How to Properly Load a Motorcycle on a Trailer & Securely Tie it Down

Posted on: 24 September 2015

Loading and securing a motorcycle on a trailer isn't difficult, but it does take attention to detail to make sure the job is done correctly. Otherwise, you could cause costly damage if the bike slips or falls during loading or while being transported. Here is how to properly load a motorcycle on a trailer and securely tie it down:

Loading the motorcycle

Before beginning, the trailer and vehicle should both be prepared for loading. Be sure the trailer is properly hitched to the towing vehicle and that the parking brake is activated; this will eliminate the possibility of accidental rolling that could cause you to slip or the bike to fall.

Once you know the vehicle and trailer are secure, you are ready to load the motorcycle. Below is a list of steps to follow:

1. Position and start the motorcycle—Line up the motorcycle with the loading ramp, and be sure the front wheel and back wheel are perfectly aligned with one another. Stand beside the bike, with its kickstand down, and crank the engine.

2. Move the motorcycle up the ramp—While keeping a tight grip on both handlebars, put the bike into its lowest gear. Slowly release the clutch to allow the engine torque to transition to the rear wheel, and permit the bike to start moving on its own with your guidance. Watch the front wheel to be sure it is still perfectly aligned, and be careful not to trip over the ramp as the bike begins moving forward. As the front wheel comes up and over the ramp into the trailer bed, continue to hold on to the clutch lever and be prepared to squeeze it and the brake should the bike lurch forward.

3. Park the motorcycle—Once the bike clears the ramp and is level, squeeze the clutch lever completely and allow the bike to coast into its parked position. Be sure to keep the bike upright and lined up in the middle of the trailer and turn the motor off once you are satisfied with its placement. Allow the motorcycle to gently lean over on its kickstand.

Tying down the motorcycle

Once the motorcycle is on the trailer, the next step is to fasten it to the trailer with two cam buckle straps. Cam buckle straps feature a spring-loaded buckle that allows the strap to tighten when pulled, but it can only be loosened when the buckle is depressed. Avoid using ratcheting tie-down straps; on the backstroke of the ratcheting action, the strap loosens at the same time and can cause the bike to shift or even fall. Cam buckle straps allow you to control the process with much more precision. Here is how to attach the straps and tie down the motorcycle:

1. Attach the front cam buckle straps to the front handlebars—To tie down the bike, you will need to sit astride it to provide weight and keep the bike balanced during the process. Raise your kickstand at this time to avoid damaging it.

Begin by looping soft-straps around each handlebar and pulling one end of the strap through the loop to tighten it. Next, manipulate the cam buckle straps so the loose ends are facing up toward you. Insert the hook end closest to you into the soft-straps and pull the loose ends upward to tighten them; be sure to pull one end at a time while gently rocking the bike slightly to the left and right. This will enable the straps to bear down tightly once you get off the motorcycle, as the force of the front shocks on the fork lifts the bike back up. However, be sure not to apply excessive force, or you may rupture the seals on the shock absorbers.

2. Tie off the strap ends—Once the bike is secured, get off the saddle and tie the loose ends of the cam buckle straps so they can't flap around in the wind. This is important to prevent possible loosening of the straps and to protect your bike's paint job and trim from damage.

For more information or assistance, speak with enclosed motorcycle trailer sales locations.