Although motorcycles are an excellent means of transportation, you can't always ride one wherever you go. If you decide to transport a motorcycle in a truck or trailer, you should properly secure it with ratchet straps to prevent it from tipping over during the ride. On the other hand, if you choose to hire a transport company, you should make sure you understand the services they provide and what to do if the motorcycle is damaged during the trip.
Method 1 of 3: Load the Motorcycle into a Pickup
Step 1. Park the truck and motorcycle on a firm, level surface
Never try to load a motorcycle into a truck on uneven or soft ground that may give way when you move the motorcycle. Asphalt or concrete are the preferred surfaces when loading a motorcycle into a truck.
- Never use pieces of wood on grass or dirt as a loading surface, as the wood can sink, break or slide.
- Do not try to load a motorcycle in a pickup on an uneven surface to avoid the motorcycle falling over while loading it.
Step 2. Extend the motorcycle ramp and place the rubber end on the rear deck
You should always use a ramp designed to load motorcycles into trucks and trailers. Motorcycles can be extremely heavy, so the ramp must be designed to support that weight. This ramp usually folds in half for easy portability, so spread it out and place the rubber end on the rear bed of the truck. The metal end should lie flat on the ground.
- The rubber will protect the rear deck from scratching as the truck's suspension lowers under the weight of the motorcycle.
- Make sure the ramp rests evenly on the ground to ensure you don't damage the motorcycle tire or move unpredictably when you push it onto the ramp.
Step 3. Use a ratchet tie down to secure the ramp to the truck
Most ramps have a hook designed to secure the ramp to the truck. Pass the hook of a ratchet tie down (also known as a ratchet strap) through the hook above the ramp and secure the other end to a loop or hook in the bed of the truck. Use the ratchet to adjust the strap until the ramp is firmly in place.
- Without a strap to secure it, the ramp could slide back and fall off the rear bed of the truck when you push the motorcycle onto it.
- Avoid using an elastic strap to secure the ramp. These types of straps can sag, causing the ramp to topple over.
Step 4. Put the motorcycle in neutral
If you leave the motorcycle running to prevent the wheels from spinning while you are not riding it, you will have to return it to neutral to push it. The gear lever is located on the side of the motorcycle and is controlled with the left foot. Push the gear lever down until the motorcycle is in first gear. Then press it up slightly to return it to neutral.
- The shift to neutral on a motorcycle is located between first and second gears.
- Most motorcycles have a light on the gauge to tell you they are in neutral.
Step 5. Ask a friend to help you push the motorcycle down the ramp
Pushing the motorcycle onto the truck should be a two-person job. If you try to go it alone, the motorcycle could topple over, causing significant damage (to both you and the vehicle). You should place both hands on the handlebars and ask a friend to push from behind. The motorcycle should move up the ramp, but stop before reaching the truck. Use your right hand to squeeze the front brake lever on the handlebars to prevent the motorcycle from rolling back as your friend climbs into the bed of the truck to help you pull it the rest of the way.
- Your friend doesn't need to change places midway if you can enlist the help of a third person.
- Make sure the brakes prevent the motorcycle from rolling back under its weight before your friend releases it to get into the truck.
Method 2 of 3: Securing a Motorcycle to a Pickup or Trailer
Step 1. Gather the necessary equipment
To securely fasten the motorcycle to a trailer or truck bed, you will need three ratchet straps with at least one “soft loop” or heavy duty loop. These items are designed to prevent scuff damage on painted motorcycle components. You can also choose to use a motorcycle wheel chock, but in many applications this element is not necessary.
- Make sure you have ratchet straps or tie downs to secure the motorcycle properly. Elastic straps will not be enough.
- You can buy soft loops and ratchet straps at many large retail stores, auto parts stores, or motorcycle specialty stores.
Step 2. Put chocks around the rear wheel
If you choose to use chocks, you must place one in front and one behind the rear wheel. As you transport the motorcycle, it may rock back and forth, and the chocks will help prevent too much pressure from being put on the ratchet straps.
- The use of chocks for heavier motorcycles (for example, cruiser and grand touring) is recommended.
- Some motorcycle wheel chocks are "U" shaped and designed to support both the front and rear wheels.
