Pit Bull Trailer Restraint Platform In U-Haul Motorcycle Trailer
The Pit Bull Trailer Restraint does an excellent job of holding the bike secure without compressing the suspension with straps or having tie-downs touching the bike anywhere. My only gripe is that the trailer restraint has wheels to drag it behind the bike but the trailer restraint handle digs into the ground if you roll back down a ramp. They should warn you about that. Roll on the trailer deck only, use the bungee on and off ramps.
You don’t really need the Pit Bull wheel chock when you use the trailer restraint but the wheel chock does hold the wheel from rolling and it does keep it from turning turning left to right. The wheel chock makes the challenging job of positioning the bike more difficult. A Condor wheel chock might be more useful but will cost a lot more and it doesn’t make for as good of eye candy.
Obviously you would not want to drill holes in a a rented U-Haul trailer to attach a trailer restraint and wheel chock. My idea was to make a wooden platform that can be strapped down on the bed of the trailer and attach the trailer restraint and wheel chock to it.
The cost of the materials for the platform was about $300. The straps I used cost about $21 for a 4 pack and I needed 10 straps. The trailer restraint was about $300 and the wheel chock was about $60. I also used a set of Canyon Dancer handlebar straps and those cost $40 shipped. The 3 1/4” drop hitch with ball I used cost $30 and the U-Haul motorcycle trailer with 5’ x 9’ bed cost about $30 a day to rent. I recommend skipping on the $16 trailer insurance U-Haul offers. I don’t know what that covers but your auto insurance might cover the same thing.
Some U-Haul motorcycle trailers have one D-ring in each corner only. The other kind is slightly upgraded with a built in wheel chock and extra D-rings. The wheel chock trailer with extra D-rings will be safer to use but the trailer that has corner D-rings only will probably be adequate. Both versions cost the same to rent.
I think using bolts on this project is a more durable and permanent solution because the platform is a very heavy item (about 250 lbs) and it will get heaved around a lot. Large wood screws however would be very adequate and the platform might be built for about $250. Bolts cannot be tightened any harder than screws anyway. The wood simply crushes and the bolt gets no tighter. Screws hold much more firmly in wood than a bolt does too. A loose screw can be repaired by simply removing the screw and placing a small stick of wood in the hole. If a screw hole ever gets so worn out that it can’t be repaired, a bolt might be used to replace the screw. The only place bolts are required instead of screws are the D-ring fasteners on the deck of the platform. Screws will not hold well in plywood unless it is backed up with solid wood.
Whatever you use, bolts or screws, buy all fasteners by the box rather than individually. I ended up buying the quantity of fasteners I needed but it cost me more than buying a whole box.
Also, buy all the 2x4s you need at the same time and buy a few extra incase you make a mistake or need to reject a cracked one. You can always return extras. If you go back to the lumber yard to buy more 2x4s after starting the project, they might have sold out of the lot you purchased from. 2x4s can vary in width and height by 1/16” from one mill to the next.
Except for wood, I bought everything to complete this project at Ace Hardware.
If you really want to do this quick and cheap you might consider bolting the trailer restraint and wheel chock to a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood. Throw the plywood in the trailer bed a with a couple 5 foot long 2x4 crossbars on flat screwed across the front and the middle to keep the plywood centered. Screw a 5’ 2x4 across the back of the trailer restraint mounting plate to center the back and create a stiff base for the trailer restraint. Screw some 2x4 blocks on the crossbars to add some height and install D-rings and ratchet straps to pull the plywood tight against the front and hold it down. Once you get the bike in the trailer restraint, Canyon Dancer motorcycle straps used as shown at the end of this article should keep the bike from tipping. This should be good for a shorter trip but not a substitute for the big heavy and rigid platform I built.
Tools and Materials
radial arm saw
eight to ten 2x4s
thirty-six 3/8” x 2 1/4”bolts
thirty-six 3/8” x 1” fender washers
thirty-six 3/8” nylock nuts
eighteen 5.1” x 1.5” x 1/8” L-brackets
Pit Bull Wheel Chock
one sheet of 8’ x 2’ x 3/4” plywood
Pit Bull Trailer Restraint
one 24” x 24” sheet of 1/4”plywood
fifty-two #8 x 2 1/2” construction grade wood screws
one 4” 4x4
3/4” x 1 1/2” strips of wood
60 grit grit sandpaper
one 24” x 24” sheet of 3/4” plywood
sixteen 2” x 1/4” bolts
sixteen 1/4” fender
sixteen 1/4” nylock nuts
heavy duty handle
four #14 screws
ten ratchet straps
28” Canyon Dancer bar end straps
blue painters tape
The 2x4frame perimeter is joined by 3/8” boltsand L bracketswith an 8’ x 2’ x 3/4” plywooddeck.
1. Use a radial arm sawor skill saw to cut the outer pieces of 2x4 frame.
2. Use a drill press or hand drillto make tight boltholes for the L brackets in the front, rear and side pieces of 2x4 frame. Favor the inside of the slots in the L brackets so that they can't slide out of place when bolted. Use 3/8” x 2 1/4”bolts with 3/8” x 1” fender washers, 3/8” nylock nuts and 5.1” x 1.5” x 1/8” L-bracketsto join the frame pieces. About 2 ft lbs is all it will take before the wood crushes but the nylocks will keep it tight.
