Can a motorcycle pull a trailer behind them? A helpful guide to tow trailer!!

Can a motorcycle pull a trailer?
Can a motorcycle pull a trailer?

More than 12 million people in the US are the proud owners of their motorcycles and the numbers are increasing day by day. Thus, many new curious riders got questions as they saw some riders pulling a trailer behind them. Therefore, many beginner riders have lots of confusion when it comes to pulling a trailer behind the motorcycle.

In this post, we will be discussing all the required basic information you need to know in detail.

So, Can a motorcycle pull a trailer behind them? Yes, a motorcycle can pull a trailer behind it but the trailer weight should not exceed ½ of the total motorcycle curb weight. So, the trailer weight should always be less than the motorcycle’s total carrying weight to be able to pull the trailer safely.

Before towing anything behind your motorcycle you must have some knowledge on your part.

So, to pull a trailer behind your motorcycle safely you need to know the total carrying capacity of your motorcycle.

To know the total carrying capacity of your motorcycle you can use this equation.

Total carrying/towing capacity of the motorcycle = Gross vehicle weight Rating (GVWR) – Curb weight of the motorcycle 


GVWR is the maximum safe weight of the motorcycle permitted by the manufacturer. By knowing the GVWR of your motorcycle you know how much of the total weight you can carry safely without damaging your bike or risking any safety. It includes the curb weight, weight of the passenger, accessories, cargo, etc. So, whatever you add to your motorcycle you only need to take care that it doesn’t exceed the GVWR. The GVWR of the motorcycle is printed on a motorcycle VIN plate or you can find it on the service manual.

Curb weight includes the weight of all the necessary fluids and things required to run the motorcycle such as fuel, engine oil, brake fluid, fork oil coolant, battery, hydraulic fluids, etc. It is used to describe the ready-to-ride (running) state of the motorcycle.

You can’t know the curb weight of the motorcycle because the different manufacturers add various factors while calculating the curb weight of the motorcycle. 

So, there is an alternative that manufacturers come up with to know the curb weight is to calculate the dry weight of the motorcycle. Dry weight is the weight of the motorcycle as manufactured and shipped from the factory. The weight when the motorcycle doesn’t contain any fluid or battery, etc.

So, if you know the GVWR and curb weight of your motorcycle then you can know the total carrying capacity of your motorcycle. 

Let’s take an example of Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle and find out the total carrying capacity:-

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating:- 1360 lbs

Wet weight (Curb Weight) :- 810 lbs

So, total carrying capacity = 1360 lbs – 880 lbs

          = 480 lbs (217 kg)

Thus, if you have a Harley Davidson street glide, then you can safely carry a trailer of 480 lbs.

What’s the reason people pull a trailer behind the motorcycle?

People who do long-distance rides for exploration or say camping pull a trailer behind their motorcycle. It’s because the motorcycle has a very low storage capacity, you can’t carry even a handful of stuff. 

Also, saddlebags don’t offer much storage capacity and it doesn’t matter how big they are; still, you can’t carry all the things.

So, people carry a trailer to accommodate all the essential things needed for their long-distance journey. 

Apart from this, I have also seen people carrying their dogs in the pull trailers too. To my surprise, there is a dog trailer that is specially designed to travel with your pets such as dogs, cats, etc. We will discuss the types of trailers in the below section.

Therefore, a pull trailer enables riders to carry everything they need in their journey and save themselves from trouble in the journey. 

Types of pull behind trailer for motorcycle:-

There are four types of pull-behind trailer you can tow with your motorcycle:-

  • Cargo trailers
  • Camping trailer
  • Open trailer 
  • Dog trailer

Cargo trailer

Cargo trailer for a motorcycle
Cargo trailer for a motorcycle

As the name suggests a cargo trailer is made to accommodate stuff that isn’t possible to pack in a low storage motorcycle. The cargo trailer is helpful to carry things to move from one place to another on a motorcycle.

The cargo trailer is also beneficial if you are planning for long riders to keep the essential things with you. Wait!! Did I just say to use a cargo trailer on your long ride with a motorcycle? For riders riding motorcycles for long distances should use a camping trailer. 

If you want to buy a cargo trailer then you should visit this website.

Camping trailer

Camping trailer for a motorcycle
Camping trailer for a motorcycle

Camping trailers are specially designed to meet the requirement of motorcycle campers riding long distances. If you are really in love with mother nature and want to wander and enjoy the place then a camping trailer will fulfill your requirement.

These camping trailers are made lightweight enough to be hauled by most motorcycles. As, these trailers not only carry your things but also gives you shelter make it easy to explore the place.

These trailers come with a good system that turns the trailer into a living tent right away. So, these trailers not just carry your things but also turned out to be a living room while camping.

Thus, if you are more serious about camping then you should buy a camping trailer. If you want to buy the camping trailer showing in the image you can buy it from here.

These camping trailers could cost up to $5000 depending on the brand and type of specs they have. For example, Timeouttrailers easy camper is $3,695 which is smaller in size but with a deluxe camper, it costs $4,695.

