This week I ran into a rather baffling scenario. Police knocked on my door because an anonymous person had reported a couple of my vehicles stolen. I confirmed what the police already knew from running my plates: I didn’t steal my own car or scooter. But the whole thing was spooky enough to convince me to move some of my vehicles away from prying eyes. To do so, I employed U-Haul’s rental motorcycle trailer, the best $20 you’ll ever spend.
The great thing about living a good distance from any major city is that I don’t get municipal inspectors knocking on my door like Jalopnik alum David Tracy did. I also try to keep things nice and tidy by having only a couple of cars and motorcycles at home. Still, weird things have happened, like that one time thieves stole my rotted-out diesel van then modified it like a discount version of Pimp My Ride. Thankfully, things have been quiet for over a year.
But this week’s events prompted some logistical shuffling. Moving the car that drew unwanted attention (one of my five Smarts) was as easy as turning the key and going, but the scooter — a 2005 Genuine Stella license-built Vespa — was different. I’ve owned it for years, but recently brought it home from my offsite storage with the intention of getting it running again. I didn’t even get the chance to take apart the carburetor. So that meant that it had to leave the same way that it got here: on a trailer.
If you’re like me, and space comes at a premium (you don’t want to know how much I pay for storage) owning a trailer is not an option. Thankfully, for the price of just $15 (plus optional $8 insurance) you can rent one of the greatest utility trailers ever built: the U-Haul motorcycle trailer. It’s a piece of equipment Bradley wrote about two years ago, but he only scratched the surface of just how good these trailers are.
U-Haul has been putting trailers into service since 1945. Over all those decades the company has really honed in on finding the perfect designs for utility, longevity, and ease of operation. At one point, U-Haul was also building some of the most durable fiberglass campers the world has ever seen.
I’ve towed U-Haul trailers from coast-to-coast and enjoyed nearly every minute.
In 2009, U-Haul saw that it was leaving a potential market untouched. See, motorcyclists often tow their rides around on trailers. But you know what sucks? Loading a bike onto a typical flatbed trailer. In a brilliant move, U-Haul designed and produced a small, low flatbed trailer with a gentle ramp and a built-in motorcycle wheel chock, creating one of the most versatile trailers ever.
For just $15 to $23 you can rent a trailer that will help you move out of your apartment and relocate your Honda CBR all in the same day. The steel trailer’s 800-pound empty weight and tongue design mean practically any car can tow it, too.
I bought and sold nearly two dozen project motorcycles between 2018 and 2019, and all of them were hauled around on a U-Haul motorcycle trailer towed by my trusty 2012 Smart Fortwo.
But since my Smart is now in retirement, my equally trusty beater Volkswagen Touareg VR6 was deployed for this week’s job.
I first picked up the scooter, strapping it down at an angle. Then I went to my parents’ home to pick up my project Yamaha U7E.
Both would be delivered to my mini warehouse.
The operation went off without a hitch, in part because the grooves in the U-Haul trailer’s floor kept the scoots from moving around in transit. The large number of places to hook a ratchet strap were also incredibly useful.
And so, for just $15 and a few hours of my time, my little motorcycles are now safe and sound in covered storage away from prying eyes. My only disappointment is that U-Haul destroys these trailers after their long service lives are over. You cannot buy them. Still, if you happen to have a job to do that involves moving a motorcycle, rent one of these. You won’t regret it.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story mixed up some metals. These heavy beasts are steel, not aluminum!)