Tips for Loading a Motorcycle onto a Trailer

Tips for Loading a Motorcycle onto a Trailer

If you do have the need to travel over the road with your motorcycle on a trailer, there are some basic procedures you should follow when loading it so that the bike, you and everyone around you remain safe and have very enjoyable trip. Below are some suggestions for making the whole process easy and stress free. After all, it’s hard not to be worried when you are putting your bike in place on such an unfamiliar parking space. However, take your time and be very deliberate in what you check while also taking heed of the following tips and it should all go smoothly.

Preparation

  • The very first step here – once you have your trailer – is to read the instruction manual which came with it thoroughly. If there is a video, watch it. Learn as much about how the trailer works as you can. Some of the following steps will not apply to you and some will, so pay close attention to the manual you are given.
  • Get your ratcheting tie-down straps together (the trailer should have a way to secure all four corners in some cases, but this does depend on the trailer model), your soft-ties (if you have them), handlebar harness (if you have one), and a wheel chock of some type – whatever you have to lock the wheel(s) in place; a permanent front wheel unit is one of the best purchases you can make, but a wedge of wood may will work in many circumstances.

 

Get the trailer ready

  • Follow the proper instructions for getting the trailer ready to load the bike.
  • Place your ratcheting tie-down straps in place in front and back, depending on trailer design, in a way where they are out of the path of the motorcycle wheels and can be grabbed easily; from the bike if you are alone in this task. Also, put your handlebar harness across the front of the bike so that you can get to it when you need it and it will not fall off or cause any damage.
  • Check again to be sure that the trailer is locked in its position and attach a ramp, tilt the trailer, again depending on the type, or put in place whichever method you use to get the bike up on to the trailer.

 

Move the motorcycle onto the trailer…

  • Some say to simply ride the bike onto the trailer, but only do this if you are experienced and comfortable with how to do this safely – there are loads of videos on YouTube where this went horribly wrong, so be careful.
  • If you do not ride it on, push it up onto the trailer; if you have to lift it up, do so carefully one wheel at a time – not using a ramp makes it very wise to have a friend help you out here. If you have a permanent front wheel chock in place, maneuver the front wheel into place.

 

Secure the motorcycle in place…

  • Wile holding the motorcycle in place: Secure your handlebar harness across your handlebars, if you have one. Whether or not you do, secure the front straps to the front bars of the bike and cinch them down evenly and progressively on each side. One suggestion is to go back and forth, left to right, a little each time.
  • If you have the permanent front wheel chock, you can usually safely let go of the motorcycle at this point. If not, keep holding on and attach the rear straps to a safe location on the rear frame/subframe and cinch them down as you did the front pair.
  • Do not over-tighten any of these straps – you may damage your suspension. For long-travel suspensions, get a block to keep the forks from compressing completely and save the seals.
  • There may be more fasteners at this point, make sure to follow the instructions which accompanied your trailer model.
  • Now, either lock the bike in place with the permanent front wheel chock, place a professional-grade rear wheel chock at back, or place your own wheel chocks in place front and/or rear. You want your motorcycle to be safely secured to the trailer so that nothing and no one is damaged.

To unload…

  • Reverse the above process and take care when taking the motorcycle off of the trailer.

Drive safely and ride responsibly!

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Towing and Hauling Tips for Motorcycle Trailers

Towing and Hauling Tips for Motorcycle Trailers

Driving your car, truck or van with a trailer in back hauling your true love – your motorcycle – to any destination can be make anyone nervous. After all, you have either spent money, time, or both, keeping that motorcycle running and it probably holds a special place in your heart for the joy it brings you when you ride it. Having it hanging out behind you, where you cannot see it too clearly, will certainly make you paranoid about every noise or weird feeling you get through the tow vehicle’s steering wheel.

So, what can you do to put your mind somewhat at ease and help make the drive a much less stress-inducing task which you must endure? Below are some simple tips which, if you follow them, should allow you to be closer to a clam state when behind the wheel far from home.