3. The front edge of the wheel chockmount should be 4” from the front edge of the plywood so that the wheel chock will come no closer than 1/2” to the front trailer wall.
Snap a chock linedown the center of the plywood from front to back and trace the wheel chock mounts on the plywood.
4. I carefully measuredthe wheelbase of my Gen2 Hayabusa and determined it was exactly what is most commonly reported online, 58.5”. Even after adjusting the chain tension many times over the years, the wheelbase was still at the stock measurement.
Center the trailer restraint mounting plate on the plywood with the front edge of the mounting plate on the plywood with the front edge of the mounting plate 78 1/2" from the front edge of the plywood. This should be correct for any stock wheelbase Gen2 Hayabusa.
5. Do not use the mounting plate as an actual drill bit guide. The drill bit flutes will grab the plywood when the tip cuts through the back, thread down instantly and gouge your brand new trailer restraint. The hole will probably be off center too. Instead, trace the boltholes from the mounting plate to the plywood and drill pilot holes. Increase the size of the bit in several steps to get the most accurate alignment of boltholes. Drill slow to avoid tearing out the bottom of the plywood.
Bolt the trailer restraint to the plywood as described in the installation instructions and test it with the bike attached. Test the positioning of the trailer restraint and the wheel chock by positioning the wheel chock on the lines you traced around its mounts. Allow the wheel chock to slide forward on the deck against the front tire. Be aware that a worn front tire will be a little smaller in diameter than a new one. A larger profile rear tire might pull the bike back a bit. The tests I did were done with brand new tires and the rear was a 200/55.
6. The Pit Bull wheel chock is designed to slide in the slots of the mount. I decided to allow a bit more than 1/16” space between the spacer and the front of the slot incase I ever need a little more distance in front.
Drill the wheel chock boltholes 15 7/16”from the front edge of the plywood.
The Pit Bull wheel chock slides between the top washers as described in the manufacturers installation instructions. Do not over-tighten the bolts or it may not slide freely.
7. In addition to the perimeter frame, one crossbar supports each wheel with the bike in the trailer restraint. Also, one crossbar braces directly under the trailer restraint mounting plate to prevent the plywood from flexing. I used five additional crossbars to support the weight of the bike and a person while the bike was being positioned on the platform. Four additional crossbars might have been adequate but just one more crossbar seemed worthwhile. The space between the back of the frame and the mounting plate brace has to a bit wider than I like. I made a 3 1/2” high block of wood from two 2x4s and a piece of 1/4” plywoodall gluedtogether and placed at the center of that space to support the bike as it rolls over the deck.
8. Position the plywood on the frame and drill a 1/16” pilot hole at one corner. Use a #8 x 2 1/2”construction grade wood screw to fasten the plywood to the frame. The unthreaded portion of the screw will draw the pieces together tight. Do the the same on the opposite end of the frame and the plywood will be held in position. Drill the remaining pilot holes at 7 inch intervals around the perimeter of the frame. Additional screws are placed between the rear of the frame and the mounting plate crossbar to fasten the wood block to the underside of the plywood. Also use a few screws to fasten the plywood to the crossbar beneath the trailer restraint mounting plate.
9. Make a small ramp to get the bike on top of the platform The process I used is a little loosey-goosey but the results should be fairly accurate if you are careful.
Use a hand saw to cut a piece of 4x49 1/8” long. Then cut it diagonally to make two wedges.
The cutting method I used was to nailtwo 3/4” x 1 1/2” strips of woodto the 4x4 to use as a saw guide. Place the wood in a viceto saw it. Hold the sawblade against the guides with one hand as you start the cut. You should see the edge of both guides getting shaved by the saw blade. If you don’t, the cut will be too imprecise. The diagonal cut will take you about one hour of constant sawing so if its wrong from the get-go, start over. There is a special hand saw for ripping that might be easier but I just used a regular cross cut saw.
Rub each block over 60 grit grit sandpaperon a table top to smooth the cut and make the pieces more uniform in shape.
10. Lay a 24” x 24” sheet of 3/4” plywood over the wedges and draw lines to indicate the proper angles for the leading edge and the top of the ramp. Use a skill saw to cut it to the proper length.
Adjust the angle of the skill saw (it was approximately 30°) and trim the top edge of the ramp.
Use a nailed strip of wood as a guide for the the skill saw plate to make 90° cuts into the leading edge of the plywood to the desired depth. Make as many cuts in steps as necessary decreasing the depth of the cut each time and moving the guide over 1/8” until the desired angle is achieved. Use a file to smooth out the steps between cuts.
Affix the wedges to the bottom of the plywood with glue. You will want to mix sawdust with the glue to fill the gaps between the plywood and the wedges. Let the glue dry overnight.
Drill 1/16” pilot holes in the top of the ramp and attach the wedges to the plywood.
