How do you transport a dirt bike on a car? | CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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So you’ve got your dirt bike out front ready to go, but the track’s too far to ride it there. You were hoping to just load it into a truck, but your pickup isn’t available. You look at the wife’s sedan just sitting there, and think: Could I do it? What would she say? How would I load it? What straps do I need? How do you transport a dirt bike on a car anyway?

Maybe you’ve never run through a thought experiment like that, or maybe you’re just curious. Maybe you’re looking for practical tips on arranging bike transport. In any case, here’s a brief overview of your options for moving your motorcycle.

Hitch mounts

A hitch-mounted carrier is possibly the simplest way of transporting a bike using a car. You hitch the carrier onto the back of your car using the receiver tube. Then you load the dirt bike onto it and fasten everything in place.

Every hitch mount comes with a maximum weight capacity. Some versions also feature extendable trailers that can support as much as 3,000 lbs. But for a dirt bike, the lightweight models should be enough. These are typically available for a couple hundred dollars.

You might assume that there’s no need for a loading ramp when using a hitch mount. That’s often the case since dirt bikes aren’t too heavy. But after a long day of riding, you might appreciate having a loading ramp around!

And just as a side note, make sure that the bikes you hitch don’t block your tail lights! The mounts with tail lights of their own cost a little extra, but might be worth the investment. 

Bike trailers

When a hitch mount just doesn’t cut it, you need to get a proper trailer. There’s a wide variety of models to choose from, but for a dirt bike, you can keep it simple. 

The basic flatbed trailer will let you easily load multiple bikes using built-in ramps. However, safely tying them down is another matter. If your trailer doesn’t come with the necessary fixtures, you’ll need to get wheel chocks and ratchet straps. That can set you back as much as a grand or two, depending on the capacity you’re going for.

Fortunately, there’s a budget solution: you can rent a trailer for a one-time move! But if you find yourself renting repeatedly to get your bike where it needs to be, consider buying one instead.

Enclosed cargo trailers

And finally, there’s the deluxe option too. Enclosed trailers cost a lot more than open-air setups, but what do you get in return? 

Well for one, your dirt bike will be fully protected from debris and rainfall. You may not care about that, but to some, avoiding damage in transport is of paramount importance.

An additional advantage is the additional storage space. You could load extra cargo next to the bike if you have an enclosed trailer. Just make sure it’s all properly secured — loose objects can cause havoc in there!

The downsides of using an enclosed bike trailer are the higher cost and increased fuel consumption. If you can live with those, then an enclosed setup is probably the way to go. Just make sure your car has a high enough towing capacity before purchasing a heavy trailer!

Other options

If all this seems like too much of a hassle, maybe you scrap the idea of moving the bike. Maybe wait for your pickup to come back from the shop, and then truck over there like a gentleman! But if you’re in a hurry to get to the track, you can always hire an expert.

Professional motorcycle haulers are available in most areas of the continental US. It’s easy to get in touch with them using an online marketplace. They’ll send you their quotes and discuss all details in person. They should also be available to answer all your questions. (Such as, how do you transport a dirt bike on a car?) Their business is feedback-dependent, so they’ll do their best to settle any issues you might raise.

Click here for a detailed rundown of bike-shipping practices used by motorcycle transporters on the CitizenShipper marketplace.

Stay safe, and happy shipping!