I took my (new) tow-behind trailer out for its first real road test after owning the trailer for almost a year. I should point out that I was completely disappointed in this trailer when I received it as an unassembled unit almost a year ago. The assembly and licensing were nightmares! But, after all that grief, I was excited to take the trailer out for its first road trip, a 500 mile day-trip from my home in Colorado Springs to, and through the Rocky Mountain National Park just North and West of Denver.
One thing not about the trailer but about the Spyder bears mentioning. The settings of the Spyder accessible through the controls on the left handle allow setting the machine for pulling a trailer. I selected ‘trailer’ as my option. The first thing I noticed was that I could not shift (automatic) from first gear into second with the paddle shifter until the speed (and rpms) were well above where I had shifted sans trailer. Apparently, BRP thinks that shifting normally while pulling a trailer is not a good thing so they program it out of the control system. The automatic downshifting is also changed, but to what degree I’m not sure. In any event, at my first opportunity I changed the setting back to ‘w/o trailer’ and finished my day-trip shifting up (and down) as I would normally do, with the caveat that I kept the rpms a bit higher on uphill shifting. If you are hauling lead weights in your trailer then the trailer setting might be advised but with the lightness of my trailer and load I can’t imaging it’s necessary!
The trailer and my Spyder are shown in the picture below at one of the many visitor viewing parking areas off the main highway through the park.
There are several things that should be noticed in the picture:
Length of Trailer Tongue
It appears, and I first thought, that the tongue of this small trailer was much too long… or so it appears… but that length likely has everything to do with how well the trailer follows the bike! It’s like glue! There is no sway or weaving or looseness in the tracking of the trailer from slow speeds to very high highway speeds.
Absence of Springs
This trailer does not have any springs between the axle and the body of the trailer. Some models do! I was a bit concerned about the trailer bouncing around on some of the pot-holed secondary roads, particularly some of the secondary roads over and through the mountain passes. I did hit a couple of these on this trip but didn’t notice any excessive bouncing, in fact, little bouncing at all!
This trailer had a set of safety chains with S-Shaped clips that could have been used to extricate an 18-Wheeler from the deep snow! Too big, too bulky, and overpowering the ‘look’ of the trailer connection at the bike. I replaced these clumsy safety chains with a set of lightweight chains with sufficient strength for this sized trailer, and, rather than the S-Shaped clips that are prone to fall off at a bump, I added the chain links with the threaded end and nut assembly for attaching the chain to the tow-bar of the bike. No amount of bouncing will detach these links and the smaller chains are much more in keeping with the trailer size and appearance.
Safety Harness, Hitch Jack
The manually lowered and raised hitch jack that maintains the trailer at level when not attached to the bike has a mechanism for holding it in place either down or in the up position when the trailer is being pulled. I was a bit concerned that a bump might cause the retaining mechanism to allow the hitch jack to fall at highway speed so I used a short piece of web-belt with fasteners to provide a fail-safe method to hold the hitch jack in its up position during travel.
While not completely visible in the picture the wires from the trailer to the connector on the tow-bar of the bike are enclosed in the ribbed, plastic tubing that both protects the wires, but more importantly, looks ‘finished’. A Velcro strip holds that plastic tubing to the top of the releasing mechanism of the tongue providing a secure positioning of the wire as turns are made in either direction.
Approved Trailer Hitch
The trailer hitch shown is the (expensive) Spyder approved trailer hitch for this bike. BRP will void your Spyder warranty if an after-market hitch is mounted on the bike, so be wary of those few dollars saved in the after market (place).