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  #1  
Old 19 Jan 2018
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Question US made Trailer - Towed behind foreign Motorcycle - Is it Allowed

Hi Guys,
I am an Australian Citizen trying to piece together a feasible plan ...,

- where I air freight an Australian Registered Motorcycle to the U.S .
- and once in the U.S .., I would like to buy a U.S made 'Bushtec' TRAILER to tow behind my foreign motorcycle.

Is this possible to do this with my 'Australian Registered' Motorcycle, and then LEGALLY tow that U.S purchased trailer behind my Motorcycle ?

Note: After touring the U.S on my Australian Registered motorcycle (towing the U.S made Trailer) .., I would be planning to then ride down through Central & South America .


Here is more detail ...,

My original plan was to buy my US Made trailer 'online' and have it internationally shipped to Australia before I go to the US ..., but this is a bad idea for a few reasons :
1 - I'd be paying high international freight to ship the trailer from the US to
Australia.

2 - I'd have to pay heavy import duty fees to AustralianCustoms to bring the
U.S Made trailer into Australia.

3 - I'd have to deal with lots of red tape before I can legally get the trailer processed to meet Australias Rigid and pedantic Road Certification

4 - Then Id be paying to ship both my bike (and) paying to ship the trailer from Australia back to the US again .., to then begin my US trip.



I was thinking a better and cheaper alternative ..., would be to arrive in the US with my Australian Registered Bike ..., and then buy the trailer in the US (once I get there) and also get the hitch mounted to my bike in the US also once I get there ?

I just need to know if this is legally possible or not ?



You may be wondering why anyone would be so crazy as to why they would want to do that ?



..., well I want to carry about 4 surfboards on the trailer in a lockable case that is fixed to the trailer to combine a love of two passions ..., ie; an epic motorcycle journey with an epic surf trip.


If this 'Trailer PLAN ' is legal and possible ...., ?

I would be hoping to fly into LA with my bike and surfboards - and immediately go to stay with friends in either San Diego or San Fransisco .

Once there, I would stay there for about a week or two while buying some new (and much needed) motorcycle riding gear and accessories for both me and my bike .., as shipping costs to buy all that gear is super expensive in Australia due to our import taxes taxes and the costs of shipping it there . The money I'd save If I purchased everything in the US (as opposed to Australia) would be a few thousand dollars.

after kitting out me and my bike while staying with friends in California ...,
I would leave my surfboards at my American friends house in California , while I take off for a few months to ride up the coast to the state of Oregon where I will begin the Trans American Trail Ride (heading in a West to East direction)

On completion of the T.A.T ride , I then plan to call in to Jacksboro Tennessee to buy this trailer from the manufacturer there : link -
https://www.bushtec.com/inventory/v1...ssee---4164811

I will also get Bushtec trailers to custom make a towing hitch for my bike (KTM 1290 SAR) while I am there .., ie; so I can tow the trailer ..., and then slowly cruise my way back from Tennessee via the Southern States for a couple of weeks towing the new trailer as I head all the way to my friends house in California to pick up My Surfboards

Once back in California ...., I will then get a custom lockable aluminium box (constructed similar a pannier) but the size of a coffin to carry my surfboards - and have that mounted to the bushtec spartan trailer .



Once all that is completed , I would then load up and leave the US to begin my central & South America Journey .




Why the Bushtec spartan (of all trailers) ?

- It is super lightweight ,
- it is very narrow (my surfboard only just manage to fit between the wheels)
- but most importantly .., it has the largest wheels (16" motorcycle type
wheels) of all the trailers
- and also has the most sophisticated suspension of all the trailers , which is
air adjustable shocks which I can perfectly adjust for the load I plan to
carry.
- it also has anti sway bars and components
- it also has an awesome lockable full 360 degree swivelling helm joint hitch

This is the best quality , lightweight , and most agile trailer of all of them I can can find that will hopefully manage going off road (if I take care) whilst carrying the load of surfboards , but still be rideable and safe on the road.


cheers
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  #2  
Old 19 Jan 2018
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Far as I know, no restrictions against trailers other than a speed limit. (55 mph when towing)

Police will not care what plate the trailer or the bike has as long as you have proof of ownership (registration or title or both) ... and proof of insurance.

Entering Mexico, Cent. America, S. America with a trailer should not cause any
problems either ... thousands of American tourists enter Mexico annually towing trailers of every shape and description ... but I've never towed a MC trailer there ... or anywhere.

