Tongue mounted motorcycle carrier -
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Unread 10-02-2009, 12:28 PM   #1
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2009 JK Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 25
Tongue mounted motorcycle carrier

I'd like to get some input on an idea I've had for awhile.

I'd ideally like to be able to transport my sport bike on one of those hitch mounted platform carriers that I've seen used to transport dirtbikes, quads, or motorized wheelchairs. However, my bike has a dry weight of 410 lbs, maybe 600+ lbs with fuel and myself.

Bearing in mind I would likely not be sitting on the bike while it was loaded on the carrier but I'd rather over engineer the thing than worry about the stress and strain limits of the carrier.

I've been thinking about this a bit lately and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work for a couple reasons, but I'd still like to hear some thoughts from others.

I am a mechanical engineer and I'm definitely capable of creating some designs and maybe even some detailed finite element simulations to get a better idea of how it would turn out, but I figured I would start by doing a little research and getting some opinions, find out if anyone has heard of or seen anything remotely capable of doing what I want.

A few obvious problems and potential solutions:

That is way too much tongue weight for any off the shelf receiver hitch.

That much weight could potentially unweight the front wheels and be very dangerous if not impossible to drive (no steering or front brakes if the wheels aren't touching the ground).

Anyone think a custom fabricated rear hitch tied into the frame in a more secure manner and some massively upgraded rear suspension components could make this feasible? Possibly adding ballast tanks that can be filled with water to a front hitch to get a more equal weight distribution?

I realize I haven't really thought this out entirely yet, just putting my idea out there to see if anyone more experienced with fabrication has some insight.

A quick google search turned up an example of a similar style rack to give you a rough idea of what I'm thinking about.

U-Haul moving supplies: Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier

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Unread 10-02-2009, 12:58 PM   #2
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BRad704's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 1,615
If you are concerned about the strength required for that 2 class III hitch, maybe you could create a mount that used 2 class III's... one at each end, and inline with the framerails. That would distribute load over a wider mount, and avoid twisting that center mount... Also, unless you build this out of alum, you are seriously gonna have to account for the weight of the rack when you decide how much tongue weight is too much. Many of the probs I have seen/heard about Wranglers and towing come from the short wheelbase, not the vehicles inability to support the actual load...
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Unread 10-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #3
Ironworker709's Avatar
1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Millen Area,Georgia
Posts: 3,359
I think you pretty much covered it all,2 things to think about though...
1.If doing so and keeping a spare tire mounted on the back you will have the motorcycle mounted beyond that,increasing weight/leverage out that far making the front end alot lighter.
2.Water weighs approximately 8.5 pounds per gallon,thats alot of water to counteract for the extra weight to add to the front end to balance it out. 410 # divided by 8.5 is aproximetly 48 gallons..thats a BIG ballast

I would build or buy a solid frame mounted rear bumper and buy or build a trailer for hauling the motorcycle,just my thoughts
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