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Old 02-15-2011, 10:05 AM   #1
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Do you wish your motorcycle would fit in your AS?

I've been looking at AS for quite some time now trying to plan out a setup from TV to trailer that would provide everything my family and I would want in our travels. I've thought a lot about what size we would need and found many factors that helped determine if a trailer was too big or too small for us.

While reading up, I began to fantasize how awesome it would be to be able to take our Harely Road King on trips with us. This would combine our love of bike rallys with our love of camping. Currently, for rallies, I ride the hog and the wife follows in our "support vehicle". It carries gear for tent camping and a trailer in a bag for emergencies or seriously bad weather. We really only use this setup for long trips and will try to use hotels or a much smaller setup packed on the bike so we can both ride together. On camping trips with our dogs, we forego the bike and load kennels and really enjoy the road trip together with conversation and attempts to find great mom and pop places to eat.

Hotels at rallies are just plain expensive but after a long haul it's nice to have a hot shower and veg-out in some climate control. We'd love to take our dogs with us more often too.

Enter the AS. It solves all of our needs for camping except our love of riding. Enter the Panamerica 34'. The problem with this rig was the fact that it targeted too specific a market segment with it's price point and requirements. I think this was a design idea that only finds traction in good ecomonic times. Economy tanked and this model was d/c'd because it's not a competetive platform that appealed to a core market segment. Enter the Basecamp; already used by a few folks on the forums for their full dressers and is a strong competitor for the traditional box toy hauler that merely incorporates a couple folding cots, a sink and and a boomin sound system. A great "half-bridge" from tent camping to trailering but doesn't quite hit the mark a normal trailer with full amenities would provide. Also noted for some quality issues with doors and the tent addon. This model was d/c'd as well but from what I can tell, remains popular. Not sure if AS had to get back to basics and this product just wasn't making the bottom line.

So now we have the Eddie Bauer. It's not designed to haul a bike but the rear hatch and use of the center aisle in the trailer for oversized gear shows the benefits of leveraging a versatile furniture configuration to allow more varied use of the interior space. This shows recognition that there is a market out there that wants to camp in style and comfort but also is not just content to sit around a campfire. There is a segment out there that will draw to the Eddie Bauer because they like active adventure. Perhaps it also introduces/appeals to a slightly more youthful market that will latch onto the brand for years to come.

What if they continued with the rear hatch concept but reinforced the trailer to accomodate a motorcycle? What if they approached Harley Davidson for a concept partnership? In the past, AS has compared themselves to HD as a niche American icon that has made the mainstream transition:

“We’re about 20 years behind Harley-Davidson,” says Larry Huttle, 56, chairman of Airstream, referring to the company that has transformed itself from a specialized niche to a formidable mainstream brand. What Harley-Davidson is to the motorcycle business, Airstream is the travel trailer business. Both are American icons in their own right.
Airstream: The 21st Century Trailer — AIGA | the professional association for design

What if they learned from the mistakes of the Panamerica and capitalized on the versatility of the Basecamp/Eddie Bauer? The key here would be a trailer that wouldn't require the biker to have to go to a huge Super Duty diesel and would keep the trailer in the 25'-28' range. I know this must push the boundaries of certain weight specifications but an "outside" the box approach to materials, frame strength and layout could make this the toy hauler at the top of its class.

So, how about it? How many two-up folks out there wish this existed? Better yet, how do you guys meet your biking needs currently?
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:14 AM   #2
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black leather Airstream...no

In a word....NO.

While camping can mean many things to different people, as in tenting, backpacking, or RVing, so can motorcycling, or as some refer to it as "biking".

My kind of motorcycling would not include trailers as part of the journey. As an HD enthusist you must know many of these trailer queen bikers and the baggage that goes along with it. Real motorcyclistS ride their bikes there and back. When I see a load of motorcycles on trailers heading down the road can only snicker at these highly polished show boats on their way to be unloaded, parked, and reloaded for the trip back home.

But since you own a road king can only assume this is a more purpose built motorcycle that can go the distance in relative comfort, and not one of those dandy Hollywood bikes with chrome, flames, and missing fenders and muffler?

As to Airstream following HD's marketing and branding ideas they kinda already done that. Making a new and much heavier product redefined as a luxury lifestyle object for a higher income market and cross marketing with DWR, Eddie Baurer, Victorinox, etc.