The Bush Tec trailer does not look light weight to me ... and I'm pretty sure the
Canadian company, Trail Tail, near Kelowna, BC, is the better trailer for a motorcycle. A fellow DR650 rider I know towed this single wheeled trailer from N. Carolina to Seattle, Wash (see pic below) using a 38 HP Suzuki DR650.
Zero problems.

Surfboards on board? really? Many surf spots in Mexico and Cent. America that I've surfed at had boards for rent or sale. I lived and traveled there since early 1970's.

El Salvador now has well established surf industry, so there will be boards. Similar in a few places in Mexico as well like Puerto Escondido and others.

But I haven't visited those popular Mexican spots in years so can't give current info ...

I would contact California Surf expert Garnaro. He traveled all of Africa carrying a board on his DR650 Suzuki. He is also a Mexico and Cent. Am expert.
Fantastic ride report.
He would have more current info about availability of boards down South.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...urfboard-72401



Cross country pulling trail tail.

Trail Tail Trailer Kelowna, Okanagan

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  #3  
Old 20 Jan 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Far as I know, no restrictions against trailers other than a speed limit. (55 mph when towing)

Police will not care what plate the trailer or the bike has as long as you have proof of ownership (registration or title or both) ... and proof of insurance.

Entering Mexico, Cent. America, S. America with a trailer should not cause any
problems either ... thousands of American tourists enter Mexico annually towing trailers of every shape and description ... but I've never towed a MC trailer there ... or anywhere.

The Bush Tec trailer does not look light weight to me ...
Hi Mollydog, thank you for your helpful reply,

That is great news (so far ?) regarding the trailer laws in the U.S and the rest of the Americas.
I do have a worrying concern though regarding your comments Mollydog ...,

You mentioned it won't matter 'what plate' the trailer or bike has ?

I do need to clarify exactly what you mean by 'what plate' ? ..,
because .., If I buy the trailer In the U.S - then It will not have a licence plate mounted to the trailer of any sort .., as I will not be able to register that trailer (that I plan to purchase) in the US - because I am not a U.S Resident ?

I need to know - if it a compulsory requirement (or not) for me to display a licence plate on the trailer ..., or can I get away with zero licence plate and zero trailer registration ? ..., and still lawfully tow it behind the motorcycle anywhere I please in the 'Americas' (North, Central, and South America) ....,
(meaning - just having the purchase receipt for the trailer "in my name" , and nothing else other than my bike having it's Australian Licence plate and registration)

I do need to be crystal clear on the LAW requirements - as any activity deemed illegal will null & void my travel insurance - If ever I was involved in an accident with another vehicle or if I was Injured.


If the U.S legal requirements DO state that the that trailer MUST registered ?(ie having a current registration certificate and with a licence plate mounter on the trailer) with either
- a U.S Registration and licence plate
- or an International Registration and licence plate ..,

Then that would mess with my plan , as I would therefore be forced to FIRST import the Trailer to Australia before my U.S trip to obtain Australian Trailer Registration and Licence Plate . This would therefore need to be completed before I shipped both bike and trailer to the US ? .., but hopefully that solution is a last resort - it's not a showstopper , it just complicates thing , takes up a lot of time with red tape in Australia , and adds a few thousand dollar of extra expenses for Australian import taxes and extra shipping (x2) for the trailer ?



Regarding your other questions Mollydog,


The Bushech trailer is lightweight , and just over 60 kg in weight, and add to this weight and my surfboards / wetsuits etc will add another 25 kg
(so 85kg in total for trailer + it's load) ,
this total weight is about the same as if I was riding 2 up with a pillion.., but with the trailer it is not top heavy weight like a pillion passenger is.

Thanks Mollydog for your trailer recommendation links also , and I have previously looked at those trailers and searched hard for many months to consider others also while looking deeply into all trailer designs , and so far I have yet to find a trailer that suits my carry design needs.
The mono wheel trailers are great in their own right and for small short loads only due to the direct strain they put on the swing arm and frame .., but that centred wheel and short wheel base prevent me from loading my custom boards (with the longest board I plan on taking being an 8'6" big wave gun) due to their short length and that centre wheel juts up right in the location where I want my boards to go.

The Bushtech spartan's carry basket is 'just' wide enough to fit my aluminium lockable board carry case (which I will get custom made) between the trailers wheels , and leave only 1/2 inch clearance inside the case to fit my boards, The total trailer width is less than that of the bikes handlebars..., and with the trailers large 16" motorcycle tires , and adjustable air suspension, I can adjust that in fine detail to perfectly match my load.


As for you other question regarding taking surfboards ..,

I have been a surfing fanatic all my life (45 years of surfing experience) , and this led me to spending my last 12 years living full time in Indonesia chasing waves - for me the bigger the waves the better the thrill .

