Have you ever seen bike-loading fails on YouTube? If not, take some time to do so. Not only it’s funny, but it’s a good way to understand the wrong ways of hauling and transporting motorcycles.
If you’re wondering how to transport your motorcycle, the answer is still to drive it. However, that’s not always possible like if you have a flat tire or you’re moving across the country.
It’s a delicate job you should ask someone to help you with, but it’s still fairly easy if you know the do’s and don’ts. Continue reading to learn the easiest methods as well as some tips and tricks on how to transport your motorcycle.
Reasons for Transport
There are several reasons why you would want to transport your motorcycle. In most cases, it’s due to a flat tire or some kind of a breakdown. Cross-country moves are also a common reason because it’s often too complicated to ride as far when you’re moving your entire household.
Available Transport Methods
Though riding it is still the best way to transport your motorcycle that might not always be an option. Luckily, there are several other ways you can do it that are relatively simple if you have someone to help you.
Many of these might require some additional tools and pieces of equipment, though none of those are too difficult to come across.
The first thing you should do is park the truck and motorcycle on a firm surface so avoid grass or dirt. Any uneven surface is potentially dangerous since it’s easier for the bike to slip off and fall.
Make sure to use a motorcycle ramp and place it with the rubber end against the tailgate. Of course, use the proper ramp intended for loading bikes.
It’s crucial that you find an appropriate trailer for this because not all of them are actually safe and suitable. The kind you’ll go for depends on many factors, but you can always rent if you don’t think you’ll need it as often. In most cases, rented trailers are in great condition and have the required licenses and lighting.
You’ll need some ratchet snaps and a wheel chock to secure the motorcycle properly.
Cargo Container/Portable Storage
Renting a cargo container is also a good option if you’re transporting the bike at long distance. The cargo container can also serve you as a temporary storage space if you need one.
You should always consider two or three companies before opting for the one that offers the best deal. Make sure to think this through since it’s not always the best to for the cheapest option.
Another method is to rent a hitch carrier you can attach to the back of your car. This way, you can tow the motorcycle to wherever you want to.
It might be the best option if you own an SUV. You’ll need a few tools and harnesses to secure the vehicle in place regardless of the distance. Make sure to only opt for it if you don’t plan to ride across a distance that’s too long.
Steps for Transporting
It might seem easy, but transporting a motorbike requires careful planning and delicate handling. Once you opt for the transportation method, you should carefully do the following steps.
Get the Vehicle Level
You should always use a ramp to get the bike up on the truck or trailer. Bikes are usually quite heavy, and it’s not easy to get them on the same level. The ramp should be firm and sturdy, so it doesn’t break or bend during the process.
Make sure it has a rubber end that attaches to the tailgate of your truck. Do it on a flat surface, so your ramp doesn’t slip or move when you’re pushing the motorcycle up.
Load the Motorcycle
Your first idea was probably to push it onto the trailer using its own power, although it’s the worst way of doing things. It’s easy to damage the motorcycle this way or even worse, obtain an injury yourself. It’s not impossible, but that’s really something only highly experienced people can do.
It’s also not recommended you do this alone since bikes are heavy and might be tricky to move up without a helping hand.
Make sure to secure the ramp before you load the motorcycle on it. Check if the metal end rests evenly on the concrete surface. Look for a hook to fasten a ratchet strap to. This provides some added security and prevents the ramp from slipping once the heavy bike is on it.
Put your bike into neutral if you haven’t done it already or check if you did. It’s the easiest and the safest way of rolling it up the ramp.
Get someone to help you before you proceed. One person should hold the handlebars while someone else should push up from behind. The vehicle is the heaviest when it’s near the top of the ramp which is why someone should be in the back of it.
That someone else should help you handle the weight of the vehicle, so it’s more stable and doesn’t wobble. Make sure the other person doesn’t control the bike or help you balance it. It’s something you should do alone because two people often aren’t synched as well to do it properly.
Another highly helpful thing is an extra step, but only if it’s the right height. It has to be sturdy and positioned so you can step on it when the motorcycle is nearly up. This helps you step inside the truck or trailer as your bike moves up the ramp.
There’s more to this than just loading the bike onto the truck or trailer. Nothing is done until the vehicle is securely into place.
You should prepare the truck bed before you get the motorbike on the ramp. Secure the chock in the center of your tie-down points. Also, make sure to have all the tie-downs ready and prepared.
Invest in some tie-downs that are of good quality and won’t break during the process. You can go for either buckle or ratchet type as long as they’re covered by plastic at either end.
It’s important that you do this correctly because if not, it could detach during transporting. Instead of just hooking the end through the tie-down point, thread it through the eyelet and return it through the hook.
Use tie-downs to secure the ramp as well. Most ramps have a hook you should use to secure the ramp to the truck. Place one hook of your ratchet tie-down through the hook on the ramp before securing the other end to a hook in the truck.
Use the ratchet to tighten the strap all the way until you’re sure it’s firmly secured into place. This is a critical step altogether since, without tie-downs, the ramp might slide backward.
Need more info? Here’s our guide on how to use tie downs.
Double Check the Slack
Make sure to double-check the slack before you move away with the bike mounted. Lean the vehicle to one side and pull the slack out of the tie-down on that side. Do the same on the other side and repeat until the vehicle is stable.
Unloading shouldn’t be hard since it’s essentially just backward loading. It’s not that hard to roll it down the ramp, but you might need some assistance with untying it. When you release the tie-down on one side, you should expect the bike to lean to the other one.
When you’re taking it down, it’s not that simple to see where you’re going which is why you should have someone helping you. Two people holding it is always better than one.
Other Helpful Tips
As you can see, transporting a motorbike isn’t as hard if you do all the steps carefully. One of the best tips to follow is to make sure all the tie points are soft.
Even if you secure the bike tightly into place, it will still wobble and sway at least a little bit. If your tying point is hard, it could scratch and damage the paint of your motorcycle. For this reason, you should opt for soft-ties only. You can make these yourself or buy them pre-made.
Also, we may have mentioned avoiding riding the motorcycle up the ramp. It sounds like a good idea that doesn’t involve as much hassle, but it’s actually everything but.
It can be done if you think you’re experienced enough, but we wouldn’t recommend it nonetheless. Riding it up the ramp almost always ends up in tears.
Pros and Cons of Moto Transport Companies
Moto transport companies are a good way of taking your bike across the country especially if it’s not registered. However, there are good and bad sides to this method much like with any other.
A reliable company should handle the matter without any complications or hassle. They are the ones who load and unload the bike while you’re just there to sign papers. They make a list of the existing damages that you get to check once you receive your vehicle. It’s an easy process you don’t have to physically handle on your own.
However, if you opt for an unreliable company, there are many things that can go wrong. For this reason, consider a few before you choose the one. Check the customer reviews online since those are a great testimony of quality.
Another setback might be the price. Moto transport companies tend to be a bit pricey especially if you’re taking the motorcycle far across the country.
By now, you’ve probably learned how to move a motorcycle by yourself. It’s not an overly complicated thing to do as long as you have the right equipment. If you follow all the steps above with care and ease, you shouldn’t experience any problems.
Get someone to help you and make sure to have everything prepared before you actually roll the bike up. Everything has to be aligned and secured into place for the vehicle to reach its destination point safely and successfully.