Motorcycle carrier on FRONT of truck?

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
*I was going to post this in the Motorcycle section but it's really more of a "vehicle" than a "motorcycle" question.*

I'm seeking in put and experience (mostly experience) from those of you who might have done what I'm thinking of.

Wife and I camp a lot in Summer. We have a ~20' travel trailer (RPod 179) that we take all over the West. We've been everywhere from South Dakota to Wyoming to South Texas to Arizona and Nevada.

I'm also a motorcycle rider (wife used to ride but can't anymore due to medical issues.) Up until now the only way we've ever been able to combine these two activities has been when we are camping relatively close to home (Denver) and the wife drives the truck pulling the camper while I ride up on my bike. My motorcycles have always been heavy road bikes so taking them along was not an option.

But just recently I got a 200cc dual sport motorcycle (IOW a dirt bike that is plated and street legal.) It is small and only weighs about 250lbs (bike is a Suzuki DR200SE.)

So now I'm thinking about trying to figure a way to take the bike along with us on our trips. That way, my wife could fish (which I don't enjoy) or just take a nap and I could go for a motorcycle ride.

Normally the solution would be the carry the bike in the bed of the tow vehicle. However, my F-150 has a topper on it that I don't want to take off (we carry a lot of stuff in the truck including two folding electric bicycles.) So the bed of the truck is not an option.

The tongue of the trailer would be my next thought but currently it has 2 x 20lb propane tanks and 2 x 6v batteries. I think I'm really pushing it in terms of what I can put on this relatively lightweight trailer frame. At the back of the trailer, same issue: The factory bumper is small and flimsy, no way would it hold a 250lb motorcycle without serious (and expensive) reinforcement.

So the only option left, it seems, would be to carry the bike on the FRONT of the tow vehicle. I do know that I can get a front receiver for the F-150. It would require removing the rubber air dam but otherwise would be a straight bolt-on. From there I could use a single-bike carrier to carry the DR200.

For reference, tow vehicle is a 2018 F-150 with the 3.5 EB/10 speed trans/3.31 gears and 7000# payload capacity.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I know that I CAN do this.

The question I'm asking is: Who here has done it, and would you do it again? My biggest concerns are

(1) Will this impede the flow of air to cool the engine and turbochargers? If so, is there any way to mitigate this?
(2) Is hanging ~325lbs off the front end [250lb bike + 75lb carrier] likely to cause wear, handling or steering issues and if so is there any way to mitigate this?
I'm thinking of trucks with big aftermarket bumpers and winches hanging off the front end - they must be pushing 300lbs additional weight, right?
and finally
(3) Assuming this will seriously interfere with the headlights I'd most likely have to limit my driving to daytime, right? I don't know of any auxiliary lights I can mount that would be legal to use on the highway.

As I said, what I'm really looking for here is those who have experience doing this, and whether it is even going to be worth the trouble. Eventually we'll move up to a bigger travel trailer (after I retire) and when we do I'll make sure the trailer is robust enough to haul a motorcycle. But until then, all we have is the RPod which I think is carrying as much weight as it reasonably can and I don't want to risk a frame failure by adding more.

Thanks for any input/advice!

EDITED TO ADD: Gotta add a picture of the bike!

bike and truck.jpg
 
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Zeep

Adventurer
As you mentioned, modification to the front of your truck will be necessary. Add to that the complications of air flow and visibility.
Personally, I would opt to modify the bumper of the trailer. That's a fairly tall bike you have, and I can't help but think, it would be very awkward
hanging off the front!
For the record I have not done this. I have a 125 Monkey, that I was thinking of getting a rear carrier for.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Old school.

Weight, if this is an issue Ford has a snow plow option which upgrades things like springs etc. Bolt on if you decide to go that route.
Air flow. The plow option is a factory Ford thing, air flow is not an issue. There is plenty of space around and thru the bike.

This was a popular thing 50 years ago, carrying a bike out front.
Look for an old school carrier.

