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Dirt Bike Trailer: The Trailer Buying Guide for 1st-Time Owners

I’ve written a full guide for those looking to buy a dirt bike trailer to haul their motorcycle to and from the race track or riding trails.

This is a guide that Frontaer has been wanting to write up for a while. After all, many people either choose to ride unregistered dirt bikes or simply don’t want to ride on the road between trail riding areas.

For many of us, we don’t have the luxury of living on a big parcel of land or a truck with space at the rear. And for those who do, they often prefer a dirt bike trailer as they have many advantages.

The 4 main types of dirt bike trailers

Did you know that dirt bike trailers really differ in their style? Some are small while some are absolutely huge, so let’s look at each individually.

Fully enclosed trailer

These are very common with weekend warriors. Enclosed dirt bike trailers are often well built and are waterproof too.

Advantages are:

  • No one can see that you’re hauling dirt bikes and are less likely to follow you
  • Provides a safe place to store them when you’re away from the campsite
  • You can sit, eat and even sleep inside the trailer if the weather turns bad
  • If your tie-down straps break in transit, then your dirt bike is still contained
  • You can paint the trailer camo green for steal camping in the outdoors

However, the downsides are:

  • Higher upfront cost than most other dirt bike trailers
  • Requires a larger vehicle like a sedan or pick up truck
  • You can’t see who’s behind you when backing up without a camera
  • Higher registration and insurance costs depending on your state
  • You’ll need more space at home to store it safely away

In my opinion, they are certainly worth the cost if you have more than 2 dirt bikes. That extra space comes in very helpful during weekend getaways.

Basic dirt bike trailer

On the flip side, we have the basic dirt bike trailers which are common all across the world. These are well built but also lightweight too.

Basic dirt bike trailer

Advantages are:

  • Very affordable. A basic dirt bike trailer should only cost you $500 for a quality unit.
  • Can tow behind almost any hatchback or small car in the market without struggles.
  • You can see your dirt bikes when travelling in the rear vision mirror to check straps
  • Registration and insurance costs are lower, as is routine maintenance and paintwork
  • Super easy to load and unload dirt bikes from these trailers by complete beginners
  • Very easy for storage. You can even store these trailers in an upright position in the garage

However, there are reasons why not everyone chooses them:

  • Basic dirt bike trailers provide no protection from the sun, wind or rain on you or your dirt bike
  • Easy to get stolen. I’ve seen 2 fully grown men can pick up one of these trailers and take ’em away
  • Doesn’t have anywhere to store your accessories like jerry cans, helmets, tools or riding boots
  • If your dirt bike tie-downs slip when in transit, then it’s likely to fall off the trailer and on to the road
  • Often manufacturers use inferior tyres. I’ve seen so many of these blown on the highway.

Now if you’re the occasional trail rider, then a basic dirt bike trailer is enough to get the job done for you.

Hybrid MX trailer

Looking for a combination of both worlds? Then a hybrid trailer is what you’re looking for.

Hybrid MX trailer with tent

These offer some storage options for your gear and fuel up the front, while some are even dirt bike trailers with tents on the roof.

Dirt Bike Trailer with Rooftop Tent

When you consider that most people go for a 2-3 day weekend adventure with their dirt bikes, it makes perfect sense to have a dirt bike trailer with a rooftop tent.

Even some MX tracks let riders camp track-side for the entire weekend, so why not have the tent on the roof? This will give you a penthouse view each morning!

Complete dirt bike toy haulers

Last on the list are complete toy haulers that are very much multi-functional. You can take dirt bikes, quad bikes (ATVs) and even side-by-sides with these which are very popular in Australia and the United States.

If you’ve got money to burn, then these can be a worthwhile investment. Commonly MX racing teams use toy haulers to move between events.

Their riders get a great place to sleep, or even recover between sessions on the dirt. The dirt bikes travel safely and securely without the fear of theft.

For many casual riders, these toy haulers are simply outside the realm of both affordability and storage space. However, if you want to live on the road and ride in a new place each week, then these are perfect.

What to look for

Now that we’ve shown you some of the best dirt bike trailers on the market, we wanted to help you with your purchasing decision. There are things that you should really be looking for.

