Adventure by motorcycle is a thrilling way to explore the world. There’s nothing quite like the experience of going someplace new from the saddle of your steed. For some riders, the expedition is limited only by their motorcycle’s carrying capacity. If you’re riding two-up, you may not have much remaining payload for your provisions, extra fuel, tools, or tent. It’s a problem that Rod Holmes believes he’s solved with his Pasq ADV1 Trailer. It’s an overland trailer scaled down for motorcycles and designed to go anywhere your bike can.
A couple of weekends ago, I attended Overland Expo West and I’m still not done with all of the awesome things I’ve found out there. The event was neatly laid out with different areas from DIYers to training courses. My favorite by far was the motorcycle area. At Overland Expo West, the motorcycle showing was impressive from big names like Yamaha and Triumph to EV startups like Ubco and Super73. Royal Enfield, Harley-Davidson, and Ural were there as well. The motorcycle section also had a 45-minute course that taught the basics of how to operate a motorcycle. One of the booths that caught my attention was Pasq, which had what appeared to be one of those overlanding trailers that you sometimes see behind Jeeps, but scaled down and hauled by a Yamaha Ténéré 700.
This is the Pasq ADV1 Trailer, and there’s some clever engineering going on here.
Motorcycles And Trailers
Towing a trailer with a motorcycle gets into some interesting territory. Chances are, you will not find a tow rating of any kind in the owner’s manual of your motorcycle. In fact, in Harley-Davidson owner’s manuals, you’ll find a warning to never tow a trailer and another warning that installation of towing hardware can void part of your warranty. Honda is the same way and you will not find the company recommending towing of any kind.
Yet, this hasn’t stopped Harley and Gold Wing riders from bolting up a hitch to their steeds, hitching up a trailer of some kind, and going off on a trip. Over the years you could buy everything from cargo trailers, pop-up campers, tiny teardrops, and more. You can still buy a number of these trailers today.
A variant of this idea is the adventure motorcycle trailer. You can buy a single-wheel trailer (above) that attaches to your dual sport or adventure bike. These allow you to carry more gear and more fuel than you’d be able to haul on just the bike itself. These vary between tubs mounted to frames and pretty skeletal creations carrying around metal boxes carrying your gear.
For Pasq founder Rod Holmes, existing motorcycle trailers just didn’t work.
Making Towing With A Motorcycle Better
Holmes wanted to go on a two-up adventure with his wife, Laura, on their Yamaha Super Ténéré. Unfortunately, riding with a passenger means compromised payload, which in turn can limit just how far off-pavement your adventure goes. The Holmes couple wanted to spend their first years of retirement on a no-destination, no-timeline motorcycle trip and looked to expand their Ténéré’s abilities with a trailer.
Rod found an annoying problem with existing designs. They did their job by carrying gear and following behind the motorcycle, but they impacted how the bike rode. Rod describes it as being a two-wheeler towing a trailer. When you need the motorcycle to just be a motorcycle and perform some maneuvers, the trailer would interfere, impacting your line. Some trailers, especially ones with two wheels, have a tendency to continue straight when you try to lean into a turn. In some situations, such as entering a curve too hot or a rough highway, you will feel that trailer tugging you in the wrong direction. At a minimum, it’ll feel like a passenger that’s squirming around, messing up your ride.
Thus, Rod and his team set out to build a trailer that allows the motorcycle to still ride as it should. Or more specifically, Pasq seeks to build a trailer that turns your two-wheeler into an inline three-wheeled vehicle. At the heart of the Pasq ADV1 Trailer is a unique design that the company calls the trapezoidal hinge, and this gif will illustrate what makes it different.
