How to Load a Motorcycle Into a Van | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated June 20, 2023

When transporting a motorcycle from A to B, safety comes first. Your motorcycle should arrive in the condition it left. Loading a motorcycle into a van is easy enough, but a conscientious owner should be aware of the many ways to keep it secure during transit.

Some people query whether transporting a motorcycle by van is even possible. Vans do vary in size and so do motorcycles, but in most cases you will have little problem fitting one inside the other. Unsure if yours will? Use a measuring tape (or measuring app) to assess the size of each to find out for certain. Some vans have removable back seats which may be useful.

There are no rules against it – unless you are especially reckless! Think of your motorcycle as delicate cargo with handlebars. It also has wheels, so there are special requirements to transporting your motorcycle in a van. They all come down to the same objective: Your motorcycle must be tightly secured during transit.

This guide will explain how and what safety precautions to take when loading your motorcycle in a van. If you plan on using a trailer, view our sister post on the topic.

Can a Motorcycle Fit in a Van?

As mentioned, this concern’s a biggie (no pun intended). The average dimensions of a large motorcycle, including handlebars and side mirrors, are about 7 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet tall. That’s important to bear in mind when choosing a van.

That size is no problem for an average cargo van. Having the choice, most motorcycle owners will choose a cargo van to be on the safe side. The average dimensions of the inside of a cargo van are 10.5 feet long, 5 feet wide, and about 4 feet tall.

Can a Motorcycle Fit in a Minivan?

But a minivan is usually fine too, at a push (also no pun intended). The space inside a minivan measures, on average, 7.5 feet long, 5 feet wide, and just under 4 feet tall. With less space, it’s conceivable that the handlebars of a medium-large motorcycle may need to be adjusted, or removed (if possible). But for small-to-medium-sized motorcycles, this will get the job done. And, if you’re renting a van or hiring a driver to post your shipment, it’s likely to be cheaper too.

When working out the exact measurements, we advise you not to rely on the manufacturer’s word but to take measurements manually. Make allowances for accessories and other features on your motorcycle or inside the van.

How Do You Load a Motorcycle Into a Van?

So you’re ready to load a bike into the back of a van. What’s the best way to go about it? Follow these steps to make sure the motorcycle is safe and secure.

  1. Drain fluids. This goes for all vehicles being transported, from cars to boats. Before you load your motorcycle, empty the fuel tank until it’s less than a quarter full. There are two good reasons for this: One, it reduces the fluid weight of the cargo, making it less likely to strain against its straps as it goes around corners. And two, the driver will be in a confined space with the motorcycle, so the less toxic fumes the better.
  2. Make adjustments. Goes without saying. Make adjustments to handlebars, side mirrors and any features inside the van before you begin loading.
  3. Locate hooks. Find the places where you can hook the straps to tie down the bike. If you have removed the seats, the seat mount hooks on the floor are ideal points to hook those straps to.
  4. Affix ramp (and enlist help). Make sure the ramp is reliable, sturdy and resting on an even surface (like the sidewalk or a tarmacked road). The load is a lot easier when the ramp and the van are balanced. The loading itself ought to be a two person job, making sure the bike doesn’t topple off the ramp and pulling it into the body of the van from within. What are friends for?

How Do You Secure a Motorcycle In a Van?

Once inside, put the motorcycle in gear so it doesn’t roll off. Now to employ those tow straps. It’s recommended you use at least four straps, and try to strap the motorcycle down from its four corners if you can. Seen from above, the motorcycle should be at the centre of an ‘X’ of tow straps. This way, there is no ‘weak’ direction for the motorcycle to be dislodged in.

Now the bike is strapped down, place either a tarp or piece of cardboard underneath to catch drips and leaks, in case they should occur. Even after draining all fluids, there’s likely to be some residue, so it’s better plan ahead to avoid fumy stains on the van floor.

Use either a blanket or pillow between any part of the motorcycle and the wall of the van to prevent two hard surfaces rubbing. This will help reduce any potential damage.

How Do You Transport a Motorcycle in a Van?

Carefully! Remember, a motorcycle is precious cargo, so go easy on the turns. If possible, choose a route that sticks to well-surfaced roads (ie without too many bumps) and don’t make any reckless driving decisions. The extra weight in the van will magnify any errors, so caution is the name of the game.

What Haulers Will Transport a Motorcycle in a Van?

By far, the safest option for your motorcycle is to employ a shipping service with a good reputation. They know all about transporting motorcycles and can better guarantee safe transit than an amateur.

 It doesn’t have to be expensive either. CitizenShipper functions like a marketplace, allowing trained drivers to bid and outbid each other to secure your delivery. That means you get the best deal and have the freedom to pick and choose who you entrust with the safety of your motorcycle. 

If you don’t intend to transport your motorcycle more than three times a year, shipping services are your safest and cheapest option, say comparison experts. It is especially cost-effective if you do not already own a van

Then you have peace of mind! Post your shipment now for free. Your motorcycle will thank you. 

Featured Image Credit: Youtube