Is this legal?
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:07 am quote
I have a carrier for my Vespa that I mount on the back of my RV. It has a receiver at the back so I could add a trailer ball and then tow a U-Haul trailer. Can anyone tell me if this legal or illegal in California?
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:10 am quote
Iíd be more concerned with the integrity of the set up, is it strong enough to tow a trailer before worrying about the legality of it.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:11 am quote
What is the RV set up? Is it a Class A or C that you will be using to tow the trailer with? If so, no problem as people tow cars and trailers with those.

If you are asking about a set up where you have a tow vehicle that is towing a travel trailer and want to tow another trailer behind the camper, you will have to look at specific state laws on that. I know pretty much in New England that towing setup is not legal.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:11 am quote
Here is pic

C4DE0001-56E7-4871-B6C2-69AEA58B08FF.jpeg

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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:15 am quote
KABarash wrote:
Iíd be more concerned with the integrity of the set up, is it strong enough to tow a trailer before worrying about the legality of it.
Plus adding to the topic title "Is this legal in California"

Probably not illegal in Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea,
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:56 am quote
I have seen that done before on Class C in campgrounds. One thing to look at is what that hitch receiver is rated for. This should be in the documentation from the manufacturer and you need to look at the hitch weight rating not the tow rating. For example: The tow rating may be 5,000lbs but the hitch tongue rating may only be 500lbs. The downward weight on the hitch versus the pull weight.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:09 am quote
Not sure about legal but not safe. Think of all the torque on the long lever trying to pry your hitch off the back of the tow vehicle.
Molto Verboso
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:27 am quote
If the weight of the trailer tongue is on the Vespa carrier, I donít think itís safe. No way a Vespa carrier is rated for a 350 pound bike plus ~600 pound tongue weight.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:23 am quote
But what if a car slows down and hits the rear? I would never put anything behind the camper...
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:39 am quote
really depends on the design of the vespa carrier and ratings. any links to make and manufacture and model number you have?
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:55 am quote
The only carrier I have seen that can do this requires you to use their hitch that has two receivers attached and one receiver on the back of the carrier. But this set up was like $1500 and not sure they are even in business anymore.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:46 am quote
It sounds like adding a trailer might not be the smartest I've ever done so I think I'll skip it.

Thanks for all the input
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:21 pm quote
Any time you are putting something between the hitch frame and something being towed, you are creating more downward force. Some hitch manufacturers will state that using something like your Vespa rack reduces the hitch weight by a certain percentage.

We use a "stinger" extension to allow us to get a boat trailer further into the water when launching. The documentation that came with it cut the tow rating by 50%. Thus, it only gets used at the ramp, then a switch to a fully rated receiver and ball.

A friend of ours welded a "trident" type hitch to be able to use a truck camper and be able to tow a boat with his F450. He used to design and build bridges, so he was comfortable with what he made for his truck. It was plenty stout.

Without adding additional structure to the hitch/frame, I wouldn't recommend what you are asking. Most often, that extra receiver socket is specifically limited to a bicycle rack.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:33 pm quote
It's basic physics.
The vertical load on the trailer hitch is a designed factor of the moment of resistance of the vehicle mountings. So if you load it at the ball, you can do so to the designed maximum. If the load is further out, the moment of force is increased by the distance and so the load must reduce to equal the design (rated) maximum.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:29 pm quote
I have a similar question regarding hitch extensions. I have to remove the spare to fit my carrier, if I put an extension on will it still support the weight of the bike? The carrier is rated at 500lbs.

IMG_20191127_082250.jpg

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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:18 pm quote
The carrier capacity is not the limiting factor - the hitch load limit is the danger.
Your vehicle manufacturer must advise you on that one...

Fitting the carrier already moves the center of mass of the Vespa load further away from the position of a standard ball coupling - the point that most trailers would exert the load.

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/vehicle%20/towing-capacity-chart.htm
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:23 pm quote
Hey, you also need to show your license plate in those setups and the plate may need to be lighted up. But this would be the lesser of your worries.
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Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:31 pm quote
bean counter wrote:
Hey, you also need to show your license plate in those setups and the plate may need to be lighted up. But this would be the lesser of your worries.
You could mount the license plate where the strap tie down is...?

In South Africa, the vehicle registration number plate is not renewed annually. The annual vehicle license is a separate printed paper disk affixed to the inside of the windshield and visible to the outside. We simply make an extra registration number plate and fit it to the carrier.

BTW, strapping that Vespa down across the bodywork is sure to cause chafing and damage to paintwork. I would rather strap the front and rear wheels directly to the carrier and then strap the bar ends diagonally through the foot well to prevent toppling.
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:12 am quote
It's not just the tongue load rating, that's for a trailer and this setup adds a strong bending moment load, the trailer is straight down and most loading is shear and tensile.

