US20070164536A1 - Motorcycle towing device - Google Patents

Motorcycle towing device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070164536A1
US20070164536A1 US11/325,709 US32570906A US2007164536A1 US 20070164536 A1 US20070164536 A1 US 20070164536A1 US 32570906 A US32570906 A US 32570906A US 2007164536 A1 US2007164536 A1 US 2007164536A1
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Prior art keywords
motorcycle
draw bar
vertical
towing
receiver
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Abandoned
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US11/325,709
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W. McClellan
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Mcclellan W T
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Priority to US11/325,709 priority Critical patent/US20070164536A1/en
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Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60PVEHICLES ADAPTED FOR LOAD TRANSPORTATION OR TO TRANSPORT, TO CARRY, OR TO COMPRISE SPECIAL LOADS OR OBJECTS
    • B60P3/00Vehicles adapted to transport, to carry or to comprise special loads or objects
    • B60P3/06Vehicles adapted to transport, to carry or to comprise special loads or objects for carrying vehicles
    • B60P3/07Vehicles adapted to transport, to carry or to comprise special loads or objects for carrying vehicles for carrying road vehicles
    • B60P3/073Vehicle retainers
    • B60P3/075Vehicle retainers for wheels, hubs, or axle shafts
    • B60P3/077Wheel cradles, chocks, or wells

Abstract

A motorcycle towing device includes a substantially vertical member and a substantially horizontal member being interconnected for supporting a motorcycle wheel. A draw bar is connected to at least one of the members for insertion into a receiver mounted on a vehicle. The draw bar has a given outer dimension being smaller than an inner dimension of the receiver. A projection mounted on the draw bar is movable outwardly beyond the given outer dimension of the draw bar for contacting the receiver.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The invention relates to a motorcycle towing device to be connected to a vehicle which has a receiver for accepting a draw bar.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,682,292 B2 to Estes shows a motorcycle carrier which has a yoke brace leading to the motorcycle frame and which tows the motorcycle backwards and lifts the motorcycle with a hydraulic jack.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,651,996 B1 to Allemang shows a hitch mounted vertical motorcycle stand, used for maintenance, and not intended or used for towing.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,401 B1 to LeMay shows a motorcycle carrier, which does not use a trailer hitch, is rigidly attached to the towing vehicle and has a screw driven elevating mechanism and a hinge within the apparatus, with the handle bar yoke being fixedly held.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,813 B1 to Cataldo shows a motorcycle towing device for towing a motorcycle backwards. The device includes a jackscrew elevator, hinging pivot bearings and wheel engagement arms. There is no illustration as to how the motorcycle is held securely vertically or how the front-end forks are secured in the device.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,099,012 to Mortimer shows a motorcycle hitch adapter for connecting to a receiver hitch, which has a rigidly attached horizontal channel, only limited vertical adjustability and a laterally mounted horizontal securing bar. The adapter is connected to the receiver at a detrimentally long distance. A less than axle height forward tire channel provides poor wheel control or containment. The non-secured loading ramp, if used as illustrated, would not be removable after motorcycle loading, because the short wheel space available would obstruct the removal of the long pin height. The vertical and parallel running straps, as opposed to a criss-crossing and triangular securement, especially when fastened to a bar which appears to be very lightweight, would seem to be inadequate even for the most lightweight towing. An effective three axis securing system for the tire, wheel and motorcycle front-end is not illustrated or described therein.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,984,339 to Guild shows a motorcycle towing apparatus, which does not use a standard drawbar trailer hitch, but instead a bolt attached through a horizontal plate. Using non-defined securing links leading to the bottom of the forks and long rigid side members secured to the aft of the motorcycle frame, transmits the entire towing, backing, braking and turning loads through the single attachment bolt.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,226 to Transchel shows a motorcycle tow hitch, using an up-sloped motorcycle position, loaded by a winch belt attached to a crank driven winch barrel, wound around a tire encircling separate element that encases and secures the tire. The hitch is rigid and not vertically adjustable and no further securing is illustrated or described.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,674,044 to Ranes shows an apparatus for towing motorcycles using a rigid mount without vertical adjustment. A metal wheel clamp with movable prongs is used to secure the front wheel. An adjustable up-sloped ramp is used to help retain the tire. No other securing devices are illustrated or described.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,620,197 to Howes shows a motorcycle towing device using a hydraulic ram operating a pivoting loading ramp with an attached front tire-retaining channel. Laterally radiating support arms are used for support but employ what appear to be flexible restraining straps. Its long length, weight, complexity and non-flexible ramp detract from easy use or true utility.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,366,338 to Mortensen shows a lift and tow motorcycle transporter, using a belt lifted carrier mounted on columns that traverse inside vertical members. No specific manner for securing the motorcycle is illustrated or described in any detail.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,531,560 to Bartholomew shows a motorcycle towing device which is actually described as a trailer. The back wheel or wheels of one or two motorcycles remain on the ground. This creates two flexible connections between the vehicle and the towed motorcycles, making control difficult and backing impossible. No method of securing is illustrated or described. The device has no discernable advantages over a simple trailer.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a motorcycle towing device, which overcomes the hereinafore-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices of this general type and which locks a draw bar on the towing device to a receiver on the vehicle in a solid, noise-free and sway-free manner.