The surfboards I ride are all 'custom made' shapes of various sizes . I have more than 10 surfboards custom made by the same world class surfboard shaper who has been making and refining by surfboard shapes for the last 25 years.
My skill level has me confidently surfing waves up to 5 times + overhead, and I need specialised boards to do that, and all by custom boards over the years have been a focused ongoing progression and each refined towards maximum performance to suit different wave sizes and conditions. This passion and dedication is my reason why I want to at least take a condensed 4 board quiver along for the trip. I will also need a range of wetsuits to carry also .

I do really appreciate all of your advice and suggestions , but for me surfboard rental is something I am not considering. If I cannot mange to lug my custom boards, then I'd likely not surf bother to surf at all and just concentrate more on off road riding and more mountains .

My reasoning to combine a surf trip with a bike trip is seeing as I am riding past so many world class quality surf breaks that I have always only ever dreamed about in the past .., I'd really like to have the right boards on hand and Surf those waves - the trailer idea is my compromise where I could manage to make that happen.

I don't expect any non-surfer or casual hobbyist weekend surfer to understand my logic, as most of my friends don't even get it and they think I am nuts , with the only ones who do get it are the small numbers of other guys I know who have their 'loved' custom quivers also , which these guys are the ones who also live for paddling out on the bigger days as I do.


My trailer plan (if it pans out) is to spend at least a full year in the Americas on that particular trip .

.., anyway I know I can personally manage the trailer thing even though it will a slight limitation , or slow it down somewhat to the bike part of the adventure - but maybe thats a good thing .., but I just have to make sure to plan well ahead and make sure I do it legally.

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  #4  
Old 20 Jan 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
You mentioned it won't matter 'what plate' the trailer or bike has ?

I do need to clarify exactly what you mean by 'what plate' ? ..,
because .., If I buy the trailer In the U.S - then It will not have a licence plate mounted to the trailer of any sort .., as I will not be able to register that trailer (that I plan to purchase) in the US - because I am not a U.S Resident ?
In your original post you mentioned something about a bike with a "foreign" plate towing a trailer and was it legal. You CAN register that trailer in your name in most US states. (remember, in USA every state is different but most do NOT restrict a foreigner from registering a vehicle or trailer in their name.

But most states will NOT allow you to register your Australian originated KTM here in USA. Against US EPA laws ... the Trump and company are doing their best to dismantle. But you can ride INDEFINITELY around on your Oz bike no problem.

But once you are approved in the state where you bought the trailer, either with a plate or without ... all other states will honor this status and you shouldn't have any problems. But to clarify ... I've never done this. But you being Australian should have NO bearing on anything. If you need an address ... use selling dealer address.

Insurance is a whole other problem and I am NOT a lawyer. I have no idea about insurance. My advice is to buy insurance locally knowing that NO USA insurance is valid outside of USA. In Latin America you buy insurance as you go, at the border. Country by country.

Most MC trailers I've seen DO NOT have a license plate. Probably has something to do with number of axles or perhaps weight?? ... because MOST travel trailers you see DO have a separate license plate and owners have to pay registration annually, just like car or bike. Insurance too I suspect. But MC trailers I think are different deal.

... and in some states Trailers get the SAME plate as the tow vehicle.

But, most small, single axle MC trailers, AFAIK, have NO plate which means NO registration. I've no idea how insurance classifies a MC trailer or if they will even insure it and attach it to your bike's policy. ????

But since THOUSANDS of Gold Wing and Harley guys tow MC trailers I'd guess insurance IS available in some form. I would check with the Gold Wing forums ... they will be a goldmine of information on the trailer subject I'm sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
I need to know - if it a compulsory requirement (or not) for me to display a licence plate on the trailer ..., or can I get away with zero licence plate and zero trailer registration ? ..., and still lawfully tow it behind the motorcycle anywhere I please in the 'Americas' (North, Central, and South America) ....,
As mentioned, this is a State by State thing. ... and no idea about Latin America. My guess is if your bike is legal and insured and has valid TVIP, then ALL will be good with your trailer as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
If the U.S legal requirements DO state that the that trailer MUST registered ?(ie having a current registration certificate and with a licence plate mounter on the trailer) with either
- a U.S Registration and licence plate
- or an International Registration and licence plate ..,

Then that would mess with my plan , as I would therefore be forced to FIRST import the Trailer to Australia before my U.S trip to obtain Australian Trailer Registration and Licence Plate . This would therefore need to be completed before I shipped both bike and trailer to the US ? .., but hopefully that solution is a last resort - it's not a showstopper , it just complicates thing , takes up a lot of time with red tape in Australia , and adds a few thousand dollar of extra expenses for Australian import taxes and extra shipping (x2) for the trailer ?
You need to read up more here on HUBB to understand how the USA works ...
it's pretty clear you're missing a lot.

