How to Tie Down a Motorcycle

Wondering how to tie down a motorcycle? Whether your motorcycle is your baby or whether you're just trying to get it safely from Point A to Point B, the same rules apply.

What you need.

You need a good motorcycle trailer or flatbed with secure tie-down points. If you're using a wood trailer, make sure you use locknuts and large washers to prevent your tie-down eyelets from pulling right out of the wood. You'll need at least four motorcycle ties; six for large bikes.

Ratcheting motorcycle ties give you the most flexibility and control, although you can also use cam buckle-style ties. Soft loops enable you to keep the metal parts of the tie away from your bike and can help avoid damaging your paint job. Finally, a wheel chock provides the best stability and enables you to tie down your bike securely.

Load your motorcycle onto the trailer.

The wheel chock is most effective on the front of the bike, so load your motorcycle onto the trailer facing the front and straight into the wheel chock. If you're loading two bikes, you'll want to load the biggest bike first, facing forward, and load the smaller bike facing the opposite direction so the handlebars don't interfere.

Secure the rear straps first.

Once your motorcycle is on the trailer, secure the rear straps to a structural component of the bike and ratchet them down. Before you get off the bike. Attaching the rear straps while you're still on the bike enables you to compress the rear suspension and eliminate shock loading.

If you don't compress the suspension when loading the bike, it'll compress when you hit a bump and then the straps are more likely to loosen or break when the bike's suspension snaps back. By compressing the suspension, you avoid straining your motorcycle ties and ensure your bike stays securely fastened.

Attach the front straps.

Next, attach the left front strap. If you're using a soft loop, attach it to the bike and slide the motorcycle tie hook to the soft loop to keep any metal further away from your bike.

Do not attach the front ties to your handlebars.

If your front handlebars are rubber mounted, they might compress and cause the ties to slip. Even if they're not, handlebars aren't designed to withstand the stresses of tie downs while towing.

Again, be sure to attach the tie directly to the frame or to a structural component of the bike; don't strap it to anything insecure that might snap off during transport.

Finally, attach the right front strap. Ratchet both front straps down securely. Your front wheel should be straight, and the bike should be standing upright.

Try bouncing the trailer; you shouldn't get much, if any, movement from the bike. If the bike moves, it's not secure enough and you need to ratchet the straps down further. Go for a 45-degree angle on the straps, as that's the angle that holds a motorcycle most secure in any towing situation.

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