  • With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a motorcycle towing device. The device comprises a substantially vertical member and a substantially horizontal member being interconnected for supporting a motorcycle wheel. A draw bar is connected to at least one of the members for insertion into a receiver mounted on a vehicle. The draw bar has a given outer dimension being smaller than an inner dimension of the receiver. A projection is mounted on the draw bar and is movable outwardly beyond the given outer dimension of the draw bar for contacting the receiver. A locking pin is also to be inserted through holes formed in the draw bar and corresponding holes in the receiver. The draw bar is therefore locked to the receiver in such a way as to prevent movement therebetween which normally occurs in prior art devices and rattling of the connection and sway of the towing device caused by such movement.
  • In accordance with another feature of the invention, the draw bar and the receiver have rectangular cross sections, and the draw bar is divided into a main section and a wedge forming the projection. The wedge is movable outwardly beyond the given outer dimension of the draw bar in two directions for contacting two inner surfaces of the receiver. A bracket is connected at one end to the wedge and has an adjusting screw at another end. The bracket moves the wedge outwardly by turning the screw.
  • The typical trailer hitch has a lack of fit, wherein large tolerances are permitted in the sleeve fit between the permanently attached vehicle receiver and the common 2″ square draw bar. In normal automotive use, with long, heavy, wide axle trailers, such looseness is acceptable because of the reserve of stability and giant masses involved. The wiggles, wobbles and oscillations caused by the looseness are just heard or felt as clunking or jerking and no adverse energy is imparted to the towed object.
  • In the single point towing of smaller inline objects (rolling on one tire) those tolerances become giant gaps, and magnify the vibrations and sloppy fit into larger forces, which are transmitted back, through the motorcycle until the oscillations are visible and significant side-to-side swaying and instability occurs.
  • According to the invention, a bolt or screw driven, bi-directional, dual sided, triangular wedging system is formed in the distal or inserted end of the 2″ square draw bar. This bolt sliding diagonal cut, two sided wedge forcefully locks or form-lockingly connects the draw bar to the receiver in two axes, converting the previously loose separate objects, the receiver and draw bar, into a solid one piece unit which neither causes nor allows any movement, oscillation, lash, or looseness, to be transmitted back through the towed system. The wedge-adjusting bolt is accessible from the front of the hitch for easy use and the wedge is located behind the locking pin, so as not to degrade hitch strength. The motorcycle can now be towed at any speed with rock-like steadiness.
  • In accordance with a further feature of the invention, there is provided a backing plate integral with the draw bar. The backing plate and the substantially vertical member each have a plurality of holes formed therein permitting vertical adjustment of a combination of the backing plate and the draw bar on the vertical member. The draw bar can be completely drawn into the receiver with virtually no space remaining between the backing plate and the receiver and no intervening mechanism, for reducing lateral sway to a minimum.