Remember ... it's 50 different states. There is Federal law which supersedes some state law, but mostly state laws are what govern vehicles and licensing. No international registration will ever be valid in any US state.

Once you've done some research on the Gold Wing forums most questions will be answered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
Thanks Mollydog for your trailer recommendation links also , and I have previously looked at those trailers and searched hard for many months to consider others also while looking deeply into all trailer designs , and so far I have yet to find a trailer that suits my carry design needs.
The mono wheel trailers are great in their own right and for small short loads only due to the direct strain they put on the swing arm and frame .., but that centred wheel and short wheel base prevent me from loading my custom boards (with the longest board I plan on taking being an 8'6" big wave gun) due to their short length and that centre wheel juts up right in the location where I want my boards to go.
You can lead a Horse to water .... 5 boards? Really? I started bodysurfing and belly boarding at 7 or 8 years of age. Got along just fine! :smarts:

Once in El Salvador I broke my board on my head ... used the "big" half and continued Surfing. The local kids took the "short" half, shaped it into a nice board, stuck a fin on it and were ripping it up at La Libertad point. There are good shapers everywhere now. Even in El Salvador and Mexico. Look into it.

My suggestion for you would be to buy a nice mini van in USA, pull a lightweight MC trailer behind for your KTM. When you get to a Surf spot, you've got all the boards you "think" you need. Then, you can unload bike and ride round the area for a while exploring. Load bike back up, move on to next spot.

I did this throughout Mexico and Cent' America in the 70's. We had a Jawa 350 attached to our camper's bumper. Lived in El Salvador a couple months on that trip. (one of three major, long trips into that region in the 70's.)

Surfed in my youth ... me and about 2 million other Californian kids. Pretty common past time in 60's and 70's. I lived at Sunset Beach in Hawaii for a year. Quite a few "Pro" Aussie surfers lived there in 1970. Surfed with them everyday. One guy was world champion, forgot his name. Did some big wave surfing, but preferred the Pipeline ... when it was 4 to 6 ft.

I started surfing at age 8. Surfed until 27 or so. Water too cold around here and too fat, old and out of shape to enjoy it now. I consider myself lucky to still be riding bikes.

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  #5  
Old 21 Jan 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post

But most states will NOT allow you to register your Australian originated KTM here in USA. Against US EPA laws
Yes I will have my Oz registered bike , and I am aware that I will be permitted to ride my bike in the Americas when I ship it there from Australia (even without needing carnet)


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
You need to read up more here on HUBB to understand how the USA works ...
it's pretty clear you're missing a lot.

Remember ... it's 50 different states. There is Federal law which supersedes some state law, but mostly state laws are what govern vehicles and licensing. No international registration will ever be valid in any US state.
My post was long winded, and with doubled up questions in a few areas Mollydog,
.., and by my own fault - I think I caused some misunderstandings in a few area (sorry about that)

- I will better clarify those misunderstandings from my previous posts - (in this section below) ...,


# 1 - When i ship my Australian motorcycle to the US ,
- I will not be attempting to register my Oz bike (with it's Oz plates) in the US ..., as there no need for me to even consider doing that.

I am aware that : for me to ride my Australian motorcycle - after having it shipped to the USA, or ridden across an international boarder into the USA ..., I am legal to ride that motorcycle in the USA ..., as long as :

A - my Australian motorcycle registration remains current,
B - My bike is displaying its Australian Licence plate
C - my passport remains current (with min 6 months left on it before expiry)
D - my bike remains roadworthy while in the US (as my home country laws dictate for the requirement of my registration)
E - I am always in possession of a current international driving permit ..,



# 2 - I do understand that each country I visit ,

- the govt of that country may / or may not require me to purchase some type of 3rd party insurance before (or after) crossing their boarder with my bike.
- that insurance requirement is to cover another 3rd party for possible injuries caused by my negligence in case of a traffic accident whist I am in that country - It does not cover my injuries, or my property or a 3rd party property.

Other countries may have laws which permit me to enter their country on the condition that I purchase their insurance 'after' I have crossed their boarder ,
- thus putting the onus and responsibility on me to ensure I do actually purchase it , where I must be able produce those purchase policy details to authorities at any time 'if requested' - and if I fail to produce the policy details it then I am in violation of their laws.

