Owning a motorcycle almost guarantees that you will, at some point, have to haul or tow it. Whether you’ve broken down on the road or you’re in the process of moving, you should know what transportation options are available.
Probably the most common method, and certainly the most economical, as many times you or a friend already have the truck and if not, you can easily rent one. A few things to keep in mind when using a truck:
- Get help! Extra hands on the bike will keep it stable and safe while transitioning from the ground to the back of the truck.
- If you don’t have a dedicated loading ramp handy, a long board will do. Backing up to a curb will also help to lower the height of the truck bed relative to the ground.
- Secure the bike upright but do not use the kickstand. The bike will move up and down and you risk damaging the kick stand if deployed.
- A motorcycle wheel chock will prevent the front wheel from “walking” or moving and will hold the bike upright while you secure the straps.
A very simple way to move your bike without the use of a truck is by loading it into a small trailer. There are dedicated motorcycle trailers that feature built-in ramps, tie downs, even built-in wheel chocks, but even the most basic trailer will work with the appropriate tie-down points. The advantages to using a trailer are:
- Lower deck height. This makes loading and unloading easier and safer.
- Fuel savings. If you’re heading out for a fairly long trip, towing a small trailer with a car is more economical than driving a truck.
Hitch carriers allow you to load and carry a motorcycle off the rear bumper of your vehicle. These are great for SUV’s and vans, as they take advantage of these vehicles’ higher cargo weight capacities without requiring you to load the bike inside the vehicle. I’ve mostly seen dirt bikes hauled this way, as they are much lighter.
If you need to ship or store a bike over long distances or long amounts of time, this is the better option. Before shipping you should:
- Contact your the company well in advance. They may be able to advise you on money-saving options such as best times of year to begin the process. If you’re going overseas, they may advise you to arrange transport to a port city versus picking it up at your door.
- Motorcycles are full of hazardous and flammable fluids that should be drained beforehand. Be sure to tape or wire-tie notes to the bike reminding you that there is NO gas, oil, etc. for when you go to fire it up afterward.
If you need additional information, I wrote a piece a few months ago on how to tie down a bike.
Do you have any tips or questions about hauling bikes? Feel free to drop a comment below!