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Thread: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

  1. #1

    Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Right now we have a RAH with the king size bed slide-out that the wife tows with her 2014 Spyder RT Limited trike, no problems there. I have a 2016 Honda CTX700 DCT and tow a small SherpaX trailer.

    My wife is considering going from three to two wheels and I thought I would give her my CTX700 and get something larger for me to tow the camper. I figure a lot of you won't comprehend it but I really love the DCT automatic shifting of my CTX but know I may be stuck with a manual shift on the larger bike. If we do this I may look at replacing the RAH for a Lees-ure Lite Excel to be a little lighter on the camper side of things.

    My question is what do you folks recommend for a larger motorcycle that can occasionally tow a camper and be good for riding around town and on the area group rides? I have short legs, 29" pants fit me fine, the CTX sits low and has a very low center of gravity. The larger motorcycle will need to have a hitch available and the power to comfortably tow, preferably a used one to save money, have a cruise control plus some other more modern stuff would be nice, probably would want something built in the 2010's and would like it to be as reliable and have low maintenance costs like the Honda.

    Thanks for any suggestions!


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    2016 Lees-ure Lite Excel Camper
    KIP Moto SherpaX Single Wheel Cargo Trailer
    2016 Honda CTX700 DCT (His)
    2014 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited (Hers)

  2. #2
    Pan European st1100's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    SE Bavaria, Southern Germany

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Hi Charles, I have the same leg length like you and changed this year after 15 years on two ST 1100s to a GL 1800.
    It tows my tiny Airstream much easier than the ST 1100 and the seat is much lower.
    My heels reach both the ground now in the medium suspension level.
    It can be lovered one more inch electric.

    The bike is heavier, but riding and maneuvering is easier than with the ST 1100.
    And the touring comfort is great. For short distance everyday riding, you can throw two helmets and Jackets into the cases.

    Make a test ride. I had the chance and was very positive surprised by the Goldwing.

    36 years bike adventure - Malaguti Ronco 40 - Zündapp Super Combinette - Fantic 50 Trial - Yamaha XV 750 SE - Moto Guzzi V7 850 GT - Yamaha SR-X6 - Honda ST 1100 (1994) - ST 1100 (2001) and now a Honda GL 1800 (2001) plus a Moto Guzzi V35 (1981) - 375,000 kilometers fun

  3. #3
    Administrator Derick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Indianapolis Suburbs

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Being that you have one of the larger campers, you really only have one option, and thats the goldwing. Harley supporters may speak up, and yeah I think the harley has power to pull it, but their brakes are inferior and you would have to ensure you had the brake kit for the camper if you went that direction. Anyhow, back to the goldwing, it's your only option for touring+camper. I've towed with my concours before, and it just isn't great for it. Sounds like you wont be 2 up, which makes things easier, but the wing is really the only bike that can haul that weight well.
    Current Bikes:
    2006 Kawasaki Concours///COG#:11628
    2006 Honda Goldwing 1800///GWRRA#:398646

  4. #4

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Well, since everyone is speaking their mind.. I would look at the Indians personally. I'm a taller guy and I can't set 'em.. they're ergo's are for someone much smaller than me, so might be right up your alley. They also have stump-pulling torque down low.. although they don't rev all that high. I would also think that if you are used to an automatic, a very low rpm high torque motor is easier to shift than one that requires more of a range of rpm to operate efficiently. On the test ride i took on the Indian you could take off in 2nd from a dead stop, and accelerate from 35 or so in high with no issues. Just another possbility for you to look at. The Goldwing love on here is pretty overwhelming.. but the GW is not the only game in town when it comes to towing a camper or for 2 up touring.

    There's also that new Kawasaki that just came out.. although I don't know how low it is.. haven't seen it yet. It has the same massive torque that the Indian has and is marketed for touring, so I would imagine it might be adequate as well. The only downside might be how new it is on the market, so aftermarket items for it like tow bars etc may not be available yet.

    EDIT I wanted to say, I really like that little monowheel trailer you have. I think too often MC trailers get unnecessarily heavy for what we need them to do.. and for smaller/lighter bikes a trailer like yours would be the bees knees!

