By JIM SCHARF
Mountain Goat All Terrain Trailer
Built by S & T Manufacturing, Hubbell, Nebraska
When I think of an ATV trailer, I picture something shaped like a box on
ATV type low-pressure tires.
When I first saw the Mountain Goat All Terrain Trailer at the 1999 rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree, I thought, "this doesn't look like an ATV trailer, so what is it?"
I must admit, it looks so unconventional that I was real skeptical about how useful this trailer could be behind an ATV.
So, what would I want in an ATV Trailer?
Safety: Pulling a trailer should not endanger the rider or machine.
Security: Properly secures cargo to protect it.
Stability: The trailer shouldn't tip over, spilling the load.
Capacity: The ability to carry the gross vehicle weight my machine is rated to tow (450ES-850 pounds).
Tracking: It should follow in the same tire tracks as my ATV and not be so wide that it hangs up on narrow trails.
Ground Clearance: It can't hang up or get battered on uneven terrain or rocks.
Durability: It must be built strong and be tough enough to hold up to the rough treatment it would receive.
Scott and Timm Mumm, who designed and build the Mountain Goat All Terrain Trailers, allowed me to test one to see what I thought.
After all, one should never rely on first impressions, especially when everything I was hearing from other jamboree attendees was real positive.
Scott and his Mountain Goat had survived the Mountain Man marathon with no problems.
Tim's Mountain Goat took his boat and him fishing on a day ride to Big Lake.
Another day, he assisted in packing out some gear for an injured rider.
We put 150 pounds of gear in the trailer and I ran it through the wringer for about three hours behind my Honda 450ES.
The first thing I noticed was nothing.
It pulled so smoothly on the level roadbed I was traveling that I didn't know the trailer was back there.
Wasn't until I headed uphill that I felt the extra load.
I simply gave it more gas or down shifted to pull the hills.
Instructions recommend not taking the trailer over 30 miles per hour, so I took it up to 40 and tried to spin it out by jerking it back and forth.
All that happened was it straightened me out as I tried whipping my rear end from side to side.
The dual tires did tend to bounce front to back at speed, but this appears to be the nature of the suspension system.
The trailer remained true and level while the carrier bar absorbed the shock.
The suspension system is a walking tandem axle, like those on farm implements.
There is a heavy-duty, solid one and one half-inch diameter center axle attached to a solid one-inch steel spindle-carrier bar.
The tires are mounted on each end of the carrier bar with heavy-duty spindles and hubs.
This gives the system fully independent floating wheels.
What this means is the wheels are designed to float up and down over changes in the elevation of the terrain to the point that they will actually flop, or walk, one wheel over the other, instead of hanging up on an obstacle larger or deeper that the wheel itself.
This design was most impressive to me, because the wheels move up and down to keep the trailer as level as possible.
To test this suspension system, I located some big rocks along side the trail.
Because of how well the trailer follows the quad, I found that I had to rub up against the rock with my rear quad tire and then crank the handlebars all the way to that side just to get the trailer wheels to line up partially on the rock.
The wheels rolled over the rock, in line, and the trailer only tipped slightly to the other side.
Due to its low center of gravity, I don't believe it is possible to turn the trailer over without rolling the quad first.
Although the trailer sits very low to the ground, I wasn't able to find any obstacle tall enough out there, which I'm sure there is, I can't imagine it damaging the solid axle without tearing out the undercarriage of the quad first.
I had to find another way to test the wheel walkover system, so I located a deep groove in a huge rock that swallowed up the whole front tire on one side of the trailer.
This caused the rear tire to flop over the front and the trailer to lean to that side.
The trailer did not bog down or drag in this situation.
The trailer tongue attaches high on the front of the trailer and is adjustable to your hitch.
This design keeps the front of the trailer up and prohibits it from digging in on sharp approach angles.
I tried angles so severe that I drug the tail end of the trailer exiting two obstacles, but I couldn't get the front to hang up.
This dragging was not a problem, because the designers added a skid plate under the tail end to protect it when it drags.
I first thought it would be better to shorten the trailer, but this occasional dragging of the tail end doesn't hurt anything.
I prefer the extra length for hauling more cargo or longer items.
The size of the plywood bed is 6 feet long and 22 inches wide, resting on two-inch square steel that forms the main frame.
The upper frame is also welded steel construction and provides a convenient means of tying down cargo.
Dry weight is about 250 pounds.
Gross weight is 1250 pounds.
Outside tire width is 41 inches, so it follows in the same track as a full size quad.
The trailer only comes in one color, forest green powder coat.
It attaches to the quad with a pin, not a ball hitch and is well balanced, making it easy for the average person to move around by hand.
The tires are much tougher than low pressure ATV type tires and work very well in this application.
With four tires on the ground, it probably has more ground contact than two ATV tires, which spreads the weight out over a larger surface area for greater floatation.
I struck one rock pretty hard and fast with the sidewall of the front left side tire trying to see if I could get that side to walk over it.
The rock bounced the trailer aside to clear it in stead of rolling over it.
I think this could have ripped open the sidewall of an ATV tire in that situation.
Optional extension racks allow you to increase cargo carrying capacity, so you can haul full sheets of plywood or even a small boat up above the main trailer bed.
Those extensions slip into four corners of the trailer.
This system offers so much versatility in customizing the trailer to ones own needs that you can haul almost anything within reason.
Other options currently offered include a steel utility box, tool rack, wire roller, calf transporting cage and even a big game retrieval package.
More options are on the drawing board and are only limited to your imagination.
The makers of the Mountain Goat All Terrain Trailer designed it for rugged use, stability, and clearance.
I also found that it carries a large amount of cargo safely and smoothly over all types of terrain, especially the real rough stuff.
I feel this product is ideal to use for maintenance work, ranching, farming, mining and all types of outdoor recreation.
It will sure pack a lot of gear into your favorite remote camping spot or other hard to get to location.
For something that looks unconventional, it sure impressed me on how well it does the job.
I have to grade it an "A+" for meeting my criteria.
It performed well above my expectations.
For more information or to place an order, contact
S & T MFG
RR#1 Box 244
Hubbell, NE 68375
Phone or Fax: (402) 324-5210
On the web: www.s-tmfg.com