Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Luggage Limits

Motorcycles are a great method of travel, much moreso than the automobile or train, or even aeroplane. Covering miles on a motorcycle is as much a journey of discovery as it is simply displacing yourself from Point A to Point B. You get a panoramic view of the road and countryside that no automobile can offer. The sights and smells (yes, even the bad ones) are ever present for your enjoyment. In short, its the most rewarding way that I've found to travel.

There is, however, one caveat: Minimal luggage space. Although many of us cling tooth and nail onto the ideal image of the lone traveling motorcyclist with little more than a sleeping bag and knapsack tied to his rear seat with a few bungee cords, in real life it simply doesn't work. At least, not for me! I've gotten rather spoiled by the evolution of man, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I like a fresh change of clothes after a long day in the saddle, all to make me presentable enough so that I may discover what any given town's culinary artists have to offer. I've also grown quite fond of all my digital gadgets and things. After all, what's the use of buying a video camera or digicam if I'm going to leave it at home when I travel?

All these wants and needs are doubled due to my most important accessory when travelling: my wife! Yes, she also has a list of "favourite things" that she can't bare to leave behind, regardless of the mode of transportation. So you see, the two sidecases, topcase and tankbag are usually full to capacity when we head out for a few days of two-wheeled discovery. I had considered getting larger sidecases, but at best they would only add 8 or 10 liters capacity to my current rig, not to mention that they'd look a bit too wide. A friend of mine once commented about a ZX-10 Ninja with Givi sidecases that it "looks like its got a bad case of hemorroids"! I really needed to find a more palatable alternative.

The obvious solution was the one I had been trying to avoid: a trailer. Most motorcycles I had seen pulling a trailer were geriatric luxo-barges (Goldwing et al.) - not exactly my cup 'o tea. Add to that the fact that most trailers seem to have a greater utilitarian leaning than aesthetic (i.e. they're butt-ugly), and you can start to figure out why I'd been trying to mentally block them out of my mind. Enter the mono-wheeled trailer!

The first mono-wheeled trailer I heard of was the Cyclops, which strangely resembles the small trailers that I see many long-distance cyclists tugging along. Although I wasn't too crazy about the look of it, the idea of having a trailer that didn't affect the motorcycle's handling appealed to me. A friend then directed me to the Uni-Go website. This is a small mono-wheeled trailer that (used to) be made in New Zealand. The biggest advantage to the Uni-Go was it's looks! It was simply stunning. The downside, however, was its price: $2,500 or more for a motorcycle trailer is simply, in my mind, ludicrous. I'm not saying it's not worth that much - just that I'm too frugal to pay that amount. I just couldn't bring myself to pay an accessory one quarter the cost of my motorcycle!

Enter the Monogo. Michel Vachon of Granby, Québec has found a very ingenious way to build a mono-wheeled trailer while still keeping costs low. Rather than start from scratch and build the whole trailer from the ground-up, he decided to use parts that were readily available and, best of all, relatively inexpensive. The body of the Monogo trailer is actually a car-top luggage carrier (i.e. a Thule box). By using this, he doesn't have to fabricate the body out of fiberglass or steel. He simply added a lightweight suspension, a simple hitch, and voilà ! You've got a very useful and nice looking trailer for under $1k! This just might end up being the solution to my dilemma.

"Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them” - Napoleon Bonaparte

1 comment:

philippe said...

I found a good trailer solution for a cheap price too.
It's the Podium Lugg and Roll 150 lbs and easy to haul.
Really completely satisfied.