A motorbike that is tied down incorrectly to a trailer could result in shifting or tipping over during a trip down the highway or even fall-off the trailer. So, in this post we are going to provide you with some of the tips on how keep your motorcycle tied down safely on a trailer during road trips. You also learn about picking the appropriate trailer, secure your bike to it and how to drive safely.
STEP-1: How To Pick A Trailer For Transporting A Motorbike:
-Choose a trailer that suits your transportation needs: Depending on how often you plan to move your bike, conditions you expect to encounter, how handy you are with tools and your budget, there are a variety of different trailers that will be appropriate for your purposes. In fact, a variety of trailers are made to fit certain models or brands of motorbikes. Additionally, you can check with your bike retailer for specific trailer suggestions for the motorcycle model. On the other hand, renting a trailer is usually the most common option since most companies that provide the equipment usually keep it very well-maintained and in compliance with federal and state law in terms of registration, plates and lighting. Size-wise, a 5′ X 9′ open trailer with a fold-down ramp is ideal for one or two cruisers. It’s also good to have tie-down rings in the front corners on the floor. Likewise, some trailers are made specifically for motorcycle trailers with very small tires which bounce uncontrollably as you drive. But if your motorbike is worth towing, use a heftier trailer.
-Pick a corresponding ramp for the trailer: Measure the wheelbase and the ground clearance of the motorbike to make sure that you get a ramp that’s big enough for your purposes. In fact, most trailers should come with a pull-down ramp but if you’re going to rent one or try to trailer a bike in your truck then you’ll want to be sure it’ll work. So, wheelbase is measured from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel of your bike. Ground Clearance is measured from the lowest point of the motorcycle, halfway between the front and rear wheels. You may also need to measure the height of the trailer or the truck bed in which you’re trying to load the bike.
-Learn about the trailer permit laws in your area: Laws may vary from state-to-state and that’s why it’s a good idea to investigate any special permits, laws, rules of the road or licenses that you might need in order to stay in compliance with local law enforcement. In fact, most rental companies will offer a temporary insurance policy which may cover only their equipment and which may require you to pay a deductible. So, check with your insurance company to see whether the rental insurance will be sufficient to be on the safer side.
-Make sure you have a vehicle with a hitch: To pull a trailer with weight up to a ton, you’ll need something with rear-wheel drive rated to tow up to 2000-pounds. In fact, Crown Victorias or Chevy Caprices work great. Additionally, hitches are rated based on the tongue-weight of different trailers and you’ll need an appropriate hitch for the trailer you use. For motorcycles, Class 1 or 2 hitches are usually fine. Likewise, smaller cars can work for smaller trailers but anything more than a ton needs a heftier vehicle.
STEP-2: How To Secure Your Motorbike:
-Acquire some ratchet straps: There are several straps but the ratchet type is easier to compress the suspension than the pull strap type. Additionally, pay attention to the Working Load Limit of the straps you get and choose a strap that has a working load limit of at least half the weight of your motorcycle. For instance, if your bike weighs 650-pounds then find a strap with a working load limit of at least 325-pounds each. In fact, most 1″ nylon straps will have this rating.
-Get a wheel-chock for the front of the trailer: A wheel-chock is usually made of metal or hard plastic and it’s usually placed around the front wheel of the motorcycle to inhibit it from moving. Although a wheel chock is not a requirement to trailer your bike, it makes the chore much easier especially if you are loading and strapping without the assistance of a friend. But if you don’t have a chock then park the bike at the very front of the trailer. If there is a rail on the trailer then your front tire should be pressed against the rail.
-Use a ramp to load the motorbike: Push the bike up the ramp into the bed of the trailer while placing the front wheel into the wheel chock. Place the front wheel of your motorcycle into the wheel-chock too.
-Put the side-stand down and attach the straps: The general rule for strapping anything is to attach the straps as high as possible on the bike and as low as possible on the trailer for the greatest holding power. So, use an “X” pattern for maximum stability. Start with the front left strap (as viewed from a sitting position on the bike). Secure one end of the strap to the trailer and the other to a rigid point on the frame or triple tree. Tighten the front left strap until it is taut. Next, attach the front right strap in the same manner as the front left strap. Since your bike is on the side stand it will be leaning to the left but in the end, we want the bike to be perfectly vertical when secured. You may also want to use some soft loops on the motorcycle end of the strap, to protect the bike, then attach the ratchet strap to the soft loop.
-Secure straps to the trailer & ratchet them down: Secure the other hook end of the strap to a secure spot in your truck or trailer and preferably at an angle. After, pull the slack out of the strap and ratchet it a few times. Repeat this same process for the right side. Tighten each ratchet strap so that the bike will sit in the upright position on its own. You will notice the bike start moving into a vertical position and your front suspension compressing. Once the bike is vertical you will want to tighten the left and right sides equally until the suspension is completely compressed. Don’t strap the handlebars since most manufacturers say that it’s not safe to attach ratchet straps to the handlebars because they are simply not designed to take the pressures that will be exerted by the straps and a bouncy road.
-Strap the rear of the motorbike: Secure the straps rearward of the motorcycle so that the rear straps put counter tension on the front straps hence making your bike an immovable fixture on the trailer. Additionally, don’t tie the straps to guards on saddle bags or trunks as it may pull the guards off during transit.
STEP-3: How To Drive With A Trailered Motorbike:
-Ensure that the suspension is compressed: As you ratchet the straps down, you will need to make sure that the suspension is compressed fully. If it is not compressed, then it’s likely that your straps will come loose as the bike rebounds, bouncing around from bumps and dips in the road.
-Practice driving with the trailer attached to your main transportation vehicle: Practice hooking up your trailer and driving around a bit to get a feel for thing. In fact, practice driving around tight-corners, driveways and backing up specifically. Also take it for a test run on a highway at high-speeds. This will help you get a sense of how you will need to adjust your regular driving habits to accommodate driving with the trailer attached.
-Cover the motorbike with a tarp: After securing the motorbike to the trailer, use a canvas or vinyl tarp to cover it and keep it safe from the weather-elements. So, just tie it firmly down to the straps or to the motorbike.
-Recheck the straps regularly: It’s very important to go back and check all the straps to make sure they are not rubbing any parts on your motorbike. You should also recheck the tension on the straps. Additionally, on a longer trip you will need to walk around every time you stop and re-check the straps again.