Motorcycle Forums » Custom Builds and Mods

Road King Trailer Hitch

    • 5417 posts
    February 25, 2013 3:01 AM PST

    After looking around at trailer hitches to pull my new trailer behind my Harley-Davidson Road King, I decided to just go ahead and make my own.  The motorcycle trailer hitches I found for Harley's that were affordable looked kind of cheaply made.  And a poorly made huitch on the back of a motorcycle is a lot more dangerous than a on a car or truck.  And the high-quality bike hitches seemed a bit over priced for some bent and welded metal - yes I am a cheapo!

    The hitch I made for the H-D Road King is strong (probably stronger than I will ever need).  The total cost of the hitch was $50 - before powder coating which I still have to do.  I got the metal I needed from a local shop that makes cutom bumpers for 4x4s.  Basically waste pieces he had laying around. 

    The base plate for the hitch is 1/4" steel plate - 1/4" is a little ruff to cut with a saw and to bend in a vise, so I had the guy at the bumper shop cut it with his plasma cutter and bend the tabs with his press.

    The side supports are 3/16" steel plates - those were fairly easy to cut and bend with a little heat.

    The ball mount is an off the shelf mount (from Pep Boys) made for a 1 1/4" receiver.  I was going to mount a receiver to the base plate so I could remove the ball mount, but the truth is I forgot to get a piece of 1 1/4" in square tube to make a reciever, it was Sunday and I wanted to take my trailer for its first ride so I welded the ball mount right to the base plate to get it done. (yes I am impatient when it comes to stuff like that).

    Note: If you are going to make a hitch like this, do NOT weld the side support brackets to the base plate.  It is much easirer to install and remove if you bolt them together.

    Now all I need is to powder coat.

    This post was edited by Lucky at June 20, 2016 10:24 PM PDT
    • Moderator
    • 14548 posts
    February 25, 2013 3:17 AM PST
    • 2685 posts
    February 25, 2013 4:07 AM PST

    Does the trailer side of the hitch have a swivel?
    • 5417 posts
    February 25, 2013 4:13 AM PST
    No. I did a little research and the consensus seams to be they are not necessary.. One trailer mfg even told me that their insurance company would drop their liability insurance if they added the swivel in manufacturing.

    I did some testing in the garage and found the ball has enough swivel to lay the bike over more than I ever would in a turn while pulling a trailer.
    • Moderator
    • 16755 posts
    February 25, 2013 4:15 AM PST
    Looks good, and I was wondering how you cut and bent 1/4" plate...ha!
  • February 25, 2013 5:52 AM PST
    Lucky, the hitch looks good. Way nicer than what I would have made and it's probably stronger than what it's bolted to. Did you use grade 8 bolts or grade 5's?
    • Moderator
    • 1362 posts
    February 25, 2013 6:12 AM PST
    Lookin' Good Lucky
    • 5417 posts
    February 25, 2013 6:41 AM PST
    Fred77 wrote...
    Lucky, the hitch looks good. Way nicer than what I would have made and it's probably stronger than what it's bolted to. Did you use grade 8 bolts or grade 5's?

    Thanks... And Yeah, it will definitely pull the fender struts off the bike before it bends or breaks!  They are all 5/16" grade 8 bolts with at least two at every connection.  Again probably tougher than the struts themselves.  Plus everthing is overlapped in the correct direction so the bolts are really holding the pieces in plcae and not bearing the load.  The tabs on the base plate go behind the fender strut since the force is pulling straight back and the side brackets go under the base plate since they are supporting the downward pressure.  The only place the bolts actually bear any force is where the side brackets attach to the struts.  I used all three bolt holes available on the struts instead of just two like a lot of the pre-manufactured hitches. Plus they should only be supporting the hitch from sagging and the tounge weight of the trailer will never exceed 30 lbs even fully loaded.

    • 51 posts
    February 26, 2013 9:18 AM PST
    Looks nice Lucky. Do you have a drawing with measurments? I may be getting a trailer myself and like the design of your hitch.
    • 5417 posts
    February 26, 2013 10:27 AM PST
    Steve, I actually made it on the fly. I cut it all out of cardboard and then just used the cardboard templates to cut the hitch. I will measure it up and post a drawing for you. Even have a couple improvements I would include if I made it again.
    • 835 posts
    May 21, 2013 10:41 AM PDT
    Nice work
  • May 31, 2013 8:15 AM PDT
    Does anyone have a trailer hitch on a streetglide? I would greatly appreciate pics and where you bought it. thanks
    • 59 posts
    October 29, 2016 11:39 AM PDT

    Have you got any more pics of your setup, Lucky?  

    • 5417 posts
    October 29, 2016 11:54 AM PDT

    Here ya go...


    • 5417 posts
    October 29, 2016 11:55 AM PDT

    • 5417 posts
    October 29, 2016 11:59 AM PDT

    If I was to make another the think I would do different is instead of welding the hitch insert derectly to the plate, I would weld a square receiver tube to the bottom of the plate so the hitch could be removed leaving the assembly on the bike.

    • 59 posts
    October 29, 2016 4:10 PM PDT

    Also looks to me like you could do away with the eye bolt by drilling a hole on each side in the 1/4 plate for the safety chains.  Tks, that is about what I had in mind for mine.  Looks good.  Mind if I copy it for myself?


    • 5417 posts
    November 7, 2016 4:31 PM PST

    You are more than welcome to copy.  Post some pics when you are done.


    The reason I went with the eye hook was I painted the hitch with just spray can and I didn't want to scratch up the plate hooking up the safety cables.


    Which brings up one more point... Use safety cables, not chains.  I had chains and they would bounce and rattle that I could hear slightly and made me think there was a problem somewhere.  Cables are legal at least here in CA (never checked the other state laws though)

    This post was edited by Lucky at November 7, 2016 4:35 PM PST