HD/Airstream model in the future? I hope not. The marketing message that HD has been very successful with is and has been "Freedom is Loud" and other in your face and mostly anti social sub texts that is the opposite of the camping and outdoor active lifestyle.

I have had to move and or complain more then once while at a campground and had our peace and quiet disturbed by loud bikers just doing their thing. Disturbing the peace.

The less I see and HEAR from the biker crowd the better. Now....if they put the stock mufflers back on...that's different. But please, not more fat guys wearing no shirts with small leather vests!

And I still think an Airstream with black leather and chains interior would not be a good idea.
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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Perfect partnership.

They both leak!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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I think a Baby Panamerica (or using Apple lingo) Panamini, or Pananano could be a really neat solution for both a lighter tow vehicle and price tag - while still having the Airstream experience and not giving up the amenities.

I'm thinking if you incorporated the Panamerica liftgate into something even as short as a 19-22' trailer, the living space could mostly be clustered forward of the axle, with some sparse storage. Maybe you could still sleep 2-4, have your bath/shower and kitchen - and find the right balance to have it all.

As I imagine things, to get ready for traveling you'd pull up a thin strip running down the center of the floor, revealing a floor channel designed right into the frame, to contain dirt or the occasional oil drip. D-hooks (with slick built-in retractable ratchet straps, of course) would be located along the upper walls on ribs to secure your toy, which is as close to centered over the axle as possible.

So your motorcycle / ATV / Vespa / mobility scooter now rides inside, balanced and secure. When you arrive at the campsite... you just retract the wall straps, roll your toy outside, reinsert your wooden floor strip and close the door to reclaim your traditional, fully-functional trailer.

What do ya think - crazy?
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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Not for my mission profile.

I ride a BMW sport / tourer ... and have never really wished to take her along with the 'stream ... I either ride the bike to wherever I want to go (often with camping gear on the back), or I go 'streaming, but not both.

One's about adrenaline and carving the twisties out in the sun and smells and the wind and rain, arriving all bug spattered and grinning like crazy, while the other's about quiet comfort and a hot shower and an after-hours adult beverage with nice jazz on the stereo. To me at least, two different worlds.

Now, I DO take along a two wheeler - a bicycle. And for economy of space, I just got a nice Dahon folding bike. That gets me around to places I need to / want to go near where I've got the trailer parked, like a store, campground office, trailhead, beach, etc. It's slow and quiet.

I also do not want a trailer that large. I got a shorter one 'cause it's just usually a solo or two person mission, and the shorter trailer will fit into spaces in a lot of federal / BLM and state campgrounds where anything >25' is a squeeze at best and prohibited at worst.

I have seen quite a few folks towing with long bed pickups with a scooter in the bed, but I deliberately bought the shorter bed for my pickup, 'cause I wanted more maneuverability and I just didn't see the need . But you obviously do - and more power to you. Probably just a case of "different strokes for different folks." Hope you find what you're lookng for; it's all good!

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Old 02-15-2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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Yes, I'm very aware of the trailer queen bikes you mention. We see them all the time on the way to shows and many of them being hauled out of those fancy rock and roll sound stage trailers mentioned before.

Yes, my bike is purpose built for long trips and can be configured multiple ways depending on what I'm doing. I've ridden round-trip from Sacramento, CA to Biloxi, MS and it's a lot different than when I rode from DC to Chicago. But since I'd like to combine two hobbies together, I guess I get to give up the option to be considered a "real biker".

It's funny you mentioning AS targeting the higher income market and then going on to stereotyping the typical fat, shirtless, loud biker. The reality is that HD is going for a more youthful crowd with it's Sportster and Dark Customs lineups with all it's faux anti-establishment glam marketing but these same kids aren't the ones buying up full dressers at $20k+ a pop. All those youthful rebels from years past are the same age as the core demographic that buys AS! These baby boomers have sold out and got real jobs. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and other yuppie stiffs, swap their white collars and go out and enjoy riding.

I'm actually the youngest in my lil group of hardcore, beer swillin, degenerate scabs. You'd never guess by looking over at our camp, each of us makes "a fair wage". You'd never guess we are escaping drab cubicle farms with harsh flourecent lighting and stupid meetings and needy clients, city traffic and suburbian hell. We've gotta be some of the most boring bikers out there. We just set up, go out to dinner and mellow out by the fire. Yes, our pipes probably do cause a bit of a stir when we all saddle up to explore the local area but hey...