These weighed about 10 pounds and bolted directly onto the old school steel front bumpers.
These are on ebay for $35.
ca53257adf76798d60756245bb8b0354-1.jpg

The clamp on version was the one I had, on a stock 1977 F250 bumper.
vintage-bumper-mount-rack-carrier_1_5270133c946fd86df6961b77e35dee56.jpg

Mount it with the front tire on the right side for better field of vision over the rear fender.
But vision is not really an issue.

user609_pic1875_1326928147.jpg
 
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Flyelk1

New member
I did it for years with a front receiver on a GMC 2500. Bike was a Yamaha TW200. Very similar bike.

Only one issue ever concerned me and that was ensuring the headlights were not obstructed while traveling at night.
Air flow, weight, and handling were never an issue. However, I did add Bilsteins up front just for peace of mind over stock suspension.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
I realize this may not be a choice but if it was me Id sell or trade the R-pod and get a small toy hauler. Then the bike is hidden from light fingers, flying rocks and damaging sun. Even a minor rear-ender could destroy the bike.

If that is not an option for you then I’d reinforce the rear of the trailer and carry the bike back there. Get a backup camera to keep tabs on the bike when traveling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

givemethewillys

Jonathan Chouinard
My buddy does it with his f150 and similarly sized camper, but his truck is a 2014 with the 5.0. The only real issue is that it blocks headlights, so you'd have to content with that. The truck will hold the weight, however, and the front hitch is handy for other things such as a cargo tray, hammock rack.

Be careful with your weights though. I'm assuming by 7000# payload, you mean 7000lb gvwr. Your payload is probably closer to 1,600lbs. Very easy to overload, which is why most people start looking at the f250/350.
 

Buddha.

None of this matters
Toy hauler would be the best option, but the layout of those can be weird.

I don’t know about hanging it off the back of the trailer. What affect would that 300lbs have in regards to tongue weight.Would it offset the trailers existing 300lbs of tongue weight? That could be sketchy.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Interesting....While I've researched it and thought about I've never really considered it due to engine/transmission cooling factor. Head light issues never really concerned me due to my "always find a camp before dark" approach to off-roading/traveling. Like many, I've spent thousands of miles hauling my stuff across America and my only issue(s) have been trans/engine cooling and brake cooling/efficiency. While it certainly can be done, I'm no sure that its a good idea due to the potential impact it'll have on your cooling system. I've gone so far as to install multiple trans coolers, HD radiators (multi core) and gauges to make sure I'm within the safe operating temps when I'm heavy. Proper ventilation is key and putting a 250lb moto in front of the radiator at high/slow/grade speeds would greatly impact that. If you've never had a transmission blow out due to high temps, I don't recommend it. FWIW........Good Luck!
 
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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
I realize this may not be a choice but if it was me Id sell or trade the R-pod and get a small toy hauler. Then the bike is hidden from light fingers, flying rocks and damaging sun. Even a minor rear-ender could destroy the bike.

If that is not an option for you then I’d reinforce the rear of the trailer and carry the bike back there. Get a backup camera to keep tabs on the bike when traveling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Toy hauler would be the best option, but the layout of those can be weird.

I don’t know about hanging it off the back of the trailer. What affect would that 300lbs have in regards to tongue weight.Would it offset the trailers existing 300lbs of tongue weight? That could be sketchy.
Well, to both of these, selling/trading isn't an option right now. Not only are travel trailers still priced at crazy high-demand prices, but we're committed to keeping our current Pod until I retire which will be in approximately 2 years (mid 2024) *Fingers crossed.*

When I get close to retirement, we'll start shopping for a new trailer. We'll want something with a dry bath vs the "wet bath" we have now (and which we've never, ever used the shower in.) Also, the 179 is a narrow trailer with a slide-out, and I'd refer a slightly wider trailer with NO slide out (because that would be one less thing to go wrong.) I think Airstreams are gorgeous but I'm not sure I'm willing to pay the "airstream tax" to buy one.

