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Top Tips when Transporting Your Motorcycle

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motorcyle loading

Whether you’ve had a breakdown or flat tire, transporting an off-road motorcycle, or other reason for moving a bike from a to b without riding it, a trailer or truckbed will likely be the method.

And while we’ve talked about carrier hitches, trailers, and loading ramps before, there is a right and wrong way to load and drive with your motorcycle traveling up the rear.

In the following tips, you will find out the safest way to transport your motorcycle.

How to safely load your motorcycle

First and foremost the vehicle doing the transporting should be positioned so that the loading of the motorcycle can be completed safely and efficiently.

This means the truck and/or trailer should first be backed into a position where the ramps are at as low as incline as possible.

You’re going to be pushing your motorcycle into place, the less brute force it takes the better.

Lower the truck’s tailgate past horizontal and if using a trailer, ensure that you are on flat ground.

The ramps should be placed onto the rear of the truck/trailer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, (some will hook onto the bed, others will need to be tied down).

Never be “that guy” and ride your motorcycle up the ramp. You might get away with it this time, but sooner or later, it will end in tears.

If possible, two people should push the motorcycle up the ramp, while a 3rd is free to take care of the steering.

One pushing while another pushes and steers are acceptable, however, on your own should definitely be avoided.

Try to do it in one fluid movement (don’t stop to check your phone on the way up), and check your footing and the ramps before to ensure there is nothing you could slip on.

How to safely tie-down your motorcycle

Once the motorcycle is in place on the truck or trailer, it is time to tie it down.

It is recommended that you already have the tie-downs attached to the relevant anchor points, before pushing the motorcycle up the ramps. This way you can drop the side stand and begin fastening immediately.

A wheel chock is an excellent way to ensure the safe transporting of a motorcycle. We have reviewed some of the best currently available here. If you hauling often, it is an investment worth making.

Tie-down points on the truck and bike should be chosen so the straps are at a 45-degree angle when in position.

I like to use two in the front, and two more in the back, and avoid using areas such as the muffler, mirrors, or indicators when tying to the bike. These components will rip off under stress.

The best tie-down spots are located on the handlebars and frame, (the wheels are too low for safe hastening).

Where you have tied-down be aware that slight movement during transit will result in rubbing and abrasion, so avoid areas of the bodywork that are aesthetically painted.

Finally, a bungee strapped around the front brake lever will help reduce any front-to-back movement of the motorcycle.

Driving a truck/trailer while carrying a motorcycle

The rules of the road when transporting any large item on your truck bed or trailer remain the same.

You need to drive more carefully and avoid any abrupt maneuvers if possible. Top speeds are not on the cards while hauling.

Plan ahead, allow yourself more time, and arrive at your destination with your load safely intact.

The video above goes through some of the universal points of driving with a trailer load.

Unloading your motorcycle

Unloading is the same as loading only backward.

The location of the truck/trailer should be so the ramp incline is at its lowest possible angle. The ramps need to be safely placed into position.

When undoing the ties, be prepared for the motorcycle to jolt to one side due to the release of tension.

Reversing out of the truck/trailer can be awkward as you are maneuvering backward. Having someone available to guide you down and out is helpful.

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