Looking for input especially from those who’ve tried multiple trailers. Any interesting observations or caveats?
I’ve now decided, after the recent boat droppage (the Too Late Syndrome), that I need a different trailer for our kayak. The custom rack on our 4x8 aluminum utility trailer seemed like a great idea for an all-purpose device, plus that meant only one “footprint” on the property. However, (a) as warned here, the stiffly-sprung trailer with so little payload has an alarmingly “busy” ride, the boat jolting all over the place, and (b) the height the boat sits at is simply too high for my wife.
So I started looking on-line, I immediately found three that are somewhat interesting:
(1) Trailerex – Light and a very low load height, priced nice too. However, the frame seems to have little triangulation, too much flex? Will it hold up? And 8” wheels for highway use, I’ve been warned so often against that it’s almost a deal-breaker.
(2) Yakima – Light and I’m familiar with the name, and the kooky trailing-arm independent suspension is intriguing. But the motorbike-sized tires and wheels worry me a bit, and it’s the most expensive.
(3) Malone – I already have their J-racks. Substantial looking trailer but steel, not aluminum, although 230LB is not too bad. Nice array of accessories including a cargo trunk.
Any down-checks, and/or comparative notes (although I’ll end up doing what I darn well please)? All three have reviews at paddling.net, helpful in isolation but not across brands. Alas, none of these seem to be prepared for the 21.5’ Caretta, I can see having the tongue extended at a local welder in my future.
I’m getting over the worries about too many trailers in the back yard. I need to store the kayak somewhere, might as well be right on the trailer, with a purpose-made cover instead of the Home Depot tarp.
Looking for input especially from those who’ve tried multiple trailers. Any interesting observations or caveats?
Why do the motorcycle rims …
I haven't tried any of the trailers you list, but I did pick up a used SportsRig at a steal of a deal.
The 16" motorcycle tires are expensive (it came with 11 year old tires), but they roll over the ground very nicely. My wife can pull it out of the backyard with two boats on it. The large diameter wheels also provide greater ground clearance. Seems like a win - win to me.
All the best,
2014 thread on 8-inch wheels
Some good information there.
I have the Yakima so I’ll comment on it.
The reason I chose it over any others was because I have a rule that my three kayaks, all my other toys and Durango have to fit within a single stall garage.
After standing the Yakima up on end, releasing a lock and pulling a pin allows the wheels to drop away. The shocks and trailing arms swing out of the way. The end of the trailer has casters that allow it to roll while vertical. Folded up in this way and leaned against the wall, the trailer’s footprint is about 10" deep and 80" long.
Another selling point was the trailer’s bars are designed to accept bike racks, ski racks, cargo boxes and other attachments from a wide range of makers. Most other trailers are pretty much dedicated to paddle sports without extensive mods.
Why should the trailer having motorcycle tires be a worry? The last time I looked, people were still riding motorcycles all over the country at highway speeds and well above. I opted for the heavier shocks when I got mine and have hauled up to five kayaks at once on it down the interstate without drama.
Yakima also sells an extension for the tongue to accommodate longer boats so there’s no need to go to a welder.
Finally, I also opted for the 2" hitch for consistency. A couple of other trailers I occasionally pull have 2" hitches so I didn’t want to have to buy a 1 7/8" ball just for the Yakima.
That’s my story.
Paint the new trailer inside and out after cleaning oil and dirt from the surface. Rustoleum primer and topcoat are inexpensive and reliable. White allows rust prevention.
I work out of a storage and state area of trailers and boats. Frame failure from rust eating thru unprotected steel in a salty air environment happens. There’s a trailer repair shop across the street.
Rust out from an interior square tubing, often near an unwashed weld.
Bearing buddies are a good idea. Synthetic grease.
Thirdly, trailers are stolen. We have periodic trailer thefts from periodic visits of professional thieves. Once an epidemic.
If you park a trailer with bats in your yard be sure you are noticed and the information is passed along.
Some bad info too
The oft-repeated idea that the bearings turn slower with a larger wheel isn't necessarily true. It CAN be true, but doesn't have to be. One guy tried to set the record straight on that topic, but you wouldn't know it based on some of the replies that came later.
For a given size of bearing, it's easy to see that the bearing will travel more slowly if you switch to a larger wheel, but a different hub with a larger wheel might have a larger bearing too, and that changes everything.
For a given speed of travel, a bigger wheel/tire diameter will spin more slowly, but if the bearing is bigger by the same proportion, the actual speed of travel of the bearings themselves would actually be the same. You can't actually know that the bearings of a larger wheel travel more slowly than the bearings of a smaller wheel until you know the respective bearing sizes and do the math. On the other hand, bigger bearings will have a greater degree of over-design, which could be a good thing if not taken to extremes. Also, as pointed out by the bearing expert on that other thread, smaller bearings are rated for higher speed than larger bearings, though I wonder if that might be simply due to the fact that larger bearings have a faster travel speed for a given wheel RPM (he didn't specify the reason).