I use this system and I like it a lot, but there is one VERY important consideration. The extreme case is what I always try to anticipate, and you gotta think about how this is loaded and how the stress concentrates where the platform connects to the HEAVY DUTY receiver. Now think about going over 3 or 4 nice bumps in a row with the timing all WRONG. Your bike bounces up and then back down just in time to rebound higher with a nice boost from that next damn bump, etc, etc until it SNAPS and lays your scoot in the road right in front of that other big rig following you. Not good.

So what I do to avoid all that deadly bouncing is use TWO hi quality guy straps from the rear platform corners up high to STRONG eyebolts or other good connection. I then pull both ratchet straps tight to a good moderate tension so my scooter is NOW supported THREE ways, the hitch and the two added stout straps. Never had a problem and been over a few ruff roads now and then.


I don't think it's gonna bounce up and down now. Just get GOOD strong ratchet straps. Hardest part is mounting the hefty eyebolts PROPERLY somewhere beefy, don't skimp there.

I suppose you could add a small trailer on the back end of that if your platform is really designed that way. Did it come w/ any instructions? Now I REALLY want good straps!
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:41 am quote
Fudmucker wrote:
BTW, strapping that Vespa down across the bodywork is sure to cause chafing and damage to paintwork.
Yes, this pic was from a test run. Since then I made pads to protect the body.
It seems to me that strapping it at the wheels wouldn't provide enough down force to keep the bike from moving.
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:42 am quote
bean counter wrote:
Hey, you also need to show your license plate in those setups and the plate may need to be lighted up.
I think I got out of paying a few "pay by plate" tolls on my last trip to Fl. with this set-up.
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:46 am quote
Also, I add a safety strap. Just in case the worst happens, the bike would be dragged behind me and not be laying in the middle of the highway.
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liberty 150s
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:12 am quote
hitch tongue weight rating - weight of carrier + weight of bike = trailer tongue weight max. I towed a small enclosed trailer across the country with one problem, the landing gear would scrape in large dips in parking lots and steep driveways. Fixed by removing landing gear and replacing it when needed.

going for a ride.jpg

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Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:47 pm quote
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
Fudmucker wrote:
BTW, strapping that Vespa down across the bodywork is sure to cause chafing and damage to paintwork.
Yes, this pic was from a test run. Since then I made pads to protect the body.
It seems to me that strapping it at the wheels wouldn't provide enough down force to keep the bike from moving.
Using a combo of wheels, rear luggage carrier and handlebars works OK.
The wheels are attached pretty good-ha!
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:54 pm quote
It comes down to numbers.
An extension of any type reduces the allowable weight by at least 10%.
Something like the very good Versa Haul probably more because of the length (of the 2" receiver.)
Let's say the hitch on your van is rated for 500# (pretty normal).
If the versa Haul + the scooter = 400#
That only leaves, at most, 50# for the U-Haul trailer tongue.

Also the geometry of the turns may crunch the bike or the trailer in tight places. (like gas stations.)
I wouldn't risk it.

Extensions are best when used for towing a car with all wheels on the ground, and the tongue weight is negligible.
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:38 pm quote
Other
The other issue, beyond overstressing the vehicle hitch, is whether there is any slack. If the carrier can move laterally, even slightly, in the hitch, then it may very well allow the trailer to move even more, generating an oscillation in the trailer that could potentially crash the whole assemblage. If the sole connection of the carrier to the vehicle is the hitch, as it appears, you may also get into torsional issues, all bad

Probably be a better bet to find some way of putting your Vespa on the trailer, and doing away with the carrier when you are pulling the trailer. Failing that, I'd find a way to mount the carrier on the trailer neck, perhaps close to the traller, so the trailer is connected directly to the tow vehicle. You'd need to watch out for exceeding the max tongue weight for the vehicle and hitch, of course.

If you always take the carrier with the RV, the back bumper looks pretty stout. Maybe go to a welding shop, and see if they can attach the carrier permanently to the bumper, with room underneath to connect the trailer directly to the hitch.
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Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:14 pm quote
waspmike wrote:
Probably not illegal in Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea,
But in Indonesia, your kids, or mother in law, could sit on the bike while you drove the RV.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:31 am quote
Motovista wrote:
waspmike wrote:
Probably not illegal in Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea,
But in Indonesia, your kids, or mother in law, could sit on the bike while you drove the RV.
But they would need helmets.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:22 am quote
It is all a matter of applied force moment and resistant moments.
In a state of equilibrium, the applied force and resistant force moments are identical.
I am assuming that the maximum resistant moment is calculated at the face of the tow hitch frame.