Open trailer

Open / Utility pull trailer for a motorcycle
Open / Utility pull trailer for a motorcycle

An open trailer is used to transport large objects with the motorcycle. These open trailers are also known as utility trailers. The open trailers are flatbed and don’t come with any protection from the weather.

So, if you often carry bulky objects from one place to another then you can buy an open trailer. You must note that while I am saying “bulky objects” it doesn’t mean you start to transport bigger things on your motorcycles.

Obviously, if it’s an open trailer then it is going to be smaller than other standard open trailers.

If you want to buy an open traile trailer then you should visit this website.

Dog trailer

Dog pull trailer for a motrocycle
Dog pull trailer for a motorcycle

Dog trailer enables you to travel with your pets especially dogs. You can’t carry your dog on a motorcycle because it’s very risky to do so.

So, with the dog trailer, you can safely carry your dogs with you. This dog trailer is fully enclosed only leaving space for the dogs to see through and ventilation. So, using a dog trailer is a safe way to carry your dogs along with you on the journey.

We have discussed four types of pull trailers for motorcycles so far and each of these has its uses. So, while choosing a trailer make sure to look on you need not buy anything from relatives or friend influence. If you want to buy dog trailers then you can visit this site.

Is it safe to pull a trailer behind your motorcycle?

It’s safe to pull a trailer with your motorcycle till you do not exceed the total carrying capacity of the motorcycle. So, to have a safe ride in every aspect carry a trailer whose weight is lesser than the total carrying capacity of the bike. 

If you will tow a trailer whose weight is exceeding the carrying capacity of the bike then it will result in an unbalanced load and will result in an unsafe ride.

The overload trailer can adversely affect the overall handling of the motorcycle because of the imbalance mass distribution.

And, of course, beginners riders who have just got his/her license should stay away from towing a trailer with a motorcycle. There are lots of factors to consider because riding with a trailer is different than riding a motorcycle alone. You will need to practice learning to ride a motorcycle with a trailer. You must begin practicing in your neighborhood and backyard.

How to safely tow a trailer with a motorcycle?

Trailers are great accessories to accommodate many things on a motorcycle for long-distance tours. But, trailers are wider and adds up extra weight to your motorcycle. You need to ride cautiously because a trailer attached to your motorcycle will affect the handling, braking, because of the weight.

Here are some points you should keep in mind to tow a trailer safely:-

  • Use a high-displacement motorcycle such as 600cc or higher to tow the trailer. Higher-displacement motorcycles are packed with a powerful engine that can easily tow a trailer. 

While if you have a 150cc or 250cc motorcycle then it’s better to not tow a trailer behind it. Because these motorcycle doesn’t have enough power and cause safety issue on your journey.

  • You should also know the Tongue weight of the trailer. Tongue weight is the amount of weight that’s on the hitch (connecting the bike with the trailer). So, the tongue weight should be less than 15% of the total trailer weight. You should take the help of weight machine to measure the toungue weight.
  • Always remember that the weight of the trailer must be 50% of the motorcycle carb weight (wet weight).
  • You should understand the importance of hitch. While riding your motorcycle will need to lean or sometimes corner thus make sure to buy a hitch that revolves 360°. It will enable you to lean without causing instability between a motorcycle and the trailer. If you are not sure about buying a hitch then you should buy a Heim’s joint. Heim joint hitch can do a 360-degree swivel.
  • Always remember to be cautious while changing lanes and making turns. Your turn will be large in diameter because of the trailer width. If you forget about the trailer then you can cause trouble and damage to your trailer.
  • As you are carrying a trailer so allow yourself some time for breaking as it adds an extra 200-300 pound weight behind your motorcycle that will affect your braking. Therefore you must slow down before braking for a proper stop.
  • Maintenance is crucial to do while on a long ride such as tires, lights, etc. You must ensure that everything working properly to make your ride safe, sound, and successful with the least amount of trouble. Therefore, Inflate your motorcycle and trailer tires properly and also carry a tire repair kit with you. Because now you have to maintain not only two tires but four (two of bike and two of the trailer). For a safe and sound ride, you will have to maintain all the tires thus keep essential things like pressure gauge, air pump, etc. Tubeless tires are easy to repair, read this article to know more.
Step-by-Step process to repair the tubeless tire

If you followed the above tips then I am sure you will definitely be safe and ride without any problem. I have also summarized the most important things from the article below. 


  • Pull-behind trailers are very useful for the riders as it enables them to carry essential things with them on long-rides.
  • There are various types of pull-behind trailers made for a specific use such as cargo, dog trailers, camping trailers, and utility trailers.
  • The weight of the trailer should not exceed the motorcycle’s 50% curb weight. That way you are ensuring a safe ride for yourself.
  • Choose your trailer wisely don’t get influenced by your relatives and friend’s choices. 

If you are a newbie then stay away from going to ride with trailers behind your motorcycle. It’s important to practice pulling a trailer behind the motorcycle to make your journey useful, sound, and safe. Protection Status