The Stinger Folding Motorcycle Trailer
Even before I had an opportunity to personally put the Stinger trailer to use, it had been pressed into service and proven its value twice, and in the process enhanced my popularity among my downed bro cohorts immensely. The first instance occurred shortly after the Stinger had arrived, all tucked in tight on a single pallet, when my dear bro Gene T-boned a truck up in Washington State. His bike was squished inoperable a thousand miles from home and the logistical nightmare of dealing with the mishap loomed. He flew home to lick his wounds and consider his options in getting the machine back to his garage, and I was happy to be able to say, “I have just the thing.”
We thereupon removed the rear seat from Gene’s Aerostar minivan, and the two of us hoisted the Stinger into the back, and off he went. He would need an assist in getting the Stinger back out of his vehicle, but after that, it would be a solo operation to deploy, load and secure the trailer.
That undertaking went off without a hitch, and the Stinger came back and was once again sitting all folded up on a small patch of my driveway. It was not long after that—but still before I’d had a chance to load my own bike on it to tow to my local electrical wizard for a troubleshooting of the wiring harness—that the second incident occurred. This one involved another boon bro, Buddha Joe, who was thoughtful enough to stop by and visit My Personal Nurse while I was out of town. Buddha knows how lonesome she gets when I’m away, and it’s the sign of a true bro that he was willing to take the time and ride the long miles just to keep her company. He didn’t inform me about the visit, of course, because he’s much too big of a person to go fishing for gratitude, but when he was ready to leave his bike’s electrical system took a crap—probably caught whatever’s ailing my bike—and he called another buddy with a big pickup truck to come fetch him. Problem was, the truck bed was so high and suitable ramps so scarce that the loading operation suddenly seemed insurmountable for a pair of wheezing, dissipated scooter tramps. That’s when they spotted the Stinger and rang me up to see what the deal was with the thing, and I told them to call Gene, since he knew everything there was to know about it after his trip to Washington, and Gene dashed right over to the house to conduct a tutorial, and everybody had a bully time loading the FXRP on the Stinger, drinking my booze, and hanging out with My Personal Nurse, bless their selfless hearts. They just don’t make bros like that anymore.
When at last it was my turn to put the Stinger to use, I discovered what my friends already knew, which is that this thing is a small marvel of a motorcycle conveyance. It truly is a solo operation to unfold it, hitch it to the car and load up a big bike. Even so, I recommend having another person around to spot you while you get familiar with the procedure the first time you perform it. Of special consideration here is the placement of the kickstand platform—a sturdy angled steel plate that slips onto the edge of the trailer rail and provides a handy spot to lean the bike on its stand while going about strapping it in place. Here’s a hint: The default position for the platform is just forward of the front rail hinge. Place it there and you can make fine adjustments to its position with a nudge of your boot while holding the bike aright.
Four tie-down points are provided on the Stinger, two eyes on a cross member in the front, and two eyes on the axle, and once you’ve tentatively hooked up the straps it’s a simple matter of progressively tightening them while positioning the bike in the vertical.
All of these steps take place after you’ve already unfolded and hitched the Stinger to your vehicle, which takes all of about two minutes. The trailer unhinges from its storage posture by simply removing three keeper pins and pulling up on the uppermost frame member. Once extended into place the pins are reattached in separate locking positions, and the tail ramp is lowered. A small aluminum support fixture is furnished to stick under the ramp hinge to keep things dead stable during loading. Up front, the Stinger doesn’t use a ball hitch, but rather a stout pivot bolt that inserts into the hole of your draw bar where a ball would attach. A pair of thick bronze washers sandwich the bar and serve as bushings. A safety chain is affixed to the vehicle next, and the electrical connector—a standard four-pin trailer termination—is plugged in, and that’s it.
If your bike is running, you can just ride it up the low incline of the ramp and set the stand down on the platform. If the bike’s dead, you appreciate that low rail height even more. It’s small exertion to grab the grips and roll the bike up and into position. Unloading is even simpler. Position the kickstand platform, unstrap the bike, throw a leg over it and roll backwards. A pair of traction patches atop the fenders furnishes another angle of attack, allowing you to stand above the bike, tug it back towards the rear and hop on for the quick descent.
When towing the Stinger behind your vehicle—in my case, a Buick LeSabre—you scarcely know it’s there. Though it has no suspension of its own—which accounts for that low rail height—it works in tandem with your bike’s suspension to remain steady and absorb the shocks of the road. Besides towing the Stinger myself, I also had the opportunity to ride behind one being pulled by an RV on Highway 101, and I remained behind for a number of miles to observe its road manners. They were superb. The bike and trailer moved smoothly as one down the road, exhibiting not a bit of tracking strangeness, and reacting to patches of rough pavement evenly, without any evidence of jarring or shifting.
Everything about the Stinger is thoughtfully and precisely configured, and constructed with a sturdiness that approaches overkill. It’s a compact and clever contraption, for sure, but more fundamentally it’s a serious motorcycle trailer built for a lifetime of use—not just by you, but by all your old bros, and all the new bros you’ll attract once word gets out that you’ve got this thing. Mark my words.