When purchasing an RV or Caravan, especially in Europe, there are often legal restrictions on how big a vehicle you can tow. Not only with regards to the Maximum Authorized Mass (weight) but also based on the number of axles and even tire pressures.
Tow rating limits are something manufacturers have to take into account when designing the vehicle. Adding a tow bar to a trike or motorcycle will also affect its weight distribution, stability, and handling characteristics.
Can You Tow A Caravan With A Trike?
Many people would argue that it’s not possible but essentially yes, you can tow a caravan with a trike.
After all, trikes are only designed to be ridden on flat ground and without any additional load. However, there is no reason why you can’t tow a caravan with a Trike.
The number one issue with Trikes is the lack of weight distribution; however, this can be solved by increasing the weight on the rear of a Trike; this will cause the front of your Trike to lift, creating a perfect tow point.
As most people know, when you are not towed or loaded down, a Trike is very light at the back, with most of the weight being focused on the front wheel. However, when loading up a caravan, there is a lot more weight in the back of the Trike, taking up the space where most of the weight was focussed before. This will cause your front wheel to lift slightly when you are not moving; when the bike moves forward, the tire starts to push downwards, which will make it difficult to turn without falling off. The best way to counter this is to lift the back wheel once your Trike has been turned off.
This will enable you to engage the Trike’s clutch and have a much easier time turning corners. The Trike should then move forward without any issues, and you should be towed along just fine.
Another issue that could occur is that some Trikes don’t have a back break. If this is the case, then your Trike will be unable to stop when you are being towed, which will lead to unwanted accidents. This can be fixed by purchasing a foot-operated break for some models of Trikes; however, there are many trikes out there that do not have this option.
The easiest way to counter this issue is simply by using the front brake when you’re being towed. This will work the same way it does when riding your Trike; however, it can be quite difficult to know which brakes are working or not when you are towed. If you have problems with stopping when being towed, you should get in touch with the Trike supplier, and they will be able to help you find out what is wrong and provide any necessary assistance.
This process itself is not dangerous for your Trike or Caravan, but it’s important to ensure that your caravan is secured after you have been towed. Otherwise, there could be quite serious accidents if the caravan becomes unhooked.
Caravans don’t have to be towed in the same way that cars are; in fact, it is much more beneficial for you to attach your caravan to the back of your Trike rather than attaching it at the front. It might not make much sense when sitting down and thinking about it but, when being towed at the back, you have much greater control over the caravan and can ensure that it is being towed safely.
It may be difficult to control when you are towing the caravan at the front of your Trike. If you attempt to turn corners while being towed, it can become problematic, especially if there is any clunky weight inside the caravan. If you experience these problems, you should tow your caravan at the back to ensure the safety of yourself and any other people with you.
While some issues may occur when towing a caravan on your Trike, it’s unlikely to cause any serious problems. If you make sure that you lift the back tire before turning, use the front brake while being towed, and keep an eye out for any issues with your Trike’s speed, then it should be fine to tow a caravan on your Trike.
Here is a small theoretical example:
Imagine you have a caravan with a maximum allowed mass of 1000kg; legally, you are required to have a trike that can “pull” at least 800kg on level ground to drive it on the road safely. This means that your Trike needs to have a minimum weight without passengers or luggage of at least 200kg – not considering other factors such as acceleration, stability, and braking capabilities.
On top of this, you often need special license plates, insurance, etc. All cars must have their number plates on display, and you need a minimum of 3 points – 2 at the front and one at the back. Europeans often use small license plate holders that can be installed at 1 point each. Unfortunately, trikes cannot have those yet. I am sure the first company that builds one will sell like hotcakes!
Caravan manufacturers also often state the maximum allowed mass for motorcycles or trikes. For example, the FB Mondial Quaranta is listed as having a maximum allowed mass of 350kg.
This means that a trike with a design weight of 200kg and the ability to “pull” at least another 150kg can safely tow this caravan. In my opinion, anything over 400hp would be enough – combined with an advanced stability system such as traction control or ABS, it should be easy to drive a trike with a design weight of 250kg and the ability to “pull” another 150kg.
This means that in theory (and subject to your driving licence permissions), you can safely tow a 1000kg caravan with a ~250+hp trike – but this is only theoretical, and trikes are still different from cars. A trike will always require more braking distance than a car, and since you alone are responsible for the braking distance of 2 vehicle bodies, you will need to make sure that your Trike can handle it.
This will also allow you to ride at a much higher speed without any issues, which will save you a lot of time in the long run. Knowing this information before heading out on your next journey with your Trike and caravan is important.
The best way to ensure that nothing goes wrong is by getting some experience first. So many Trike owners will go out, attach their caravan to their Trikes and begin towing them around the place just for fun. This is a good way to get into the habit of doing it without putting yourself or your Trike in any danger.
If you are an experienced Trike owner, there shouldn’t be any issues with you wanting to tow a caravan. It’s not dangerous for either your Trike or Caravan, but you must pay attention to where you are towing so that you do not cause any accidents.