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Old 05-09-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

Hi guys... the newbie again with more questions.
btw... Big THANK YOU to Steve for starting the MPG question!

Okay, so I've got a bus in mind, but now need to think about carrying my bike. I've an '06 Kawasaki Nomad that's going to be my primary mode of transportation/exploration while parked. Does anyone else tow or carry a motorcycle while they're on their bus? If so, how? The Nomad is a beast of a bike (the rv of motorcycles) so going up and down a ramp isn't practical. What about a lift gate into the back end? Ideas? Suggestions (except getting rid of it... I live on that bike now).

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Old 05-09-2009, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

getting rid of it sounds good to me if you send it my way i'll tow it on the trailer.

I plan on taking my bike along too, Kawasaki KLR 650, but I also plan on pulling our VW along, so for me its probably going to be a 18' flatdeck, room for VW, KLR and a few bicycles.
For you lift assisted deck at the back unless you want to tow it, they make some pretty nice small bike trailers theses days.



or maybe something like this

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Old 05-09-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

i wish i would have taken photos of my 800 pound vmax on the rear deck of my bus. I built a back porch on the bus, then would put the motorcycle up there when i went on trips. I found that it's pretty easy to park the bus so that the rear deck is nearly touching the ground. The other option is to load the bike from a curb. How heavy is your bike?
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

The motorcycle is a tad heavy... Dry weight of the bike is about 775lbs. A bit more with 5.3 gallons of fuel in the tank. Luckily, it's balanced well enough that if it tips over, I can back up to it and "leg lift" it upright again. Length is about 8 1/2 foot. That may pose a problem if the buss is only 8 foot wide.

Looking at the photo albums, I've noticed a LOT of folks have both a back porch and a roof deck. If I could fit both of those on a bus, then I wouldn't need to pull a trailer. I'd use the roof deck to store my "stuff", use a wide, fold-up ramp to drive onto the "porch", and use the main section of the bus to work & live. Self contained mobile living with a "secure" garage and storage unit!!! WooHoo! My mind's racing with possibilities now.

Depending on the length of the bus, it may even be possible to drive the bike directly inside (as long as the ramp is wide enough to provide secure footing), versus leaving it exposed to the weather. We'll see what I can find for sale in the local area.

I'll have to do a forum search now for the best material to use for the roof deck...
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:02 PM   #5
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

I can haul up to 4 motorcycles in the rear of my bus. I have a uhaul ramp to run them up on, it's 30" wide and 12' long and will stash under the floor if you cut out the crossmembers (that's only the middle of them in the shape of the ramp, don't cut the crossmembers all the way out). You could have a fold down bed in the rear to put up to haul the bike and down to sleep in. Look at my pictures, inside is more secure and dry. sportyrick
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:34 AM   #6
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

for a smaller bike someone makes a carrier that mounts in a reese hitch and cranks up and down, check on the www and rv sites. my cousin found the info and we reverse engineered one(copied) to put his 250 on the back of his 5th wheel trailer so that he didn't have to pull double trailers. probably wouldn't work for a big bike but it's real neat for smaller bikes, just load the bike and tie it down then use the 18v drill to crank it up, install the safty pin and go.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:36 PM   #7
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

I tow an open trailer behind my bus, with a Suzuki DL650 on it. I live in the bus fulltime, and use the moto for everything.

775 dry weight...yikes. If it was me, for something like that, I would go for a big flatbed or enclosed trailer with a wide ramp. I actually would like to have an enclosed trailer, so I wouldn't have to fuss with a fabric cover for the motorcycle, it would be a bit more secure, and I could easily store some of the messy stuff that goes with owning a motorcycle (fluids, rags, tie-downs, yadda).

Good luck.

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Old 05-11-2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

sportyrick,
Your rig ROCKS
! That rear garage is exactly what I was thinking of doing, but I'm apprehensive about riding my behemoth up a ramp that high. I'm even MORE apprehensive about backing out along a ramp . But still... that "garage" space sure looks tempting. Especially since this is going to be my "house" and everyone needs a garage to work in from time to time.

