How to Tie Down a Motorcycle – [Easy] Steps to Strap a Bike on a Trailer

Your motorcycle is an important piece of you, and it’s important to know how to strap it down for transport. Anyone could put their bike on the back of their truck and call it a day, but at the end of the day, it’s not safe nor secure. Without it being strapped down, it can shift, fall over, and in some cases fall off of your truck or trailer, and no one wants to deal with that aftermath. At the end of this guide, you should be able to confidently tie down your bike for transport.

Motorcycle Tie Down Straps

Steps on Tying Down Your Motorcycle

There are a lot of very important steps to follow to make sure your bike is secure, and if you follow these steps closely, there should be no problem at all.

Step 1 – Attach The Wheel Chock Properly

motorcycle wheel chock

Motorcycle wheel chock is the most important piece of equipment for this job. It keeps the front wheel locked in place so it doesn’t twist and turn. The wheel chock should be installed at the very back of your truck bed or trailer and centered. Your truck or trailer bed should have pre-made holes for bolting, and if you want to have it temporarily on, strap it down with a ratchet strap.

Step 2 – Load The Bike With a Helping Ramp

Using a specialized motorcycle ramp, attach the ramp to the bed of your trailer, if you have a pickup, remove the tailgate if you’re able to. Gently roll the motorcycle up the ramp and into the bed. We recommend using two people as it’s easier and safer, and prevents the possibility of the bike tipping over. Wood planks are not a recommended substitution for the ramp.

Step 3 – Get The Motorcycle into a Stable Position

Roll the bike to the back of the trailer and align the bike straight so that the front wheel rests in the chock. Most chocks have a mechanism that clicks when the bike is in the correct position. Be sure to disengage the kickstand after the bike is secure.

Step 4 – Secure the Front Wheel

Now that the bike is properly aligned in the wheel chock, it’s time to secure it. Hold the bike upright so it’s not leaning to one side or the other. If you’re working with a partner, have them on the bike and use their feet to keep the bike stable. If you’re working alone, you are allowed to use the kickstand, just be sure to disengage when you have everything in place.

Step 5 – Grab the Right Tie Down Strap and Hook it

Motorcycle Ratchet Straps

Ideally, the best strap to use for motorcycle tie-downs is ratchet straps that have endpoints with s-hooks. S-hook ratchet straps are designed for motorcycle tie-downs in mind and keep the bike secured and tight with the truck bed.

Step 6 – Loop Your Strap Through the Front Suspension Tubes

Start on the tube that’s on the same side you attached the strap. Loop it around the tube above the rubber of the shock absorber, secure it to the ratchet strap then tighten it. Repeat this process on the other side. If you have a partner, have them sit on the bike to keep it straight and in one place so you don’t pull it fully to the other side.

Step 7 – Tighten Both Straps for Balance

Continue to tighten the straps until the front is secure. The bike will be fully secure in the front when you shake the bike back and forth. If there’s more slack on one side, tighten as necessary. If someone is on the bike, they can get off and if you have the kickstand out, bring it back in.

Step 8 – Wrap the Rear Tire

With the front tire in and secure, it’s time to work on the rear tire. The process for the rear tire is very similar to the front tire, but instead of wrapping a suspension tube, you’re going to wrap the strap around the rim and tire, being careful not to put pressure against the spokes. Once you’ve secured and tightened the back strap, you are ready to go.

Motorcycle Wheel Chock Attached with Horizontal Galvanized Rail

Tips to Consider While Secure a Motorcycle On a Trailer

  • Have a partner help you: Not only do you get the job done safer, but it can also be done faster. If you are confident in what you are doing, the two of you can get the bike secured much quicker and easier.
  • Plan for the elements: Depending on where you’re taking your bike, you may need to protect it from the weather. Having a tarp handy and a way to secure it over the bike would be very helpful.
  • Know your truck or trailer bed: It’s important to know if your truck or trailer bed is capable of transporting another vehicle. Tracks and d-rings can be purchased to put on your truck, but your suspension may get damaged if it exceeds load limits.
  • Do not cut corners: Use the right tools for the job and not any substitutes. For example, the rope is not an equal substitute for ratchet straps. The rope has a lower breaking strength than most ratchet straps as it is difficult to get tight enough to reduce the movement of the bike while in transit, and could break.

Required Equipment to Tie Down A Motorcycle

To properly secure your bike, you need specialized equipment to do the job. Substitutions can increase the risk of damage, loss, or injury while loading the bike or transporting it. All of the following pieces of equipment can be found online at cargo control inventory.

1. Motorcycle Wheel Chock

Before even considering loading your bike, you need a wheel chock. A wheel chock is a brace that bolts onto your truck or trailer bed that holds a motorcycle’s front tire in place. Similar to a regular bike rack at a school or park but more heavy-duty.

2. S-Hook Ratchet Straps

Using ratchet straps will ensure that the tension strength is tight enough to prevent any shifting while in transit. The S-Hook end straps allow you to hook the strap to an existing D-ring on your trailer.

3. D-Ring

To hook your ratchet strap, you’ll need a D-Ring, which is, to simply put it, a ring that can be welded on to your truck or trailer bed. Your truck should already have a D-ring on it, but in the case that it doesn’t, a D-ring is what you’ll need.

4. Horizontal Galvanized Rail

If you’re going to constantly be moving your bike and would appreciate the space in your bed, having a Galvanized Rail installed, also known as an E-Track is an efficient and secure way to attach the wheel chock, with the added benefit of being able to easily remove the chock once you’re done using it. 

There are many ways to tie down motorcycles. Some have more steps than others and some have fewer. Regardless of the steps involved, your equipment is the most important factor in getting it done correctly. Know what your trailer or bed needs before putting your bike back there and don’t substitute. Like all guides, take your time on each step, and soon you’ll be out on the road getting where you need to be.