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Thread: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

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    Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    I just purchased a new to me Roll a Home. It has electric brakes and I'm wondering if I should wire my Freewheeler for them or tow it without using the electric brakes. I also have a cargo trailer I use that has a flat 5 wire plug, as does the Freewheeler. The Roll a Home has a rectangular 6 wire plug that I can change to 5 pin flat if I don't use the brakes. If I wire my trike to accommodate the 6 pin plug for brakes I will have to change the plug on my cargo trailer also. I've read pros and cons concerning electric trailer brakes on motorcycle trailers and looking for some advice from those that are pulling tent campers. Do you think the electric brakes are needed or offer a significant braking advantage since I'm towing with a trike?

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    newday777's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    As to the plugs, you can have both on the trike.
    As to the brakes, if you have good brakes on the trike you can get away without hooking up the brakes, depending on your riding habits. Leave extra room to stop as you'll need more room to stop, heavier loads than cargo trailer.
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    Site Supporter Bluetick's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    Have to agree with newday. You can get away without the brakes on the trike. I'm all for them with a two wheeler but you've got a bit more braking control with your setup. I've got a round six and a flat four on my bike for the same reason, two different trailers. You'll like that RAH...
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    newday777's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Contr...sha/90885.html

    http://www.posi-products.com/posiplug.html

    Use these Posi-tap screw in connectors to tap into the 5 wire connector wires to wire in the 6 wire connector for brakes if you decide you want brakes (just add the brake wire).
    Or... you can use the 5 wire connector to the trailer and add a brake contoller on the trailer, tap into the brake light wire to trigger the controller. You would just have to adjust the controller from the trailer. I use the Prodigy controller.

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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    Thanks for the info. Stu, my trailer has the Prodigy 2 controller mounted in the RAH basement. I'm not knowledgeable at all on how to wire this. I purchased the hitch and wiring from Open Road Outfitters. They had a plug adapter for the can bus wiring that worked for the 5 pin plug. I have tried to research what I need to do on the trike (2015 harley freewheeler) to make the electric brakes functions. Don't I need a fused wire going to the battery for the brakes to work?

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    newday777's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    The contrller is probably already wired in (as I posted above to do) to the brake light wire, so you don't need to change anything. Controllers take the brake light power, to signal the controller to put power to the brakes. When you put the brakes on your bike, trike or any vehicle and brake lights come on, that powers the controller. You may need a power lead from your trike battery to power the brake controller so then you would need a 6 wire connector.
    You just adjust the level of power to the brakes from the little wheel adjuster on the controller- small amounts at a time then test ride to the load you have in the trailer.

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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    If all you are pulling is a stock trailer with maybe a campstove and cook kit, no need for a brake controller. I ran mine without for a year just fine.

    It has now gotten just heavy enough that I could feel some push when slowing down fast. So I mounted a Tekonisha P3 controller in a waterproof box on the tongue. When I slow down more than a little, I feel the trailer for a split second and it disappears. The controller does its job very well.

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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    If you're not sure about needing trailer brakes, try this. Load your bike as heavy as you can. Two up, all your gear, bricks in the saddlebags, whatever it takes. Find a quiet road, and see how it stops. If your braking improves with more weight, (more to keep you glued to the road), you probably won't need trailer brakes. If your brakes have trouble stopping you, you might need trailer brakes.

    Basically, you're imitating hauling a trailer in respect to weight vs braking power. Just make sure you have plenty of traction so you don't skid.

    I ordered brakes on our Aspen Classic for this very reason. Urals have, "adequate", rear brakes on drive and sidecar tires, but excellent disc brakes on the front. When we load it down with gear, braking becomes an experience!
    We're slow, and like to go old!

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    American Gypsy privateer's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need electric brakes towing with a trike?

    Quote Originally Posted by sixbennetts View Post
    If you're not sure about needing trailer brakes, try this. Load your bike as heavy as you can. Two up, all your gear, bricks in the saddlebags, whatever it takes. Find a quiet road, and see how it stops. If your braking improves with more weight, (more to keep you glued to the road), you probably won't need trailer brakes. If your brakes have trouble stopping you, you might need trailer brakes.

    Basically, you're imitating hauling a trailer in respect to weight vs braking power. Just make sure you have plenty of traction so you don't skid.
    Its not quite an exact simulation, because it doesn't produce the same kind of trailer push that trailer brakes address. When you load the bike down, up to a point before overloading the suspension, you increase the weight on the tires, and it may (depending on bike and tires and lots else) increase or decrease braking performance.

    Lets assume a bike has adequate stopping power as outfitted for the trip, without a trailer. So a light trailer probably won't hurt braking performance too much. With the trike, a fairly empty Time Out Deluxe doesn't need the brakes hooked up. The trike has immense stopping ability due to the big contact patch of the rear tires, and all the weight back there over them.

    I saw the contrast when I pulled my trailer with a 800 pound two-wheeler, as well, and the brakes on the trailer were indeed needed coming down out of mountains and such, despite the trailer not being a whole lot heavier than as delivered from the factory. And my two-wheeler had stellar brakes.

    I towed the current load configuration of my trailer around my winter camp area, paying attention to stopping effort and looking for handling issues. I found both and hooking up the brakes solved the worst of it. The rest was just load balance and tongue weight.

    Which is an entirely different ball of wax (tongue weight) because all motorcycles have a weight limit, and if the tongue weight has to be increase too much to stop trailer sway, because load balance only goes so far, you can get close to exceeding the weight limit pretty easily if the bike is loaded down too (e.g., passenger, bags, whatever).

    I'm glad I hooked up the brakes again. It is less wear and tear on the trike to have the trailer handle its own braking.

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