09 Nov Transporting Your Motorbike To The Race
While I like to pretend that my motorcycle can travel just about anywhere my car can go (including the freeway), the sad reality is that I need to transport, and not ride, my motorbike fleet to the tracks and parks for race day or practice.
While conceptually it sounds fairly easy to load a motorbike(s) onto a truck, it is – in fact – NOT an easy task for a beginners.
Trust me – I learned this important fact the hard way.
So whether your new at bike transportation, or your more experience and just need another perspective, we’ve put together our thought on a few key considerations to ensure that your precious bike gets to the race in one piece.
Loading Your Motorcycle On A Truck
I take extraordinary pains at keeping my F250 truck looking nice and shiny – hell it even smells nice on the inside. But truth is: it’s a work horse and not a show horse, and on any given day you’ll find my truck towing or hauling something to and fro around our home in St Louis. Many of these trip include hauling my motorbike and gear back and forth from the track.
For others like me who are transporting their own motorcycles on a regular basis, I highly recommend you buy specialized tools and ramps to load secure the bike safely to the truck. While some of this equipment can cost some serious coin, it’s alot cheaper than a busted bike or wasted money spent at the paint or body shop.
There’s no two ways about it, a ramp is necessary to load your motorcycle easily on the back of your truck. Ramps are available in two general types, namely: straight ramps and arched ramps. The arched ramps are a bit more expensive, however are preferred as they really help mitigate the effects of the breakover angle, which splits the one sharp angle over the truck bed into smaller angles so the frame of the bike won’t drag on the ramp itself. It Is important to buy a long ramp to reduce the loading angle.
Also called a wheel wedge or triangle, chock is a metal or wood piece that is V shaped used to keep the front wheel straight and rear wheel where it belongs – in one place. This tool gives a stress free ride knowing your bike is safe where you placed it, I’ve gone without it before, but like me, you will find yourself constantly checking the straps to see if your bike has toppled over.
These are the things you will use to hold down your bike. You can use cam buckle or ratchet straps. A cam buckle is good for those with brute strength, this will help you not to over tighten the straps while securing the bike. Ratchet straps on the other hand cannot be loosened by the load and stay intact as they had been tightened.
Many people use different methods of loading their bikes on top if their trucks. Some ride their bikes and some push them up. Driving your bike up the ramp is not recommended as there are so many things that can go wrong in the process. It is recommended that you walk your bike up ramp safely and secure it.
Using A Trailer To Transport Your Bike
If you don’t have a truck, or have more than one bike to transport, fear not, as you can still transport your motorcycle using a trailer. Keep in mind that a trailer and gear are not cheap and you really need to cough up some cash. This trailer can be attached to vehicles such as SUVs and sedans.
On the plus side, the only thing needed is the attachment latch on your vehicle and you are good to go. I’ve found that most trailers on the market come custom made to transport up to 3 motorbikes, and generally-speaking comes with all the tools you need to securely strap down your motorbike and transport it, including the tie down straps and chock.
Weight Considerations For Towing Multiple Bikes
One thing to keep in mind, especially if you are towing more than one bike, is not to Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) that is specified by the manufacturer. Weight considerations while towing multiple bikes is how much a vehicle can pull. Small sedans and saloon cars cannot tow more than one ton. Consider the weight of your trailer combined with the weight of your motorcycle.
Check your specific vehicle, but in general, most cars cannot tow more than three bikes at the same time as the weight will have surpassed the GVM.
Consider Professional Options
If you don’t want buy an expensive trailer or you’re not into the white-knuckle excitement of hauling your costly race bikes to the track, you can always hire a professional to transport your motorbikes. In most area in the United States you’ll find services that have the experience and insurance (key!) to ensure that the cargo they’re moving arrives safe and sound. Make sure any company you hire has a business license and liability insurance, and if at all possible, get a recommendation, as there’s a number of fly-by-night outfits that I wouldn’t trust to find their way out of a paper bag.
If you’re in a pinch in Saint Louis, we’ve used and recommend Reliable Guys Towing Service which has been able to tow our entire team’s 6 bikes to race on multiple occasions.
Whether you will carry your bike personally or hire the services of a motorcycle couriers, making sure your bike arrives at the venue in the condition you set it is paramount – hopefully you’ll be able to use the information above – until next time!