Owning a motorcycle can be a dream come true for many people, but, although it is bliss, there are some things you should take into account when handling your bike, like the fact that you are gonna have to transport it somewhere at some point. While doing that, you have to be very careful about handling it and taking care of its parts so, the frame, the engine, the motorcycle battery, and its other components can be sensitive parts that should be well protected while handling any motorcycle.
Every motorcycle veteran knows that protecting his bike should be a priority.
What You Need to Know
At first, you might think that the best way to transport your motorcycle is to ride it, and if you want to know our opinion, yes, that is how we feel too. But that’s the best choice for us when it comes to the feeling we get. Sometimes, we have to make the best choice for the bike, and that is to transport it on a trailer to avoid the dangers you might encounter on the way, like a flat tire or a breakdown.
Only the thought of seeing your baby on a trailer might make you get the heebie-jeebies, but think of it from another perspective: we have to handle the most precious things we have with care, and there are some cases in which the most responsible thing to do is not to ride it but to transport it carefully. There are tips on how to do that the right way and we’ve made a list.
What Will You Transport It On?
Riding a motorcycle has always symbolized freedom, and freedom has to be taken seriously. You should consider making a plan before you start ‘packing’ your motorcycle up.
So, first things first, what equipment will you need? The most important decision to make is the means of transportation. When choosing, it’s important to consider the size of your motorcycle. You can choose between a trailer or a truck bed. They have to be customized for wheel vehicle transportation and you will later learn why.
What Tools Will You Need?
First, you will need a wheel chock, a device that doesn’t allow the front wheel to move or twist. You have to mount it to the deck of your trailer or truck bed – that is why the means of transportation has to be customized for transporting motorcycles. If you decide to buy one, it will be best to choose one that won’t damage your tires and will not break the rotors.
Some soft loops will help you secure your connections when you use your tie-down straps and the ratchet straps will allow you to offer the right support for any type of cargo size. The ratchet straps will allow you to minimize shock loading.
Loading Your Motorcycle
First of all, you have to position your truck or trailer so that you will have enough space to load your motorcycle in the right position. The wheel chock should be mounted to the deck toward the front side of your truck or trailer, but, before you do it, make sure you have enough space on both sides so that you can tie down the bike.
When you load your motorcycle you have to use a ramp and push it up the truck bed or trailer. Using a motorcycle ramp is a better idea than using a plank of wood. It is important to make sure that the ramp is secured both on the ground and on the trailer or truck bed. You could have some friends help you pick your motorcycle up, but a ramp is much more secure.
Securing Your Motorcycle
After getting your bike on the trailer, you need to position your motorcycle so that the front wheel is fixed inside the wheel chock. If you are using a customized bike trailer, you will see a channel in the center of the trailer floor. You will have to maneuver your motorcycle into the channel in the right position.
Depending on the motorcycle model you own, you have to tie it down differently. But the principle is the same: you have to use a rigid part as an attachment point. That can be the frame or a firmly mounted part on the frame.
Soft loops are important mainly because they are soft. Sounds like a stupid thing, right? But it’s not. It’s not, because the hooks of the ratchet straps can damage your motorcycle, they can scratch it, so the soft loops prevent them to do so. Wrap them around the base of the handlebar. One on the left and one on the right.
You should avoid attaching the loops on the handlebar, instead of the base of it, because the force you need to secure the bike could bend them.
After you do that on the front, you can move to the back of the bike and find some solid parts to wrap soft loops around them as well. Some people use two ties at the front and two at the rear of the motorcycle and others use four at the front and two at the rear. Either way you choose to do it, they both keep your bike on the safe side.
Now you can move on to attaching the ratchet straps to the loose end of the soft loops. After you have done that you have to pay attention to something important. The ratchet straps have to be on a 45-degree angle between the truck bed and the motorcycle.
After you have checked that, you can connect the loose end of the ratchet straps to your trailer or truck and tighten the straps. You have to pull it tight enough so that your motorcycle won’t fall or move.
For the next step, after you have finished tying it down, you should double-check all your straps. It’s important to do so to make sure that your bike is safely grounded.
What Happens When You Reach Your Destination?
You’ve reached your destination and now you are eager to take it down and ride it. Sounds magnificent, but don’t forget to be careful how you untie it. Once you’ve done the loading, you pretty much know how to do the unloading, it’s the reverse operation. You should probably consider that once you unstrap the bike on one side, it will lunge to the other, so call a friend to help you.
Some motorcyclists find it hard to release the ratchet straps because sometimes they loosen hard. If you are facing this situation, try not to panic or yank on the straps. It will only make things worse causing damage to your motorcycle.
A Small Final Thought
If you don’t own a truck or trailer, a good choice is to search for a motorcycle transport company. But don’t think you will be completely carefree. Before you hand them your bike, they will require you to empty the tank and take out the battery.
To most riders, their motorcycle is ‘their baby’. That being the case, it’s a good idea to photograph the motorcycle from all angles and, after they have finished loading it on the trailer, to get your keys back and turn the alarms off.
A bit of a downfall is that they might not deliver the bike to an exact location because of the lack of maneuver space, so you if you have to go and pick it up – remember that it’s a good idea to have some gas with you.
Remember to always check if your bike hasn’t been damaged during transportation. If you see anything wrong, take pictures while their driver is still present, and photograph the damages and file the claims as soon as possible. Maybe that won’t be the case, but you always have to check so that you won’t get any surprises later on.
Riding a motorcycle gives you a wonderful feeling of freedom, but taking care of your bike is a responsibility you have to take seriously. If you want to make sure your bike is safe, you can tie it down and transport it yourself or you can find a motorcycle transportation company. Either way, you have to make sure everything is alright before the trailer takes off.
At the end of the day, the choice you make doesn’t matter, all that matters is that your bike arrives safely to its destination.