The ramp is pretty strong as is but a chunk of 2x4 placed under it when in use will provide extra support right at the center.
If you test the ramp and platform with the trailer restraint attached to the bike at this point, be aware that the handle of the trailer restraint will drag the ground hard after you roll back down the ramp unless you have the trailer restraint strapped up with the bungee.
11. The platform D-rings are positioned so that the ratchet mechanism of each strap will lay flat against the deck of the platform and so that the straps will pull the platform forward and keep it centered in the trailer bed. The rear D-rings do get in the way of the trailer restraint rolling into the mount but their positioning was the best compromise between convenience and safety. Positioning the D-rings out farther to the sides would put the straps in jeopardy of crossing the back points of the platform. It also would be more likely to pull the the platform backward while
reducing the centering effect of the rear straps.
Eight D-rings might seem to be more than what is necessary but the trailer D-rings lift 3” high and the platform is only 4 1/4” high. The straps do not pull the platform extremely tight to the trailer bed. The load is top heavy with the bike attached to the platform too. It’s best to use all of the tie-down locations available.
Use 2” x 1/4” bolts, with fender washers and nylock nuts to attach eight D-rings to the the platform.
12. For this application, a very heavy base is good for stability but it is too much to carry safely by yourself. Get help moving this thing. If you drop it on edge, it will crush your foot. A handle on this is a requirement so the platform can be lifted high enough to get a grip under it. Drill pilot holes and attach a heavy duty handle with #14 screws (the screws that come with the handle are too small) to the center of the rear edge of the platform. The wood ramp fits right over it without touching and there is still room for the block of 2x4 that should be used under the ramp too.
The platform centers in the trailer bed. A 14” x 7” piece of 1/4” plywood is placed between the front edge of the platform and the trailer wall so the front, center straps are not pinched. The front center straps are tightened first followed by the front side straps and then the middle straps. The rear straps are not tightened extremely much to avoid the tendency to pull the platform backward.
Remember to put the small block of 2x4 under the wooden ramp. Get at least 40 feet behind the trailer so the bike is tracking straight on center before you start ascending the ramp. Walking beside the bike at a brisk pace, it rolled pretty easily up the trailer ramp and the bottom of the bike cleared with no problem. It is likely you will slow down and let the bike lean toward you when you get to the short wooden ramp you made. This will make the bike roll off center to the right as you continue to push it up to the platform. Removing the wheel chock, there is enough room to roll the bike back and forth to get the wheels centered on the platform. Then the wheel chock can be positioned to receive the front wheel as the trailer restraint hooks into the locks. It is a bit tricky to get it lined up but possible with someone watching and advising you of where the wheels are at.
I did not use any fastener to secure the front mount of the wheel chock. The wheel chock is held in place by the two bolts and the front wheel as long as the front wheel doesn’t bounce up. The manufacturer suggested that I drill a hole in the plywood and drop a long bolt through the bolthole in the front mount or use a screw in the plywood with a washer under the head to hold the chock in place if the front wheel should fly up. The front wheel could also be strapped to the
front center D-rings in the trailer…but then why bother with the wheel chock except for that it looks cool?
The bike does not seem to roll fore and aft at all when the trailer restraint is locked and the front wheel is in the wheel chock. The bike can rock left and right a small amount however. The manufacturer suggested not using a wheel chock but instead turning the steering full lock. This causes the bike to lean in the opposite direction and prevent the rocking. I used 28” Canyon Dancer bar end straps to hold the top of the bike perfectly steady. They also will help hold the front wheel down if a bump takes you by surprise. The Canyon Dancers can be strapped to the side rails of the trailer without using a great deal of tension. This will not compress the front suspension much at all while helping a great deal to secure the bike. I wrapped the top of each hand grip with a terry cloth rag to protect them from the cups. Also, remove the long bar end weights on the busa before using Canyon Dancers or the bolts might bend.
One other thing I did as a flying debris precaution was to blue tape the top cowl and windscreen and also the gas tank where the Canyon Dancers fleece sleeve contacts the paint. I do not know if this was even necessary. If you do it, make sure the ends of the tape are stuck down well behind the cowl or it will flap around in the breeze.
Drive slow and get out to check the strap tension often especially when you first start out. I drove 20 miles over a bumpy highway at about 30 mph and then 50~55 mph for another 130 miles down smooth to mildly bumpy highway. The only strap that came loose was the RH middle strap after the first thirty miles. I believe that was due to the camber of the road and gravity while driving down the bumpy road. The middle straps are so short, it was not possible to tighten the loose one without stretching even more slack in the strap. The loose strap could have been totally removed and then re-installed tight but that might have made it pull even more off center. The other straps held the platform in place exactly as it was when I embarked. The RH Canyon Dancer strap took one extra click on the ratchet after the first thirty miles. I believe that was also due to the camber of the road.
The worst bumps were the ones in low speed areas where people normally go very slow. I saw the bike bounce on its suspension in one of these areas. You see bumps or holes, just crawl over them very at 2 mph. This might piss off a few drivers behind you but you will arrive with the bike completely unharmed.