The bottom line is that the relationship between bearing speed and wheel/tire size, as well as the suitability of a particular bearing for a particular speed, is far more complex than most of the posters on that thread realize.
Thanks for all the input!
[Posted by: tjalmy on Sep-17-15 8:43 PM (EST)
Why do the motorcycle rims … worry you?
I haven’t tried any of the trailers you list, but I did pick up a used SportsRig at a steal of a deal.
The 16" motorcycle tires are expensive (it came with 11 year old tires), but they roll over the ground very nicely.]
Perhaps I should look up Sportsrig, have not heard of that. Motorcycles use motorcycle wheels tires just fine, but on-line review cite that one might have much more trouble getting replacement tires if damaged in a rural area. Makes sense.
[Posted by: Rookie on Sep-17-15 8:50 PM (EST)
2014 thread on 8-inch wheels
Some good information there.]
Thanks – read it!
[Posted by: guideboatguy on Sep-17-15 11:14 PM (EST)
Some bad info too
The oft-repeated idea that the bearings turn slower with a larger wheel isn’t necessarily true. It CAN be true, but doesn’t have to be.]
All valid, in addition, boaters (not kayakers) have pointed out to me about the “approach angle” of a larger tire when encountering road imperfections/obstacles; just rides better with less bounce. Of course, all else equal, a larger wheel/tire means a higher load height for the boat, which is a minus.
[Posted by: Roger_That on Sep-17-15 8:55 PM (EST)
I have the Yakima so I’ll comment on it. The reason I chose it over any others was because I have a rule that my three kayaks, all my other toys and Durango have to fit within a single stall garage. Another selling point was the trailer’s bars are designed to accept bike racks, ski racks, cargo boxes and other attachments from a wide range of makers. Most other trailers are pretty much dedicated to paddle sports without extensive mods. Why should the trailer having motorcycle tires be a worry? The last time I looked, people were still riding motorcycles all over the country at highway speeds and well above. I opted for the heavier shocks when I got mine and have hauled up to five kayaks at once on it down the interstate without drama. Yakima also sells an extension for the tongue to accommodate longer boats so there’s no need to go to a welder. Finally, I also opted for the 2" hitch for consistency. A couple of other trailers I occasionally pull have 2" hitches so I didn’t want to have to buy a 1 7/8" ball just for the Yakima.
That’s my story.]
If I didn’t already have three cars in a two-car garage (plus other stuff), I’d certainly want a trailer, and the boat, in the garage. Already too tight. Bummer.
The Yakima does have a good array of accessories, and so does the Malone – the Trailerex, not so much. A cargo box and bike racks could make for a good vacation tow rig. Yes, I did subsequently see Yakima does make a tongue extension, extra points for them.
Again on the Yakima wheels, I read one review mentioning it takes six tools to change a wheel on the Rack-and-Roll, yikes. And a spare wheel/tire combo ain’t cheap. The Malone is available with 12" allot wheels, otherwise I’d be interesting in adapting early Miata wheel, very light and dirt cheap, with the narrowest 14" tires I could find.
[Posted by: datakoll on Sep-17-15 10:17 PM (EST)
Paint the new trailer inside and out after cleaning oil and dirt from the surface. Rustoleum primer and topcoat are inexpensive and reliable. White allows rust prevention. Bearing buddies are a good idea. Synthetic grease. Thirdly, trailers are stolen. We have periodic trailer thefts from periodic visits of professional thieves. Once an epidemic. If you park a trailer with bats in your yard be sure you are noticed and the information is passed along.]
That sound like good advice, although some of these trailers are aluminum or galvinized, so there are paint adhesion issues (use zinc chromate primer?) My utility trailer is aluminum, but early on I applied spray-on wax not for looks but protection. I’ll consider bearing buddies, they’ve been recommended before, but was not planning to immerse the trailer. About the bats, I’d be resistant to taking down the bat box in the yard.
Over thinking it
Rpm is rpm and any way you look at, the larger diameter wheel is going to spin slower than the smaller wheel at any given road speed. Thus the bearings will also spin slower in the slower spinning larger diameter wheel.
I know there are those who have had decent experience with small wheeled trailers, but I would always opt for 14, or 15 inch wheels–if for no other reason than they should handle the bumps better.
I’ve hauled my kayaks on my converted flatbed utility trailer for years. The 15 inch wheels tires and bearings are things I don’t have to be very concerned with.
Very brief explanation
I'm not disagreeing with anything except your blanket statement about the relationship between wheel RPM and the working speed of the bearing. That statement is wrong. I'll try to explain this briefly, without much detail, just by illustrating the key principle.