Before you decide to make a purchase, you should actually take a step back and analyze your riding type.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your tow vehicle? Can your current car handle a trailer just fine or will you need to upgrade it?
  • How many dirt bikes are you expecting to haul? There is a big difference between 2 bikes and 5 bikes.
  • Are you strong enough to not need a jockey wheel or will you simply buy one to save you the pain?
  • Where are you storing your gear? Does your car have enough space and can do you (or your significant other) deal with the smells?
  • What’s the fuel situation like where you typically will ride? Easily available or will you need to cart 10 jerry cans with you?

All good important questions to ask and are unique to each individual rider.

Stolen trailers are common

That’s the #1 fear of not just buying a used trailer, but buying a used dirt bike in general. It’s hard to be absolutely sure that it isn’t stolen.

Generally, the owner should have a very good reason for selling it. Not only that, but they should be able to ask any reasonable question about its functions and usage.

You should really know if the person is a genuine offroad riding enthusiast very soon into the conversation. If they don’t have a tow vehicle at all, then this is a sign that it could be stolen.

In many countries, you can look up the registration details through an online database. However, thieves are smart and often erase VIN numbers.

Rust and excessive wear

Commonly dirt bike trailers are used in offroad conditions. As a result, this causes rust on the underside of the trailer.

When you inspect a used dirt bike trailer with the intention to purchase it, then you should take a very good look under the trailer. Bring a torch with you as your smartphone light just isn’t enough.

Not only should you inspect the undercarriage, but also the wheels and axles. These are common areas where rust builds up over time.

Lastly, you’ve got the drawbar and hitch. Check that these are well functioning and haven’t started to rust, as they are the most expensive to replace.

Workmanship

There are cheap dirt bike trailers and then there are those which are basic yet cost thousands of dollars. Why? The build quality.

You generally get what you pay for with these things. If you pay too little, then there is a good chance that you’ll have to buy another trailer next year.

Avoid the Chinese specials and purchase a locally produced trailer but those experienced in the industry. Look at their online reviews and feedback.

The build quality of the trailer should show strength. After all, you’re carting around dirt bikes which cost thousands of dollars already. The last thing you’ll want is to damage one of the bikes in transit because something went wrong.

Avoid any trailer that doesn’t have rail guides. These will go a long way in preventing your dirt bike from sliding side to side and falling over on bumpy highways.

New vs Used

Often dirt bike trailers are very affordable so we recommend buying new when possible. You’ll find plenty of manufacturers across the country that have trailers ready to go out the gate.

Used MX trailers often have wear and tear plus the rust issues that we’ve highlighted. However, you’ll also pay a whole lot less. Most used trailers are homemade setups too.

One thing to note with new trailers is their customizations available. Often manufacturers will be happy to add 2 extra jerry can holders or an additional spare tyre mount.

Where it makes perfect sense to buy a used trailer is when it has been hardly utilized by the owner. Sometimes they give up on the sport or simply didn’t use the trailer enough for the season.

Size

It does depend on how many dirt bikes you’ll be hauling. For example: You can fit a dirt bike in a 6×4 trailer quite easily. To do this, place each wheel corner to corner, and you may have to remove the rear tailgate.

Should you have more than one dirt bike to fit in a 6×4 trailer, then this is entirely possible and up to 3 dirt bikes can fit. It’s significantly easier if you have a small dirt bike in the centre and standing reversed so the handlebars aren’t all clashing.

Tips for your first haul

Imagine arriving at a dirt riding spot that you’ve been excited for the last few weeks, but you’re also nervous. After all, you’ve got your new trailer in tow.

To avoid embarrassment, we recommend that you:

  • Wear your riding gloves when loading and unloading your bike off the trailer
  • Watch out for the trailer ramps as riders often trip over these by mistake
  • Park in a spot away from others. You don’t want to be the centre of attention
  • Use high-quality tie-downs and do them up properly. Get someone to double-check
  • Pack some zip ties, duck tape and WD-40 with you just in case. It really helps.

Also, don’t be afraid to put some decent compression on your forks. They are designed for this very purpose and will lessen the likelihood of the bike jumping around in the trailer. However, we wouldn’t recommend leaving your dirt bike compressed overnight. Do it just before you leave home.

Next steps

As you can see, there are numerous types of dirt bike trailers available for different types of riders. Not all of them are created equal.

If you’re the occasional weekend warrior then you’ll do just fine with a basic trailer. For those addicted to trail riding, then an enclosed trailer will be a better option.

Either way, practice safe hauling techniques to protect your bike, the general public and your pride. We’ll see you out there on the trails!

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