man sitting on his truck near a motorcycle

10 Tips To Tie Down Your Motorcycle Securely For Transport

Easily secure your motorcycle with retractable ratchet straps with the help of this guide.

man in a blue shirt placing a red motorcycle onto silver pickup truck about to secure it using retractable ratchet straps

Transporting a motorcycle can be a challenging and potentially risky process, which is why it’s important to use the right equipment and techniques to secure the bike properly. If a motorcycle is not secured properly during transport, it can shift or tip over, potentially causing damage to both the bike and the transport vehicle. In the worst-case scenario, an unsecured motorcycle could even fall off the transport vehicle while in motion, causing a serious accident.

In fact, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 5,014 crashes in the United States were due to “other non-fixed objects” on the road, which resulted in 596 fatalities and 3,778 injuries in 2019. This category includes objects such as cargo or equipment that have fallen off a vehicle.

So whether you’re moving your motorcycle across the country or taking it to a local repair shop, it’s crucial to use high-quality equipment, like retractable ratchet straps, to secure it during transport. By using the proper equipment and following best practices for tying down a motorcycle, you can help ensure a safe and successful transport.

Here are some tips on how to tie down your motorcycle securely for transport using retractable ratchet straps:

  1. Choose the right equipment.
  2. Locate the anchor points.
  3. Carefully load your motorcycle.
  4. Attach the retractable ratchet straps to the anchor points.
  5. Tighten the retractable ratchet straps.
  6. Use soft loop straps.
  7. Test the tension.
  8. Check all the straps regularly.
  9. Use a wheel chock.
  10. Drive carefully!

#1 Choose the right equipment.

Before loading your motorcycle into your truck or trailer, ensure you have the right equipment. The retractable ratchet straps should be rated for the weight of your bike. Strapinno’s straps, for example, have ones specifically designed for motorcycles, which have a working load limit of 500 to 1,000 pounds and a breaking strength of 1,500 pounds up to 3,000 pounds per unit. Make sure to use retractable ratchet straps with a working load limit (WLL) that exceeds the weight of your motorcycle. Never settle for makeshift materials like ropes or plastic twine, as they are not suitable for securing heavy cargo like motorcycles.

#2 Locate the anchor points.

Locate the anchor points on your truck or trailer before you start securing your motorcycle. The anchor points are the points where you will attach your tie-downs. Look for secure points, such as handlebars, the footpegs, or the frame. Avoid tying up your motorcycle to non-secure points, like plastic fairings, as they are not durable enough and could easily get damaged or break during transit.

#3 Carefully load your motorcycle.

Loading the motorcycle to your truck can be challenging and may cause injuries if not done correctly. Use a ramp or lift to load your motorcycle into the transport vehicle. Place the bike in the center of the truck or trailer and ensure that it is stable. Put the bike in an upright position and align the wheels with the walls of the vehicle.

#4 Attach the retractable ratchet straps to the anchor points.

Attach the hooks of the retractable ratchet straps to your chosen tie-down point on the truck or trailer. Start with the front tie-downs and attach them to the anchor points on the handlebars or the triple clamp. Move to the rear tie-downs and attach them to the anchor points on the subframe, passenger footpegs, or swingarm. 

#5 Tighten the retractable ratchet straps.

After attaching the hooks of the straps to sturdy tie-down points, ensure the straps are not twisted before tightening. Crank the handle back and forth until the motorcycle is secured and the traps are snug but not overly tight. Lock the ratchet by pulling down the handle to its closed position. Repeat this process for all the retractable ratchet straps. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the ratchet straps to ensure safe and effective use.

photo of a pickup truck with motorcycle cargo secured by Strapinno's retractable ratchet straps

#6 Use soft loop straps.

Soft loop straps are commonly used when tying down a motorcycle with ratchet straps because they provide a secure and damage-free anchor point. Soft loops are wrapped around the handlebars or frame of the bike, and the ratchet strap is then threaded through the loop and attached to the anchor point on the transport vehicle. Using these straps helps prevent damage to the handlebars or frame of the motorcycle that can occur when attaching the ratchet strap directly to these components.

Additionally, soft loops distribute the load evenly, which helps prevent the bike from tipping or shifting during transport. Overall, using soft loops in combination with ratchet straps provides a safe and effective tie-down solution for transporting a motorcycle. As with the retractable tie-downs, make sure that the soft loop straps are also rated for the weight of the motorcycle.

#7 Test the tension.

You can test the tension by pushing your motorcycle from side to side and forward and backward. The bike should not move or shift. If it does, tighten the retractable ratchet straps and soft loops until the motorcycle is secure.

#8 Check all the straps regularly.

During transport, check the straps during regular stopovers to ensure they are still tight and secure. Straps might loosen due to vibration and movement during transport, which may cause your motorcycle to shift or bounce. Check for any vehicle or motorcycle damage as well, and adjust the soft loop straps as you see fit.

#9 Use a wheel chock.

A wheel chock, a device that holds cargo upright by the front wheel, can help stabilize your motorcycle during transport. Install the wheel chock on the truck or trailer, and roll your front wheel into the chock. The chock will hold your bike in place, making it easier to secure.

#10 Drive with caution!

Transporting a motorcycle strictly requires careful driving. Avoid sharp turns or sudden stops that could cause your bike to shift or bounce, and be mindful of humps and potholes. Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

The takeaway

Tying down your motorcycle securely for transport requires the right equipment, proper technique, and careful driving to ensure that your motorcycle arrives at its destination without any damage. Remember to take your time when securing the straps, and double-check everything before hitting the road.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have extra retractable ratchet straps and other tools on hand in case of emergency. With proper planning and execution, you can transport your motorcycle with confidence and peace of mind.

Going on an adventure with your motorcycle soon? Get some brand new tie-downs to ensure your bike is secured onto your truck. Shop for reliable retractable ratchet straps and soft loop straps at today.

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