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Old 04-25-2007, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
Black 'n Blue
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Default Pick Up vs Trailer

I am looking for some advice from those with experience. I am trying to decide between a pick up truck and trailer as a means to haul my bikes long distances or to the track. I am currently borrowing a friend's trailer and it appears to work just fine but I need to solve this issue for myself and quit borrowing. I have a two car garage with a car and two bikes, so enough room for a folding trailer. I live in a townhouse and cannot park a trailer outside. I don't have a need for a lot of passenger room since I am single and figure if I get serious about a gal with kids she better have a car to carry the brood. I live in Texas and am likely to run out to Deals Gap or Streets of Willow for a long weekend. I have concerns about dragging a trailer for 12 or 15 hours straight. I also have concerns about loading a bike into the bed of a pick up single handed.

Thank you for your thoughtful replies.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I usually just load the bike/s in the truck with all my gear. Better fuel milage that way and still have plenty of room.

That being said, I AM looking for an enclosed trailer for a variety of reasons, and intend on getting a toy hauler eventually so camping is more tolerable.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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ok here are some of the pro/cons

TRUCK
Pro: Easier to drive, Maybe cheaper than vehicle and trailer.
Con: Harder to load, gets crappy mileage all the time, less interior space compared to many cars.

TRAILER
Pro: Easy to load. Can fit more gear/bikes depending on size. Better mileage when not towing. Can be used to haul other stuff too.
Con: Extra registration (in most states), cost of trailer, storage, extra maintenance.

You really gotta look at all the benifits and down falls and decide for yourself what's worth it. Personally I own a truck AND a trailer, but that's because I needed both for hauling my bigger, heavier, less street legal toys. I do enjoy having the trailer for the bikes though. No way in hell could I get a 400lb bike up into the bed of my 3/4 ton truck single handed.

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Old 04-25-2007, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I used a utiltiy trailer with two bikes on it and one bike in the truck to go to Alabama and North Carolina and actually got pretty decent gas milage and had no problems with the vehicle -18 hour trip. This year we have an enclosed 6x10 trailer for two bikes and one bike in the truck going to Arkansas, unless you have an old maybe not so reliable vehicle you should be fine.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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it really isn't that hard to get a bike into or out of the bed of a pick-up without help. you just need a ramp (2X6 board) and a large cooler to step up on.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've used my dads bike trailer and my own pick-up on different occasions. The trailer is great when going to the track because you can fit everything you need and more, and also lock it up as opposed to having gear etc, just sitting in the pick-up bed. The problem was the gas mileage towing which was a little worse, although to some that my out-weigh the hassle of the pick-up. But to me who only makes one or two track days a year, the truck is great. I picked up a good ramp at the local bike shop. It makes it easy enough for me to load and unload the bike myself. Also the canyon dancer bar straps make it extremely easy to strap down.

It really comes down to what you need most. Convenience - trailer; gas mileage, no hassle of towing and trailer registration - pick-up.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A trailer is a lot cheaper to buy than a truck.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deviant56
it really isn't that hard to get a bike into or out of the bed of a pick-up without help. you just need a ramp (2X6 board) and a large cooler to step up on.
The bed of my truck is almost at my chest, and it's not even lifted, just oversize tires. Thats gonna need to be a long ramp and I dont think I'd try it. I'm just not willing to risk dropping my nice shiny $$$ bike because I'm trying to do it by myself.

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Old 04-25-2007, 01:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've done both now and I prefer the trailer option. Last year I used a little 2WD Ford Ranger to get my bike to the track. For this year I bought one of those (relatively) cheap Harbor Freight trailers to tow behind my Subaru Impreza. I towed my bike to my track day this weekend and still managed 25 mpg (usual is 28 mph highway).

Just make sure you factor in all of the costs, since the trailer involves a lot of up-front $. You've got to buy the trailer (and assemble it), and you also need to buy a tow hitch and wire kit for your vehicle, as well as install them.