  • These features of the invention are intended to eliminate so-called lateral sway, that is the tendency for the back of the motorcycle to sway constantly back and forth at any speed and worse at harmonic matching speeds. The cause of this phenomenon is the offset or rearward placement of the hitch support point, away from the perfect towing position which would be centered over the rear axle. As the trailer hitch is moved rearward from the axle center, any oscillations in the yaw axis of the vehicle are magnified in the hitch movements, which in turn magnify the lateral movements of the towed object. The importance of pivoting a towed load as close to the driving axle as possible cannot be over emphasized.
  • According to the invention, swaying is reduced by having additional mounting holes formed in the 2″ draw bar to create a multi-point adjustable mounting system. The object and option is to move the draw bar to the most forward mounting position, while allowing only minimal bumper clearance, to minimize lateral sway and stabilize the motorcycle in tow.
  • In accordance with an added feature of the invention, there is provided a backing plate integral with the draw bar. The draw bar is mounted vertically eccentrically on the backing plate for changing a vertical height of the draw bar by rotating the draw bar through 180°.
  • In accordance with an additional feature of the invention, the substantially vertical member and the substantially horizontal member are U-shaped channels for holding the motorcycle wheel.
  • Thus a simple, strong, broad range of adjustable height is provided, while keeping the hitch thin and mounted as far forward as possible. Vehicle trailer hitches come in many variations of heights above the ground, but the bottom of the motorcycle carrier must be precisely adjusted to the safe loaded towing height of 6 inches. In order to accomplish this broad range of adjustability, the draw-bar/backing-plate combination is constructed to be combined in either direction with the vertical tire and wheel-receiving channel. The 2″ square draw bar is permanently affixed by welding to its 3/8″ thick by approximately 8″ long by approximately 3″ or 4″ wide rectangular backing plate in an off-center or eccentric position. This heavy-duty plate is mounted with approximately one forth, to one third of its length on one side of the 2″ draw bar and two-thirds, to three quarters of its length on the other side. The backing plate has mounting holes positioned along both outer edges, intentionally spaced and matching the one and one-half inch spaced matching mounting holes of the U-shaped vertical tire and wheel receiving member or channel. Therefore, by placing the draw bar and backing plate combination either long side up or long side down, it is possible to set the proper towing height of 6″, on vehicle hitch heights from 8″ through 24″. This is easily done without any special tools or modifications and more importantly, while keeping the towing point close to the vehicle bumper of the vehicle, for improved stability.
  • In accordance with yet another feature of the invention, the holes in the backing plate are slotted permitting precise height adjustment of the motorcycle wheel.
  • This simple, precise, height adjustability provides the unique option and ability to adjust the vertical loaded height with a simple, failsafe and maintenance free method. The combined backing plate/drawbar combination is provided with one inch slotted mounting holes. Selecting the nearest matching set of attachment holes in the vertical tire and wheel-receiving channel or member, with the backing plate/drawbar combination mounted either long end up, or long end down, gives a broad range of coarse adjustability. The one-inch slotted mounting holes in the backing plate then allow precise fine adjustability of vertical towing position.
  • In accordance with yet a further feature of the invention, there are provided supports flexibly interconnecting the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members with play.
  • This feature of the invention assures protection from grounding. Any carrying device that protrudes from the rear of a vehicle is susceptible to grounding or impact damage from uneven terrain. When crossing drainage culverts or markedly uneven surfaces, such as when pulling out of sloping parking lots, the rear of some vehicles contact the ground normally and any device that protrudes farther could be severely damaged. The bottom or horizontal U-shaped tire and wheel receiving channel or member of the motorcycle carrier is constructed with a hinged attachment to the matching vertical U-shaped channel of the carrier and is further affixed with flexing lateral supports. This flexible connection and the non-rigid method of attaching the motorcycle to the carrier, allows the aft section of the bottom channel and the mounted tire and wheel to move vertically without impairment or damage.
  • In accordance with yet an added feature of the invention, the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members are movable between a folded condition and an unfolded condition. The substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members are substantially mutually perpendicular in the unfolded condition for supporting the motorcycle wheel and are substantially mutually parallel in the folded condition.