WRT toy haulers, I really DON'T want to have to go to a bigger tow vehicle. The F-150 is as big as I want to go so anything that requires a 3/4 ton would be out. It's just the wife and me so we don't NEED a big trailer. I have seen a few mid-sized travel trailers that have a "deck" on the front of the trailer that can accomodate an ATV, something like that would potentially work for us as long as the total weight was under about 6,000 lbs. Even though the F-150 is "rated" to pull almost 10k with my current setup, I don't want to push the envelope in terms of how much I'm carrying.

As far as reinforcing the frame to carry the bike behind the trailer - I don't know how many of you have actually looked at an R-Pod but it's a pretty light weight trailer. COULD it handle the extra weight? Probably (having said that, it's a 3700lb trailer with a 3500lb rated axle on it) but I really don't want to put that much stress and strain on the frame - I think it's right at its practical limit now and I don't want to face the prospect of a bent/broken frame. Even if it were repaired it could seriously impact resale value.

I guess what I'm saying is that in terms of trying to find a place to put the bike on an IMO already slightly overloaded trailer, I'd rather leave the bike at home until we can get a heavier trailer.

Interesting....While I've researched it and thought about I've never really considered it due to engine/transmission cooling factor. Head light issues never really concerned me due to my "always find a camp before dark" approach to off-roading/traveling. Like many, I've spent thousands of miles hauling my stuff across America and my only issue(s) have been trans/engine cooling and brake cooling/efficiency. While it certainly can be done, I'm no sure that its a good idea due to the potential impact it'll have on your cooling system. I've gone so far as to install multiple trans coolers, HD radiators (multi core) and gauges to make sure I'm within the safe operating temps when I'm heavy. Proper ventilation is key and putting a 250lb moto in front of the radiator at high/slow/grade speeds would greatly impact that. If you've never had a transmission blow out due to high temps, I don't recommend it. FWIW........Good Luck!
Oh, I've experienced transmission failures before, and it definitely was NOT fun. But I'm not sure how much a motorcycle would actually "block" air from flowing into the front of the truck. That's why I'm seeking input from those who have done it, to see if that's a real concern or not.

Also, this would not be something we'd do on every camping trip. Only on those where our itinerary was such that motorcycle riding would be possible. Weather would also be a factor, if it's not likely to be warm or dry enough to ride, we'll still camp but I would for sure leave the bike at home. It's not that I don't ride in the rain and cold (I do), it's that I don't do it if I don't have to. ;)
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
We'll want something with a dry bath vs the "wet bath" we have now (and which we've never, ever used the shower in.)
We finally used ours for the 1st time this summer after years and years of having the ability to shower in our trailer.

I recommend trying it at least once before deciding for sure you want a dry bath. Even if you don't end up using it every time, it's nice knowing that if there are no showers nearby, you still have this one. Agree on the slide. That is a reason we chose the trailer we did. Although, the room a slide provides is looking pretty appealing....
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Like others here I have not done this but have always thought about it. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Id get a properly rated bolt on front receiver hitch and a carrier and try it.
You’ll probably have to upgrade suspension as mentioned by others but I doubt the airflow issue will be a real problem and if it doesn’t work out You’ll not regret having the receiver up front or the carrier.
Id personally try it on a hot day before upgrading suspension.
 

oldnslow

Observer
Not only is your trailer frame not likely up the task, the axle and tires are almost certain to be not able to handle 300lbs hanging off the back. That will add MORE than the 300 lbs to the axle. Since you stated the 3700 lb trailer sits on a 3500 lb axle, you are likely near or over the axle / tire limits already. I don't know why people are suggesting that you do this. RV trailer tires are notorious for blowing out even when the trailer is not over weight.

It seems like you have 3 choices: the front hitch, a different trailer that is designed to carry toys, or leave the bike at home. I would try #1 before resorting to 2 or 3.

edit to add: I have not done this myself, but have seen many others do it over the years.
 
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