Towing the 4X8 trailer wasn't as bad as I feared it would be, although backing up is pretty tricky. Still it's worth it to me to be able to load and unload the bike by myself. Unloading from the bed of pickup, even a 2WD, can be kind of tricky by yourself.

*EDIT* Here's a pic:
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pick-up-vs-trailer-april-grattan-007_-shrunk-.jpg  

Last edited by tilejerky; 04-25-2007 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i put mine in my truck. the truck isnt huge, but its not tiny either. just a standard toyota 4x4 pickup, pre-tacoma, with mud tires (so i guess its slightly bigger than stock).

its 50/50 when loading the bike. ive had my dad help me once and it was kinda akward. 3 people is the best. ive done it on my own before, but i had some assistance from the curb.

the easiest way to do it is to find some sort of decline/incline or drop-off to back the truck up against.

my carport is elevated so i can park the bike in it, back the truck up to it, and easily get the bike in by myself cuz it makes the truck seem 2 feet lower. i just ride it up the ramp, its pretty simple. if it were level ground, id have some qualms about riding up it (altho ive done it before, wear your helmet!) or pushing it up myself, but if you can somehow make it so the truck is lower then it is actually pretty easy.

id think a truck would be easier overall than a trailer, but then again if you arent gonna be using the truck much besides hauling the bike, a trailer might be your better option.....
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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i use my truck but i dont use loading boards. there is a business just down the road that has a small loading dock that is perfect.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you keep your car and buy a trailer, especially one that folds up to fit in your garage, its gonna be a pretty dedicated trailer. I don't see you using that to haul varous other amounts of crap. The bike will fit on it and thats about it. Those type trailers don't usually have railing and such to make it a true utility type trailer. Plus, any bigger trailer worth its salt to haul other stuff is likely to overcome your car.

My dad has a nice 10ft utility with a ramp that I use when transporting my bike. It's heavy as he added a larger axle and some other stuff, but its nice. I don't like transporting my bike in my truck (GMC Sonoma) cause the bed is so small, I either have to put the bike on its sidestand and diagonally in the bed, or leave the tailgate down, neither of which I'm very fond of doing. I usually get about 22-24 mpg on the highway, but when hauling the trailer, I drop to about 13-14 mpg. Mind you this is with a runt 4.3 V6, 5-spd.

Putting the bike in the back of my truck only takes my mpg down one or two, if that. It's not much at all.

With a full size truck (or a truck with a large enough bed), you can get a ramp wide enough that you can ride the bike up and still put your feet down if necessary, get some of these nifty tailgate latch things that hold the gate up at a 30* angle allowing you to put the bike in straight and still keep everything in the bed. Plus, you have the benefit of a truck that can tow/haul copious amounts of other stuff.

I vote truck.
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Old 04-25-2007, 07:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I just load mine in the back of my Ranger. I just back it into a ditch or up against a hill and use some $40 harbor freight ramp that folds out across the width of the bed. I can walk the 500lb boat anchor right into the back no problem. Still plenty of room for gear, camping stuff, a suitcase, a gas can and the ramp in the back.

If you've got a truck, just get a cheap ramp and scout a good location to load it i.e. somewhere you can put the rear tires in a hole without getting hung up. If not, look into getting a trailer.
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I vote trailer. I'd rather lose mileage the few times I pull the trailer. My car gets 34mpg on the highway. 25 or so when towing. But when I don't need to tow I am back to the that 34. Plus more room, better ride, and more interior space. Now if I was hauling stuff all the time I'd go truck. But it seems silly to me to buy a truck for the few times I could use it.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Seeing as your a little older and probably have a little more money to spend, why not go for something like a F150 Lightning? Very quick fun truck to drive, gets decent gas mileage (15-16) and has a much lower bed than other trucks out there.

Here ya go
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2002-...QQcmdZViewItem

Good looking truck, that would make life a little more interesting and get your bike around at the same time. How is that for killing two birds with one stone.
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