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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Planning a family vacation for the end of the month, my father-in-law and I would like to have motorcycles but we don't want the trip to be all bikes, so we're planning to trailer his Harley and my CTX.

Anyone tied one of these down yet? Good tie-down points are not as apparent to me on a bike with so much plastic bodywork. Thinking wheels, foot pegs, and a strap up around that fork brace that's under the front fairing. Good enough?

Thanks,
Jeff
 

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Good tie-down points should not depend on the motorcycle's design ;-)

Wheel chocks or braces, then tie the wheels down careful not to scratch the rims or hit the brake rotors with the ratchet's metal part. Follow with the front and rear footpegs, making sure not to tighten the strap so much it cuts through the rubber. End with the handlebars, making sure not to damage any cable/hose that goes along them (there are nice strap-adapters online that you slip onto the grips and have an eyelet for the strap to hook onto, thus avoiding any damage). Since the strap is longest for the handlebars, make sure the ratchet remains as low as possible (next to the trailer's floor) and any length of loose strap is tied down securely -- you don't want that thing whip-lashing your plastic cowling at 70mph ;-)

Enjoy the trip!

P.S. Example handlebar strap-adapter: https://www.louis.de/en/artikel/lenkerbefestigungsgurt/10001711?list=8529843
 

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I try not to trailer a bike very often. But when I have trailered one I've found all I really need is a front wheel chock and two straps on the handle bars to compress the forks a bit.

Sometimes I use a couple of straps off the sides of the bike just to make it look more robust (and so I won't be so nervous).

I absolutely hate pulling a bike on a trailer. I spend far more time looking in the rear view mirror than I do watching where I'm going. I tend to go too slow and hold up traffic also. I keeping thinking that I'll look in the mirror and see the bike spinning down the road on its side.

For all that fear, I've never had any issues with any of the bikes I've carried on a trailer or in the back of a pickup truck.

With the ST1100 I was able to pull the straps through the fairing without rubbing on the front fender. I didn't get the spread I would have liked, but the straps held every time.

The last bike I trailered was my Piece of Crap Trophy. I felt better about it because I let the shop send an enclosed trailer and a driver.
 

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I concur, throw some straps over the handlebars.
 

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I've never trailered my bikes except once. I did have to tow my GW back from a false start on my first camping trip. The original owner had wired the camper electrical to the bike factory wires and the first time I hooked it up it blew the tail main relay 20 miles down the road. No head lights and no dash lights or running lights. A neighbor with a trailer for his HD came to assist. The ONLY tie points needed (based on my neighbors experience and the recommendations of most GW owners I associated with) is to tie down on each side and tending forward at the lower triple tree, compressing the forks and with the tie going to the right coming off the left fork tube and the tie going left coming off the right tube, and then a tie holding the rear tire from moving left or right. Thats all that is needed. That's all that I had on my GW that time. I've always read not to use handlebar ties as that can damage the bars since they are not designed to handle the massive down force a tie will put on them from the mass of the bike if it does bounce, but I know many who have used a tie there. If you need insurance ties for peace of mind I would recommend removing the bags and tie to the frame and/or swingarm and you also may be able to tie to the lower frame tube next to the engine above the lowest point of the exhaust pipes.
But since I really don't normally ever tow my bike (if I can't ride it there it doesn't come) I don't mean to say this is the only way. It's just an opinion that is subject to change if I do ever start towing my bike on trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tips, guys. The reason I mentioned the bodywork was because I used to secure my Bonneville for towing (which I did once during a cross-country move from AZ to PA) by running a strap up over the frame just between the gas tank and triple tree, then strapping the wheels, then attaching at some other lower frame points for extra assurance. This was easy because so much frame was exposed on that bike...not so on the CTX.

I actually own handlebar straps but I've also read mixed reviews on that approach. I might use them but not plan for that to be a primary means of securing the bike. The bars on the CTX seem especially thin compared to the bulk of the bike.

