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Monday, January 3, 2011

Kendon Trailer - Road Test

I just got home yesterday (Sunday, 1/2), and haven't had time to get the photos of the Daytona trip together, but I did want to let those who are interested know how the Kendon Dual Rail StandUp motorcycle trailer worked out.

Again, very briefly (lots of repeat stuff here folks....Sorry), I was torn between buying a new 6x12 enclosed trailer for about $17-1800, or pick up a used Kendon Dual-Rail Standup for around $1,400. (And yes, if you're willing to drive to Georgia to pick it up, there are new, reasonable-quality, enclosed trailers out there for that price. Most of the eastern manufacturers are located in Georgia, so add trip costs to the sale price.)

My biggest issue was storing the trailer when I wasn't using it, and quite frankly, I wanted more flexibility when I was using it. I didn't want to have to find a large enough place to park the trailer on trips, figuring I'd probably want to keep my Hummer, my trailer and my bike all in the same place. And I already have a rented garage, so something that would fit in there would be perfect, not adding to my monthly bills. I live in a condo, so there's no driveway or yard to park one.

So, with storage as the primary requirement, I bought a Kendon. A 2002 to be exact, for $1,300, and I drove to North Carolina to get it.

I could probably load it OK without, but I added a 36x40" piece of plywood to the ramp for additional stability in solo loading/unloading, and by the way, I ride the bike up. I highly recommend some kind of little "safety net" if you do too, and this cheap hunk of 3/4 plywood, bolted to the ramp with a couple carriage bolts, does the trick. I ride it right up, and roll it right back off. Personally, I can't imagine getting the bike on the trailer any other way except riding it. Any other way seems risky to me, and for 10 bucks, you're set.

Of course, you can get one of those nifty folding aluminum ramps for 200 bucks, and that makes loading easy too, but I can think of a lot of fun stuff to do with that $190 I saved....

By the way, I'm using an 8" drop hitch on my Hummer H3, much lower than the recommendation for a new model Kendon. The folks at Kendon were very helpful answering questions, recommending a ball height of 15"-17" for a 2002 model. I also needed a 7-pin-round to 4-pin-flat wiring adapter. Plug and play.

Test run...

I loaded it up Christmas Day, by myself, with no problems whatever. I rode the bike up onto the trailer, and the self locking chocks held it steady while I got it tied down. It wasn't the least bit wobbly in the chock, so I had plenty time to get my straps on the bike. I've got a skinny 21" front tire and it locked in just great. A fatter tire would only be better.

Tight Fit....A little wider than the H3

So how did it work out?

I pulled it down and back.....1,600 miles....without a hiccup. The trailer towed effortlessly. It took all the bouncing, and the occasional pothole, and the bike didn't loosen up. My gas mileage dropped to 15MPG, about 1 MPG less than the normal 16MPG. (My H3 has the 5-cylinder engine.) And those trailer wheels are up close to the towing vehicle, so a little jerky correction in the steering wheel can make the trailer do funny tricks. Leave the texting to your passenger or just wait. Ask me how I know.

When I got to the hotel, I rolled the bike off, unhooked the trailer, and rolled it over in a corner, far out of the way, with plenty of room to park the bike in the same spot. There was no bitching from the hotel or guests about me taking up extra parking!

That was all the good news. Here's the bad:

On the way back home, a large percentage of the ride was in the rain, and this is the downside of a Kendon, or any open trailer. The bike got soaked, plus all the spray kicked road dirt all over it. I could put mudflaps on the H3 to cut out a lot of the spray, and probably do something with the inner area of the trailer wheels, but there's still the rest of spray from traffic.

Covering it up while towing isn't a good idea since any grit that gets between the cover and my paint job is just going to sand the damn paint down (Read about that on the internet. It's a big problem).

So folks, there's a lot of good, and one real bad thing; the exposure to the elements. That said, I can always wash the dirt off, and still have all my advantages of storage, so for me, getting the Kendon was unquestionably the right decision. No regrets. It's made well, tows great, folds easily, loads safely solo, and got my Harley to Daytona without a problem. Two thumbs up!