For advice on loading your motorcycle onto a pickup truck, take a look at our sister guide. Getting your bike onto a pickup truck is only half the battle. There’s another, equally vital step between you and the saddle, and that’s safely unloading your bike from the back of your truck. Two-wheel enthusiasts have a tendency to overlook preparations for this step, but your motorcycle or bike is just as vulnerable coming off the tailgate as it is going on.
Presumably, if you are at the point where you need to unload it, those serious questions about size and space will have already been answered. You know already that your bike fits comfortably into the truck and it has been safely secured and tied down so as to arrive at its destination in one piece. So far, so good. You have the right equipment and you arrived safely. Now what?
A helpful rule of thumb is to follow the steps you took to load the bike, but in reverse order. This should allow you to succeed each step with the correct next step without missing any out. If the loading process seems like a distant memory, not to worry! We’ll walk you through those steps now. Always remember to follow them in the order below.
Choose your spot to unload
Where you park has a big impact on the ease and safety of unloading your bike. If you are using a ramp – the safest and best way to unload and load a motorcycle or bike from a truck bed or trailer – make sure it rests on an even surface. (If you don’t have a ramp but are willing to build your own, there’s a guide for that.)
There is no need to pack a spirit level to help you; your eyes will be enough to check if the base of the ramp lies flush on the ground. If it does, this will reduce the risk of the two-wheeler tipping as it is lowered and being damaged by a fall. To make sure the ground is levelest, pick tarmac or concrete over grass or dirt. Then again, if you have taken your ride to an offroad track, that may not be possible. In that case, simply use your eyes to scout the most stable and even patch of ground on which to rest your ramp.
Your second consideration when choosing where to park is the weight of the bike, and the difficulty of handling such a heavy piece of equipment during what can be an awkward procedure. Experts point out it is easier to unload if you can back your truck up to an embankment of some sort that is close to the height of the truck bed. The angle of a board ramp wouldn’t have to be as steep, and the bike can be more gently lowered
If you have access to a low loading dock, that is even better, since you can just roll it right off. Most stores will have one around the back, and most won’t mind you using it if the store is closed or not expecting deliveries. It’s wise to ask permission first, though.
Release the ride
Chances are you will have transported your two-wheeler in a standing position, held fast by ratchet straps. Since you will need them again for the return journey, or at some point in the future, it’s sensible to loosen them from around the bike without detaching them from the truck bed completely. That way it will be quicker to re-tie down your ride when the time comes. If you are worried about them being stolen, you can always fasten them to the hooks in the truck bed using padlocks or ordinary bike locks.
Now your bike is free, the tailgate is lowered and your ramp is in position, it’s time to begin the actual unloading.
Descend with care
If you’ve followed the steps above, you’re now in the perfect position to begin the descent. A useful tool for this stage is teamwork (although, sadly, not always possible.) Don’t hesitate to ask for help just to be on the safe side! You and a partner on either side of the bike as it leaves the truck bed will help balance it; alternatively, one to stand in the truck bed and feed the bike gently down the ramp, and the other to receive it at the bottom.
There’s no harm in going slow. Your bike will thank you! And you’ve just saved yourself a potentially very costly visit to a garage or store.
Finally – the easiest method overall
If you want an even better guarantee of your motorcycle’s safety, it’s wise to rely on a professional.
Citizenshipper has hundreds of vetted and experienced motorcycle transporters waiting to hear about your shipment and offer a quote. Because CitizenShipper is an online marketplace to link customers with transporters, prices are driven down by competition and you need not expect a hefty quote. You are also free to pick and choose which transporter you want, and able to contact them to find out everything you wish to know about their equipment and their knowhow.
So why wait? Post your shipment for free on CitizenShipper and find out very quickly what options you have. Remember to mention your motorcycle make and model, destination, origin and time frame, and let the marketplace do the rest.
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