  • The movement between folded and unfolded conditions provides the ability to store or stow the device. The 90° hinge swing of the horizontal tire and wheel receiving channel or member, and its ability to fit alongside the vertical channel or member in a very small space and the absence of lateral elements, create a towing device of unmatched compactness. The towing device is easily removed and stored at home, stored in the trunk or more importantly left in-place and stored on the hitch. The folded towing device protrudes less than most normal trailer hitches and offers extra protection from parking scratches and damage.
  • In accordance with yet an additional feature of the invention, there is provided a handgrip securing harness connected between at least one of the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members and handgrips of the motorcycle. The handgrip securing harness includes straps connected between at least one of the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members and the handgrips of the motorcycle. Sleeves are slipped over the handgrips of the motorcycle and connected to the straps. The straps are ratcheting cargo straps having self-ratcheting loops. The straps include two substantially horizontal straps each connected between a respective one of the handgrips of the motorcycle and an upper region of the substantially vertical member, and two oblique straps each connected between a respective one of the handgrips of the motorcycle and a lower region of the substantially vertical member.
  • The unique slip-on handgrip securing harness is constructed for easy and secure use. The combined and fitted harness, specifically constructed for this towing device, connects four adjustable ratcheting cargo straps from two glove-like sleeves secured one to each handgrip. These straps connect to both upper and lower attachment points on the motorcycle towing device, dividing and sharing the attachment loads. The strap set that connects to the lower attachment points, is primarily constructed for fork compression and holding the motorcycle in a vertical position and down into the horizontal channel but with sufficient reserve compression in the front forks to allow the vertical movement of grounding. The strap set that secures to the upper channel attachment point is primarily constructed to hold the motorcycle vertical and into the vertical channel while also permitting the vertical movement of grounding. These strap sets intentionally run from the ends of the handlebars toward the center, creating a criss-crossed, upper and lower triangular array affording maximum security. The upper attachment point is located in the center of the vertical channel, not on the sides, in order to prevent twisting of the channel and motorcycle sway. The individual ratcheting cargo straps are rated for loads in excess of one thousand pounds each. An additional, common safety tie may be wrapped around the vertical channel and through the front rim for highway safety.
  • In accordance with again another feature of the invention, there is provided a ramp having a surface for guiding the motorcycle wheel onto the substantially horizontal member, and a tongue to be inserted into a slot formed in the substantially horizontal member. The tongue is long enough to bind against the substantially horizontal member in the slot when the ramp touches the ground.
  • The lockable but removable loading and unloading ramp is constructed for the intended loads and attached by a unique but simple and effective, long vertical tongue-in-slot configuration where a long downward angled tongue on the ramp fits snugly in a slot on the aft of the horizontal tire and wheel receiving channel or member. This structure prevents the common roll-over, where the tire travels off to one side and tips the ramp over, or unexpected disengagement during use, by simply binding at the edges if angled. The ramp is constructed for easy engagement and disengagement when intended, by simply inserting or removing in a straight line. The ramp is removed after loading and stored within the vehicle.
  • In accordance with again a further feature of the invention, there are provided hooks each connected to a respective end of a bumper of a vehicle, and frame straps connected from the hooks to a mounting fork for the motorcycle wheel.
  • The frame straps include a pre-fitted, matching, set of two different types of custom ratchet-tightened security straps. The straps are fitted centrally with integrated, failsafe, continuous, flat non-marring self-tightening loops for mounting to the top of the triple-tree posts or fork assemblies, with webbing passing laterally through ratchet snuggers and fitted laterally in one of two alternative versions. In the first version of the lateral configuration, the harness straps or webbings are protectively wrapped where they dip under the bumper and are terminated by spring-locked metal hooks which are secured under the bumper to the outboard frame mounts. In the second version of the lateral configuration, the webbing or straps terminate in spring-locked metal clips constructed to attach to external, surface-mounted, metal right-angled attachment points bolted to the frame and bumper braces. This special and versatile frame strap system is intended to provide additional strength, safety and sway control to larger motorcycles which the towing device or carrier of the invention is intended to tow.
