Hitting the Road Together: A Guide to Trailering Your Motorcycle

For motorcycle enthusiasts, venturing beyond their local riding grounds can be an exhilarating experience. Whether you’re exploring scenic mountain passes, attending rallies hundreds of miles away, or simply transporting your motorcycle for maintenance, trailering offers a convenient and safe way to get your bike to your destination. However, properly trailering a motorcycle requires specific knowledge and preparation to ensure a smooth and secure journey. This comprehensive guide explores the essential steps involved in trailering your motorcycle, highlighting the different types of trailers, crucial safety considerations, and valuable tips for a successful motorcycle trailering experience.

Choosing Your Chariot: Exploring Trailer Options

The first step in motorcycle trailering involves selecting the most suitable trailer for your needs. Here’s a breakdown of the most common trailer options:

Motorcycle Trailering: Safe Loading & Towing Tips

  • Enclosed Motorcycle Trailers: Enclosed trailers offer the ultimate protection for your motorcycle. They shield your bike from the elements (rain, wind, road debris) and potential theft during transport. Enclosed trailers often come with features like tie-down points, lighting, and storage compartments for gear.

  • Open Motorcycle Trailers: Open trailers are a more budget-friendly option. They provide a basic platform to secure your motorcycle for transport, but they don’t offer weather or theft protection. Open trailers are suitable for short distances in good weather conditions.

  • Pickup Truck Beds: If you own a pickup truck, you can utilize the truck bed for motorcycle transport. However, you’ll need a motorcycle wheel chock and a secure way to tie down the bike to prevent movement during transport. Consider using a ramp for easier loading and unloading.

  • Hitch-Mounted Motorcycle Carriers: These carriers attach to the trailer hitch of a car or truck and can accommodate one motorcycle. They’re a space-saving option for short-distance transport, but they don’t offer the stability or security of a dedicated trailer.

When choosing a trailer, consider the size and weight of your motorcycle, the distance you’ll be traveling, and the weather conditions you might encounter. Enclosed trailers provide the most protection, while open trailers offer a more economical option. For short trips with favorable weather, a pickup truck bed or hitch-mounted carrier might suffice.

Safety First: Essential Preparations for Trailering

Once you’ve selected your trailer, prioritize safety with these crucial preparation steps:

  • Trailer Maintenance: Ensure your trailer is in good working condition. Inspect the tires for proper inflation and wear, check the lights and brakes for functionality, and verify the structural integrity of the trailer frame and ramps (if applicable).

  • Motorcycle Securement: Invest in high-quality motorcycle tie-down straps specifically designed for motorcycle trailering. These straps should have a working load limit exceeding the weight of your motorcycle. Look for straps with ratchet mechanisms for secure tightening.

  • Motorcycle Preparation: Before loading your motorcycle onto the trailer, ensure it’s in good working order. Check the tire pressure, tighten any loose bolts or nuts, and engage the motorcycle’s neutral gear. Empty the fuel tank partially to reduce weight and prevent fuel spills during transport.

  • Practice Makes Perfect: If you’re new to trailering, consider practicing loading and unloading your motorcycle in a safe, controlled environment before embarking on your actual trip. This helps you become familiar with the process and ensures you can secure the motorcycle properly.

By prioritizing these preparations, you’re setting the stage for a safe and secure motorcycle trailering experience.

The Art of the Tie-Down: Securing Your Motorcycle for Transport

Safe and secure tie-downs are paramount when trailering your motorcycle. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  1. Load the Motorcycle: Carefully guide your motorcycle onto the trailer using a ramp (if applicable) or by pushing it straight on. Ensure the motorcycle is positioned straight and centered on the trailer bed.

  2. Wheel Chock Engagement: Use a high-quality wheel chock specifically designed for motorcycles. Position the chock firmly against the front wheel of your motorcycle to prevent it from rolling during transport. Ensure the chock is secured to the trailer bed to prevent it from moving.

  3. Lower the Kickstand (Optional): While using tie-down straps is essential, some riders prefer to lower the motorcycle’s kickstand for added stability. However, this is not always necessary, and some trailers might not have adequate clearance for the kickstand. Use your judgment based on your specific situation.

  4. Front Wheel Tie-Downs: Use two high-quality tie-down straps specifically designed for motorcycles to secure the front wheel. Attach one strap to a secure point on the lower left fork leg of your motorcycle and the other strap to a corresponding point on the right fork leg. Loop the straps under the front wheel rim or triple tree (depending on your motorcycle’s design). Tighten the straps securely using the ratchet mechanisms, ensuring the straps compress the suspension slightly but don’t over-compress it.

  5. Rear Wheel Tie-Downs: Use two additional tie-down straps to secure the rear wheel of your motorcycle. Attach one strap to a secure point on the left swingarm (or frame, depending on your motorcycle) and the other strap to a corresponding point on the right swingarm. Loop the straps under the rear swingarm (not the axle) to prevent suspension movement. Tighten the straps securely using the ratchets.

  6. Double-Check and Re-Tighten: After you’ve tightened all the straps, double-check their security and ensure the motorcycle is stable. Bounce the front and rear ends of the motorcycle slightly to check for any movement. Re-tighten the straps if necessary. It’s also a good practice to re-check the tightness of the straps periodically during your journey, especially after the initial miles when the straps might settle.

Crucial Tip: Always refer to your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific recommendations on tie-down points and securement procedures.

By following these steps and using high-quality tie-down straps, you can ensure your motorcycle remains securely fastened on the trailer throughout your trip.

Shop for Top-Rated Trailering Equipment Today!

Ready to hit the road with your motorcycle in tow? Browse our extensive selection of motorcycle trailers, tie-down straps, wheel chocks, and tool kits. We offer top-rated brands and competitive prices to ensure you have the right equipment for a successful and safe motorcycle trailering experience.

Don’t let distance limit your motorcycle adventures. Invest in the essential equipment, follow the valuable tips outlined in this guide, and experience the freedom of trailering your motorcycle to new destinations.