  5. #5

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    A question I have for you is: Do you want to give up the comfort of the RAH? At this point you have learned how to pack and unpack, set up and take down. What are the differences you will encounter in a LL. I ride a Goldwing and tow an Aspen Classic. Been from Florida to Glacier Park and points in between. You're overall plan sounds good, going from three wheels to two for the wife, but. There is another question that I have also: What do you want in a different bike? Make no mistake. I love my wing, but what do you want. Also I noted the previous post mentioning after market parts related to towing. Very interesting and worth looking into. IMHO.

  6. #6

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    I'm absolutely certain that a wing would work for you. It might not be the best choice though. It will do what you want easily and give you the reliability and seat height that you're looking for. The last major improvement in that bike was 2006. I think in a wing that you could consider as old as 2007 w/o giving up any reliability. I think you should find one to test ride. Be confident that it can do the towing easily. I think you need to figure out if it can do the other stuff. As has been said, they are surprisingly easy bikes to ride and unexpectedly nimble for a bike of that size. They are still heavy though and that might be a deal breaker for you. You have experience with towing with what I would consider, less than ideal power. The issue becomes weight quickly when you start trying to find power/torque to pull the camper and gear. I've got over a 1/4 million miles on wings since 09. I was obviously convinced, but your butt, I assume is different than mine and may have a different preference.


  7. #7
    newday777's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Oceanside CA, and Milford NH and lots in between

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Come November you may see a new goldwing with a DCT. There have been posts that one got tested in California by 30 current wing owners at a closed track and they mentioned it has a DCT 7 speed trany.
    2008 GL1800 Level 4
    1988 KampARoo pop up tent trailer
    Previously 2007 & 2008 Aspen Sentry

  8. #8

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    My vote is. of course, for a GoldWing.

    The more difficult decision may be switching a RAH wide bed for a Leisure Lite. When compared to a RAH wide bed, the L.L. sleeping area may be described from cuddly to cramped.

    The GL can pull / stop either.


    ’94 GL 1500 SE Extras: SIRUS Satellite Radio, Garmin GPS, SADDLEMAN Road Sofa and Touring Luggage, Touring Floodlights, Multiple Deer Whistles.
    Pulling an ’80 Eagle 1 Trailer or ’12 Roll A Home (wide bed, brakes)

  9. #9
    wa5vhu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Richmond, VA

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    Thanks for all the great suggestions! I was thinking that maybe a CTX1300 or something similarly sized might be enough and be a couple of hundred pounds lighter than a Goldwing but that might wind up being just a half-step on the way to a Goldwing. Looks like I need to go sit/test ride a Goldwing to see how it might be for me.

    As for the RAH vs. L-L Excel, we had a Combi-Camp and loved it but it was just too narrow for our bodies, it was basically a twin XL width at 38" however the L-L Excel bed is at 52", what they call a double, just 1" shy of a full width, which is what we sleep on now at home and that seems wide enough.


  10. #10

    Re: Best Towing Motorcycle - For Me?

    I had a fjr1300 that would pull well with a cargo, but due to the configuration of the hitch, didn't get along well with the RaH. One thing about the FJR was the high center of gravity vs. my GL1800, which I think handles just as well if not better than the FJR, due to the placement of the motor and fuel tank down low. I also added Traxxion suspension - full Monty and went double darkside and it handles like a sportbike. A very large sportbike.

    I have sold my Aspen Classic and am contemplating selling my 2006 level 4 Wing. Even though I'm pushing 74 YO I can still handle the Wing just fine, but I just purchased a baby Goldwing - 2012 Suzuki Burgman Executive. Six-fifty twin with a CVT auto tranny that can go either full auto shift or manual paddle shift. If I were to haul a trailer with this bike, it would most likely either be an HF kit or one of these:

    I'm thinking that if one doesn't mind waiting a bit, this will be a great tow bike: The 2018 Yamaha Venture

    Bottom line, don't be intimidated by the weight of the GL1800. It is very easy to handle and it has an electric reverse.
    Aspen Classic Camper, 06 GL1800

    My Pics: My trailer forum:

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