And here’s what the trapezoidal hinge looks like on the latest ADV1 Trailer design. This is something years in the making:
I spoke with Rod and he explained how this works. As you could see, there are two arms, both connected at each end at a swivel point. This allows the trailer a great range of motion. When you lean into a turn, the trailer will naturally lean into it with you. And when you need your machine to be nimble to navigate the environment, the hinge allows the motorcycle to ride through the maneuvers like a motorcycle while the trailer follows behind. Pasq is based in Chicago, so using a classic Chicago example, if you swerve around a massive pothole, the trailer is designed to swerve with your bike.
At speed, such as on the highway, the arms lock the trailer into place, so your motorcycle remains stable. The idea here is that the trailer should not compromise how your motorcycle rides.
Here’s how Rod explains it in a video:
The trapezoid hinge is really really an important part of why the ADV-1 is such an amazing trailer. So how does it work? Well, as the name implies, it’s trapezoid hinge, the arms on this form a trapezoid. They are not parallel they kind of point a little ways in. And if you were to extend them out they would meet at the axle of the bike. Now for reasons I can’t fully explain of geometry and physics, what that does is it effectively, it moves the effective pivot point from where the actual physical hinge is. It moves the effective pivot point to the rear axle of the bike.
What that means is when you are steering your bike with your handlebars – moving your handlebars, slow speed, again: parking lot going around something, it pivots as you would expect. And that’s because the axle of your bike is actually moving in relation to the trailer. So it just pivots. But when you are going straight and you are steering by leaning the bike more, you know, you’re moving your handlebars a little bit but most of it is your leaning – what happens is there’s no input from the rear axle and it locks lock, okay, it won’t move.
What that means is you are now, when you’re going straight or you’re leaning through a curve, you are a three-wheeled vehicle: a three-wheel inline vehicle. You’re not a two-wheeled vehicle pulling a one-wheel trailer. You’re one, three-wheeled vehicle. And that makes it incredibly stable.
Currently, the design allows for any motorcycle with a hollow axle tube to tow the trailer. You attach the axle adaptor to your machine, hitch up the trailer, and hit the road. I’m told the Pasq ADV1 Trailer is designed to be locked to the motorcycle, so it couldn’t easily be carried away while parked. Yet, it can also be detached quickly, so you can go back to being just a two-wheeler easily.
The Pasq ADV1 Trailer
As for the trailer itself, I love this little guy. It resembles an overlanding trailer but scaled down. As for the company’s name, it’s a nod to the wild pasque flower, which Pasq says is sturdy, resilient, and adaptable, just like the trailer.
The Pasq ADV1 Trailer is made from 6061-T6 aluminum and rides on a CNC-machined, bolted-together frame. It features mounting plates and a sliding t-bolt mounting system. In addition to that, you get waterproof, locking storage compartments, charge ports for devices, and the trailer has its own lighting.
Pasq also gave the trailer a 17-inch ADV wheel and tire plus 6.5 inches of suspension travel. Naked, without attachments, the rig weighs around 85 pounds. As it was set up at Overland Expo West, it weighed around 150 pounds.
That’s light! Rod likens the Pasq trailer to riding around with the perfect pillion: you feel the weight but because they’re leaning perfectly with you, it’s not a big deal. The trailer also has a decent carrying capacity of 120 pounds.
What can you carry with it? Well, you can carry anything that your bike’s existing storage solutions can’t carry. Want to bring that iron skillet with you? Toss it into the ADV1 Trailer! Need more room for extra fuel and water? Yep, it’ll haul that. Wish you could bring more tools or a cooler for cold snacks under the stars? This trailer can do it. Pasq is even brewing up a bicycle rack so you could carry a bike with your bike.
As for price, Pasq doesn’t yet have a set price for the trailer, but the company is aiming for an affordable target. I found two other single-wheel motorcycle trailers out there, but they aren’t as substantial as the Pasq ADV1 Trailer and they don’t use the trapezoid hinge either.
Rod tells me that Pasq is soon to put these into production. The next steps are building a handful of these trailers, getting them out there in the world, and putting tons of miles on them. That means I might be able to test one of these very soon, and I’m excited!
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