View original topic: Burley hitch, motorcycle rack, spring assist
fxr Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:59 pm

Although we have a trailer to enable us to tow two large-frame Vespas for riding tours far afield, on some trips we just want one lighter Vespa to enable small side-trips when doing a Westy road-trip. A motorcycle rack would be the answer, and FIL provided a Harbor Freight gift card for Christmas which would cover the cost of the rack.

We had a Gowesty hitch, which worked fine with the trailer, which weighs about 900lbs fully loaded and ~60lb nose weight. This was obviously not going to work with a motorcycle rack (320lb laden with a Vespa LX), so in true Vanagon money-pit fashion our 'free' motorcycle rack now needed a $500 heavy duty high lift hitch (inc shipping) from those masters of fabrication, Burley Motorsports.

The Burley hitch has long support arms which slot into the chassis instead of the towing eye/bumper support brackets:

The Burley supplied bolts may interfere with the hitch - as they did for me. I hammered the bracket straight again and used the original shorter bolts.

The HF rack only went into the hitch a very short way - but drilling a new hole for the pin sorted that:

Now the rack had to be modified to accommodate a Vespa instead of the (expected?) larger-wheeled dirt bike, while taking care to keep the balance point very close to the centre.

With the scooter on the back, the Westy front lifted way up in the air - I was anticipating this, so did the 'cutting board' mod to provide some spring assist:

All good except I bent the rack slightly when experimenting with tying the scooter down - no biggie.

All tested on a 1,900 mile road trip (we got back yesterday) from the SF Bay area to the Grand Canyon and back. The Westy coped just fine with the extra load - no Syncro creases - although 12 mile long 6% to 9% grades did mean some time doing 25mph in 2nd gear. ;)

alijonny Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:33 am

Was there any concern with the license plate being obscured? also tail lights? I have been wanting to do this, but fear that I may have to make modifications with lighting and plate to make it all work out...

fxr Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:24 am

I didn't worry about the plate, and added HF trailer lights to the rack.

I used relays to provide the different logic (no separate turn signal lamp) and to reduce voltage drop:

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