A few years ago, I wrote an article for this blog called the “Tandem Axle Fallacy”. Yet now we’re building tandem axle motorcycle trailers right alongside our traditional single axle ones. So what gives?
There’s no doubt that a single axle provides superior maneuverability whether you are trying to move your motorcycle trailer by hand or with a tow vehicle. But unfortunately, maneuverability isn’t the only issue when selecting an appropriate axle configuration.
Clearly, as I stressed in the “Tandem Axle Fallacy”, a single axle makes sense for shorter trailers but typically the longer the trailer, the greater the axle capacity required. At some point, tandem axles become non-optional. For Ironhorse’s trailers, that came at about 16.5 feet.
For sixteen years or so, those in the know told us that Ironhorse trailers were the best personal motorcycle trailers on the market. But we got a different message from a small but significant minority that want to carry three or four bikes, a couple of trikes, two reverse trikes, and various small cars and trucks.
Note the emphasis on small. After taking a close look at generic car hauler trailers, it was clear that we’d have to compromise our distinctive streamlined look, our flip tops, our low profiles, and our light weight to compete in that market. But it’s also clear that we would have to be blind and deaf not to realize that future car haulers won’t need to be as long or as tall—autos are getting smaller, not larger.
So now we offer two distinctively different product lines—single axle and tandem axle. The single axle product line consists of our traditional 1-Bike, 2-Bike, and WideBody flip top trailers. The tandem axle product line will consist of two definitely roomier but still low profile, aerodynamic, flip top tandem axle trailers—the WideBody XL and the LongBody.
The WideBody XL is a tandem axle trailer primarily for those who want to carry a small car, perhaps behind a motorhome, or a trike (two wheels in the back or the front) behind a smaller conventional vehicle. Visualize an Ironhorse WideBody with a one-piece seamless fiberglass body, a one-piece seamless fiberglass top, and a one piece seamless 1 inch thick composite floor, each stretched 2 feet and placed on an 18 foot chassis. Add two 2200 pound axles and internal wheel wells long enough to cover the extra wheel and tire on each side.
In the WideBody XL, from just inside the tailgate to a point roughly 13 feet forward, there is about 98 inches of side to side clearance, except between the wheel wells which have 81 inches between them. At 13 feet forward of the inside of the tailgate, the sides start to converge to form the wind-friendly semicircular front of the fiberglass body. That leaves an available rectangular load footprint roughly 13 feet by 6 feet 8 inches with 9” of storage capacity between the outside of the rectangular footprint and the inside wall of the trailer on both sides, except for the 64 inch long wheel wells.
The second tandem axle Ironhorse, the LongBody, is for those who want to carry three or even four bikes, two forward or reverse trikes, or some other more creative combination, behind a full-size SUV or pickup. Visualize taking a WideBody and stretching its one-piece seamless fiberglass body, top and composite floor 7 feet to build a 23 foot long trailer Then think about equipping the stretched body, top and floor with a new chassis not just stretched, but completely redesigned to be much, much stronger. The final touch is two 3500 pound axles, in case someone just can’t resist using it to haul a full-size auto.
At 18 feet by 6 feet 8 inches, the LongBody has an available load platform that is 5 feet longer than the WideBody XL’s. Like the Widebody XL, it has 9 inches wide extra storage space on the outside of each side of the available rectangular load platform, except for the 64 inches each wheel well takes up.