Keep an eye on…

  • After you have loaded your motorcycle on your trailer and it is hooked up to your tow vehicle, go back every single connection and tie down point to ensure everything is tight and firmly in place. Do a visual, sometimes physical, inspection of each connection every time you stop for fuel or a break.
  • Once under way, stop after about 30 minutes on the road and check each of the above areas again. If anything is loose already, make sure to make a mental note and play close attention to that area.
  • Check the tire pressure on the trailer’s tires regularly while driving. Trailer tires usually hold more pressure than either motorcycle or your average automobile tire, so that means they have more to lose. Watch this closely.

Remember, you are towing a trailer…

  • Do not forget that you have an extra vehicle attached to the rear end of your towing vehicle; some people will place a note where it can be easily seen by the driver to remember this fact. You might invest in mirror extenders, available at auto accessory stores, to allow you to see beyond the end of the trailer.
  • Be careful when changing lanes as your vehicle is much longer now.
  • Take your time on the roads. Both accelerating and slowing will take extra time and space, so be prepared for that. Hopefully, you have taken a few ‘demo’ rides with the trailer attached so that you feel more comfortable with it connected.
  • Always park properly with the trailer attached. Your total vehicle length may be doubled by adding a trailer, so ensure you have enough room to park when you need to do so.

Just take your time and include the trailer’s presence in every driving decision you make. Driving a vehicle which is towing something – anything – can be a completely different experience, so get some practice in before you start out on the long road to your destination.

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Renting a Motorcycle Trailer

Renting a Motorcycle Trailer

MotorcycleTrailerLarge

You need a trailer, but space at your house, apartment or condominium is very limited and you really have no room to store one. Your first thought would ideally be to look into folding or collapsible units, and there are many of them on the market, some for a reasonable price. However, if you do not need a trailer all that often and you are looking for something a bit more, let’s say protective, there is another option – you can rent your trailer.

U-Haul rents enclosed trailers in locations all over the United States and some parts of Canada, and they are reasonably priced for a weekend or just a single day. Some of the benefits are that you get a fully-enclosed trailer – one which not only keeps road debris, weather, and the many insect sacrifices off your precious bike, but it also keeps prying eyes off of it so no one is tempted to take it from you – no maintenance worries, as U-Haul handles all of that, and you have much more room for gear, parts and even a spare engine. And, as a commercial would say, that’s not all; it’s lockable, fully stable at above-legal highway speeds, and you can rent it one-way and drop it off at any U-Haul location on the continent. That means no storage issues!

Your only necessary investment is a wheel chock – make no mistake, this is and important part of this transport method. Your bike is back there, and it is enclosed, but it can still be significantly damaged should it get flung against the inside of the trailer. Get a wheel chock and save yourself worry, heartache and money. The portable models often sell for between US$120 and $250, but quality can be a factor, so do research before you purchase.

 

wheel chock

The rental fees for a U-Haul, or similar, trailer will often run around US$15 up to about $30 per day depending on the size you need – the smallest enclosed they offer will easily fit two motorcycles, though they will be close together if they are Honda Gold Wing-sized as the trailer is 37 inches wide (inside) and 96 inches long (overall).

One problem with this method is your local U-Haul dealer’s popularity. If it is regularly busy, you will probably have to wait in a long line to get to your rental trailer. Reserving online will save money, so try there first; and you can also look up various locations close to your home and destination while you are there. The last concern is your tow vehicle as you will see a significant fuel penalty and you need a proper towing hitch, both of which are due to the U-Haul enclosed trailer’s extra weight.

This method can save you money if you only trailer your motorcycle a few times a year. Most new trailers will run you at least 50 times the amount you would spend on renting a trailer for a couple of days (remember that another trailer would also cost you more fuel). If, however, you use a trailer several times in a week year-round, purchasing one is probably smarter and cheaper. You might even find an old enclosed rental trailer for sale. At least now you have a choice and another option for carrying your motorcycle safely to your destination.

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