have been a few folks who have towed a trailer with the Strom. Not on this board, but it can be done.
post #4 of 8 Old 09-13-2005, 10:08 PM
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Location: Clay City, Indiana
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While I am not a fan at adding trailers to motorcycles, I would say that Suzuki (and most manufacturers) include that language in the manuals to cover their butts.

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post #5 of 8 Old 09-13-2005, 10:30 PM
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Trailer Hitch

Ask a gold wing owner. NO motorcycle manufacturer is going to put their important parts on the chopping block by giving the nod to pulling trailers or adding sidecars. They also don't endorse breaking speed laws or altering the profile of your footpegs by contact with pavement.

If you stick to the Strom manual, you'll be in 6th gear before you hit the double nickel speed limit. I have pulled trailers all over North America with bikes as diverse as a BMW K bike and my trusty '96 Magna.

Trailers and sidecars aren't a problem; they just require a whole new set of skills and riding parameters. I haven't decided whether to put a trailer hitch on the Strom so I can pull my pop up, but I certainly wouldn't be intimidated by the manufacturer. They're the same bright folks that sent your bike to the dealer set up to run like a washing machine below 4000 rpms!

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post #6 of 8 Old 09-18-2005, 10:06 PM
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Gettin' Hitched

The only bike I am aware of that is rated to pull a trailer is a Gold Wing.

I recently worked at a crash with a Harley that was pulling one of those whiskey keg trailers. I researched the situation, and learned Harley Davidson does not sell or install hitches. In the crash, the rider tried to panic stop, and the trailer tried to swap ends with the bike. Not a pretty sight, with $40,000 worth of Ultra Classic in the ditch, and two badly hurt people.

My opinion is, if Suzuki says don't pull a trailer, then don't pull a trailer. Too many people try to push the limits, and all too often the result is a crash. So, if you are going to pull a trailer contrary to the manual, then how heavy? 200 pounds? 500 pounds? Who decides? This kind of "engineering" reminds me of those chopper builders who scrawl a design on the back of a cigarette pack, and then whoop up a motorcycle from it. Wonderful artwork, just keep it off the damn road.

I personally wouldn't pull a trailer with any motorcycle, especially a light one like the V-STROM.
post #7 of 8 Old 09-19-2005, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hillsdale, MI
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I don't believe Honda underwrites the Gold Wing to pull a trailer either. Motorcycling is a calculated risk. Pulling a trailer is a separate risk.

When you say the Harley rider tried a panic stop you didn't mention a few important parameters:
1. Did the trailer have brakes? (You wouldn't pull a heavy trailer with a car if the trailer didn't have brakes) If so, were the trailer brakes properly adjusted to the bike brakes?
2. Was the guy going straight or turning when he tried to panic stop? Had he ever practiced panic stops while pulling a trailer, or did he just slap 'er on and go like Hell without any idea of what the trailer would do in a panic stop?
3. What did he have loaded in the trailer? How was it packed?
4. What was the condition of the tires on the bike and the trailer?
5. What air pressure was he running in the tires?
6. How about the bike brakes? Were they adjusted properly and in good condition?
7.How experienced was the rider?
8.Had he had MSF training?
9.Had he ever had another bike accident? I have a friend who had 5 major accidents in four years. He just wasn't cut out to ride a motorcycle.
8. Why was the rider trying to panic stop in the first place?
9. How fast was he going?
10. What was the posted speed limit?
11. What were the road conditions? Was he on pavement? Clean or dirty? New? Gravel?
12. Was the road wet or dry?
13. Who made the trailer? How big were the wheels? Tires?
14. Did he apply both brakes or just the front? Or just the back?
15. What kind of load was he carrying on the bike?
16. Who made the hitch? How was it attached to the bike?

There are a lot more questions. Most motorcycle accidents involve rider error. Until you know how prepared the rider was for the situation you can't blame the problem on the fact he was pulling a trailer.

Bottom line is no motorcycle was ever made to pull a trailer. If you pull one, know the risks and do what it takes to mitigate them.

'04 DL1000
'96 Magna custom
'85 BMW K100RT
'79 KZ1300 naked
'76 Gold Wing
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-19-2005, 05:27 PM
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Dry pavement, nighttime. A black angus cow and calf were on the roadway, causing the whole crash. No brakes on the trailer, it was a home-made job made out of an old wooden whiskey keg. We didn't weight the trailer, but it was very heavy (I had a hard time tipping it over to look at it). Driver had been drinking, but wasn't impaired.

From the roadway markings, It was apparent that the driver made a heavy brake application, after 10 metres or so the weight shift of the trailer pushed down on the hitch, bottomed out the bike suspension, and the rear wheel locked (the hitch actually cut a gouge in the pavement). About this time the trailer was jack-knifed to the right hand side of the bike, and the trailer wheels made scuff marks parallel to the gouge and the bike's skids. The whole unit tipped over, and slid down the road on the side until it hit the cattle, then bounced into the ditch, rear first.

I did the math on this, given the known location of the start of the skids (point of perception), the known location of the cattle (area of impact), and the known friction coefficient of the road (f). There was enough time to stop safely, without hitting anything.
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