Another option one of my friends suggested was to add a "porch" to the back that can lower to the ground so I could then drive onto it, then raise it back up to bumper height for driving. Since the bike's about 8.5' wide, and a bus is approximately the same, the porch would only have to stick out another 4' to accomodate the Nomad.

Anyone know if I can buy a commercial lift gate like delivery trucks that can lift about 1000lbs of stuff? I don't even know how much those motors are rated, or what kind of juice they pull...

If I can't find an industrial lift gate for the porch idea, I may have to bite the bullet and try riding up a ramp. ... maybe if I make the entire back side a door/ramp ... (wanders off mumbling to self with even more ideas)

fightingdrag,
I've not figured out how to post images yet, but if you do a Google Image search for 2006 Kawasaki Nomad, you'll find several great images of my bike. It's my "long distance armchair" cruiser that I use as a car for everyday (rain or shine) driving everywhere. Better on a bike than in a box is my philosophy.

Funny that I'm now going to customize a box to LIVE in!
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

Quote:
Anyone know if I can buy a commercial lift gate like delivery trucks that can lift about 1000lbs of stuff?
Yes - I was just in a local scrapyard (CrazyRays, Mt. Airy Maryland) and there were at least 3 buses and vans that had wheelchair lifts or work truck lifts! I bet they are very cheap too.

I have a Triumph Thruxton 900 motorcycle that I am racing this season (CCS/WERA/AHRMA depending) and plan to haul in the back on my shortie skoolie... so I am intently following this thread!!!! I just went today at lunch down to Harbor Freight Tools store to see what cheepie ramps they had.

I know what you mean about backing down off the ramp - haven't tried it yet but the thought of it scare me to no end. But... with a WIDE enough ramp, should be no problem (if I can put me feet down)
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:06 AM   #10
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

Yes! Width is the key! My bike is wide enough as is... I think it's a little under 34" wide (at fairing) and just a tad shorter at the saddlebags. For my piece of mind, a 48" ramp is minimum so I can get a wide stance during those "Oh! Sh!#" moments.

The thing I like about a back porch with a ramp on each side is the ability to ride straight through if necessary. It also means I wouldn't have to have as much space length-wise just to get the bike on or off - 28' for bus only vs. 28'+ramp length... could mean there are places I wouldn't have room to unload. But add a ramp to the side of the bus, and it wouldn't take up as much room as an awning. (I hope! )

Of course, a lift gate would take up the least amount of room altogether. As long as the motors could handle it... and I didn't lose power... and nothing stuck, and... and... and...
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:51 AM   #11
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Re: Does anyone tow a motorcycle / scooter / dual purpose?

Depending on how wild (or expensive) you'd want to get, you could look into a bale bed. Here in Kansas a lot of cattle farmers/ranchers have these on their trucks. The most expensive ones are designed to lift and carry two round bales of hay on the flat bed of a pickup...as well as allow you to unroll the hay to feed it. They also make pole hole diggers and various other "toys" to with it. The slightly less expensive ones only carry one bale. Some common brands are Bessler, and Hydra-bed. Here's a link (hope it works) to some photos of what I'm talking about...notice the 4 wheeler. http://www.triple-c-inc.com/Hydra%20Bed ... llery.html They have a 2000# + lifting capacity, so picking up a bike wouldn't be an issue on the hydraulic cylinders. You'd have to fabricate some kind of sling or ramp to pick up your bike to put it on the porch, but it would certainly do the job. Somewhere on here (about a month or two ago) someone posted a video of some guys hauling snowmobiles on the roof of their skoolie. They had fabbed some sort of lift that was pretty cool, too. Hope this helps, or just adds fuel to the fire!!!

Ben.
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Old 12-03-2023, 08:08 PM   #12
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Have you guys considered....

