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Old 02-20-2013, 02:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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50-250cc scoot/cycle w/trailer feasible?

I'm trying to sort through something here... something i'd like to make economic sense but I dont know if it can. :-/

Although i like the idea of scooters and small motorcycles in general it seems that at highway speeds, the advantages over other small cars like the geo metro are somewhat limited - like a 250cc can get better mileage, but that's about the only one that can, and under 250cc aren't even allowed on the highway even if it could manage 55mph. I saw a video on a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 which was about the only cruiser type that I liked competently reaching 55mph though it cant legally go on the highway, 90mpg, and seemed like enough power when I saw it accelerate. Yet i'd considered just taking one on the highway anyways (wondering if the police would even notice or cite you for that if you kept up with traffic since it doesnt LOOK sub250cc tiny) within the extended urban freeway areas i'd want to use it on. I live south of a stupid river that requires me to use an interstate bridge to cross into the city proper once passed I can go back to slower roads.

A scooter or motorcycle is fine for moving oneself around but seems not so good if you have even the slightest load to carry with, unless you use some kind of tow behind trailer for one. Yet the only trailers I ever see are for monster literbike plus cruisers typically and cost THOUSANDS of dollars which I completely cannot understand...is there no practical microtrailer market or is it hidden behind obscure search terms? (compared to car trailers way larger costing way less) It sounds like you can DIY some trailers, possibly with legal hassles registering but even if you have one when I asked around nobody is willing to create a trailer hitch for anything but monster cruiser bikes. I was laughed at when I asked whether one for a ninja 250 was possible (despite the fact 100lbs towed behind should be an easier load than 100lbs added to the back, it's not like i'm pulling 500lbs with it) yet a cruiser 250 has even less power than the ninja and larger displacement bikes drop to the 55mpg range that I might as well drive a Geo Metro Xfi for. I'm not sure why a semi sport bike should be fundamentally different than a cruiser for a microtrailer. Bikes are fun, but not real practical unless your exceeding 60mpg reliably so it's 250cc max.

Those of us living in the north have the additional problem of winter weather... know anybody that credibly rides motorcycles in snow? I mean i'm not even averse to trying i'm just assuming accident potential magnifys greatly to try to save a few more fractions of gallon by then... so any savings are half the year only and if you already have an efficient car it reduces needs alot.

Then I look at maintenance costs, seeing scooter tires might only last 2500 miles on the rear yet cost about the same as economy car tires, yes i'm changing one at a time instead of four but my car tires last 60k miles for the cheapest ones instead of needing over 20 changes to get there. If I commute alot i'd be changing tires at least once a month and getting them mounted (unless there's an inexpensive DIY method) costs more than it does with a car tire... and proper motorcycle tires cost even more than scooter tires...


I'm trying to fit a scooter or motorcycle into the right economic 'slot' where it pays for itself with overall savings makes sense to me, but it seems if you need to take the slightest degree of cargo (simple things like running to the store need the car if you want more than one bag of groceries and even that is probably iffy alot of the time) the use drops rapidly, can't even add a store trip on the way home from commuting/have to go back out again once you get home then for instance.


What i'm wanting is something in the 60-140mpg range (the Rio 50cc's peg 140 allegedly) that I can stick a trailer behind, like something about 2-2.5ft wide maybe 3-3.5ft long as an open top box, or replacing that with an aeroshell at other times possibly longer and lower, so that I can move moderately bulky but lighter things around town at minimum cost. Maybe something like a lawnmower, or multiple bags of groceries, or picking up a few Rock Band drumsets off craigslist, or a few boxes of books from a library sale, or other things that normally would often fit fine in a small car or certainly in the tiniest of 4x4 car trailers behind a geo metro. A weight range of moving at least 100lbs up to an absolute max I could think of of 200lbs being ideal but a bit of a soft limit if it's unobtainable like at 50cc as a guesstimate. Even if it's only around town at speeds up to 30mph I dont understand why a trailer to do so should cost thousands, and why the only bikes with available hitches have more displacement and power than my car. Posts on motorcycle related websites just have people raising eyebrows and looking at me like i'm crazy for even asking such "dumb" questions. :P Nobody else seems to care about something like this I can only post on ecomodder.. am I stuck riding in a cage forever?


One reason i'm in favor of having a scooter or motorcycle is that I live in a condo with "2.5" parking places, one taken by the roommate, I can easily stick a cycle and microtrailer like that in the extra 0.5 without complaint but can't fit a whole nother car. Yet I just can't make much practical use out of something which only moves me around (yes i'm technically aware that's the main point but it seems like such a minor addition when i've seen people ride two up adding more weight than i'd even tug behind, confused why it's way easier to get and stick two-toddler trailers behind bicycles which technically would probably be safe for 30mph since fast riders go 20mph, though probably not legal, and with a similar weight capacity to what i'd usually want to take) since i'm already limited to the warmer half of the year, that just further limits me to the trips I don't need to take anything.