Imagine two wheels, one large, one small, spinning at a rate that will cause the outer tread of the tire to move at 60 mph. That will correspond to a driving speed of 60 mph. The small wheel-tire combo is spinning at a higher RPM to achieve the 60-mph tread speed -- that part you already understand. Now, figure out the speed of travel for the part of the wheel which is halfway between the tire tread and the wheel's center. It's intuitive, but I suggest you do the math just to make sure. The speed with which that portion of the wheel moves is 30 mph. Makes sense, right?
Now, keeping things simple just for illustration's sake, imagine that the bearings in both wheels are very large, and that their size in proportion to the size of the wheel is the same in both cases. For ease of illustration, let's make the bearings a size such that the midpoint between the inner and outer races is located on the halfway point of the wheel's radius, where you've already verified that the speed at which the wheel travels is 30 mph. Can you see that in this example, the relative speed difference between the stationary inner race and the outer race which spins with the wheel is the same (30 mph) for the bearings of both wheels?
We still have to standardize one more variable between the two wheels to keep the comparison simple, and that is, the diameter of the rollers must be the same. In that case, the speed at which the rollers of each bearing are spinning will be the same, even though the smaller wheel is turning at a higher RPM than the larger one maintain it's 60-mph tire-tread speed. You can try this for any wheel-size difference that you like. If you keep the bearings at these proportions (or any other proportions that are the same for the respective wheel sets), the speed of the working parts of the bearing will always be the same for a given speed of vehicle travel.
If you don't yet see this, it means you need to sit down and do the math. It's very easy and the result will jump right out at you. You'll see. I only say that because I'm pretty certain from your reply that you don't really want to think about why this works.
Now in real life, one won't find two wheel sets that are this easy to compare, but you WILL find that larger wheels tend to have larger bearings. Your statement about bearing speed as related to wheel RPM is only true if bearing size does not increase along with wheel size, but that's usually not the case. Whether or not the bearings of the larger wheel will be larger in direct proportion to the size of the wheel may or may not be the case, but when it is, and if the roller size is the same, bearing speed for a given vehicle speed will also be the same. Even if the larger wheel's bearings are not larger in direct proportion, they will probably be larger by some amount, and that will partially cancel-out the bearing-speed difference that you are saying is dependent on wheel RPM, so that the difference in bearing speed between large wheels and small wheels is less than you expect.
Again, the point is not that you should worry, or "over-think" this, or do such a calculation in real life. The point is that any statement that the speed of the working part of the bearing must be faster for smaller wheels than larger wheels is going to be wrong a whole lot of the time.
Any tire is difficult to find…
if you are in a remote area. That’s why the concept of the spare tire came along! LOL! Just messin’ with ya.
Flat tires can be replaced, but they also can be fixed. I’m not sure that repair kits for tubeless automotive-style tires will work on most trailer tires, and they most likely will not work on some. But you can get inner tubes for almost any tire, and if you install tubes, leaks are easily fixable. All you need are whatever tools you need to remove the wheel (usually just a wrench), three large screwdrivers and a patch kit that you can get for a few bucks at any hardware store. Oh, you also need an air pump (the push-handle variety is fine, especially the good ones that they have at bike stores).
You are still overthinking it
Bearing speed is measured in revolutions per minute. The revolutions per minute is related to the wheel size. The larger wheel revolves slower for a given road speed than a smaller wheel. The result is the bearings on the larger wheel spin at a lower rpm. You don’t need to work out a mathematical formula–just use common sense.
And by the way, I didn’t just fall off a lettuce truck. I worked with bearings for over 45 years–not that that has anything to do with this discussion.
You are correct that bearing speed is measured in revolutions per minute, but the maximum RPMs that the bearing is rated to run at will vary according to its size. If you've been working with bearings for as long as you say, you already know that the larger the bearing, the lower its RPM rating will be. This is something you can't ignore when talking about bearings and RPMs. The illustration that I provided above explains a big part of the *reason* for the difference in RPM ratings for small versus large bearings. The end result of this is that using a larger wheel AND a larger bearing will not necessarily result in the bearing operating below it's maximum RPM rating by a greater margin, simply because the RPM rating of the larger bearing is lower in the first place.
My purpose in the post above was to explain *why* the size of a bearing affects its RPM rating, and thereby make it clear that you can't say that the bearing's suitability for a given speed of travel is affected only by wheel size/RPM. The reason comes down to the working speed of the bearing surfaces, and that is a function of RPM *and* bearing size. At a given RPM, the working surfaces of larger bearings move faster than the working surfaces of smaller bearings for the same reason that the perimeter of a large wheel moves faster at a given RPM than the perimeter of a small wheel.
