I have two tow vehicles, a 18 1/2 ton gmc and a 16 4Runner. I use a 16í tandem 3500 axle with brakes right now. Iíll be switching to a 14í or 16í single axle soon. Its much less unneeded weight to pull and less resistance on the road, both making them easier to pull. The brakes can be beneficial, but Iíve also had issues with them as well. And letís be real, the weight of these cars isnít really enough to need brakes. Imo, singles back into spots and turn easier than tandems too.
Interesting, one of the few people that I've heard of going from tandem to single axle, usually its the other way around. I've had single axle trailers and tandem and I would much rather have a tandem over a single axle. No offense or disrespect in any way at all.
You mentioned the single axle trailer you are changing to is "much less" unneeded weight. Have you weighed the difference, I'm actually curious, as to how much that would actually be as you're staying about the same length and only dropping an axle. It would be interesting to see the actual weight difference, plus I guessing the weight difference will not make it that much easier to pull, at least from what I've seen.
Yes, brakes can be a benefit and yes they can be a hindrance but like anything I think it comes down to how well people take care of stuff. Neglect them......they probably won't last long, take care of them with some general maintenance and they do typically work. Also the brakes are there to "control" the trailer, regardless of the amount of weight on them, which can be extremely beneficial in cases of wind or getting the trailer back tracking once it's in a sway. Then again, a tandem trailer will tend to track better especially in windy or adverse road conditions.
As far as backing, I guess I've never had an issue with a tandem being more difficult to back up. Personally, I would say the shorter the trailer or a short tongue on a trailer tends to hinder backing as it creates faster reaction. The longer the trailer tends to make it bit easier. I would much rather back up my 30 foot enclosed then my 10 foot / single axle snowmobile trailer.
In case of a flat tire, I also would much rather have a tandem trailer as you can change out a flat without having to get under the trailer!! We just use a Trailer Aid to pull the good tire up and onto and presto the opposite one is hanging free and ready to change. They work awesome and are inexpensive!!
Again, no disrespect or anything like that, its just interesting to see other's point of views and bring up more thoughts or experiences and pass it along.
Here's a quick video of that trailer aid, if anyone hasn't seen one,