We need a pickup.

I’m coming to the realization that the roads on which I desperately yearn to ride the Serow are not, for the most part, within 20 miles of my house. I’m also coming to the realization that, while the Serow will do freeway speeds, neither it nor I particularly want to. This isn’t to say that the Serow isn’t capable of it or that it’s uncomfortable — it’s more that, if I want to do longer days that include lots of freeways, I have another bike for that. I want to take the Serow on dusty, bumpy one-lane roads with tree roots growing up out of the pavement and potholes the size of my head.

So. This begs the question of how to get the Serow to said roads. And this is where I decide that Peter and I need a nice used pickup. I’d really like to drive down to Death Valley, say, park the pickup, and then play on all the 4×4 trails in the park on the Serow. This sounds like a little slice of heaven.

I’ve never owned a truck — advice? What do you guys use for hauling your stuff?

Our requirements:
– must be able to fit two small dual sports in the back (worst case, we could put one in the back and tow another, but I hate towing things)
– must have enough cab room for two people and a couple of bags of gear and clothes
– must be able to double as Home Depot shopping cart when not being used for motorcycles
– must be used — probably something mid-80s to mid-90s — and must not explode in a fiery maelstorm of maintenance issues immediately after purchase

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9 Responses to We need a pickup.

  1. Bill says:

    Hi Carolyn, sounds like a Toyota might fit your needs pretty well. Toyotas are tough trucks. Find a Xtra Cab model and you will have plenty of room for gear in the cab. Go with the 4 cylinder and they are pretty economical as well. I had an ’88 4×4 that got beat on for 9 years, finally had to get rid of it after bending the frame when I hit ice and spun off the road, and struck a power pole. It was still going strong after 9+ years and ~150,000 miles. I would still have the truck if I hadnt bent the frame most likely. I wouldn’t recommend a 4×4 unless you want to go far off road to start you Serow excursions, as they are fairly tall trucks in 4×4.

  2. Michael says:

    I love my 2000 Nissan Frontier king cab…4 cylinder so it’s good on gas (~25mpg on the freeway compared to about ~20mpg for the V6 version), 5 speed so it’s a little peppy, king cab fits plenty of gear for two while still seating two, no problems carrying a bike in the back although it might be a little tight with a superhawk and SV. Nearing 100k miles and no problems (my father has a 1998 V6 4×4 king cab and hasn’t encoutered any problems either). Getting my SV in and out the back is a little clumsy but doable with a folding ramp I keep in the cab, super easy with a bit of a hill or a full sized ramp. On the other hand, the best setup I ever had was my ’93 Probe GT pulling a open 3 rail trailer. Much easier to load and unload bikes and I had a fun car to drive the majority of the time instead of a “bike hauler”. If you have something than can pull a light trailer, it might be the way to go, it’s so nice to drone home on the superslab in the comfort of a car/truck with heat/air/radio/seat you don’t straddle instead of the neverending torture it is on a bike (why is it *so* much farther home than it was to wherever you were going?). I’ve done 800 mile days on a FZR400 with rearsets and lowered clipons but I like to think I’ve grown wiser, not softer in my old age :D.

  3. Eric says:

    I have used both a truck and a Trailer Poof.
    A small bike trailer is SO easy to tow. You don’t even know its there. Also, It’s SOOO easy to load the bikes on a trailer. Something to think about…Trucks are fine
    and serve the purpose but for simplicity I’ve personally found a trailer much easier. You would save Quite a bit of cash too for your Death Valley trip as used bike trailers are a dime a dozen and reasonable. Just a thought, good luck in your hunt!

  4. Dave says:

    I don’t have a truck; I use a trailer for cost reasons. But, the hot bike-hauling setup to me seems to be a big van, like an Econoline. You get a lower loading height than a truck plus enclosed, lockable storage. You can even “camp” in it if you want. Peter Egan, Ed Hertfelder and Mert Lawill all use vans to haul their dirt bikes. I have personally pondered trying to fit a bike in a minivan, but anything bigger than an XR100 won’t go…

  5. James says:

    I second a Nissan, 13 years and 190,000 on- and off-road miles, towing boats, even pulled a Humvee out of a snowbank in AZ and the only thing I had to replace was a clutch (at 187,000 miles). The thing with trucks though is you have to get the bike into it. I have tried every concievable way to get a bike into a truck, some are easy and some are hard. Trailers are easier to load by a factor of ten (unless you have a loading dock nearby). Check out my link for my tips to load bikes into trucks.

  6. Jamie says:

    In reality, forget the 6′ bed truck if you want to haul two bikes. You’ll need a full size truck.
    I second (third? Fourth?) the trailer. Harbor Freight has foldup ones with a 4×8 foot bed that don’t take up a whole lot of garage space. They go for about $200, don’t need insurance, and don’t take up half the driveway when you don’t need it. Pretty much anything with more than two wheels will tow one, and I’d be willing to bet you could pull the Serow on one behind a Gold Wing.
    Besides, when you go to load a broken-down bike (and it’ll happen), it’s a heck of a lot easier to push it up one vertical foot on the ramp than three feet. (Especially with a six foot ramp.)

  7. Alex says:

    I’ve got a ’98 Chevy Silverado extended cab. Plenty of room for me, gear, and our entire barking family. I did an extensive bit of research before I bought my truck. Shoot me a email, and I’ll share some of my findings with you.

  8. Stephanie says:

    We need a pick-up, too.
    Tony wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket if he hadn’t been trailering the bike. :/

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