I have to tell you, buying a bike trailer wasn't an easy decision, beyond the simple fact of deciding that I probably needed one. For years, I lived in my own home with a yard, a driveway, and sometimes a garage. Usually I had someplace to park a small trailer, but living in the DC area, or as we say it, "inside the Beltway" typically means your place of residence has limited (or no) parking, much less your own garage. Unless you make some serious money, that is. I don't.
Kendon Dual Rail Standup trailers go for about $2,300 new if you shop, and with a spare and utility box, the total price is about $2,700. Now I might use this damn thing 4-5 times a year, to and from the shop, and on a couple trips, so spending $2,700 wasn't going to happen, so "previously-enjoyed" seemed like the way to go. Then I had to find one, which I thought would be easy, and I figured those I found would be cheap.
Wrong on both counts.
Turns out, Kendon owners don't part with these things often, and when they do, they sure ain't giving them away. Lots of single-rails were out there, but I wanted something to haul two bikes. Used prices for a dual-rail went anywhere from $1,300 to $2,000, depending on age, accessories, etc.
There are also a few variations on the Kendon design, and there's even one outfit that sells an almost identical folding trailer on eBay, but that doesn't stand up, brand new for $1,295. It turns out that these are "Made in China" knock-offs of a Kendon, but they don't add the stand-up feature due to patent infringement restrictions.
So, before you rush off to buy one of these, think twice about loading that nice Harley up on top. Repeat after me: Made in China, Made in China.... I thought the same thing when I bought my hitch ball mount. I could have saved 20 bucks buying a Made in China version on eBay, but decided I wanted something solid and dependable pulling my Harley, made right here in the USA. I didn't want my bike and trailer passing me while southbound on 95. Or have crappy welds breaking. Or worry about that cheap axle with cheap wheel bearings. Or all the above.
So to find a Kendon........
Searches on eBay and Craigslist turned up a few, but none in my area. One guy in Virginia Beach had one, but didn't have a title, so that was out. There were a few others in Florida, and I found one in Atlanta. After contacting the Atlanta owner, we came to terms on a price, and he agreed to meet me in Charlotte, NC, to do the deal. And I'll tell ya. I paid $1,300 for my 2002, plus the gas and a night's lodging to go get it. (And yes, dinner at Hooters!) If you find a Kendon Dual-Rail for a price in that range, buy it. You will always be able to get your money back.
Off I went, meeting a great guy, George, and his wife, Joyce, and we exchanged some cash, took the trailer off his truck and hitched it to my Hummer. George and his wife promptly went into the Harley dealer to do some shopping (Spend that money, guys!), and I hauled the trailer back up to Alexandria where I folded it up, stood it up, and rolled it up against a wall, totally out of the way in the garage. Totally cool.
The 3-1/4 " drop hitch on a Hummer H3 was far too high. After getting back, I had to get an 8" drop which almost levels the trailer for towing.
I solved the problem the cheap way and cut a piece of 3/4 plywood, fastening it to the bottom of the narrow ramp with a couple carriage bolts. It's still a little wobbly*, but the plywood supplies just enough of a safety net to get you up, or down, without incident, making loading easy. And the self-locking chocks hold the front wheel so rigid and upright that you can get off without tying it down. There's lots of time to get the straps hooked up without hurrying, or needing someone to help out. Cool.
So that's it. Sorta boring, but it's the story of the trailer. Next installment is loading up the bike and hauling it to Daytona over the Christmas/New Years Holiday. I'll see then how it tows with one bike on it, and also how dirty the bike gets on the way down. Yep, the only deal is that the bike is out there in the elements with a Kendon trailer, and that just can't be helped.
I was going to get a tight fitting cover for it, but I then heard some real horror stories about towing a covered bike on an open trailer. Folks arrived at their destination to find the paint "sanded" off the tank, or the finish dulled by the abrasive action of accumulated grit between the cover and the paint. Makes perfect sense to me. I'll just put up with a dirty bike and wash it when I get there.
* !! After staring at that rear-view picture of the ramp, with the plywood attached, I realized that sliding the plywood down just a bit more would allow outboard contact of the wood to the ground, giving it more stability. All I need to do is drill a couple new holes. Or I could leave it as-is, and add a small block to the outboard edge on both side, underneath, to make up the gap between the plywood and the road surface. This might be better, and would create a triangular flat plane. Hmmm.
* !!! Have now added a couple blocks on the lower outside edges of the plywood and also moved the top carriage bolt up to the slot instead of the round hole. Using the slot(s) lets a 3/8 -16 x 2" carriage bolt sit down almost flush with the ramp. I use a fender washer and wing nut underneath. I'll post some pix after I load up for Daytona.