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TO THE GOODIES INDEX
Here's a way to have a bike hauler that won't break your
and it's also very useful for other things like hauling furniture
By Chet Walters
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||This ol' trailer is 7 feet wide by 12 feet long. It's
your basic farm trailer which can be had for about $900
these days. This one is built from square stock ( not
angle iron ) which makes it light and strong. It uses
Chevy wheels, has good suspension and has adequate room
to haul up to five quads or three dirt bikes or three
small road bikes or several lawn mowers or two large
bikes and a small like here or furniture or whatever. The
ramp makes it easy to load and with the "custom
made" very inexpensive tie down and chock cleats, it
is extremely utilitarian for little expense.
||The "custom" tie down cleats are made from
3 inch by 7 inch square 3/8ths u-bolts that you can get
at the hardware store for about $3.00 each. You can see
the arrangement for easy tie down of bikes with chocks
and many many other things.
||The cleats run through the floor of the trailer. To
do this, make sure you are lined up with the frame under
the trailer for strength (see below). Hold the cleat in
place and tap with a hammer to mark the holes. Drill 1/2
inch holes through. Wobble the drill a little bit at the
top so that the curved part of the u-bolt will
"park" more or less flush with the floor.
Before you drop in a new cleat, use a 1 inch spade bit to
make a little valley in the center (as shown) so that you
can get a finger or two (sometimes a screwdriver will
help) under there to raise the cleat. This pic is of a
"parked" cleat. It is nearly flat with the
floor so that loading and unloading is not hampered (you
won't trip over them) and also so that you can haul
nearly anything at all anytime and your bike tie down
cleats won't interfere.
This cleat is raised with a bike tie down hook
inserted. Very easy to utilize and plenty strong. Large
enough to accept more than one hook and when parked, the
cleats stay out of your way. Note that the cleat only
raises about ½ to ¾ inch so that it will not bend under
Do not use a J-HOOK type strap. J-hooks are designed to
have the flat edge against semi-trailer hard surfaces. If using
just to hook to an eye bolt or cleat, the lines of force will make the
J-hook tend to pop off as there is little left to keep it on.
ALWAYS USE S-HOOKS!
||Underneath view of the major row of cleats in the
front for tie downs. As you can see, they are AROUND
THE FRAME and you should
not use tie down cleats that are just through the wooden
floor since the planks can raise or break.
||Check this closeup of a cleat under and around the
frame. The u-bolt has been reinforced with large thick
washers. The thing is double nutted with threadlock
applied so it stays good and tight and is strong at the
frame to take the stress of a heavy bike that may be
hooked above. See that the nuts are run up the u-bolts so
that the cleat only raises about ½ to ¾ inch up top so
that it will not bend under stress.
||Note arrangement of the chock cleats. They are 2 inch
by 4 inch square u-bolts dropped through the floor, but
these don't need to be around the frame. You should not
use these for high stress tie downs, but they indeed hold
the chocks securely.
||As noted, the chock cleats don't go around the frame.
They are secured underneath with double nuts and
threadlock (if you live in the frozen north where they
use salt on the roads, after the first year or so, there
is no need to worry about the nuts coming loose as you
||The chock cleats are raised and the chock inserted.
This is plenty strong. We have hauled Gold Wings for
thousands of miles using this trailer and this method,
and this year we hauled two Valkyries without mishap (we
almost got airborne outside of Akron where there was a
dip in the road and had no problems at all).
securing the loose ends of the tie down straps, we carry
a ton of 4" zip ties. Just wrap up the flappy extra
straps and wire tie them to the tie downs. You don't want
them flapping in the breeze to damage your paint or
chrome. These are also useful for wrapping up those long
handlegrip tassles too. Once you get where you are going,
just cut them off.
|Your loading procedure will vary with
whatever bikes you will be putting on the trailer and
your brand of trailer too, of course. Here, we moved the
Valkyries back a little (we added a few chock cleats back
about 9 inches from the originals as you can see in picture
10) to make room for the Seca and to also balance the
load over the axle to reduce tongue weight. This
arrangement handled very well all the way to Daytona 2001
for a photo essay of that trip).
TO THE GOODIES INDEX
Questions? Contact Chet at Chetspages@rattlebars.com