I'm reading all this stuff about a "back porch" and I really get nervous. Let me first off say this is my FIRST post about a Skoolie. I'm just getting into them. But I have a pretty strong background with the big Class A motorhomes and this particular problem is common to both. In a Class A, that long section behind the rear wheels is typically an extension that's welded on to the regular frame. Unless you have one of the big, heavy duty "diesel pushers" where the rear frame is beefed up to take the weight of the engine and transmission, the frame was too week to put a carrier for a large 800 lbs motorcycle ....which is exactly why I'm here. I was thinking about a ramp and driving it into the door in the back, but it would need to be lower. Otherwise I'd need about a 12' ramp. But I hear all this about back porches and THEN putting a 775 lbs motorcycle on that porch and it's all hung on to the back frame scares me to death. Is there something about a school bus that I don't know that would make this a good modification?
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Old 12-03-2023, 09:53 PM   #13
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If its a rear engine pusher, then sometimes their frame rails stop a few feet in front of the bumper. For dognose and flatnose front engine (full size metal schoolbuses). The frame rails go all the way back. I bolted on another set of 10" frame rails onto mine with a 2ft overlap. I have jacked the rear up from the hitch as well as mounted a crane with a 1ton capacity on the rear platform (12ft behind the axle). Done right, your rear bumper can hold plenty of weight.
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Old 12-03-2023, 10:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by fo4imtippin View Post
If its a rear engine pusher, then sometimes their frame rails stop a few feet in front of the bumper. For dognose and flatnose front engine (full size metal schoolbuses). The frame rails go all the way back. I bolted on another set of 10" frame rails onto mine with a 2ft overlap. I have jacked the rear up from the hitch as well as mounted a crane with a 1ton capacity on the rear platform (12ft behind the axle). Done right, your rear bumper can hold plenty of weight.
Yup, like he says...especially a school bus with a front engine will have frame rails all the way to the back. I recently installed a hydraulic lift in the back of one and it's a slick and super sturdy system.

https://hydralift-usa.com/motorcycle...for-motorhome/
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:23 PM   #15
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Yup, like he says...especially a school bus with a front engine will have frame rails all the way to the back. I recently installed a hydraulic lift in the back of one and it's a slick and super sturdy system.

https://hydralift-usa.com/motorcycle...for-motorhome/

After spending a great deal of time and money in my rear deck, doing it again, I would've done a hydralift. I have already started scavenging wheelchair lifts to build one for my next rear engine bus build. I would be able to reduce tailswing when needed and pull an enclosed trailer on those trips instead.
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:40 PM   #16
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You're going to BUILD a hydralift???
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:42 PM   #17
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But that's my second question for people with a rear porch. Seems like tailswing would be so bad it would be almost undrivable. A regular schoolbus has a really long tail. Then add a 10' porch to it???
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:48 PM   #18
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You're going to BUILD a hydralift???

What could go wrong? They use a lot of similar parts to the Braun and ricon wheelchair lifts. I think I could make one, but would have to figure out some locking pins and things.
https://hydralift-usa.com/wp-content...ht-install.jpg
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:53 PM   #19
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But that's my second question for people with a rear porch. Seems like tailswing would be so bad it would be almost undrivable. A regular schoolbus has a really long tail. Then add a 10' porch to it???

My bus had an 8ft tailswing when I got it. I now have 12ft after adding a 4 foot deck. 12ft was a factory tail swing for a lot of 40fters. 12ft isn't too bad, but you gotta keep moving forward while turning even though I can almost 90degree my front wheels.



I was concerned about bottoming out easier, so I lifted the bus 3 inches and will put bigger tires on for another 3 inches of height. This kept my departure angle the same.
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Old 12-04-2023, 01:00 AM   #20
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Well good luck. Sounds like a really big job. An 800 lbs motorcycle is a lot heavier than a mobility scooter.
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