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First trip was to Yuma via I-8, then along a rough road followed by a sand and grass path between the Indian reservation and Colorado River. Once at the put-in, I had to unhook the trailer, push it up a grassy slope and park it until I could turn the jeep around and reattach the trailer. No problem. Unloaded as it was, it moved easily.
Last weekend, I repeated the basic trip but from Yuma it was 18 miles of poorly graded road to the Picacho Campground. The trailer towed so well on both trips I had to stop and check to be certain that it was still there. On the way home, we stopped to help a stranded motorist but the rough dirt road was too narrow to turn so again, I unhooked the loaded trailer (2 kayaks, camping and boating gear), pulled it over the washboard, turned the jeep around and reattached the trailer. No problems and I am NOT a young man anymore. With a high vehicle like the Jeep or Forerunner, the boats were below the rear window which made backing up tricky. Good thing I put a flag on my kayak stern.
It seems that the version I bought had all the features people desired as standard. This includes running lights, easy-to-mount tail-lights and handle-on-the-tongue. I don't know if Malone read the reviews and fixed the complaints or what, but I got a bunch of freebees that earlier buyers had to pay for.
I DID make a few changes that Malone may wish to address.
The standard rails easily held my wing-saddles and a J-rack between (3 boats) so I never saw the need to get the extended rails for a 4th boat. I have seen people with a Malone hauling 4 J-racks with no problems.
I DO suggest getting the spare tire option. Last weekend I saw a number of trailers with missing tire and expensive boat along a deserted road. The victim of a flat where the owner had to leave his boat & trailer on the road while he drove into town to get the flat fixed. Anyone with a spare could easily upgrade to a free boat. So pay for the spare tire!
Unless you are handy, like me, and have a box laying around, I would suggest that you buy the storage box option! At the least, you can put your PFD, painter, leash and other boat gear in the box and clear out the trunk and back-seat of the car. ALSO, I found tossing my wet gear and clothes into the box to be preferable to driving across the desert with my water-shoes and paddle clothes stinking up the car.
For the price ($1169 free shipping) you cannot get anything better. In April, I will be doing a talk on Modifying your kayak at a kayak event and am considering showing off my Microsport. It's well worth the money.
I ordered the trailer on Saturday, 11 January and the order was sent to the manufacturer on Monday, 13 January. I had a trip planned for the 24th so was a bit worried. More so when I called Malone and they said it would go out FedEx. The tracking numbers on the FedEx site never changed, always saying "in route, delivered 20 Jan by noon" King Day, a holiday. It actually arrived at 11:53 am on king Day. So I called my daughter and we spent the day putting it together.
PRAISE #1: The instruction book was EXCELLENT!
COMPLAINT #1: the parts were scattered across 5 boxes.
Praise #2: it went together easily!
Complaint #2: for a trailer made in the US, all the nuts-&-bolts were in metric!
Our only problem was when we started to modify it as we assembled. I hate bare wires so we ran an old garden hose and ran the lighting wires through that hose. I wanted a gear box but could not afford the box-kit so made a frame for a box I had. I mounted ammo boxes for my tie-down straps and the zinc-coating dulled a few bits.
I finished the trailer and most of the mods by 4pm Friday. Odile and Maria arrives at 5pm and without even testing the lights, we took off across the desert.
COMPLAINT #3: the load bars are thin aluminum.
Solution: shove a piece of #5 rebar inside for strength.
Eventually I had two saddles on the ends with a J-rack between and a wood deck between the tongue and box. When loading camping gear in my B-2 Bags, i was glad for the added deck.
Ok, here is the good stuff!
It tows like a dream! Yes the tongue is a bit long for a 14' kayak but that can be fixed when I decide how much to cut off. Still, freeway, in town, dirt road, sand, nothing phased that trailer. 4 1/4 hours to Yuma. Another half hour to the lake and back and the trailer still looks and acts wonderful!
For their base-model, the Microsport is so good, why buy a better trailer.
In my case I bought the optional spare tire and storage box which in my opinion was well worth it. The storage box can be locked and holds all the necessary gear. It makes transporting the boats so much easier, especially as we get older.
Overall, the trailer is good, however, it does take a while to put together.... It took me an entire week of working at night after work. I agree with the criticism about the wiring, I too had to splice to make it reach. I did buy the optional box, that sits inside. It is a good custom fit, however, I am not sure how it attaches to the trailer. I am using a strap for now. The one nice thing about this trailer is is that is primarily constructed of galvanized steel which hopefully will make it last a long time.
All parts fit together as they should, I didn't have to force anything. The trailer tracks perfectly straight and does not bounce loaded or unloaded. The handle is now included in the basic package. The only thing I can say that is less than complimentary is that I had to splice in a piece of wire to make the ground wire long enough and the tail light wiring connections were a bit of a problem until I figured out that I could take the red lens off to gain access to the connectors.
I highly recommend this product.
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