At times it just can’t be helped; you need to transport your motorcycle on a trailer instead of riding it. Either you have great distances to go with multiple people, you have a need to have a car and a motorcycle at your destination, or your motorcycle is not roadworthy and needs to be transported on a trailer – or all of the above.
There are a couple of points you need to take into consideration, especially if it’s the first time you trailer your bike.
First point is the actual loading of the motorcycle onto the trailer. The best is always with the help of another person. But riding the bike up is usually going to require a nice repair bill:
If you are alone, and the bike is too heavy to push up, you can use the engine like so;
Having a second ramp for the biker to walk on is a much better and safer idea.
- Stupid point, but I’ve seen this happen. Make sure you trailer can hold your motorcycle, i.e., it’s big enough. Whether a standard trailer or a pick-up truck, you don’t want the bike overhanging the trailer. Imagine all the nasty things that can happen to your ride while it’s sticking out.
- Bring up the bike and make sure the sidestand is down. It should be off the ground once you have properly secured the motorcycle. I tend to keep the sidestand down, just in case, but others are totally against the idea.
- Get good solid straps/tie downs. You’ll need at least 4 of them. Buying cheap is going to cost you more, trust me. From the different types of straps, my own preferences goes for ratchet type. Once the strap is on, all you need to do is activate the ratchet to tighten, so much easier and you have a better control of the strength.
- A wheel chock IMHO is a must. I know several bikers who don’t use them, but I also know a few who have had their bike tilt over and faced interesting repair bills. Once the bike is on the trailer, move it into the wheel chock. That will hold nicely.
- Attaching the frame is one of the better parts to hold on to. A common attachment point is the handlebar, but you need to be sure that the handlebar is not mounted on a rubber ring. If that is the case, do not tie down via the handlebars, since the rubber is going to compress during the trip and that’s bad news for your bike.
- WATCH OUT that you don’t pass the straps over hydraulic lines or any cables. The stress the straps will face, will crush the lines. Stay away from them.
- Compress as much as you can the front suspension, but never to a maximum. Leave some play. During your trip, the trailer is going to hit a few potholes or bumps in the road. That will make your motorcycle go up in the air (by a few notches), and on its return the suspension is going to compress and that will loosen the straps.
- Don’t strap down the mirrors, pannier bags, top case, exhaust or even a sissy bar. Unless of course you don’t mind them being ripped off the bike.
- The straps should go in the front around a 45° angle, and the same at the back. It is this angle that gives you the best possible grip.
- Once strapped in and secure, walk around the trailer/pick up truck and with your hand, shake the motorcycle. If it moves, it’s not secure.
There, now all you need to do is drive carefully and not go too fast through the curves. Remember, the motorcycle is behind you, not under you.