Trailering a Honda PC800

IMG_0564I’ve just about finished moving to my new home. Since it’s winter, it’s cold and the roads are a mess of potholes, sand, and debris. So I made the hard choice of trailering the PC800 to my new home instead of riding it half an hour.  In truth, I’d rented the trailer anyway to take the Silverwing up to a friend’s shop in Keene, NH to wait out the rest of the winter, and hopefully get sold by word of mouth and the significant amount of foot traffic going in and out of there regularly.

Traditionally I just hook a couple of ratchet straps on the handlebars, tighten them down a bit, and go to town.  But the PC800 has all kinds of plastic on the handlebars.  There’s nowhere to hook on, and removing all of the plastic is a real pain.  I did some research, and discovered the Honda recommended tie-down procedure – use the four built-in crash bars instead.

They’re not obvious, because everything on the PC800 is covered in plastic.  But the bike comes from the factory with built-in crash bars. Two in front help protect the fairing and the engine, and two more in back protect the huge trunk, which sticks out about as much as a saddlebag on each side (because functionally that’s what they are). Each of them has a plastic cover over it to blend in with the rest of the bike. It’s easy to remove them.  The front ones are held on with a single bolt, which you can remove with the tools in the bike’s built-in toolkit, and then just work the plastic tabs until they let go. The rear ones just clip on without a bolt.

IMG_0565Now it’s time to put the bike on the trailer. Mine is in perfect operating condition, so I just rode it up the ramp of the U-Haul trailer until the front tire kissed the front wall.  Leaving the handlebars straight, I parked the bike on its sidestand.  Then I hooked one strap to the right front crash bar, hooked it in the trailer’s built-in D-ring, and tightened it until the strap was supporting the bike instead of the sidestand. Then I put up the sidestand, attached the left front strap in the same way, and tightened both until the bike was sitting vertically and the suspension was somewhat compressed.  You still want some compliance in the suspension so it’ll absorb the bumps in the road during its ride in the trailer, but a bit of preloading is good, too. Tightening the front straps first also ensured that the front tire was still pressed up against the front wall of the trailer. A rail, or at least some sort of holder for the front wheel to keep it straight would be ideal, but these U-Haul trailers don’t come with them.

IMG_0566Then I moved on to the back, and did essentially the same thing.  The bike was already pretty well balanced vertically, so I attached each side and tightened them pretty much together, which loaded the rear suspension as well.  I figure that when you can give the bike a good, solid shake, and the trailer shakes instead of the bike, you have it tied down pretty well. I tied off the extra bits of strap to the bike so they wouldn’t flap in the breeze, then put the plastic covers I’d removed from the crash bars in the trunk for easy storage and transport. Even when you aren’t riding the bike, the trunk is amazingly useful for storage! Just don’t lose the two bolts for the front covers.

The bike rode rather well on its journey to our new home. In fact, I had an easier time with the PC800 than I did with the Silverwing, whose handlebars I could hook the straps onto.  That’s probably because two of my straps were brand new, and as they stretched a bit during their first use they let the whole thing come a bit loose.  But I didn’t run into that issue with the PC800.  It worked quite well.

Of course, my intention is to RIDE wherever and whenever I can. But at times when that’s not possible – winter, or if the bike suffers a mechanical failure – it’s good to know that it’ll ride in a trailer pretty well if necessary.

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Categories: anecdotes, mechanical | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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