If it's too loud, you're too old...
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo View Post
I think a Baby Panamerica (or using Apple lingo) Panamini, or Pananano could be a really neat solution for both a lighter tow vehicle and price tag - while still having the Airstream experience and not giving up the amenities.

I'm thinking if you incorporated the Panamerica liftgate into something even as short as a 19-22' trailer, the living space could mostly be clustered forward of the axle, with some sparse storage. Maybe you could still sleep 2-4, have your bath/shower and kitchen - and find the right balance to have it all.

As I imagine things, to get ready for traveling you'd pull up a thin strip running down the center of the floor, revealing a floor channel designed right into the frame, to contain dirt or the occasional oil drip. D-hooks (with slick built-in retractable ratchet straps, of course) would be located along the upper walls on ribs to secure your toy, which is as close to centered over the axle as possible.

So your motorcycle / ATV / Vespa / mobility scooter now rides inside, balanced and secure. When you arrive at the campsite... you just retract the wall straps, roll your toy outside, reinsert your wooden floor strip and close the door to reclaim your traditional, fully-functional trailer.

What do ya think - crazy?
That's awesome! It's along the lines of AS targeting the toy hauler market instead of specifically the travel trailer market. Someone mentioned trailer queens earlier and I'd suspect those guys could well afford something like this. I love when people are open to rethinking an established concept.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:54 PM   #8
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Well, I was going to suggest taking the Harley in the bed of your tow vehicle, assuming it's a truck, but then safari62 got me thinking: what about a Segway?

Those things are a blast!

Or even a Razor Electric Scooter: no noise, small enough to carry in the AS, and just dangerous enough to get you in trouble...
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:59 PM   #9
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Have Bike, Would Like to Travel

Got the same quandary here. Have a 31 foot 2002 ASCL and X5 TV. Would like to carry my 1999 GSX1300R “Hayabusa” which weighs about 550 pounds. Can’t load it in the AS or the X5.

If I had a pickup truck I could load it in the bed, BUT I don’t want to give up the X5’s sport road ability and luxury.

Have considered (dreamed) of having the rear of the 2002 AS “retro fitted” by Jackson Center with the Eddie Bauer “clam shell” rear entry door. This would “maybe” allow me to pull the Hayabusa in between the two beds (may have to remove the street side mattress) far enough forward to keep from stressing the rear of the AS. Probably would cost too many $$$$ and compromise the AS.

But, still just dreaming here.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:10 PM   #10
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Well, I was going to suggest taking the Harley in the bed of your two vehicle, assuming it's a truck, but then safari62 got me thinking: what about a Segway?

Those things are a blast!

Or even a Razor Electric Scooter: no noise, small enough to carry in the AS, and just dangerous enough to get you in trouble...

ROFL! Yes, Segways are awesome (secretly) and dangerous. I almost killed myself on one in Dubai last year when I got a little squirrely on it. A lot faster than you'd think.

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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
Got the same quandary here. Have a 31 foot 2002 ASCL and X5 TV. Would like to carry my 1999 GSX1300R “Hayabusa” which weighs about 550 pounds. Can’t load it in the AS or the X5.

If I had a pickup truck I could load it in the bed, BUT I don’t want to give up the X5’s sport road ability and luxury.

Have considered (dreamed) of having the rear of the 2002 AS “retro fitted” by Jackson Center with the Eddie Bauer “clam shell” rear entry door. This would “maybe” allow me to pull the Hayabusa in between the two beds (may have to remove the street side mattress) far enough forward to keep from stressing the rear of the AS. Probably would cost too many $$$$ and compromise the AS.

But, still just dreaming here.
You bring up a good point. I was focused on the Harley but it'd be equally great to take my ZX-6R along and that thing IS NOT compatible with long distance riding.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:34 PM   #11
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Yes, I'm very aware of the trailer queen bikes you mention. We see them all the time on the way to shows and many of them being hauled out of those fancy rock and roll sound stage trailers mentioned before.

Yes, my bike is purpose built for long trips and can be configured multiple ways depending on what I'm doing. I've ridden round-trip from Sacramento, CA to Biloxi, MS and it's a lot different than when I rode from DC to Chicago. But since I'd like to combine two hobbies together, I guess I get to give up the option to be considered a "real biker".

