How to Strap Down a Motorcycle to a Trailer

There is a gentle art to securing any object to a trailer. The object has to be balanced, critical tension points identified and appropriate straps used.

Follow these easy steps and your motorcycle, the trailer and general public will be in great shape as you rumble down the road.

  • 1) Do you have the correct straps? You need four nylon tie-downs with either cam buckles or ratchets for a standard size dirt bike or street bike . 1-1/2" to 2" thick is preferable as these wide nylon straps can handle thousands of pounds of load. Ratchet straps, shown in the picture, are the best due to their ability to tense more easily than the cam buckle straps.

  • 2) Layout your straps on the trailer. You will need two straps at the front of the trailer and two near the rear. Attach the lower portion of the strap to the trailer hooks in each location and leave the slack on the trailer floor where it can be easily reached once the bike is loaded.

    The connection point to the trailer needs to be near or at the bottom of the trailer. If your trailer has side walls, do not fasten the straps to the side walls. A strap angle of greater the 45 degrees begins compromise the downward tension.

  • 3) Roll the motorcycle onto the trailer by either riding or pushing the bike. Once the front tire of the motorcycle is near the front of the trailer, put the kickstand down and reach for the two front straps.
  • 4) Secure the front of the bike first. This connection is the most critical. You can either hook the tie-down right to the handle bars or loop the nylon over the handle bars and slip the hook into nylon loop at the end of the tie-down. The latter will spare your bars some wear and tear. See associated image.

  • 5) With the bike still on the kickstand, alternate between pulling both front tie downs until the bike is standing safely vertical with the kickstand off the ground. Push the kickstand in. Now it is time to finish ratcheting the front of the bike down. You need to compress the forks and eliminate the travel in the suspension. You do not want the suspension bouncing with bumps in the road as this can release the tie-down hooks. Again, alternate between sides doing a little at a time so that the tension is equal. If you have cam buckles, you will need to throw your body weight into it once you get to the last bit of tensing.
  • 6) The bike should be sitting perfectly vertical. If you notice that the bike is leaning a little to one side or another, simply loosen the tie downs on both sides of the handle bars and try again.

  • 7) Now connect the rear tie downs to the rear of the motorcycle frame. Do not place the tie-down hooks into anything other than a permanent part of the motorcycle such as the frame. The tie-downs will tear off any non permanent fixture of the bike.

    Fasten these two straps with even tension. The two rear straps do not provide the same level of support as the front ones and you are not required to compress the rear suspension in the same way you are required to compress the front suspension. Primarily, these straps keep the rear of the bike from bouncing sideways.

  • 8) Grab the handle bars and shake the bike. The bike should now act as an extension of the trailer, as if it is welded to the floor. If you pull the bike, the trailer moves and not the bike. If there is any play in the straps during this test, then rework your tension until you have it right.

  • 9) Hit the road with confidence and make it to your destination with your beautiful bike in perfect shape and ready to play.
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