I'd like to actually ride the whole way on this trip, but my wife and her mom vetoed the idea. We're thinking of hitting the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, which doesn't mix too well with riding. ;-) And otherwise they wanted to spend the long drives getting to talk in the car. Meanwhile my father-in-law and I don't want to miss out on some of the amazing riding we can get in down in that direction.

Jeff
 
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I double up on the front straps so no one pair is taking the whole load. On streetbikes (which I rarely trailer, but have with sportbikes that I didn't want to flatspot their sticky rubber) I use Canyon Dancer Bar Harness, and the other strap is usually a softstrap around the lower steering stem.
What the fairing will allow is sometimes an issue - I've had to use softstraps around lower frame members near the pegs to cinch up some of the load.

 

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I've always used ratchet straps on my KLR 250, and they worked just fine. Then again, the bike weighs less than half that of the CTX and the suspension is much softer with a lot more travel. I tried this with my 650 V-Strom, but I just didn't get the warm and fuzzy that the handlebars wouldn't roll forward if the bike bounced too much. I ended up doing what bob & jeffz had mentioned and I tied off at the triple tree. I suspect this is what I will do again if I ever need to trailer the CTX.


For me, I've got some robust 5k pound test ratchet straps with the spring closing hooks at the front, since this is really where the holding power is. For peace of mind, I have an inexpensive pair of 1k pound test straps from wally world that I use just as a safety measure.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I never updated back on this thread.

I wound up using the handlebar loop straps that I had as a means of connecting ratchet straps up around the fork brace area on each side, and attaching them somewhat forward to the trailer so that they compressed the forks as I ratcheted them down and pushed the bike securely into its front wheel chock. I also strapped the rear wheel. Honestly, this was probably enough.

But I'm crazy and I also supplemented with straps in the middle of the bike. First I tried a strap in and through the hole in the frame just forward of the passenger peg mounts, looping over but not touching the exhaust. This didn't work so well as the strap on the inside of this loop was too close and rubbed the decorative exhaust chrome cover and eventually frayed and broke as the miles wore on. I replaced it with straps up and over the passenger pegs themselves. But I'm not sure this was ever necessary.

I agree with Ken's comments about hating trailering bikes...I wasn't comfortable at all the whole trip down to NC, and rode the bike all the way home to PA at the end of the trip even though it was really cold (low 40s) and extremely windy.

Jeff
 

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I trailered my CTX1300 home in the manner jeffz explained. Used soft straps on each side of the lower triple tree , or "bottom bridge" as Honda refers to it, and ran ratchet straps forward on each side to anchor points on the trailer. Redundancy is a good thing when securing a load, so I doubled up on straps in the same locations. Other than a wheel chock, nothing else was needed to haul a brand new bike 130 miles on a cold February morning.
 

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Good deal.
Just a thought however... I would suggest to anyone to also be sure to tie the rear wheel to keep the back end of the bike from moving side to side. I've heard of that happening during a tow and the result is ending up with the bike on it's side in the trailer regardless how the front is tied. Nothing elaborate, just enough to be sure to keep the back wheel directly behind the bike.
 

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Planning a family vacation for the end of the month, my father-in-law and I would like to have motorcycles but we don't want the trip to be all bikes, so we're planning to trailer his Harley and my CTX.

Anyone tied one of these down yet? Good tie-down points are not as apparent to me on a bike with so much plastic bodywork. Thinking wheels, foot pegs, and a strap up around that fork brace that's under the front fairing. Good enough?

Thanks,
Jeff
YES ... i had mine towed once , to the dealer. ( low speed fall)
this is very important! make sure that bar is torqued properly and tie it down low on that handlebar!
The tow company did mine improperly and the handlebar broke free ( actually BENT it ) and rotated down and hit the fairings. it wasn't pretty.
Mine was brand new at the time and it seems the dealer ( which i dont deal with anymore for several reasons) didnt set the handlebars, grips or even wires properly. but the tow company was most at fault , they torqued the heck outta that thing , enough to actually bend the bar
 
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