We’ve previously discussed various motorcycle loading procedures, for example in this article or this one. But those were edge cases, explaining how you could load a motorcycle without wheel chocks or ramps. This time, instead of focusing on those rare situations, we’re covering the topic broader and deeper. Here’s how to load a motorcycle into a truck, period. Hopefully, you’ll find this step-by-step guide useful whether hauling the bike on your own or getting it ready for transport.
Here’s How to load a motorcycle in a truck ?
Step One: Prepping the Gear
Before we go any further, let’s list off the items you’ll need to load and tie-down your bike. Not all of these are strictly necessary, of course. Depending on the specifics of the bike and truck, extra equipment might be required. Still, the following should work well as a basic outline.
Loading Ramp: Since you’re not using a dedicated trailer, you’ll need some sort of ramp. Look for one long enough to reduce the angle of entry, especially if your bike is on the heavier side. In a pinch, you might get away with using just a couple of two-by-fours (see Step Four, below). Still, gearing up properly is the safest way to go.
Straps and Chocks: To secure the motorcycle in the truck bed, you’ll need strapping. At a bare minimum, get a pair of either ratchet or cam-buckle straps. Beyond that, a couple of soft loop straps might come in handy to minimize wear-and-tear. A solid wheel chock or loading pellet will help you stabilize the motorcycle as well.
Vehicle Considerations: As part of the preparation, you might want to think about the vehicle you’re using. Can the motorcycle fit in the truck bed? How do you get a Harley in the back of a truck if the ramp isn’t rated for its weight? We can only advise you to take measurements, jot everything down, and plan your course of action accordingly.
Extra Hands: Of course, you might be perfectly capable of loading a motorcycle on your own. Still, if a helping hand is available to keep it steady while you work, it couldn’t hurt.
And now that you’ve got all your ducks in order, it’s time to get this show on the road!
Step Two: Loading the Bike
The ways of getting your bike into your truck bed are innumerable. Let’s just list the three most common ones and let you pick the one that suits you. (The first one, we mean. Please be reasonable and go with the first one.)
Pushing Up the Ramp: The plain vanilla option, though still one you could really mess up. So how do you push up a motorcycle ramp correctly? Well, assuming you’ve set up a double ramp, you simply walk slowly up one side while pushing the bike up the other. But if using a single ramp, you’re staying at ground level as the bike goes up. (That’s where a second pair of hands up in the truck back comes in handy.) Either way, be sure to keep it steady as it clears the breakover angle — the spot at which the ramp connects to the truck bed.
Riding Up the Ramp: The exciting option! You just launch it straight up there and the crowd goes wild! That’s… well, not exactly how it usually goes. The ramp’s incline, the bike’s weight, and your clutch control will determine whether you make it or not. There are countless youtube videos of people failing at this in embarrassing ways. We’ve learned from their example, and hope you will too!
Straight-Up Power Lifting: This one only works for lighter bikes or the Incredible Hulk. If your truck bed is low enough, you might be able to simply lift your bike up there. A quick and easy solution, but we do not recommend it for anything heavier than a dirt bike. Also, we strongly advise against trying this if you’re not in peak physical condition.
Step Three: Securing the Bike
So you’ve finally got it up there safe and sound, congratulations. But it that all? Can you just put a motorcycle in the back of a truck and call it a day? Of course not! Before hitting the road it’s crucially important that you secure the motorcycle. This must be done correctly to avoid the drive loosening the straps and the bike slamming into the truck bed.
So how do I secure my bike in my truck bed correctly, we hear you asking. Well, remember those ratchet straps we mentioned in step one? This is where they come into play.
- Hook one strap through the tiedown anchor in the front left corner of the truck bed.
- Hook its other end to a solid fixture on your bike, as low as you can get. (The fork or the handlebars are common choices).
- Tighten the left ratchet strap a little, then hook one to the right in the same way. Make sure they’re symmetrical in position.
- Keep tightening the left and right straps interchangeably until only a little slack is left on either end.
- To be on the safe side, tie down the back wheel too. One strap should suffice.
- Once the motorcycle is in an upright position and seemingly stable, test the straps. They should be holding the bike solid, making it difficult for you to shake it loose. If that’s the case, you’re good to go.
This should provide the basic framework for securing your motorcycle on a truck bed. Keep in mind that there is plenty of room left for variations, though! Check out some of the videos embedded above and below for more details on tie-down strategies.
Step Four: Complicating factors
You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men. No matter how well you’ve prepared, some annoying little last-minute change always gets in your way. Let’s try and quickly tackle some of these potential complications.
Q: How do you use a motorcycle ramp that’s too narrow to stand on?
A: Narrow ramps are less than ideal, but you can still make them work. One option is to walk next to the bike as it goes up, then hop in after it (or have people up there to take over). Another is to strap two narrow ramps together and jury-rig a single, broader one.
Q: Can you put a motorcycle in the back of a truck without a loading ramp?
A: You can indeed, though it’s far from the optimal approach. We’ve covered that in a separate article.
Q: How do you load a motorcycle into a lifted truck?
A: The higher your truck bed the sharper the breakover angle will be, which makes loading much more difficult. Longer and more flexible aluminum ramps could be one solution. If that doesn’t work for your truck, consider investing in a hydraulic lift rig.
Q: What if there’s no one around to lend a hand? How do you load a motorcycle on a truck solo?
A: Much more slowly and carefully than you would if you had help. Doesn’t sound helpful, we know, but it really is important to take it one step at a time. Check out this video from MotoJitsu for instructions.
And that does it for this comprehensive guide on how to load a motorcycle into a truck bed! If in need of further advice, you can always contact professional bike haulers via CitizenShipper and see what they think.
Stay safe, and keep on riding!
Featured Image Credit: ridermagazine.com