  • In accordance with a concomitant feature of the invention, there are provided cradles mounted to at least one of the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members for securing a tire disposed on the motorcycle wheel centrally at least at one of the substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members.
  • The tire cradles or custom spaced channel extensions and guides are adjustable in both linear position and in thickness. These tire cradles are constructed to center and secure the tire and wheel in an improved manner by gripping or cradling ends of the tire and wheel as the tire fits in the horizontal and vertical tire and wheel receiving channels. The placement of the cradles at the ends of the tire and wheel provides much improved leverage and control of the round narrow object which is the tire.
  • It must be further appreciated that the invention is constructed in such a way as to have the strength to carry or tow medium and heavy weight motorcycles and tricycles in a specific weight class. Each structural feature, namely heavy duty adjustable and lockable hitch fittings, solid draw bar/backing plate combination, reinforced upper and flexible lower tire and wheel channels, large flexible lower channel supports, heavy duty welded tie-downs, matching attachment points, heavy duty redundant attachment systems and lock-on loading ramp, are specifically engineered and combined to sustain hitch weights of up to 250 pounds and motorcycle weights of up to 850 pounds.
  • Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.
  • Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in a motorcycle towing device, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.
  • The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, diagrammatic, side-elevational view of a motorcycle towing device according to the invention with a draw bar and backing plate combination and supporting a front wheel of a motorcycle on channels and between tire cradles;
  • FIG. 2 is a front-elevational view of the device of the invention in an unfolded condition;
  • FIG. 3 is a top-plan view of the device of the invention in the unfolded condition;
  • FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, side-elevational view of the device of the invention in a folded condition;
  • FIG. 5 is a side-elevational view of a ramp of the device of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 is an enlarged, side-elevational view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a top-plan view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, top-plan view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention with a wedge in a tightened condition;
  • FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, side-elevational view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention with the wedge in a loosened condition;
  • FIG. 10 is a top-plan view of a bracket and the wedge of the device of the invention separated from the draw bar and the backing plate;
  • FIG. 11 is a side-elevational view of the bracket and the wedge of the device of the invention separated from the draw bar and the backing plate;
  • FIG. 12 is a further enlarged, fragmentary, front-elevational view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention;
  • FIG. 13 is a fragmentary, rear-elevational view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention with a wedge retracted;
  • FIG. 14 is a fragmentary, rear-elevational view of the draw bar and backing plate combination of the device of the invention with the wedge extended in two orthogonal directions;
  • FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 1 of the device of the invention having a securing harness, but in which the tire cradles have been omitted for the sake of clarity;
  • FIG. 16 is an end-elevational view of the device of the invention with a channel and a tire cradle;
  • FIG. 17 is a side-elevational view of a tire cradle of the device of the invention; and
  • FIG. 18 is a front-elevational view of the device of the invention with a motorcycle wheel and security frame straps connected to a vehicle bumper.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring now to the figures of the drawings in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is seen a motorcycle towing device 1 having a vertical member such as a U-shaped channel 2 and a horizontal member such as a U-shaped channel 3. Flexible lateral supports 4, 5 and 6 are connected between the channels 2, 3. A lower end of the support 4 is fixedly connected to the horizontal channel 3 while un upper end of the support 4 is connected to the vertical channel 2 at a pivot point 7. An upper end of the support 5 is connected to the vertical channel 2 at a pivot point 8, while a lower end of the support 6 is connected to the horizontal channel 3 at a pivot point 9. The supports 5, 6 are interconnected at a pivot point 10. A front wheel 60 of a motorcycle is disposed in both channels 2, 3 and is supported on a front wheel mounting fork 61.
  • It is understood that the members or channels 2, 3 need not be exactly vertical and horizontal, respectively, but instead an approximately or substantially vertical and horizontal orientation is sufficient as long as it can hold the wheel 60 in place. The supports provide a “flexible” connection between the members or channels 2, 3 with play so that if the bottom of the member or channel 3 strikes the ground, it will simply move upwards rather than being rigid, to avoid damage to the towing device.
