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  #1  
Old 25th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
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Default Sportster trailer hitch?

Hi folks,
I’m currently working on a barn find ‘91 Sportster 1200 I brought home last month. I’ve put in a new battery, changed all the fluids, cleaned out the gas tank, put in a new petcock/fuel filter and fuel line, and had a CV carb rebuilt for it. It’s now running and idling smoothly, for the first time in 11 years.

This summer I’ve been building an ultralight mini camper to pull with my Honda Silverwing 600 on a camping trip down Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway and across the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, then back. The highest speed limit is 45mph over the entire 1200 mile round trip, so I wasn’t too concerned about overtaxing the maxi scooter engine or cvt.

The trailer will be about 240 pounds. It’s a “foamie,” the structure is built out of xps foam insulation and covered in “poor man’s fiberglass,” or pmf, and they’re relatively inexpensive to build.

Titebond II wood glue is spread on the inside and outside surface of the mini camper structure then canvas is pressed on and a second layer of Titebond is applied, then several layers of exterior latex paint. The canvas is wrapped under the floor on the outside and attached underneath, as well as to the floor on the inside with quarter round. It makes for a watertight, surprisingly strong yet very lightweight trailer. I’m building it on a motorcycle trailer frame.

Manufactured motorcycle campers are usually twice the weight of what this one will be.​

But I always had a nagging doubt about using the Silverwing tow hitch and the way it’s mounted to the Silverwing. It attaches to the swing arm and shock mounts, not the frame, of the Silverwing.


I tried to convince myself the trailer hitch on the Silverwing is fine and not to worry about it, but in the back of my head the torque of the trailer on the swing arm was always problematic.

I researched whether a Sportster can be used to tow a trailer but didn’t find much. The Sportster weighs about 550 pounds wet, around the same as the Silverwing, has similar hp but gobs more torque, a traditional motorcycle transmission to lug a trailer around, and the hitch is ruggedly attached to the frame.

Since I picked up this ‘91 Sportster, I’ve been considering taking it instead, and using it to tow this mini camper.

Any reason NOT to use a Sportster to tow an ultralight mini camper?

Anyone know where I can find a used trailer hitch for a ‘91 Sportster?


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  #2  
Old 25th October 2022
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rokytnji rokytnji is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Texas/Mexican Border
Posts: 3,655
Sportster/Buell Model: xls 1000
Sportster/Buell Year: 1980
Sportster/Buell Model #2: xls 1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1983
Other Motorcycle Model: 1200 Chopper XL
Other Motorcycle Year: 1990
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Default

Looking at road king trailer hitches.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/BU8AA...JTi/s-l500.jpg

Since this is a on off idea. If me. I have a welder but if you don't. Use my picture and your bike and part to show a welding shop and have them adapt yours and then re-powder coat or paint. I toy with idea in my head on making me mono wheel trailer out of a old grocery cart.

Edit: won't comment on the trailer till you show a picture of it.
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  #3  
Old 25th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
Biker
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Looking at road king trailer hitches.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/BU8AA...JTi/s-l500.jpg

Since this is a on off idea. If me. I have a welder but if you don't. Use my picture and your bike and part to show a welding shop and have them adapt yours and then re-powder coat or paint. I toy with idea in my head on making me mono wheel trailer out of a old grocery cart.

Edit: won't comment on the trailer till you show a picture of it.
The photos of a Sportster hitch I’ve found arch up around the inside(?) of the rear fender to attach to the frame:


I can’t use a welder any more because of my pacemaker.

However, I had a round piece of 3/16” steel from a yard chipper.


So I cut it in half and I’ll cut out the center of the arch and it will almost fit the radius of the rear fender:


I’m bending some 1/2” square steel to the contour of the arch and I’ll have it welded to reinforce the 3/16” metal sides.



The trailer is still very much under construction. It will be similar in size and shape to the Helio trailer from Canada:


My build so far. I lengthened the tongue on a small motorcycle trailer frame to accommodate the structure, which will be 54”x80” with an upward curved roof and forward curved front side:





When it’s done it will be under 250 pounds. The Helio is around 400.


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  #4  
Old 25th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
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I’ll cut out the 7” center section of the trailer hitch for my Honda Silverwing:



and turn the side supports so they arch up to meet the red metal arches and have everything welded together so the receiver sits at the same height as, and parallel to, the control arm.


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  #5  
Old 26th October 2022
rokytnji's Avatar
rokytnji rokytnji is offline
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Location: Texas/Mexican Border
Posts: 3,655
Sportster/Buell Model: xls 1000
Sportster/Buell Year: 1980
Sportster/Buell Model #2: xls 1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1983
Other Motorcycle Model: 1200 Chopper XL
Other Motorcycle Year: 1990
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Default

Looks good. You are braver than I towing that 2 wheeler behind you. I'd keep it 55mph myself. Save 65 mph for downhill.

Learned something new. Fomular That will come in handy when I build my insulated shop addition that will have a wall a/c unit on it.

I'd work it out with my wife to take the trailer with the crown vic ya got. I used to run sherriff auction pursuit set up crown vic from Seirra Blanca Tx. Cold a/c always.
My wife likes things like sturgis and 4 corners.

Like I said. Looking good. Good Luck.
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  #6  
Old 26th October 2022
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Very nice project and good planning.
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  #7  
Old 26th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
Biker
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Looks good. You are braver than I towing that 2 wheeler behind you. I'd keep it 55mph myself. Save 65 mph for downhill.
LOL! No, not brave. This is why I planned my trip for down Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, across the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, then back. No stop lights, no commercial traffic, highest speed limit for the entire 1200 mile round trip is 45mph.


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  #8  
Old 26th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
Biker
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
BrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud of
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
I used to run sherriff auction pursuit set up crown vic from Seirra Blanca Tx. Cold a/c always.
My wife likes things like sturgis and 4 corners.

Like I said. Looking good. Good Luck.
Thanks. My Crown Vic is a 2009 p71 police interceptor that was a US Customs and Border Patrol car. I found it a year and a half ago with 36,000 original miles on it. Great car, runs well for being a big heavy body on frame sedan.


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  #9  
Old 26th October 2022
BrianInVa BrianInVa is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 14
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1991
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL1000
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1980
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda Silverwing
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 68137
BrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud ofBrianInVa has much to be proud of
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I built a diy version of a Heims swivel hitch for my trailer according to how it was illustrated here:
https://motorcycle7usa.com/question/...er-no-welding/



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