By David Harrington
OK, right up front, this is not about bringing one’s scooter along to the afterlife. I know there’s talk about Krevin being buried with his scooter, but we mostly assume he’ll eventually crash and sink into a marsh someplace – more of a bog man burial than anything. I’m going to review scooter hauling methods, correct and incorrect, and make a recommendation.
We’re looking here at two reasons to haul your scooter – you have to or you want to. You have to when your scooter is damaged or broken, not rideable, and you need to get it someplace. The someplace you need to get to may also be difficult for your scooter, so hauling becomes the better option (long distances on a 50cc for example). You want to when you’d like your scooter to accompany you someplace, the cabin, vacation, a distant rally perhaps.
Scooters do tend to give one more hauling options than bigger motorcycles, quads and whatnot. Take the mirrors off, and some smaller scooters will fit in a van for example. This bring up our first “DON’T”. Hauling your scooter on its side is bad. Bad for the scooter, bad for the vehicle doing the hauling, just plain bad. Go ahead, ask someone who works at a scooter shop, they’ll tell you horror stories of damage from bringing a scooter to them on its side. Fuel can, and likely will, leak out. Batteries can leak acid. You can end up with damage to your scooter AND the vehicle you hauled it in. DON’T DO IT. How SHOULD you haul your scooter in a van or similar vehicle? Get a decent ramp to start. Make sure the ramp is firmly set on both the ground and the floor of the vehicle. Search YouTube to see MANY examples of how quickly poor ramp handling can go very bad. In advance of loading, have straps near to hand and places to secure the straps inside the vehicle. BUNGEES ARE NOT STRAPS. Have a plan and measure. Before you roll your scooter up the ramp (DON’T RIDE YOUR SCOOTER UP THE RAMP) and into your van, be sure it will fit and have anchor points picked out. Generally speaking, you will want to have four points, two front and two rear, ready to be utilized.
For most ANY scooter hauling, I utilize a bar harness like the popular Canyon Dancer. It makes for two excellent mounting points in the front and protects your scooter’s controls and grips from damage. The front end should be held tightly with some, but not total, front end compression. The scooter should be reasonably close to straight upright with the front secured. Here is a potential failure point I’ve encountered all too often – people will stop here and head out with their scooter. It may seem secure, but even with the front end compressed the likelihood of the scooter pivoting at the steering head and “flopping” is considerable. One good bump in the road and you could have problems. This is why we continue after getting the front end captured with securing the rear of the scooter. I like to go for rear attachment points that are fairly high, like a grab rail, but even looping through the rear wheel at the base is better than nothing. Be sure and double-check all your attachment points and secure any left-over strap material so as to NOT be flailing in the wind when moving.
Hauling in the box of a truck is pretty much the same with the added benefit of not having to remove the mirrors, having generally easy attachment points, and being easier to roll on and roll off. Do be sure and have a barrier at the front tire to protect the front fender of the scooter as well as the front of the truck box. Conventional open trailers are about the same as truck boxes while usually being lower to the ground and often having some kind of ramp built in.
OK, I promised a recommendation. I suppose the Canyon Dancer counts so this is really a bonus suggestion. If you’re hauling a lot, say, because you WANT to (cabin use for example) get a VersaHaul (www.versahaul.com). You’ll need to have a vehicle with a receiver hitch and the capacity to mount the combined weight of the VersaHaul and your scooter. I’ve used a VersaHaul extensively and find it to be the easiest way to haul my scooter securely. The system is mounted to your hitch with no pivot making it much easier to handle than a trailer. One and off are simple, fast, and easy for one person to accomplish. There are versions for 50cc scooters of up to 250 pounds, single scooter/motorcycle carriers of up to 500 pounds and even double carriers. Scooterville in Minneapolis is your local dealer for VersaHaul.
In summary, plan ahead, DO NOT haul scooters on the side, bungees are not straps, don’t ride your scooter up the ramp and double-check your work.
Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates JustGottaScoot.com