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.
- 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.
- Reverse the above process and take care when taking the motorcycle off of the trailer.
Drive safely and ride responsibly!