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Tow Rig for Motorbike

Published : 8th May 2011

I'm starting pre-pro for a short film. Some scenes call for the actor on a motorcycle. The actor does not know how to ride a motorcycle. Any suggestions on a tow rig/platform that we can shoot on, or suggestions?

Still early in pre-production. Shooting around NYC, Probably Super16, insurance and permits of course.

Thanks


Steven Gladstone
New York Based Cinematographer
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


I've done this two ways. First way is to use a small trailer with the bike bolted and strapped down. This technique works for straight shots but you won't get any lean when you corner.

The other technique was to remove the front wheel and mount the front fork to a fabricated hitch assembly. The assembly was quite simple. Just a tube that fit between the front forks welded to a 2" diameter tube about 6" long that fit inside a slightly larger diameter tube to provide rotation. The larger outer tube was welded to some 2" square stock that formed a V that was bolted to the back bumper of a truck. It took about 2 hours to fabricate the rig. There was also an adjustable shackle at the top to control the angle between the truck and the wheel of the bike. I think I still have the drawings.

There are also a few towing rigs that clamp on to the front wheel. I've seen them on sets over the years but never worked with one. I think that most of them were designed by the riggers that were on the set. I couldn't find any when we did the shoot so I just built my own.

Rick Gerard
DP - Special Effects
Sacramento, CA


Rick Gerard wrote:

>>I think I still have the drawings.

I would love to see the drawings, thanks.


Steven Gladstone
New York Based Cinematographer
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


>> I'm starting pre-pro for a short film. Some scenes call for the actor on a motorcycle. The actor does >>not know how to ride a motorcycle. Any suggestions on a tow rig/platform that we can shoot on, or >>suggestions?

I worked with one in LA that was build for "The matrix".


It raised the front wheel and had hydraulic actuator to lean the bike when in bends/turns of the road. It really made the illusion perfect. Without the leaning you can really only go straight.

Best regards

Jens Jakob Thorsen DFF
Director of Photography
Denmark
+4540508840


I found this drawing. Hope it helps. Any decent fabrication shop should be able to weld one up in a couple of hours.

You can find the image at http://www.hottek.net/samples/tow_rig.jpg

I think the rig is still hanging around Seattle somewhere. When I moved to CA I gave a whole hangar full of stuff away.

Rick Gerard
DP Special Effects
Sacramento CA


Some people use a conventional tow dolly , which does not give you the lean,

See http://www.actioncameracars.com/td_mtow.html

Bickers, from the UK has a rig that does the lean, but I don't know if anyone in NY has such a rig. I would check with your key grip, or maybe your fx people can fab something up, depending on how much cycle work you have. http://www.bickers.co.uk/mcbank.htm

Here is the bickers conventional cycle rig http://www.bickers.co.uk/mclow.htm

Hope this helps.

Earl Perque
bb grip