Getting Hitched

As more and more people have seen The Beehive being pulled behind MightyBee, many people ask the same questions…”What kind of hitch is that?” “You can pull that with a MINI?” “How much does that trailer weigh?”

They’re all fair questions, since it’s not commonplace to see a MINI Cooper Roadster pulling anything. Since I’m a Motoring Advisor at a MINI dealer, I have to be careful about what I say about this topic. So the first thing I’ll say is MINI does not officially support towing, at all, by any MINI model sold in the U.S. Why? If they officially supported towing they would have to cover warranty repairs for MINIs used to tow various things, and since MINIs are not really made to tow, that doesn’t make good business sense.

OK, so you may be wondering why I’m towing with my MINI if MINI doesn’t support it. Well, I have a variety of reasons:

  1. You only live once
  2. My Roadster is no longer under warranty
  3. Lots of other MINI owners have done it with no issues
  4. It’s a lot of fun
  5. All of the above

The first piece in the MINI towing puzzle is the hitch, and you might be surprised to find out that there are several hitch options for all the MINI models. (I guess that means people are towing things with MINIs. Oh my!) The two prevalent MINI hitch companies are MINI Do More and MINI Fini. For Countryman and Paceman owners you also can get hitches designed to install in the rear tow-hook holes, from Crap Industries and M7.

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I wanted a hitch that was easy to use and one that could be almost entirely removed when I wasn’t using it. That lead me to the MINI Fini Sportlink 3 hitch and related accessories. This gave me an almost completely hidden Class 3 hitch with a hitch bar that can be removed in 2 minutes. When it’s off the MINI, all you can see is two black “machine guns” in the rear bumper. The downside of installing this hitch was cutting two holes in the bumper. The upside is the versatility, with attachments available for bike racks and cargo boxes.

Once I had the main hitch bar installed, I had to select a drawbar and get wiring for the trailer lights. The goal is to keep the tongue on the trailer level to the ground, so with the trailer level I measured the distance from the center of the hitch receiver to the coupler and discovered I needed a drawbar with a 2-inch drop and a 2-inch ball. That configuration was readily available at the local Walmart and I already had a wiring harness from MINI Fini, so after one of the techs at work installed everything for me, I was ready to tow.

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The Beehive weighs 1,110 pounds without any gear or supplies and the tongue weight is 100 pounds. When I hitch everything up, the back bumper barely moves and the trailer pulls easily. It’s so stable that I can cruise on the highway at 75mph with no swaying or resistance at all. So far I’ve towed it about 1800 miles with no issues, even when on steep grades in the mountains.

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So does this mean towing with a MINI is a good idea? Well, that’s really your decision to make. I have given my rig a good test and feel confident that our upcoming MTTS trip will work out just fine. There’s no substitute for common sense, however, so if you’re dreaming about pulling a ski boat with your new Clubman, think again. Get a good hitch, keep the weight under 1400 pounds and take it slowly at first. If it ends up working for you too, just remember I towed you so.

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