It's funny you mentioning AS targeting the higher income market and then going on to stereotyping the typical fat, shirtless, loud biker. The reality is that HD is going for a more youthful crowd with it's Sportster and Dark Customs lineups with all it's faux anti-establishment glam marketing but these same kids aren't the ones buying up full dressers at $20k+ a pop. All those youthful rebels from years past are the same age as the core demographic that buys AS! These baby boomers have sold out and got real jobs. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and other yuppie stiffs, swap their white collars and go out and enjoy riding.

I'm actually the youngest in my lil group of hardcore, beer swillin, degenerate scabs. You'd never guess by looking over at our camp, each of us makes "a fair wage". You'd never guess we are escaping drab cubicle farms with harsh flourecent lighting and stupid meetings and needy clients, city traffic and suburbian hell. We've gotta be some of the most boring bikers out there. We just set up, go out to dinner and mellow out by the fire. Yes, our pipes probably do cause a bit of a stir when we all saddle up to explore the local area but hey...

If it's too loud, you're too old...
HA!
I think the too loud/too old comment is referring to loud music.....but I always say if its good music it would not have to be so loud.

Same with good riders and poor riders with loud pipes. Hoping drivers hear you coming does not make for safe motorcycling. But just as the rebel lifestyle myth sells lots of cruiser bikes, the ride loud myth continues to pay off for the real outlaws and whatabes. And the anti social misfits. Time to start handing out some heavy fines.

So if all these guys you ride with have good jobs, whats with all the pirate costumes? Faux anti establishment glam just about says it all! In case they haven't heard, the rest of us thinks it looks rediculious. Arg.

As for most of the guys blasting past our house every weekend I also assume they must have had a really bad week at work. (At the office?)They look angry and are now out just making noise to piss the rest of us non riding slobs off. Ah, the wind in your hair and the bugs in your teeth.
Freedom.

Oh well, at least we can escape into the rural wilds with our Airstream and get away from the noise.....what? Some dude just pulled in and a harley rolled it out of the back of his camper!!!

Say it ain't so!
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:37 PM   #12
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As long as I'm adding D-rings and seatbelt-style retractable straps in my imagination, I might as well create a couple of stainless accessories that can bolt into that floor rack.

The first obvious one would be twin vertical posts that allow you to store a canoe or pair of kayaks inside, if your recreational interests lean more towards water than motorsports.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:47 PM   #13
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but an "outside" the box approach to materials, frame strength and layout could make this the toy hauler at the top of its class.

So, how about it?
pass, big time.

and it's still a toy hauler which is hardly thinking outside of the box.

plenty of big box toy haulers for 1/2 the money and far better built for the purpose.

the economy had nothing to do with the panEDam doing poorly.

it just didn't fit the a/s demographic and didn't attract FROM the toy hauler folks either.

it was/is a nifty design exercise and might help a/s configure work space IN a stream or crafts space...

or hobby and tinker space, but they'll still be HIGHER priced and not motorhead friendly.

i know dozens of folks with toyhaulers who use them regularly...

and 2 a person think the a/s stuff is 'cute' and retro but hardly worthy of their money or time.

and they are simply too small and to 'soft' for real TH users.

a/s owners fret corrosion and body/frame separation and hail and tires,

while the toy hauler folks load, hookup and go.

even on the entertainment/techno front, which requires NO fortification...

a/s is WAY outta touch and way behind of outfitting trailers.

1. modify the tow vehicle for hauling bikes...flat bed/longer bed, dually, or whatever.

2. FORTIFY the historically flimsy a/s frames and add space at the FRONT for hauling toys (open space) ...

this is already done by some of the other makers, who put a utility platform in FRONT of a hut.

a/s and harley might be iconic american products but that doesn't mean they are chasing the same customers...

besides a/s is currently trying to appear more eURO'centric and international ,

and metroseXusal these daze...

cappuccino or mocha'frappe ne1?

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:54 PM   #14
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Slip7,

With my setup, I can take 4 baggers or 7 dirtbikes or 2 scooters 4 road and 4 mountain bicycles or 4 dirtbikes and a mini dune buggy or a single smart car and 2 scooters. And I still have full use of my trailer!

Curt
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