Help Me Pick The Best Bike Hauler Under $20K

Illustration for article titled Help Me Pick The Best Bike Hauler Under $20K

Last week, Jalopnik posted a question of the day asking for suggestions on the best surprisingly effective tow vehicle after I was talking with some of them about needing something to tow motorcycles around. In true Jalopnik fashion, all of the answers were funny, but none were helpful. So now I’m asking you to help me out.


Here’s the lowdown Jalops: being the bike/powersports guy means I often need to get sportbikes, dirt bikes, side by sides, personal watercraft, and other odd things with motors from one place to another without riding them there.

So I’m asking you to put yourself in my shoes and I’m asking for your advice because many of you know far more about cars than I do. And because this isn’t just a question of towing capacity, but also a question of longevity, value, and use for day to day life. Basically, I really need your help.

This far, my findings have been a little....all over the place. On the one hand, I’m finding some pretty good deals on used Toyota Tundras like this one, but I only need to haul something 2-5 times per month and the fuel economy, overall size, and massive bed height are turnoffs. I’ve considered the Ram 1500, Silverado 1500, and Ford F-150 but none of them seem to be a better deal and I like the ‘Yota more.

Before you suggest the Tacoma - they’re roughly the same price used, and the Taco is underpowered, gets the same fuel mileage, and is never content on choosing a gear - and that’s before putting a bike in it. However, the Frontier could be a decent option if I can find one that isn’t a crew cab. (Insert whine about no good small truck options here).

On the other hand, a used Jetta Sportwagon TDI like this one could do the job well, has a nicer cabin, is smaller/more city appropriate, and get better mpgs - but then requires a trailer and all that comes with it (storing it/towing an empty trailer).

Yes, I know the best answer is van, but the only Sprinter I’ve seen for under 20k was in terrible shape and the new Fords are too pricey still.


So, what do you think? I know this post is the ultimate #motojournalistproblems, but getting a vehicle I can use to transport bikes and the like around just means more and better content for you to read. So, in the words of Jerry Maguire:



if I had 20k to spend on a bike transporter I would get a late 90s dodge van and give it the dajiban treatment.

Way cooler then a tundra or a ford transit.