How to Haul a Motorcycle

A 2009 study by the Motorcycle Industry Council states that the number of motorcycles in America is growing, jumping 26 percent between 2003 to 2006. Women, youth, and baby boomer populations are part of the growing number of motorcycle owners, and they are using motorcycles more often for transportation instead of just riding around. Professional motorcyclists and weekend riders both should learn how to haul a motorcycle properly to avoid the risk of injury and damage to their vehicle. Tie-down techniques will vary from model to model, but the general principles of safe loading and hauling will be the same regardless of the motorcycle or owner.


  1. Purchase a motorcycle ramp with a sufficient weight rating for your motorcycle.

    • Ramps should be rated for at least 800 pounds (364 kg). Ramps with a lesser weight rating may start to twist, bend, or fail completely with continued use.
    • Look in your owner’s manual for the weight of your motorcycle or ask your dealer.
  2. Measure the width of your front tire.

  3. Prepare your pickup bed for transporting a motorcycle.

    • Cut a piece of plywood 5-by-1 foot (1.52-by-.3 m) to place right behind the back window.
    • Nail 2, 2-by-4s that are 1-foot (30.5 cm) long far enough apart to accommodate your front tire, which is typically about 4 inches (10.2 cm). This will hold the tire steady and not allow it to twist from side to side.
    • Nail a 2-by-4 to the front of these 2 boards to act as a front tire chock and to stop the motorcycle from rolling forward.
  4. Cut a 10-by-10-inch (25.4-by-25.4-cm) piece of plywood to place under the kickstand. This will keep the motorcycle upright and protect the bed of the truck.

  5. Make the truck as level as possible with the ground by backing up to a hill or curb.

  6. Line up the ramp with the front wheel chock in the center of the truck.

  7. Load the motorcycle into the truck.

  8. Use 2 pair of cam buckle tie downs or ratchet straps. This can help secure the bikes when you haul motorcycles.

    • Attach a pair of the tie downs to the front corners of the truck, and extend them as far out as they can go.
    • Attach them to a structural part of the bike such as the triple tree or the front of the engine where the frame meets the crash bars, which is found on inverted fork bikes.
  9. Use a pair of straps to secure the back end of the motorcycle for extra stability.

    • Run the straps to the back corners of the truck and secure on the tie brackets.
    • Find a high place on the motorcycle, such as the chassis, to attach the tie downs to and tighten.
  10. Stop the truck, and check the motorcycle every 30 minutes to be sure that the tie straps have not loosened or the bike shifted.

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