Luc’s Tips October 2012: How to Tie Down a Motorcycle

Luc Varagnat

From time to time, being able to tie down your street motorcycle may prove helpful.  Over the years, there have been crazy attempts to secure motorcycles ranging from rope to cord and to even zip ties.  This article will seek to define the best options for securing your motorcycle for safe transport.

First, we recommend you have the following items at your disposal:

  • Front Wheel Chock (qty 1)
  • High Quality, High Strength Ratchet Straps (qty 4)
  • High Quality Soft Loops (qty 4)
  • OPTIONAL FOR SPORT BIKES:  Canyon Dancer Bar Straps replaces two of the soft loops for sport bikes
  • OPTIONAL FOR SECURING REAR WHEEL:  Tyre Down Wheel Strapping System.

NOTE:  Some motorcycles will have attachment points (like the ST1300) while other manufacturers DO NOT RECOMMEND using your handlebars for tie down points as they will bend; please consult your owner’s manual before proceeding.

Next, after loading your motorcycle and positioning your motorcycle’s front wheel into the chock stand, use the soft loops (most sport bikes can use the Canyon Dancer) by wrapping a soft loop around a location of great structural integrity on the front of the motorcycle (as a last resort, the base of the left handlebar and triple clamp may work) and place the hook end of one strap through the soft loop. Soft loops prevent the scratching of your vehicle with any hard parts from the ratchet strap.  Connect one end of the soft loop to the ratchet strap.  Connect the other end of the ratchet strap to a secure spot in your truck or trailer(preferably on an angle). Then pull the slack out of the strap and ratchet it a few times. Repeat this procedure for the RIGHT side of the motorcycle.

Then, once both ratchet straps are in place, ratchet each strap until the motorcycle is vertical and will remain snugly in place.

Trailer Tie DownMake sure the suspension is partially compressed when ratcheting the straps.  A motorcycle that is not secure will move during transport, and in a worse case scenario, fall off the trailer or out of the bed of your pickup.

Secure the rear end of your motorcycle.    Find a stable part of the left rear of the bike and wrap a soft loop around it (avoid using rear foot peg attachments as they typically aren’t designed for the force created when strapping down the vehicle).  Then proceed to secure the straps to the bike in same fashion as done in the front. Each bike is a little different so there isn’t one single spot to wrap the soft loop that is the same for every bike, just make sure it is not a component that can be easily bent or broken. The rear tie-downs are used to stop the back wheel of the motorcycle from moving sideways as the trailer goes over bumps.  Therefore they do not need to be as tight as the front straps.

Tyre Down Rear Wheel Strapping SystemAnother option for strapping down the rear of the motorcycle may be the Tyre Down Wheel strapping system.  It may add some additional expense to the transporting project, and really works best for motorcycles that have their rear tire fully exposed and easily accessible, but it is extremely effective.  The strapping system eliminates worry about having the rear of the motorcycle move around during transport.

Finally, make sure all strapped locations are stable and ready for transport.  Periodically, while in transport, double check the straps to make sure they remain secure.

I hope this helps you enjoy many miles of worry-free motorcycle transport.  Now take the bikes off the trailer and get in some two-wheeled fun!

-LUC

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DISCLAIMER:  The views and opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of any manufacturer.  The content provided is merely educational and not intended as a replacement for professional repair.  TEAM Arizona, its staff, and its RiderCoaches are unavailable for private motorcycle repair; we recommend seeing your local dealership or repair shop.