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Safety Chains
Safety Chains

Safety Chains

 Safety Chains

Use them, even if you might not be convinced of their safety value.  Arguments have been made that safety chains don’t provide overall safety for motorcycle trailers but they are required by law in most states in the USA and provinces in Canada on the grounds of safety.

Test them.  Part of your trailer inspection should be a drop test.  Hook up the safety chains but not the hitch.  Then drop the tongue so that the full tongue weight impacts on the chains.  The chains must hold.  Don’t use light duty spring clips for fastening the chains to the hitch rings.  Keep the slack out of the chains.  Snug the chain up as close as will still allow the trailer to turn close to 90 degrees to each side.

Safety chains keep the bike and trailer together.  They will keep your expensive trailer and its contents from bumping down the mountainside by itself, self destructing and perhaps taking out a car or another biker. 

If your chains are too long and you have a disconnect, there is the chance the tongue may dig into the roadway or hit your rear tire when you apply the brakes.  A close inspection of your hitch will give you a feel for the likelihood of that happening.

Specific safety chain requirements are controlled by each state and province. But when chains are required they must meet SAE Standard J684 and you must use two chains crossed under the hitch.  Each chain must have a breaking strength higher than the GVWR of the trailer.  California and all Canadian provinces require positive locking clasps on the safety chains.  In other words, this means no ‘S’ hooks on the ends of the chains and absolutely no dog chains, plastic chains or wire clips.
 chain quick link  chain quick link

When you hook up the chains, cross them under the hitch so that if the coupling comes apart, the tongue of the trailer will rest on the chains and not dig into the roadway.  Also, make sure that the chains are short enough to prevent the trailer tongue from contacting the rear wheel.

 crossed safety chains

Cross chains to catch tongue if it becomes unattached
Chain must be bolted or welded to tongue

 safety chains

Drop tongue on chains to ensure it does not hit tire or ground.

safety chains

Chains should be as short as possible.  Allow only enough slack to allow trailer to be jack-knifed without binding

Custom Cruiser Chrome
offers heavy duty trailer hitches

designed by Les Produits Denray,
for over 290 models of

Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha,
Harley Davidson, Victory,
and BMW motorcycles.

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Hastings, Ontario, Canada