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Are Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Safe

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Using a motorcycle hitch carrier could cause huge concerns, especially when it comes to safety and ease of use. No one wants to be in a situation where the motorbike spills in the middle of nowhere on the road and gets damaged. It also increases the accidental uncertainties for other drivers.

But, the good news is when used correctly, and as intended, the motorcycle hitch carriers are absolutely safe and secure. Owners often get overwhelmed with so many queries and dilemmas on hitch-mounted motorcycle carriers. This article will help in soothing the concerns surrounding the safety and usability of motorcycle hitch carriers.

Choosing the right motorcycle hitch carrier 

The market is flooded with different types of hitch carriers. While some will be able to solve your purpose, some will go futile. So, how do you choose the right motorcycle hitch carrier?

Well, the first thing people should check before buying one is quality. A hitch-carrier that can accommodate the weight and size of the bike and the vehicle suitably should be the top priority. The best way to know the carrier’s performance is by browsing through the quality brand names and checking the product reviews online. Getting the insights of people who have previously used those motorcycle hitch carriers gives a good idea about the product.

If you purchase a hitch carrier that doesn’t fit the needs, you increase the risk of-

  • Bike tipping
  • Carrier being overloaded
  • Poor braking
  • Poor handling on the vehicle

All these contribute to increasing the chances of uncertainties- spilled and damaged bikes and problems for other drivers.

How to choose the right motorcycle hitch carrier 

As already told, online reviews and word of mouth from fellow bikers can give a fair idea about the hitch carrier’s performance and safety. It’s an excellent way to gauge the quality and ensure that you get what you pay for. Getting the product from a reputed company will lessen the burden to some extent.

Hitch-mounted carriers are not just low maintenance and cost-effective, but they are also a better investment than a tow trailer. Here are the things that one must consider while selecting the best hitch carrier-

Hitch class- It is important to determine the hitch class as it helps to know the total weight carrying limit of the hitch-mounted carrier. Hitch classes are categorized into Class I to Class V. You will find a sticker on the hitch that will provide information about its class. It helps to know the weight carrying capacity to carry the bike easily.

Tongue weight rating- Once you install the hitch carrier and load the bike, make sure that the combined weight is not too heavy for the vehicle. It is when you must know the tongue weight rating that provides information on the maximum weight limit.

The thumb rule is the tongue weight rating should not go beyond 10% of the vehicle’s gross weight rating. Once you are aware of the maximum weight the vehicle can carry on the hitch, you can keep the combined weight (hitch carrier and bike) under that limit.

Weight of the motorbike- While the average weight of the motorbikes is around 400 pounds, make sure you know the exact weight. It will make you sure that your vehicle can handle that weight with no hassle. Along with the weight of the bike, do not forget to include the weight of fuel because, on average, 30 pounds add up to the total if the tank is full.

Check the manual to know the weight of the motorbike. The dry weight is the bike’s weight without fuel, and the wet weight includes fuel. So, keep that in mind.

Bike’s dimensions- Measure these three aspects of your bike-

  • Bike’s length
  • Tire’s width
  • Bike’s ground clearance

Since some carriers are designed only for smaller motorbikes, others can carry larger bikes. Once you know the dimensions, selecting the right hitch carrier will become easy.  

Steel or aluminum- Hitch carriers come in both- steel and aluminum. While aluminum carriers are lightweight, never rust, require less maintenance as they do not have coatings or paint, the steel carriers are more affordable, sleek in design, and have an attractive look. Also, steel is harder than aluminum. Although all the hitch carriers you find in the market are tried and tested, you can get any of them as per your choice.

Built-in or tilting ramp– You can pick either an integrated ramp that is easy to remove and store when the carrier is not in use or a tilting ramp that can extend in and out and tilt down with the carrier platform. It helps in the loading and unloading process.

Integrated wheel chocks– You can get a hitch carrier with integrated chocks that keep the front wheel immobile in transit. It gives additional stability, so it is better for heavy bikes.

Accessories- Once you have made the right selection, determine whether you need any accessories. For instance, you may buy tie-down straps, soft loops, silencing, and locking trailer hitch pins- all that make the transit safe for the bike, vehicle, and other drivers. These additional accessories bring more stability to the bike and protect it from wear and tear.

Final words

Motorcycle hitch carriers are safe only when you have the right product. As long as you stay under the weight limits of the vehicle, you would not fall for any mishap. Make sure you prevent blocked taillights due to the hitch carrier, and do not get concerned about the rattling. When you have mounted a hitch carrier, get comfortable with the rattling noise while riding.

Getting the wrong motorcycle hitch carrier may land you on spilled and damaged bike. So, select the right hitch carrier based on the above guidelines for your bike and vehicle and be safe throughout the transit.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!