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Hi there,

 

I'm planning on buying a bicycle caravan which when loaded would weigh around 100kg. I've been told that I'd need an electric bicycle with at least a 500w motor to realistically be able to pull this. This isn't too much of an issue as I have a motorbike license and know how to get a vehicle MVSA approved. The question I have is whether it would be legal to tow a trailer of this weight behind and electric bike in the UK?

 

If it makes any difference, the caravan would have push/overrun brakes and lights on the back.

 

Thanks for the help

 

Martin

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Posted (edited)

In simplistic terms, there are no restrictions on towing with a pedal cycle other than your physical strength. However, to remain within the definition of an electrically assisted pedal cycle the electric motor must not exceed 250 watts. If it does, by legal definition, it becomes a motorcycle requiring registration, tax and insurance etc. Motorcycles up to 125cc must not tow a trailer, other than a broken down motorcycle.

Motor cycles over 125cc (unless towing a broken down motorcycle) must not:

-draw a trailer with an unladen weight exceeding 254 kg.

-tow a trailer exceeding 1 metre in overall width,

-the distance between the rear axle of the motor cycle and the rearmost part of the trailer must not exceed 2.5 metres,

-the motor cycle must be clearly marked with its kerbside weight,

-the trailer must be clearly marked with its unladen weight; and

-the laden weight of the trailer must not exceed 150 kg or two thirds of the kerbside weight of the motor cycle, whichever is the less.

https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules

https://www.gov.uk/towing-with-motorcycle

Edited by Legal Eagle
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Even with an ebike you’re going to have to work pretty hard towing 100kg. Range and speed will be minimal if you’re relying on the battery to provide anything more than token assistance. 
 

Towing 100kg can be done, using my mountain bike I’ve pulled a hefty mate along on his mountain bike for a few miles when his chain and rear derailleur snapped. But I was very, very bike fit at the time and even so it was incredibly hard on even the slightest gradient. 
 

I’d strongly recommend having a go at cycling somewhere pulling a friend on their bike on a tow rope before committing any money to the idea. It’d give you an idea of what to expect. 
 

Good luck. 

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Cheers for the feedback. Sounds like once I went over 250w it wouldn't be legal for me to tow it using an electric bike. 

 

I've got an old 125cc dirtbike at home, it sounds like that might be a better way to go.

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 Some 125cc bikes are just under 125, I would check, very carefully, the actual cylinder capacity. ;)

Retirement, the best job I've ever had. The only problem is, I don't get a day off.

You know you're an intellectual when you hear The William Tell Overture and you don't think of the Lone Ranger.

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Note the post from Legal Eagle as to the actual wording. To tow any form of trailer a motorcycle must be more than 125cc and any motorcycle listed as 125 will almost certainly not be more than that because of the possible conflict when it comes to motorcycle provisional licence regulations which only allow up to 125cc (before anyone gets clever and starts quoting “direct access” regulations they don’t apply in this case!) 

 

As for. 500w electric bicycle that, by legal definition, would be a motorcycle/moped so everything that applies to one of those would apply to it! 

 

Do your research VERY thoroughly BEFORE committing to anything, the various regs are a nightmare to find your way around. The V5 of your dirt bike will show the actual engine capacity and that’s the figure that counts. 

 

Andy

 

  • I agree completely 1

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Martin Fletcher said:

Cheers for the feedback. Sounds like once I went over 250w it wouldn't be legal for me to tow it using an electric bike. 

 

I've got an old 125cc dirtbike at home, it sounds like that might be a better way to go.

Read my post and the links- only motorcycles OVER 125cc can tow a trailer (other than a broken down motorcycle). That would be 126cc upwards.

Edited by Legal Eagle
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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Legal Eagle said:

Read my post and the links- only motorcycles OVER 125cc can tow a trailer (other than a broken down motorcycle). That would be 126cc upwards.

 

What about third party liabilities towing a trailer on the road . Would you need to notify your bike insurer and how do stand towing with a tow bar and does it need to be type approved ?

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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I once looked at towing a trailer behind my motorbike, seeing as I didn’t have a car at the time. Apart from Goldwings, any sort of towbar would need to be homemade, or knocked up by a local fabricator. 
 

And I’m pretty sure there are weight restrictions too, but I can’t remember them. If I’m right, a small dirt bike isn’t heavy enough to tow a 100kg  trailer. Nor would it be much fun, or very safe, for the same reason towcars need to be relatively heavy compared to caravans, only with even less stability. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CommanderDave said:

 

What about third party liabilities towing a trailer on the road . Would you need to notify your bike insurer and how do stand towing with a tow bar and does it need to be type approved ?

1. In GB, when a trailer is attached to a motor vehicle it becomes one unit and insurance third party liability insurance is required for the whole motor vehicle, just like your car and caravan. 

2. You would have to tell your insurer, bearing in mind that fitting a tow bar is a notifiable modification. There are specific tow bar fittings for motorcycles. Have you never seen one on the big Honda touring bikes like the Goldwing?

3. If it's a standard 50mm ball type yes, the tow bar must be Type Approved. However, motorcycle towing attachments often aren't what we trailer pullers are used to in appearance and price.

http://www.mono-trail.co.uk/index.html

Of course  none of the above would apply to a pedal cycle, including electrically assisted with up to a 250 watt motor.

Edited by Legal Eagle
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I have seen trikes with trailers but a 500w electric would need tax and insurance as a motorbike but I can say I have seen a 2 wheel motorbike towing a trailer ?

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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11 hours ago, CommanderDave said:

I have seen trikes with trailers but a 500w electric would need tax and insurance as a motorbike but I can say I have seen a 2 wheel motorbike towing a trailer ?

 

Dave

Very small camping trailers were very popular with the big 1500cc & 1800cc Honda Goldwings. Now there are a variety of two and one wheel trailers available for motorcycles. You need to get out more......in fact currently we all do! 😂

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Motor cycle trailer "Rules" here       http://www.mono-trail.co.uk/single-wheel-trailer-law.html

Retirement, the best job I've ever had. The only problem is, I don't get a day off.

You know you're an intellectual when you hear The William Tell Overture and you don't think of the Lone Ranger.

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Its fairly common in Europe to see bicycles towing a trailer with a child or dog in the trailer. No where near 100Kg requested by the OP but it may be interesting to find out what weights these things typically are. Does the op really need to cart 100Kg because thats a heck of a lot of weight for a bike trailer.

Ern

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