# 3 - I do also understand I am permitted to tow a bike trailer in the US - that was also registered and plated with similar Oz registration , behind my Australian motorcycle (mentioned above in # 1)



# 4 - I "Now have learnt" from you (thx) and another helpful member named Tom (thx) that sent me a PM - that :

- I also have the option to purchase a trailer in the US without an issue while I am there - and get that trailer registered in the US in my name , even though I am not a U.S citizen,
- and that I can legally tow that trailer behind my Australian registered motorcycle as long as I follow each US states laws that are set for 'towing trailers' behind a motorcycle.

I do now also realise - that that the trailer's registration laws will differ state by state , and realise that each U.S state honours the originating U.S states laws - ie; where the trailer was originally registered
- just as long as that registration for that 'trailer' remains current,
- and the trailer stays roadworthy as set by that original (states) registration requirements.


# 5 - In all my earlier posts, whenever I mentioned "insurance" ..,
I was referring to my own 'travel insurance' ..., which is something I will be sure to purchase in my home country before embarking for my trip.

I was not referring to any other type of insurance , and sorry I should have specifically typed 'travel' insurance , and not just 'insurance' as I did in my earlier posts which led to confusion (sorry about that ).




Now the things I need to still find out - and do more research on ...,

- Is how each of the other countries outside of the USA look at the legalities of towing a trailer behind a motorcycle - and whether it is OK like it is in the USA , or whether they have restrictions ?

cheers and thank you once again for you super helpful info

Last edited by Davo Bali; 23 Jan 2018 at 05:35.
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  #6  
Old 22 Jan 2018
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All Great Stuff Davo! now you're getting the gist!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
Yes I will have my Oz registered bike , and I am aware that I will be permitted to ride my bike in the Americas when I ship it there from Australia (even without needing carnet)
Right, also know that there is NO Carnet requirement for ANY country in Latin America as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post

A - my Australian motorcycle registration remains current,
B - My bike is displaying its Australian Licence plate
C - my passport remains current (with min 6 months left on it before expiry)
D - my bike remains roadworthy while in the US (as my home country laws dictate for the requirement of my registration)
E - I am always in possession of a current international driving permit ..,
Couple quick things:
Most Police will not know or care if your Aussie reg is current or not.
Local Police do not handle Immigration (yet!) so as long as your entry Visa is current, you are all good. Forget that six month thing, that may only apply upon entry, once in ... local Police don't deal with immigration, as long as your Passport is valid, all OK to local Police.

That said, your Passport is by far your best I.D. Local Police in USA may not have ever even seen an International Driver's license ... push come to shove ... you own Aussie License with your Passport would be best I.D. In any case, most cops you meet will let you go as a "good will gesture" unless you've done something really blatant.
Be nice, smile ... be a tourist ... they'll let you go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo Bali View Post
# 5 - In all my earlier posts, whenever I mentioned "insurance" ..,
I was referring to my own 'travel insurance' ..., which is something I will be sure to purchase in my home country before embarking for my trip.
Right, travel insurance. Good move. But you will also need Auto insurance for your bike in most countries and you should have it even if not required. Will it pay if you need it? Who Knows, but since it's 3rd party, it would mostly pay the '"other" guy.

And as you correctly state, it's mostly a "liability only" type insurance in most countries.
(3rd party only). Hard to get "Full Cover" in Latin America on a bike. So, don't get your bike Nicked! With that KTM I can see thieves going to great lengths to try and steal it! HIGHLY Desirable BIKE! (and why i ride a bike worth about $2500! )
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Old 23 Jan 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Hard to get "Full Cover" in Latin America on a bike. So, don't get your bike Nicked! With that KTM I can see thieves going to great lengths to try and steal it! HIGHLY Desirable BIKE! (and why i ride a bike worth about $2500! )
I hear you and agree with the cheaper bike, but after a lifetime of only ever owning cheap antiquated bikes & 40+ year old cars myself.., for the first time in my life I yearn for a 'new' bike with technology.

Regarding your important points on theft and security .

I fully understand those dangers you bought up and agree, and they are similar to ones I face here in Indonesia where I have lived for the past 12 years, where 'on some trips' there have been times where I have had security concerns and paid a local to park at their home or store.

On my bike I will also have an alarm installed, a disc lock, kryptonite cable lock, plus a bike cover to act as a deterrent , but yes vigilance is also needed at all times.
cheers Mollydog
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Old 24 Jan 2018
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All good. I would not worry too much about it. Yes, your KTM stands out a bit, but more and more high end bikes are going South now. Lots of BMW GS's, plenty of other KtM's too.

So don't go crazy ... just use common sense ... she'll be right mate.

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Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




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