Bushtec is a name you’re probably familiar with. It was the first example of a “big wheel” style of motorcycle trailer, invented in 1974 by Bill Bushling for a friend who was unable to find a commercial model to his liking. Word of mouth kept Bill busy producing trailers at his little workshop in California until 1989, when the company changed hands and moved to Tennessee.
When we arrived at Bushtec’s Jacksboro, Tennessee, headquarters, General Manager Keith Simpson and his crew were just returning from their most successful Sturgis ever. The factory was on overtime and every unit produced already had a customer. Fortunately, they had a popular Quantum Sport trailer all ready for us to try out.
The Quantum Sport model combines Bushtec’s proprietary swivel-hitch/pin coupler, twin independent A-arm air suspension with anti-sway bar, and 16-inch wheels with a well-finished aerodynamic design intended to be an easy pull for almost any motorcycle. The larger, narrower wheels make the trailer more maneuverable, and are easier on wheel bearings because they make fewer rotations per mile and spin more slowly at a given road speed than smaller wheels.
Standard in white gel coat or black, we observed Bushtec’s technicians sanding, polishing and final finishing the exterior to remove slight imperfections that were only visible under special lighting. The result is a steel-reinforced fiberglass trailer that both excels in looks and wind-cutting capability.
The 360-degree swivel hitch coupler on the Quantum Sport is very different from a normal ball hitch. It prevents inputs into the motorcycle chassis by the trailer (if one wheel should lift, for example), and contributes to stability on curvy roads at speed by eliminating the push-pull effect common in towing. It’s actually easier to hook-up, too.
There’s not a level square-foot of land anywhere around Jacksboro, so it and its environs were ideal to try out the Bushtec. It’s always a good idea to have some weight in any trailer you pull. The Quantum Sport weighs just 140 pounds; hauling capacity is another 210 pounds inside the 26 cubic-foot locking interior. Admittedly, the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 I used for testing was top-of-the-heap as a motorcycle trailer-towing platform. But Wings and big Harleys are the motorcycles most used by riders who tow.
The Quantum Sport’s 16-inch wheels set the trailer at a height that was always visible in the Wing’s mirrors, important because that was the only way I knew anything was attached. Behind the bike the trailer was stability personified, whether on an undulating, curvy and mountainous Interstate at 80 mph, or a curving two-lane road at a brisk pace. You just have to try the Bushtec to believe it.
The base Quantum Sport in Black or White carries a MSRP of $2,999; higher-level trim and motorcycle paint matching on the Sport GS is $3,899; and even higher-level trim and aerodynamic features on the Sport GT go for $4,699.
Bushtec’s lineup includes 10 cargo models and two models of Bunkhouse camping trailers. Check out its website for all the options and videos of their proprietary features. Bushtec trailers carry a 3-year warranty on workmanship and 5 years on the chassis.
For more information, call (888) 321-2516 or visit bushtec.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the March 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)