Transporting The X - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Transporting The X

Every year, sometimes twice a year, I go on these 3500 to 3800 mile round trips to the Smoky mountains for a full weeks worth of mountain riding bliss in NC, TN, VA and sometimes KY, many times solo. Sometimes I ride, and sometimes I trailer the bike on these trips. I currently have a 5x10 trailer that I use to haul the bikes anytime that its needed, but I was looking for an easier more compact way to transport the X-300 on multi-state long distance trips when by myself. I love the bike, but after doing these long distance trips on two different Goldwings, a Triumph Trophy SE, and a Harley, the little X just cant compare when it comes to long distance handling & comfort, especially if doing a lot of interstate miles. The big bikes cant take advantage of the hundreds of forest roads and non paved roads in the Appalachian region alone, but my way of thinking is that the X-300 would be perfect if I can get it up there easily.

I would have never considered these hitch haulers or doing this with the other two bikes or any of my previous bikes because they were just too big and too heavy and it couldn't be done safely. But after doing some research, the Versys X is well under the 600 lbs weight limit of some of these motorcycle hitch haulers, so I figured for a couple of hundred bucks, it was worth a try. I went with the Goplus 600 LBS unit because in all the reviews that I read, it always ranked #1 or #2 out of the top 10 haulers. Some owners making cross country trips using these haulers with a variety of sizes of bikes (staying within the load range). Its heavy gauge steel, almost too heavy at (92 lbs) and its solid. It comes with a built in 6' detachable ramp. I thought an aluminum one would be nice, and they're out there, but they have a much lower load limit rating on the aluminum units.

Once assembled and mounted on the truck hitch, I gave it a go at loading the bike. Even though it comes with one of the longest ramps, it was a struggle to push it up the ramp, and even harder to get it to lock into the wheel chock. I thought ok, this is not going to work this way. So after thinking about it for a little bit, I decided to start the bike and walk it up the ramp under its own power, while standing next to it. It was a breeze, it rolled right up and into the wheel chock effortlessly, it was just as easy to unload using gravity to roll it out of the hauler and down the ramp. I took it on a 20 minute 80 MPH test ride on the interstate, pulled of the interstate and checked the ratchet straps, then preceded home through typical urban street traffic through town. I left it on the truck overnight and took it on another test run this morning with a little more interstate time, it was a pretty solid run with very little movement using the hitch lock block.

I always have the trailer to use on the multi-state trips, and its pretty compact, but its a PIA to maneuver around at the cabin property, or the local little hotel parking lots in these small mountain towns. I should get much better fuel mileage without the trailer too. This year I'll be making the trip this June, providing the Covid-19 restrictions are eased up, and I'll be taking the X-300 for the first time to the mountains using this hitch hauler. Hopefully no unforeseen problems will occur.



Moto Guzzi Griso 1200, Kawasaki Versys X-300
Harley Super Glide Custom, Honda Metropolitan
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 06:34 PM
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That,s compact for a bike trailer.Load some pictures on how you mount the bike if possible. Thanks for sharing.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-30-2020, 12:56 PM
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I have been thinking of one of these as well. I was thinking aluminium and I was thinking for my lighter CRF450L. But, would be nice to throw the X300 on there as well. Seems like a decent solution. My buddy has one in aluminium and offered it to me to try, I will do that and see what I think.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-30-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fastoman View Post
That,s compact for a bike trailer.Load some pictures on how you mount the bike if possible. Thanks for sharing.
I'm not sure if you mean how I tie the bike down, or how I walk it up the ramp under its own power. If its the first, I tie it down the same way I do all bikes, and pretty much the same whether its on the hitch hauler or on the trailer. I have three different tie down sets consisting of four ratchet straps and four tie down loops. This first one pictured is by far my favorite set, and its because of the Reese Self Retracting/Self Winding ratchet straps. They are totally self contained and there is never any strap material leftover like there is on traditional ratchet straps. Just push the red button and they retract, much much easier when working by yourself. I highly recommend them, they are a little more expensive, but they are well worth it. Just make sure to stick with a name brand and stay away from the cheap imports.

