How to Secure a Motorcycle for Transport on a Trailer

Published on 11/05/19

Motorcycle used loading up in a trailer for transportation

How to Secure a Motorcycle for Transport

When securing a motorcycle for transportation on the back of a trailer or in the bed of a pickup truck there are many factors that you will want to consider before doing such. Some of the things to look out for is how you anticipate getting your motorcycle in the back of the truck bed or loaded onto the trailer.

The most common and recommended practice by far would be to purchase some decent quality motorcycle ramps to make sure safety is in mind when loading your bike. However, there is a wide variety of different alternatives such as a 2’ x 8’ wooden plank or even using a hillside if possible in order to load the motorcycle or dirtbike.

Motorcycle Secured to trailer with wool sleeve protector

Something to consider when determining which method of loading you intend on using is the incline of the ramp. A steep ramp will require more force over a longer ramp than gradually over a longer ramp in length. When a ramp is steeper it requires more force and momentum from the motorcycle to reach the top.

This can be much harder to balance the motorcycle while giving the force needed to reach the top of the ramp. A longer ramp requires less force and momentum to reach the top but uses force for a longer length of time. When it is possible make sure to always go for the longer ramp sizes that fit your motorcycle loading needs.

If you ever feel uncertain or feel like the way you are loading your heavy motorcycle is unsafe it is extremely recommended to almost always use two people to load the motorcycle. One person can be in charge of helping push the motorcycle up the ramp, while the other person can pull from the front while being in control of the steering. This helps leverage balance, and weight transfer, and ultimately reduces the chances of becoming injured or your motorcycle becoming damaged.

Motorcycle Trailer loading for transport

Steps to Secure a Motorcycle on a Trailer

1). – Start by using a motorcycle ramp or the ramp of the trailer to load the motorcycle, dirtbike, or tricycle onto the trailer.

2). – Next, place the motorcycle into the middle of the trailer for the best balance during securement. You can also use a motorcycle wheel chock stand to help mount the motorcycle to the flooring of the trailer to provide extra balance for easier securement.

3). – When securing a motorcycle it may help to put your kickstand down to give you some time to get the handlebars secured using handlebar straps to other tie-downs to provide balance. Once the balance is provided it is always a good rule of thumb to put the motorcycle’s kickstand back up to prevent damage to the flooring of the trailer during transport.

Motorcycle secured to trailer with 1 inch ratchet strap and d ring

4). – The next step is one of the most important steps to follow is making sure you create a secure balance with your tie-down straps of choice. You can get away with 1-inch tie-down straps for most dirt bikes, but we recommend for heavier motorcycles with larger engines go with the 2 inches when possible to help create an extra safety net.

5). – When tightening the Ratchet Straps for the motorcycle you will want a firm strap with very little slack. However, you do not want to over-tighten the tie downs as they could cause damage to your paint, fenders, or other plastics depending on the motorcycle you are transporting on your trailer.

A few extra tips to get in the habit of doing when securing your motorcycle is to make sure to check for any debris such as sand, dirt, ice, water, moss, or any other surfaces that could reside on the floor of the trailer and be quite slippery if you are not being careful. If you spot any of these conditions you will want to try to clean the spot free of debris before using it when possible.

Motorcycle Ramp used to load a motorcycle

Steps to Secure a Motorcycle in a Pickup Truck Bed

1). – Start by gathering the materials you will need in order to secure the motorcycle in the back of a pickup truck. You will need a ramp or a hill, some tie-down straps of choice, handlebar straps, a wheel chock, and a kickstand.

2). – Next, you will want to load the Motorcycle into the back of a pickup truck by using at least an 8-foot long ramp or alternative. It is always a good option if possible to load the motorcycle with at LEAST two people, one provides balance, while the other uses the pushing strength from the rear of the bike.

3). – Start securing the motorcycle by securing the handlebars of the motorcycle one at a time on the left and right side handlebars to create balance for your motorcycle. You will want the slack in the webbing of the ratchet straps to be very little so tighten the straps on both sides of the motorcycle until the motorcycle moves very little if any at all to either side when slightly pulling.

It’s never a bad idea to use at LEAST four tie-down straps in case a strap were to break your motorcycle would be safe. You can attach these straps along the bed of the pickup truck to create different securement points for your application.

Motorcycle Being Tied Down On A Motorcycle Trailer

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Frequently Asked Motorcycle Securement on a Trailer Questions

How Much Will it Cost To Secure A Motorcycle for Transport?
You can expect anywhere from around 50 dollars for tie-down straps and using a hill to load your motorcycles to a more permanent securement method such as a trailer, tie-down straps, a ramp, and a vehicle to pull the motorcycle to go upwards in the thousands of dollars.

The real question you should always ask yourself is will this be a one-time move or something that I consider moving often? If you intend on doing this often you will likely consider the longer-term investment of better securement equipment for your ride.

Motorcycle secured to a trailer with a 1 inch ratchet strap with loops

What Kind of Motorcycle Straps Do I Need?
Ultimately you will need straps that are rated for the weight of your motorcycle in order to have good securement practices. A normal V Twin motorcycle can weigh upwards of 700 pounds due to the amount of weight from the large engine. You will want to make sure that the straps you are using are rated to secure such weight with a proper working load limit.

A working load limit is what your straps are safely rated for to be used at. Another thing to look out for is you will want to make sure you are using at least four tie-down straps to help balance the weight of the motorcycle as well as being able to provide fail-safes if one of your tie-down straps were to break the bike would remain safely secured.

What Size Motorcycle Ramp Do I Need?
Although we do not provide any motorcycle ramps in our online store due to large shipping costs to arrive at most doorsteps we strongly urge our customers to purchase a motorcycle ramp at least 8 feet long. This makes getting the heavier motorcycles up the ramp a breeze compared to a shorter and steeper motorcycle which is much harder and requires much more force.

You will want to look for a ramp that is made from aluminum or other sturdy materials compared to wooden ramps that could break over time due to weathering.