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Transporting Motorcycles on a Trailer
Many people own dirt and/or street bikes and have a need for a trailer to safely transport their bike to and from their favorite riding areas or events. Whether it be transporting your dirt bike to your favorite off road riding area, or moving your custom chopper cross country for a bike show or event, motorcycle trailers can be very helpful in transporting your machine safely and conveniently. While it may be possible to transport a motorcycle in the back of many pickup trucks, this uses up available cargo space and may not be a practical solution for many people. Trailers that are specifically designed for transporting motorcycles can offer a much more convenient and safe means of getting the job done.
There are two main categories of motorcycle trailers: open and enclosed. Open trailers are generally lightweight and easier to tow, less expensive, and more compact. In fact, some open bike trailers even fold up and take up very little space when stored.
On the other hand, enclosed trailers take up more space to store, they are usually heavier and may require a bigger tow vehicle, and they are typically more expensive. However, enclosed motorcycle trailers offer some strong advantages as well. Because your bike can be locked away in an enclosed space, they offer better protection for your bike from weather, road hazards, theft, and vandalism. The person with a very expensive bike might want to seriously consider investing in an enclosed trailer. The extra protection it offers may be worth the extra expense in order to better protect your investment. In addition, an enclosed trailer can offer much more storage space for tools, gear, and other supplies.
No matter which type of trailer you choose, tie downs are a very important part of ensuring the safe transport of your bikes. It doesn't matter how great of a trailer you may have, if you don't secure the bike properly, it could tip over and be damaged. It is very important to have strong tie down anchors and proper tie down straps. This is true for both enclosed and open trailers.
If a trailer was specifically made for hauling motorcycles, then it will probably have some good anchor points already designed into the trailer. If you are using a more generic style trailer that doesn't already have good anchor points, then it's not that hard to add some. There are many different tie down anchors available that can be attached to a trailer. There are surface mount type anchors which are probably the easiest to install. Then there are recessed tie down mounts that require a recess to be cut into the flooring in order to mount them. Both types of anchors can do a good job. The recessed type of motorcycle trailer tie downs mounts provide a little neater looking installation, and they don't protrude much over the surface of the trailer deck.
The question then remains, "Which trailer is best for you?" Generally speaking, if you can afford an enclosed trailer, then there can be many advantages of going that route. On the other hand, if storage space is at a premium and if you don't have as much money to spend, then an open trailer may be a better match for your needs. If you are transporting your dirt bike to your favorite riding areas, then chances are that an open trailer would serve just fine. Since a dirt bike typically sees a fair amount of abuse riding off road, then transporting on an open trailer should not be a problem. No matter which choice you make, motorcycle trailers can help you to safely transport your bike and focus more on enjoying your destination or ride, rather than worrying about your bike being damaged during transit. A good motorcycle trailer can be good insurance to help protect your investment.
OTHER WAYS TO HAUL A MOTORCYCLE
For people who already own a pickup truck and don't want to buy a motorcycle trailer, there are some good options to consider. One way to haul a motorcycle is to use a pickup truck with a loading ramp. There are many different ramps available. There are narrow ramps available that can be less expensive and take up less space. However, these narrow ramps are often not much wider than the width of your motorcycle tires, so you have to be very careful on your way up. If you lose your balance (which can happen if you are riding slowly up the ramp), then there is a risk that you will tip over and dump your motorcycle off the side of ramp. The resulting accident can not only seriously damage your motorcycle, but it could also damage you as well! To reduce the possibility of this dangerous situation, there are companies such as Rage that manufacture some very nice, wide motorcycle ramps that allow one person to safely load a motorcycle in a pickup. The ramps are wide enough so the rider can put down their foot onto the ramp to keep the bike upright while carefully loading. Many of these motorcycle ramps can be folded for more convenient transport and storage.
Once you have the bike up in the truck bed, then you will need to secure it with tie downs. In order to do this, you will need to have some good anchor points to attach your tie downs. Fortunately, there are some convenient tie down anchors such as shown below that fit into the stake pockets found along the top edges of most pickup truck beds. It is very important to have high quality tie down straps to secure your motorcycle down to the platform. High strength ratcheting style tie downs are a good choice. Just remember that it doesn't matter how strong your tie down straps are if you don't have strong anchor points to which you can attach the straps.
Simple Stake Pocket Tie Down Mounts & Cam Lock Straps
There are many good options available for transporting motorcycles. It's a matter of what the needs and requirements are for each specific bike owner. Number of motorcycles, size and weight of the bike, type of transport/tow vehicle available, finances, etc... all need to be factored into the final decision. If you already own a pickup truck, then that is a way to haul a motorcycle that is probably least expensive as long as it works with your particular bike. Open trailers can also be a good way to transport dirt bikes, while enclosed trailers offer additional bike protection and conveniences to the bike owner. As you can see, there is not only one way to haul a motorcycle. There are many good options out there, and the choice is yours.