I use a tie down loop and ratchet strap on the front and back of the bike on both sides. On the front of the bike I always go over each side of the lower triple tree, its the strongest point on the front end. On the right front side, the front brake line is routed right over the triple tree, so you just have to make sure that the tie down loop goes under that brake line and not over it or it will get crushed (see in the 2nd row of images).

On each side of the back, I try to attach to the frame if possible, on the Versys, its not possible. So I attach a loop around the Shads luggage rack mount, its attached to the frame. I use a little piece of cloth under the loop so its doesn't rub the black powder coating off. The rear end of the bikes doesn't need as much tensioning as the front, just enough to keep the rear wheel from hopping or moving when hitting a bump or rough patch of road. The front end is where the holding power is, you just have to be careful and not compress the front end too much, or it can blow a fork seal. On the back right side, I had to go a little higher on the frame to avoid the exhaust can thats in the way.

Reese Self Retracting Straps:

Loop going over lower triple tree and under the brake line, looking up from front wheel:

My favorite tie down set: Also, Loop attached to Shad luggage rack hardware on right side:

Three of my bikes (in various stages of being tied down) Harley not tied down yet, being held in place by wheel chalk on my 5x8 open trailer with fold down ramp and 30mm ammo storage can.




Quote:
Originally Posted by chudzikb View Post
I have been thinking of one of these as well. I was thinking aluminium and I was thinking for my lighter CRF450L. But, would be nice to throw the X300 on there as well. Seems like a decent solution. My buddy has one in aluminium and offered it to me to try, I will do that and see what I think.
I wanted an aluminum one too, it would be much easier to move around and hookup by yourself. My steel one is almost 100 lbs. But, I couldnt find one with a high enough weight limit. I wanted one with at least a 600 lbs rating since thats the tongue weight capacity of my class 3 hitch. That way I know it wouldnt be pushing it with the 400 lbs X-300. The CRF 450 I would imagine is at least 100 lbs lighter, so you just might be able to get away with aluminum unit, it would be nice.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-30-2020, 09:17 PM
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Cool looking setup you have there.

With the weight of that carrier and the bike, you are close to 500 lbs. Did you measure the sag on the rear of the truck, and the rise on the front?

I don't think I could load the carrier myself.

I have an aluminum one, for my 285 lb Suzuki. No loss in fuel economy. Only rated for 400 lbs.

With my new truck, I don't know it is back there. I camp in the back of the truck.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-01-2020, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
Cool looking setup you have there.

With the weight of that carrier and the bike, you are close to 500 lbs. Did you measure the sag on the rear of the truck, and the rise on the front?

I don't think I could load the carrier myself.

I have an aluminum one, for my 285 lb Suzuki. No loss in fuel economy. Only rated for 400 lbs.

With my new truck, I don't know it is back there. I camp in the back of the truck.
Thats a good setup, and nice truck too. I imagine that aluminum hauler is much easier to hook up and remove than the all steel ones, my steel unit is a brute to lift into the hitch. As I get a little older, I probably wont be able to hook it up by myself. When it gets to that point, I'll be looking for an aluminum one (hopefully there will be aluminum ones out there by then with the 600 lbs capacity). As far as sag, no real noticeable lift in the front (its 4 wheel drive, so a little heavier suspension), but the rear has a little sag, but I also have a 200 lbs tool box in the bed back there.

It drives fine and the trucks payload capacity is 2000 lbs. So even with me, my gear, the carrier and the bike, its still under half of its payload capacity. The truck has always driven better with a load in the bed anyway. I do have a question about your aluminum hauler. The steel unit that I have has a solid floor and ramp, I noticed the aluminum ones that I looked at (and yours too) have bars spaced apart, do the gaps in between the bars make it any harder to roll and load into, are the bars adjustable as far as spacing?