Step 3. Attach the handlebars to the sides of the truck or trailer with a strap
With the motorcycle in position on the trailer or truck, you should hang two ratchet straps from the handlebars (one on each side). Secure the opposite end of each strap to a loop or hook on the trailer or truck that sits further back than the handlebars so that the straps hang at an angle from the front of the motorcycle to the rear of the truck or truck. trailer. Tighten the straps just enough until they are taut. You will need to tighten them even more once you finish tying up the rear of the motorcycle.
- The ratchet straps must be secured on both sides of the truck or trailer to the hooks that are located further back than the handlebar.
- Ideally, the straps should be located at a 45 degree angle to the motorcycle when viewed from above.
Step 4. Thread a soft loop strap around the rear of the motorcycle
Take the soft loop strap and connect it to a ratchet strap by putting the hook through the loop. Pass the loop through or around a section of the rear of the motorcycle (for example, around the swingarm or even through the empty space in the wheel). Secure the other end of the strap to a hook or loop on the front of the truck or trailer bed.
- If the wheels have spokes, it is not recommended that you pass the soft loop through them, as the tension can damage them.
- Even with the soft loop, you will likely want to place a rag between the loop and any painted surfaces on the motorcycle to avoid scratches or scrapes to the paint during the ride.
Step 5. Adjust all the straps
With all the straps in place, have your friend press firmly on the handlebar with all his weight while you use the ratchet to adjust the straps. The front suspension must be compressed (lowering the height of the motorcycle) while being transported. Adjust the back strap once the front two are fully fastened. At this point, the three straps should prevent the motorcycle from moving front to back or left to right.
- The motorcycle should come to a stop without the kickstand when the straps are tight enough.
- Do not tie up the motorcycle with the kickstand down, as you can damage the trailer or truck bed. Also, this will force the motorcycle to sit at an angle.
Method 3 of 3: Ship a Motorcycle
Step 1. Contact local shipping companies to get a quote
There are a number of national and local companies that can ship your motorcycle, but you should make sure you get a good deal from a reputable company. Start by looking for local businesses online or in the phone book. Once you find one you like, you should call to get a quote.
- Try to get at least 3 quotes to make sure you get a reasonable price.
- Factors such as the distance the motorcycle will travel, size, weight, and time will affect the shipping price.
Step 2. Choose between open and closed shipping options
These options refer to the type of trailer the motorcycle will be mounted on while traveling. Enclosed trailers protect it from the elements and road dust. Open trailers offer less protection, but are often priced significantly lower.
- Consider the time of year and the area the motorcycle will travel through when choosing between a closed and an open trailer. If the motorcycle will be exposed to extreme heat or inclement weather, you can choose an enclosed trailer option.
- Remember that an open trailer can be left to the mercy of the elements for hours or days, regardless of the weather.
Step 3. Identify the final location
Some trucking companies offer door-to-door delivery service, while others expect you to pick up the motorcycle at a designated location. Shipping the motorcycle directly to your home is likely the most convenient option, but it is also the most expensive.
- Remember that the motorcycle can be transported on a trailer truck, so door-to-door shipping may not be feasible if the final location is not accessible with a vehicle of that size.
- If you ship the motorcycle to the major city closest to you, it will most likely cost you significantly less than shipping it to your doorstep.
Step 4. Ask about the insurance that will protect the motorcycle during the trip
While the motorcycle is being transported by a transport company, the insurance must cover the damages in addition to the theft. However, each company has different policies and you may be responsible for a deductible if something happens to the motorcycle. You should review the company's insurance agreement and see what to do in the event of damage.
- Be sure to inquire about any deductibles you may be responsible for if the motorcycle is damaged during the trip.
- If the trucking company does not have insurance, consider looking for a different company.
Step 5. Inspect the motorcycle for signs of damage upon receipt
Once the motorcycle reaches its destination, you should check it for signs of damage and contact the transport company. The company may reimburse you for the cost of repairs or request repairs at a designated facility, depending on the situation and insurance coverage. Be sure to take pictures of the damage to substantiate the claim.
- Contact the shipping company directly to discuss the damage.
- Make sure to keep copies of all the documentation you need regarding the damage until it has been repaired.