(It may more correctly be at the center line of the tow hitch mounting bolts to the vehicle, but I have no data on that.)

For discussion purposes only, let us assume 500lbs tongue weight maximum applied force with a distance of 6 inches between the centre of the ball hitch to the tow hitch frame. That means the maximum moment of applied force is 500 x 6/12 = 250 foot-pounds.

Now move the center point of the applied force horizontally outwards to 12 inches from the tow hitch frame. The maximum moment of 250 foot pounds is now reached with a weight of only 250 pounds. At 18 inches from the tow hitch, the limit would be reached at 166 pounds and at 24 inches at only 125 pounds.

The further the distance between the tow hitch frame and the applied force, the less weight is needed to reach the 250 foot pounds of maximum moment. It is the simple law of levers.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:37 am quote
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
It seems to me that strapping it at the wheels wouldn't provide enough down force to keep the bike from moving.
Next time you see an auto carrier stopped, have a look at the method of securing the vehicles. The cars, trucks, SUV's etc are all secured by straps around the wheels to the load bed. Fore and aft forces are covered by straps between the suspension or chassis components and the load bed. The bodywork is not strapped at all (not in South Africa that is!)

Tying down a motorcycle is easy if you strap the wheel to the front wheel trap/clamp and the rear wheel to the load bed. The bike will not bounce up and down because the wheel is in firm contact with the load bed. To prevent the bike toppling, you need to strap it diagonally to the load bed.
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:44 am quote
WEB-Tech wrote:
Motovista wrote:
waspmike wrote:
Probably not illegal in Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea,
But in Indonesia, your kids, or mother in law, could sit on the bike while you drove the RV.
But they would need helmets.
Wait, with people on the scooter it would be too heavy for the hauler
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:01 pm quote
But cars have 4 wheels and don't tip over.
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Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:05 pm quote
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
But cars have 4 wheels and don't tip over.
True... but the cars tend to cost a lot more and they sit inside a steel framework they would bump against long before they tip over.

My point is that strapping PTW's wheels to the carrier is an effective means of securing them with the front wheel in a chock. The suspension is fully active and can absorb minor bumps and movement so these do not cause securing straps attached to other sprung bodywork to flex and to loosen.
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Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:48 pm quote
Fudmucker wrote:
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
But cars have 4 wheels and don't tip over.
True... but the cars tend to cost a lot more and they sit inside a steel framework they would bump against long before they tip over.

My point is that strapping PTW's wheels to the carrier is an effective means of securing them with the front wheel in a chock. The suspension is fully active and can absorb minor bumps and movement so these do not cause securing straps attached to other sprung bodywork to flex and to loosen.
But if I have to brake suddenly, what's to stop it from slamming into the back of the van? Or tilting the other way and falling off the back?
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Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:32 am quote
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
Fudmucker wrote:
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
But cars have 4 wheels and don't tip over.
True... but the cars tend to cost a lot more and they sit inside a steel framework they would bump against long before they tip over.

My point is that strapping PTW's wheels to the carrier is an effective means of securing them with the front wheel in a chock. The suspension is fully active and can absorb minor bumps and movement so these do not cause securing straps attached to other sprung bodywork to flex and to loosen.
But if I have to brake suddenly, what's to stop it from slamming into the back of the van? Or tilting the other way and falling off the back?
A wheel chalk in the front.
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Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:27 am quote
Experiment
If you thought it might be OK to do it, would be interesting to mount a GoPro or other action cam to view it, hook everything up, start slow, drive around, and see what happens. If you've got some bumpy streets or speed bumps, try those out to see which way things wobble. While the above explanation of the static loading is OK, the bigger, perhaps unpredictable issue, is dynamics. What happens when you have intermittant variable loads imposed on the system?

Might even want to have a crawl under and take a very close look at the hitch and the mount. Anything looking like it is bending or cracking? Rust in suspicious places? Ideally such things hould have at least a 100% overload margin. But trust is a difficult thing. And it may have been installed by minimum-wage high-school dropouts using bargain-bin hardware.
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Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:42 am quote
Big Daddy SnakeOiler wrote:
But if I have to brake suddenly, what's to stop it from slamming into the back of the van? Or tilting the other way and falling off the back?
A (correct sized) wheel chock clamp resists movement of the scoot. Tilting is stopped by diagonal straps from the bar ends through the footwell to a suitable anchoring point on the opposite side. You have already strapped for movement under braking (orange line) and if strapped back to the spare wheel frame (yellow line) it would be resistant against toppling backwards under acceleration.

VespaStrap.jpg

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Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:13 am quote
So in other words, just strapping the wheels (like a car on a carrier) isn't enough, which was my point.
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