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2020, 05:56 AM
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The way mine works is that there are not only bars, there are also removable rods where the tires go so the bike drops down for more secure load. The ramp goes on both ends so you can load and unload it under power.

My Versys Travels:


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Last edited by twowheeladdict; 05-02-2020 at 06:34 AM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 08:00 AM
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I bought those Reese straps, had never heard of them before, but, they just make sense to me. Look forward to my first use of them.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by zebraranger View Post
Thats a good setup, and nice truck too.
Thanks. I wanted "Made in America" so I had to by a Nissan Titan. LOL!

Just like it is hard to find "Made in Japan" bikes these days, it is hard to find "Made in America" from American Companies.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chudzikb View Post
I bought those Reese straps, had never heard of them before, but, they just make sense to me. Look forward to my first use of them.
You'll like them. When I first got them it took a minute or so to figure out that not only does the red button make them retract, but to ratchet it manually, you first have to press the red button to release the ratchet handle.

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Thanks. I wanted "Made in America" so I had to by a Nissan Titan. LOL!

Just like it is hard to find "Made in Japan" bikes these days, it is hard to find "Made in America" from American Companies.
Isn't that the truth, even Harleys have parts from from overseas.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 03:52 PM
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I have "trailered" motorcycles over LONG distances, and after 'sacking' the fork-springs on my TT500 on a cross-Canada tow back in '78 I did some searches for ways to avoid that in future.

FINALLY I heard about using bungee cords to reduce the requirement to REALLY "reef" the tie-downs when trailering - THAT causes the 'sacking'! It involves using a bungee between the upper and lower tie-down "hooks" so that you can tie the bike down just enough to 'hold' it vertical, while the bungees keep the hooks STILL attached to the bike and trailer.

Here's some pics to illustrate (used when I brought my '09 V650 from AZ to Canada [1,700 miles] back in '11).

DSC05955 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05956 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05957 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05958 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

It FLAT works!


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Now thats a nice compact bike trailer, pretty cool...

Moto Guzzi Griso 1200, Kawasaki Versys X-300
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
I have "trailered" motorcycles over LONG distances, and after 'sacking' the fork-springs on my TT500 on a cross-Canada tow back in '78 I did some searches for ways to avoid that in future.

FINALLY I heard about using bungee cords to reduce the requirement to REALLY "reef" the tie-downs when trailering - THAT causes the 'sacking'! It involves using a bungee between the upper and lower tie-down "hooks" so that you can tie the bike down just enough to 'hold' it vertical, while the bungees keep the hooks STILL attached to the bike and trailer.

Here's some pics to illustrate (used when I brought my '09 V650 from AZ to Canada [1,700 miles] back in '11).

DSC05955 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05956 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05957 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

DSC05958 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

It FLAT works!

Used to use that method.

That's why the high fender dual sports and dirt bikes are nice. You put a spacer between the tire and the underside of the fender and can tighten it down without compressing the suspension.

On my metal fendered bikes I strap the forks down at fender height and then strap the rear down. I have gone away from ratchet straps and just use cam buckle straps. I just sit on the seat and pull them taught and get off knowing that the suspension is only compressed 1/3 of the stroke.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 04:59 PM
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Now thats a nice compact bike trailer, pretty cool...
It's a Harbor-Freight - pretty sure it's this one:

https://www.harborfreight.com/1090-l...ler-62645.html

I've made two of them, and sold them at a "profit" when finished.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
It's a Harbor-Freight - pretty sure it's this one:

https://www.harborfreight.com/1090-l...ler-62645.html

I've made two of them, and sold them at a "profit" when finished.
And great deal when you can use a 25% off coupon. My first trailer was the HF 4x8 folding trailer so I could store it in my garage. Worked well for the 10 years I owned it.

My Versys Travels:


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