Tying down a motorcycle for the first time can be stressful and tedious, but doing a thorough job will ensure that your beloved bike makes it to your destination unscathed. Here are a few tips to help you ensure your motorcycle is perfectly secure in its trailer or truck bed.
Choosing Your Anchor Points
At a minimum, you’ll need to select two places at the front of your bike to attach the straps, as well as two in the back. You can attach straps to more points along your bike’s body for the sake of increasing stability, but make sure you have appropriate fixtures on your truck or trailer to hook up the other ends. If the truck side of the strap is able to wiggle or slide around, you may damage your motorcycle during transit.
It’s common habit to affix the front two lines to the handlebars. While this is a good strategy for many bikes, you should first make sure that the handlebars aren’t mounted on a rubber support. If they are, letting the bike’s weight rest on them could put undue pressure on the rubber and wear it down.
When selecting places to anchor your bike at the back, it’s important to always use the frame. Never attach lines to mirrors, panels, the exhaust, or other parts of the motorcycle. These can all be broken or wrenched off by the straps if you go over a pothole or speed bump too quickly.
Checking Over Your Straps
The lines themselves should be strong and secure, without any visible signs of damage. Check the hooks or clasps you’re using to attach them as well, to make sure they won’t break or come open once you get moving.
Once the bike is tied down, follow the paths of the straps and ensure they don’t rub up against any soft components of the vehicle, like rubber rings or seat cushions. Hydraulic lines and electrical wires are especially vulnerable to being cut by the pressure from tie downs, so double check that your lines don’t touch them.
After you’ve adjusted the placement of your straps, it’s important to check their snugness again and tighten them as necessary. Repeating this step may seem tedious, but it’s better to take too much care than it is to take too little and wind up with your bike falling over in the trailer.
Tying down a bike properly won’t be especially fun, but it will save you the heartache and hundreds of dollars in repairs that instability on the road can cause. Keep these tips in mind when you load up your motorcycle, and with enough diligence, it will get where it needs to go safely in one piece. If you need help getting your bike safely up onto the trailer, consider investing in a motorcycle ramp from a company like Cruiser Caddie.