  • The motorcycle wheel 60 is also held between four pairs of tire cradles or guides 11 seen in FIGS. 1, 16 and 17. Two of the pairs of tire cradles or channel extensions 11 are disposed on each of the channels 2, 3, although only one cradle of each pair is shown in FIG. 1. The cradles 11 are adjustable along the channels by bolting them through holes 12 in the channels and holes 13 in the cradles. The cradles 11 are adjustable transversely to the channels by using different sized or amounts of washers 14.
  • A combination 20 of a backing plate 21 and a draw bar 22 is provided for connecting the motorcycle towing device 1 to a vehicle. The backing plate 21 has two vertical rows of slotted mounting holes 23 formed therein. Each vertical row has three holes 23 for receiving mounting bolts 24. The slotted mounting holes 23 are best seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, although only two holes 23 are shown in each vertical row in those fragmentary views. The bolts 24 pass through the holes 23 into threaded holes disposed in two vertical rows in the vertical member or channel 2 as is seen in FIG. 2. Therefore, the backing plate 21 can be adjusted in height by simply selecting the holes 25 into which the bolts 24 are screwed. The fact that the holes 23 are slotted permits precise height adjustment of the motorcycle wheel 60.
  • The draw bar 22 is provided for attachment to a receiver 50 which is permanently connected to a vehicle to be used for pulling the motorcycle towing device 1. Both the draw bar 22 and the receiver 50 have holes formed therein, although only the holes 26 are shown. It is noted that the holes 26 and the holes in the draw bar could also be vertical. A locking pin 27 shown in FIG. 6 has spring-loaded projections 28 and a hole 29 for a non-illustrated pull ring. The locking pin 27 is forced through the holes 26 in the draw bar 22 are the corresponding holes in the receiver 50 causing the projections 28 be retracted and then extended to lock the draw bar 22 to the receiver 50. The locking pin 27 is removed by pulling on the pull ring in the hole 29. It is important to note that the draw bar 22 can be completely drawn into the receiver 50 with virtually no space remaining and no intervening mechanism, for reducing lateral sway of the motorcycle towing device 1 to a minimum.
  • FIG. 3 shows that the horizontal member or channel 3 has a slot 30 formed therein for receiving a tongue 31 of a ramp 32 shown in FIG. 5. The slot is centrally located in the channel 3 and the tongue 31 is sufficiently long to prevent the ramp 32 from tipping toward one side when rolling the wheel 60 from the ground onto the channel 3. The tongue 31 is also long enough to bind and be “locked” against the substantially horizontal member or channel 3 in the slot 30 when the ramp 32 touches the ground.
  • The folded condition of the motorcycle towing device 1 is shown in FIG. 4. it can be seen that by merely lifting up on horizontal channel 3, the supports 4, 5, 6 pivot on the pivot points 7-10 for compact stowage of the motorcycle towing device 1 on the vehicle with the draw bar 22 attached to the receiver 50. Of course, the motorcycle towing device 1 can also be removed from the vehicle for stowage in a trunk or interior of a vehicle or building in the folded condition.
  • FIGS. 6 and 7 show that the draw bar 22 has a wedging system 33 including a projection which is preferably a two-sided triangular wedge 34, an L-shaped bracket 35 fixedly connected to the wedge 34 and an adjusting screw 36. The adjusting screw 36 is screwed into a threaded hole 37 in a short leg 38 of the L-shaped bracket 35. A long leg 39 of the L-shaped bracket 35 is connected to the wedge 34, such as by welding. Access holes 40 formed in vertical member or channel 2, as seen in FIG. 2, permit adjustment of the screw 36 by a screw driver or a ratchet from within the vertical channel 2. FIG. 12 shows a front view of the combination 20 of the backing plate 21 and the draw bar 22, in which the adjusting screw 36 can be seen as though looking from the left in FIG. 6 or the right in FIG. 7. FIG. 13 shows the backing plate 21 and the draw bar 22 from the rear, that is from the right in FIG. 6 and from the left in FIG. 7. The draw bar 22 has a given outer dimension being smaller than an inner dimension of the receiver 50 so that the draw bar can slide into the receiver. It can be seen from FIG. 14 that the projection or wedge 34 has been extended both horizontally and vertically beyond the given outer dimension of the draw bar to contact and grip two inner surfaces of the receiver 50 in two orthogonal directions. This has been accomplished by turning the adjusting screw 36 clockwise to pull the L-shaped bracket 35 and thus the wedge 34 toward the left in FIG. 6 so that it rides along a ramp surface 22′ of a main section of the draw bar 22. In order to loosen the wedge for removal from the receiver, the screw 36 is simply turned counter-clockwise. Of course, any projection which can be selectively extended beyond the given outer dimension of the draw bar in just one direction will contact the receiver. However, a wedge contacting the receiver in two directions is preferred for a more stable and quieter connection.
