A few months ago I got the opportunity to test the Mototote M3 bike carrier. Being the owner of a 2003 Yamaha WR450 and the driver of a 98 Ford Explorer, I had previously relied on friends with trucks to go riding, so I was very excited to have a way to haul my bike with my Explorer. Mototote claims the M3 is suitable for bikes up to 450 pounds, and features “Exclusive Zero-Wobble Design”. This sounded great.
After using the Mototote nearly every weekend for 2 months, I was not happy with its performance. The bolts holding the carrier together allow too much play, which causes the carrier to be unstable. The play in the front bar is noticeable as soon as you attempt to tie the bike down, and gets worse if you try to drive with the bike on the carrier. The bouncing and wobbling of the bike causes excessive stress on the carrier’s structure, which eventually caused the main bar to bend where it enters the trailer hitch receiver.
The M3 carrier was somewhat difficult to assemble, but once installed on the vehicle it was very easy to load the bike. With the bike strapped down you notice another problem, as the tail lights/brake lights and license plate are blocked by the bike. Mototote offers a light kit which plugs into a standard trailer lighting plug (found on most vehicles which came with a factory trailer hitch) and installs on the carrier, but this kit costs an additional $62.99 over the $329 base price for the M3 carrier itself. I would not recommend using the bike carrier without this brake light/turn signal setup, and it really should have been included with the carrier from the factory.
Overall, the Mototote M3 was a big disappointment. The unit is supposedly designed to carry bikes up to 450 pounds, but it bent while carrying my WR450 which has a claimed dry weight of 245 pounds and certainly doesn’t weigh more than 300 pounds even with a full tank. The carrier is also unstable while driving and did not come with brake lights/turn signals. If you are thinking about buying the Mototote M3, I would have to recommend that you buy a small trailer instead.