Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010 - Fine tuning the Uni-Go trailer

Today I spent some time messing around with the UniGo trailer and I think I may have finally resolved the occasional fish-tailing issue. It was simple enough to do; when all else fails follow the factory's advice so I removed the shim I'd installed to level the tub up. They claimed they'd built-in a slight offset list to counteract fish-tailing....???

After doing that I carefully loaded my regular camping gear in it and set out for a trial ride into town. Although it never once fish-tailed there still seemed to be a slight swaying present most of the time, not severe but noticeable. It had a familiar feeling and it finally dawned on me that it strongly resembled the way my old Yamaha XS-1 felt the other night when the rear tire was going flat.

I returned home and checked the air pressure all around and although it wasn't low it got me to thinking about what Jerry Smith had observed the other day; that the rear tire seemed low. I looked up the factory recommended pressure settings and found I had it set spot-on for a solo rider at 35 lbs. Considering that the added weight generated by the trailer would be similar to that of a passenger it was woefully inadequate. The recommended setting for two-up riding was 41 lbs; 6 lbs heavier so I moved up to that level and went for the same ride into town and then out to Bullard’s Beach to photo the lighthouse.

Happy little lighthouse

Everything you need to know about our lighthouse

The difference was immediately apparent; there's now barely any noticeable sway and no fish-tailing whatsoever. I rode at regular highway speeds up to 60+ mph which is about where I’d be towing a trailer with any vehicle.

What gravel?
As an added measure of evaluating road worthiness I made several stops along the shoulder of the road including some very rough sandy and gravel surfaces. I also ran over a nasty stretch of weather damaged road twice, the first time hitting most of the deepest pot holes and the second time using sudden avoidance turns.
What Sand?
Red Dog accepted them all without mishap and I never once felt uneasy with her handling or balance.

Son-of-a-gun, I think she's ready for a tour!


  1. Well, finally. Good to get that thing up and running and reliable for a trip. Let us know where you're going.
    I've got a service, then free reign to ride 5000 miles on the Bonne. New stuff includes seat (solo), fly catcher windshield, mirrors.
    Noah made first team linebacker, and second string place kicker. He's being tried out at fullback, maybe the new Steve Alford? I can only hope.
    One race left.
    Be well........

  2. Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!

    Dog Trailers

  3. Thank you for taking the time to post such great articles! I've copied a lot of it down.