  • FIG. 8 shows the combination 20 of the backing plate 21 and the draw bar 22 after the wedge 34 has been tightened against the ramp surface 22′ by the screw 36. FIG. 9 shows the combination 20 of the backing plate 21 and the draw bar 22 after the wedge 34 has been loosened along the ramp surface 22′ by the screw 36. FIGS. 10 and 11 show the wedge 34 and the bracket 39 separated from the draw bar and the backing plate, from the top and the side.
  • It can also be seen from the side view of FIG. 6 that the draw bar 22 is not centrally, but rather vertically eccentrically, located along the height of the backing plate 21. Therefore, the height of the draw bar above the ground is adjustable by simply mounting the draw bar as shown in FIG. 6 or rotating it through 180°. This makes it possible to ensure that the proper towing height of the front wheel of the motorcycle at six inches above the ground can be accomplished, whether being towed by a relatively high or low vehicle.
  • FIG. 15 illustrates a handgrip securing harness in which the members or channels 2 and 3 holding the front wheel 60 of the motorcycle are shown. One of two handlebars 62 is shown as being attached to the front wheel mounting fork 61. Handgrips 63 are each disposed at the end of a respective handlebar 62. According to the invention, a respective sleeve 64 is placed over each handgrip 63 and ratcheting cargo straps 65, 66 are attached to the sleeves 64 at self-tightening loops 67, 68. The other end of the cargo strap 65 has a self-tightening loop 69 connected to an upper attachment point 70. The other end of the cargo strap 66 has a self-tightening loop 71 connected to a lower attachment point 72. It is understood that other, non-illustrated cargo straps and self-tightening loops connect the other handlebar to the attachment points 70, 72 for stability. FIG. 15 also shows a safety tie 73 which extends through the rim of the wheel 60 and around the vertical member or channel 2.
  • As is seen in FIG. 18, frame straps or webbings 74 have endless or continuous self-tightening loops 75 at one end which are secured to the top of the motorcycle forks. The other ends of the frame straps 74 are secured laterally with ratchet snuggers at or below a bumper 77 of a vehicle used for pulling the motorcycle towing device 1. In one version, shown at the right in FIG. 18, the strap is wrapped where it passes below the bumper and is attached to a spring-locking metal hook 78 on the frame of the vehicle. In another version, shown at the left in FIG. 18, the strap terminates at a spring-locking metal clip 79 for connection to an external, right-angled, attachment point mounted at the bumper surface and connected to the frame and bumper braces. These configurations provide additional strength, safety and sway control for larger motorcycles.

Claims (21)

1. A motorcycle towing device, comprising:
a substantially vertical member and a substantially horizontal member being interconnected for supporting a motorcycle wheel;
a draw bar connected to at least one of said members for insertion into a receiver mounted on a vehicle, said draw bar having a given outer dimension being smaller than an inner dimension of the receiver; and
a projection mounted on said draw bar and movable outwardly beyond said given outer dimension of said draw bar for contacting the receiver.
2. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, wherein said draw bar and the receiver have rectangular cross sections, and said draw bar is divided into a main section and a wedge forming said projection.
3. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 3, wherein said wedge is movable outwardly beyond said given outer dimension of said draw bar in two directions for contacting two inner surfaces of the receiver.
4. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 3, which further comprises a bracket connected at one end to said wedge and having an adjusting screw at another end, said bracket moving said wedge outwardly by turning said screw.
5. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises a backing plate integral with said draw bar, said backing plate and said substantially vertical member each having a plurality of holes formed therein permitting vertical adjustment of a combination of said backing plate and said draw bar on said vertical member.
6. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 5, wherein said draw bar can be completely drawn into the receiver with virtually no space remaining between said backing plate and the receiver and no intervening mechanism, for reducing lateral sway to a minimum.
7. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises a backing plate integral with said draw bar, said draw bar being mounted vertically eccentrically on said backing plate for changing a vertical height of said draw bar by rotating said draw bar through 180°.
8. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 5, wherein said holes in said backing plate are slotted permitting precise height adjustment of the motorcycle wheel.
9. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, wherein said substantially vertical member and said substantially horizontal member are U-shaped channels for holding the motorcycle wheel.
10. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises supports flexibly interconnecting said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members with play.
11. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, wherein said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members are movable between a folded condition and an unfolded condition, said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members being substantially mutually perpendicular in said unfolded condition for supporting the motorcycle wheel and being substantially mutually parallel in said folded condition.
12. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 11, which further comprises supports interconnecting said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members and permitting movement between said folded and unfolded conditions.
13. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises a handgrip securing harness connected between at least one of said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members and handgrips of the motorcycle.
14. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 13, wherein said handgrip securing harness includes straps connected between at least one of said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members and the handgrips of the motorcycle.
15. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 14, which further comprises sleeves slipped over the handgrips of the motorcycle and connected to said straps.
16. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 14, wherein said straps are ratcheting cargo straps having self-ratcheting loops.
17. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 14, wherein said straps include:
two substantially horizontal straps each connected between a respective one of the handgrips of the motorcycle and an upper region of said substantially vertical member; and
two oblique straps each connected between a respective one of the handgrips of the motorcycle and a lower region of said substantially vertical member.
18. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises a ramp having a surface for guiding the motorcycle wheel onto said substantially horizontal member, and a tongue to be inserted into a slot formed in said substantially horizontal member, said tongue being long enough to bind against said substantially horizontal member in said slot when said ramp touches the ground.
19. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises hooks each connected to a respective end of a bumper of a vehicle, and frame straps connected from said hooks to a mounting fork for the motorcycle wheel.
20. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises a locking pin to be inserted through holes formed in said draw bar and corresponding holes in the receiver.
21. The motorcycle towing device according to claim 1, which further comprises cradles mounted to at least one of said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members for securing a tire disposed on the motorcycle wheel centrally at least at one of said substantially vertical and substantially horizontal members.
US11/325,709 2006-01-05 2006-01-05 Motorcycle towing device Abandoned US20070164536A1 (en)

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US11/325,709 US20070164536A1 (en) 2006-01-05 2006-01-05 Motorcycle towing device
PCT/US2007/000409 WO2007081882A2 (en) 2006-01-05 2007-01-05 Motorcycle towing device
US12/036,406 US7537234B2 (en) 2006-01-05 2008-02-25 Motorcycle towing device

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US8016313B2 (en) * 2008-09-24 2011-09-13 Gilels Jerome J Tow rack
US7997606B1 (en) * 2009-03-03 2011-08-16 Sandelius Edward E Trailer hitch adapter and motorcycle carrier
US8910964B2 (en) 2011-08-01 2014-12-16 Thule Sweden Ab Adaptive carrier insert bar assembly
US9403469B2 (en) * 2012-12-06 2016-08-02 Peter M. Parker Lift for attachment to vehicles
US9233634B1 (en) * 2014-07-03 2016-01-12 Chad Level Bike dragger
USD797033S1 (en) * 2015-11-17 2017-09-12 Enrique Santiago Motorcycle towing device
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Also Published As

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US20080143077A1 (en) 2008-06-19
WO2007081882A2 (en) 2007-07-19
US7537234B2 (en) 2009-05-26
WO2007081882A3 (en) 2008-10-02

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