Erde Trailer

So back in January 2005 a nice man from DHL arrived with my shiny new bike trailer on his lorry and I moved the boxes into the garage where they were in the way.

I decided that I would assemble that night whilst Mrs. RHM was at work, so at 6.30pm I headed outside and began unpacking the parts and assembling it like some giant Meccano set. All went remarkably well until the last pair of guard rails whose bolts and nylock nuts were a real bugger to get at and more particularly get a spanner or socket on. Remember that the trailer is basically a bunch of aluminum channels so there are quite a few sharp edges. Anyone who’s ever worked on an old Mini would recognise my hands afterwards: bruised, cut and sore. Oh and I also had some bruises and scars on my thighs and stomach from heaving it around later that evening…

I assembled it partly inside and partly in the rain outside our small, single garage which, being a “family garage” and part of a spec. built Beazer house, is rather small and is full of:

  • five bicycles;
  • two scooters;
  • two wardrobes full of bike clothing;
  • wine and beer;
  • two brand new ST200 alloy wheels;
  • two brand new ST200 floor mats;
  • standard ZRX1200R exhaust silencer;
  • standard ZRX1200R seat;
  • a fridge-freezer;
  • a tumble-drier;
  • two music centre/separate systems;
  • DIY tools, paint, etc.;
  • kitchen roller blind;
  • pasting table;
  • Black & Decker Workmate;
  • 3 piece aluminium ladder;
  • large wooden garden table and four chairs;
  • sledges;
  • tools;
  • ramps;
  • wall-mounted kitchen units;
  • cupboardy thing;
  • data backup fireproof safe;
  • paddock stand;
  • carpets, lots of carpets;
  • assorted fluids and oils for cars and bikes;
  • general crap;
  • bag of 10 footballs, pump, bibs and first aid kit;
  • central heating boiler; and
  • a big Kawasaki ZRX1200R.

It’s a very big trailer. 10′ long by 5′ wide by 2½’ tall. And 125kg.

I’d been lucky enough to nab my neighbour when he got in to lift the wheels on whilst I lifted the trailer up high enough – I’d found I could lift it with one hand but struggled to line up the wheel bolts with the holes with the other hand.

At this point, I stood back and admired my handiwork. Mrs. Blue came home at 9.00pm and I stayed outside to work on the trailer (and never did get anything to eat).

And then I looked at the chaos that is the garage and wondered how it would fit inside…

So I’m pondering my options: there’s no access to the back garden other than a 3½’ wide passage so that ruled that out. I could wheel the trailer into the garage and permanently stand the ZRX on the trailer, but access to everything else would be nigh-on impossible. I could eBay it. Or I could try to stand it up on its side against the wall.

Except that that was easier said than done. Did I tell you it’s a very big trailer? I tried heaving it up and over onto its side, but the internal width of the garage meant there wasn’t enough room to allow for it turning onto its side – I could get it to a 45° angle but not much further. So I did some measurements and discovered that if I took the front section off again, it might fit standing up on its back, although I’d still have to somehow lift it onto the back section and then manoeuvre it into position against the wall. So I set about it with the spanners and sockets and dismantled the work I’d already done. With the front section removed, I reckoned I could just about get it in place against the wall and resting against the wall units, so I put an old kitchen mat next to the wheel and heaved it up onto its side, bumping it outwards as I did so. Success! There was also just enough room between it and the wall to slot the heavy towbar section in to take up less space. 11.00pm and I was finished.

There’s a photo here, taken the following morning, showing the finished article in the packed little garage. Mrs. Blue asked me to take her bike out so she could go and grab a DVD for her booze and filum session at her friend’s house and I was able to show her that it wasn’t that tight and inaccessible :)

Now that the trailer has been used for a few trackdays, the only criticisms I have for it are that the wheel hoops at the end of the channels are a bit high, so they almost clash with the brake discs and that the channels themselves are a bit narrow, pinching the rear tyre – mind you, that may not be a bad thing.

The trailer itself is a doddle to use and very lightweight, so the occasional bit of ‘extreme towing’ at 80mph behind the Fiesta and 100mph behind the ST200 (on closed roads, of course) has been fine. Any scratches in the channels from the sidestand have been painted over with Hammerite and the trailer now lives outside in all weathers with no apparent deterioration.

Recommended.

Towbars

Anyone who saw me, Blue Rex and the trailer at any of last year’s trackdays will know I was using Mrs. Blue’s Fiesta to do the towing. This was because I drive an ancient Mondeo ST200 that Ford hadn’t seen fit to get rated for towing, so my local Ford dealer wouldn’t fit a towbar. Note that every other Mondeo was rated, just not the ST200…

Last summer, I was chatting to a neighbour who’d had a nice demountable one fitted to their Ford Galaxy, so I rang the place he’d had it done – Broadland Towbars near Norwich – and they said it could indeed be done*.

So on the 20th, I went to their place for 3½ hours whilst they fitted a rather nice Brink “Brinkmatic Classic 2506” – this involved some cutting of the rear spoiler, but it’s not really noticeable unless you’re looking for it specifically. It’s demountable so when not in use the ball section is stowed away in the boot and means the lines of the car aren’t spoiled. It takes less than a minute to fix and demount the ball section as well. Cost was £310 + VAT fitted.

So this year, I have my car to drive with all the toys and comfort and more space for crap my useful stuff in the boot. Marvellous!

*Apparently, the Mondeo ST220 is straining its clutch as it is, so if you try towing anything it breaks…

Sargent Solo Seat

One of the few issues I have with the Kawaskai ZRX1200R is its seat: when you first climb on it seems very plush and comfortable, but after 80 miles or so it does start getting uncomfortable. So I ordered a Sargent Solo replacement seat from the States.

Whereas before I’d be shuffling around uncomfortably after a relatively short while, the Sargent cossets your bum in comfort and even has space and a tube for you to stow something in the seat itself (in my case a ZRXOA rubber torch).

The seat is slightly slippery when you wear leathers but I find that quite useful when shifting my bum from side to side on trackdays.

Recommended.