Are there any good resources for someone like me wanting to putter around the tiniest trailer loads in all weather at the lowest fuel and trailer costs possible? Even just things like google searching 'motorcycle trailer' never shows anything except the ones you tow behind cars and put motorcycles on top of. If there's some obscure builder out there it's stuck behind a dumb nondifferentiating search engine. I've seen a few homebrew trailers despite this, but still zero info on making your own hitch or having one made for your non-huge-cruiser bike.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I was told federal law for interstates applies at 250cc, when i'm in minneapolis i'm stuck south of the river so to even get into town I have to hit the interstate even if it's only for about 3-4 miles.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The biggest issue with a trailer is the wheel speed ratings. A utility trailer kit from the farm and home stores might be a starting point. Finding the the right mounting points on the frame of a 250cc motorcycle would require some engineering know how. If you are using a 50cc moped then a touring bike trailer would do.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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you can certainly get trailers for scooters, but the economics of motorcycles when you factor in maintenance, insurance etc... don't add up. I own three scooters currently and have owned more then a dozen, if your question is "what is the best vehicle economically to get around in all weather conditions and have a payload capacity" then I would say get a small car, IMHO
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flying kurmaster View Post
if your question is "what is the best vehicle economically to get around in all weather conditions and have a payload capacity" then I would say get a small car, IMHO
I'll second that, but I'll be adding the possibility to use a motorcycle engine in a fully-enclosed tricycle project.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Don't really have a small scooter right now, but I' have owned several.
I do, however have a 650 cc Dual Sport Bike that I've built a one wheel trailer to use behind it. There are several commercially built small one wheel trailers on the market that would pull nicely behind a scooter, but they don't come cheap! Being a Cheap ******* with a SHop full of cool tools I made my own!
I built mine to use for hauling camping gear when riding two up and to get the weight off the bike for balancing purposes!
It will be used for fetching groceries and other shopping duties for my shop when completed. My Gas powered Dual Sport gives me 45 mpg on a normal load, and I ride it all the time. My Diesel KLR gives me 130! But under a trailer load I expect I'll be doing to good to get 105 mpg out of it should I need it to make a grocery run after the SHTF. I do have plans to put a hitch like the one I built for the other bike to avail myself of the trailer and saddle bags off the gas bike!

Making a hitch for them is not a real big deal. Obvioulsy a 3 axis trailer ball hitch won't work on a single wheel trailer, but a universal joint or driveshaft type joint will give the need 2 axis rotation needed for a one wheel trailer.

And while I'm talking about trailers, I built a two wheel trailer some years ago to pull behind my Big Suzuki and it was not a big problem to haul it. Stopping it was another matter if it was loaded too heavy, but as long as I had time and space, it was not a problem. So take stopping into consideration with any trailer behind a motorcycle and especially if it's behind a lightweight scooter!

This one used two 8 inch boat wheels and a simple car top carrier for the body. The frame was simple and lightweight! I also pulled that thing all over the US behind my 1978 4 WD Subaru with the wife and kids in the car! One of the adveantagre of a two wheel trailer is it's added versatility.
I never had a flat or slung any tire rubber off running 70 mph for hours on end. Just had to remember to pack the wheel bearings before a trip and keep good fresh rubber on it.

The two wheel trailer wasn't any wider than the Suzuki 750's saddle bags so having it track behind me in traffic wasn't a big deal.
Just something to think about!

I would think a Thule Rocket Box would make a nice scooter trailer body!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flying kurmaster View Post
you can certainly get trailers for scooters, but the economics of motorcycles when you factor in maintenance, insurance etc... don't add up. I own three scooters currently and have owned more then a dozen, if your question is "what is the best vehicle economically to get around in all weather conditions and have a payload capacity" then I would say get a small car, IMHO
Strange, but might be true. I'm very inexperienced in car maintenance, but after owning Teresa for 4.5 years I can tell the same. I'm make notes not only about FE but every cost and maintenance have been somewhat more than gas so far. And our gas costs ~ double of yours.

A small car costs less in gas - but I still don't know too much about car running costs.

OK, she's a bit off topic being a 650cc single. But FE-wise she's more like a 250

But at least my tire situation isn't as dire as stillsearching mentioned. I had a set of Metzeler Z6s (though I payed more for the pair than for 4 cheap tires for the YARDIS) that lasted more than 17000 miles and my present Heidenau K73 front is very close to 20000 (but I've worn 3 rears during that time, so the Z6 was much more balanced). Far more than 2500. Tires still make a large share of the running cost.

Other large part is the belt drive, which seems somewhat more expensive than chains, again. Belts and sprockets are expensive as hell. More than tires. But chains and sprockets aren't free either.

Last edited by alvaro84; 02-24-2013 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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People tour the world with small motorcycles equipped with panniers and a top trunk. You can tote a surprisingly large amount of stuff with this set up. It is also much safer than pulling a trailer. A search of the internets will show a passel of ingenious home brew pannier & trunk setups, if you want to go that route. There is also some very good motorcycle specific outer clothing available for year round riding that keeps you plenty warm & comfy.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Like for any vehicle choice, picking a bike is a compromise.
What you gain in ease of parking, congestion avoidance, boost in MPG, you lose in carrying hability.

That being said, I don't know wether the parking and congestion item are even an advantage in the US.

The good thing about 250's is they get good mpg (80's) even trashing them.

That being said, if you are making a passion of hauling stuff around, you're probably not a motorbike kind of guy ...

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