This is not the kind of thing you need to think about in making sure your bearings are able to tolerate your highway travel speeds, because the designers already have, but it *is* something you should know before stating reasons for bearing performance that are not true.
Much of what you say about the advantages of larger wheels is true, and the larger bearings that are provided with larger wheels have more surface area, so they are definitely more robust and more reliable in the long run. I am only saying that the greater reliability is not as directly related to the lower RPM of a larger wheel as you claim. That's the ONLY part I'm trying to clarify - which reasons are true about greater reliability and which reasons are not true.
Does that help?
Just a bit of trivia. I had a tire go bad on my Yakima trailer. I had a spare so it was a quick fix. The problem was getting a replacement tire and tube. Yes it is a motorcycle tire but one for a 50 year old Puch cycle (hence the tube). Yakima does supply the tire and tube as does eTrailer. $40 for the tire and $8 for the tube. But you will not find one at your local motorcycle shop.
Have had 2 very different trailers
I have owned two different kayak trailers, a Trailex made and sold as a kayak trailer and a Triton modifed from a one-snowmobile trailer. Though heavier, the Triton modifed trailer was far superior and I wish I still had it. My comments on both can be read in the two pnet reviews I did of the Trailex kayak trailer, the SUT-350-M2.
Both are aluminum but the Triton is welded and the Trailex is bolted together. Both use 8" wheels, which were no trouble for any of my uses, including mountain Interstate driving. They are also cheap to buy as complete wheels, so there is no excuse for not having at least one good spare wheel, tire and all.
Too many variables
I fully understand the math and theoreticals, but there is no reason to go into it. One can construct any number of applications that are unnecessarily complicated to prove a point that doesn't need proving.
All I'm saying is that everything being equal except for wheel diameter, the bearings in the smaller wheel will spin faster than those in the larger wheel at a given road speed. There is nothing that says that a small wheel will always have smaller bearings, or a different type of bearing than larger wheels, but I will concede that that will probably be the case with trailer wheels--especially comparing the tiny trailer wheels on low capacity trailers with the larger wheels commonly used.
Bearing speed may be specified in RPM, but bearing WEAR is governed by linear speed in the bearing race. It’s the relative linear speed between the bearing surfaces that causes the wear - higher relative speeds equals more wear, both on the surfaces as well as the lubricant within.
Mathematically, V = R*(Omega), where V is linear velocity, R is radius from the center of rotation, and Omega is rotational velocity (i.e. RPM). As Magooch rightly points out, a smaller wheel will always have higher RPM for a given travel speed (which is linear velocity at the tire surface).
GBG rightly points out that when doing the linear speed calculation for the bearing, the radius of the bearing is relevant and must be taken into account.
In the end, a larger wheel may have a bearing of such a size that its linear speed is the same or even higher than a small wheel. Or it might not, it depends on the specific geometry of the wheel and bearing, so generalizations based on RPM will not necessarily be correct.
Variables and Reasons
You say there was no reason to explain any of this, but in my view there was. My whole point was exactly what you now say in your second paragraph, that there's more to consider than wheel size alone. Had you not twice refuted this, insisting that wheel RPM is the only thing that matters, THEN there would have been no reason to explain it.
For what it's worth, I have a small motorboat on a trailer that has 8-inch wheels. The trailer has been in the family for 38 years and never had a failure on the road, though the bearings did look pretty bad after a few years of having contaminated grease, so I replaced bearings and seals, and added pressurized housing covers. In spite of how well it's held up and that it should be even better now, I have considered switching to the next larger wheel size. Since the bearings would remain the same in this case ("all else being equal", as you say), using the larger wheel would reduce the speed of bearing operation (and though off-topic here, the larger wheels would make the ride smoother since the springs would be the same as well).
Its a relative percentage
What he is explaining is that the absolute number of RPMs does not matter. You need to look at the actual working RPM vs max rated RPM as a percentage.
So if a large bearing is rated at 100 max rpm and it does 50rpm down the highway, that is the exact same as a small bearing rated for 1000 max rpm going down the highway at 500 rpm.
the best way to analyze this would be to get the bearing max then calculate the rpm at highway speed. Of course this is way too much work, so just buy a reputable brand.
Tire sizes, types
Good info – this is a far reach from the 165/80-13 Montgomery Ward radials I put on my previous trailer when upgrading from 12" to 13". Of course, these days finding 13’s at the local rural tire store would not be easy anymore, either.
[Posted by: Djo on Sep-19-15 11:08 PM (EST)
Just a bit of trivia. I had a tire go bad on my Yakima trailer. I had a spare so it was a quick fix. The problem was getting a replacement tire and tube. Yes it is a motorcycle tire but one for a 50 year old Puch cycle (hence the tube). Yakima does supply the tire and tube as does eTrailer. $40 for the tire and $8 for the tube. But you will not find one at your local motorcycle shop.]