Can A Motorcycle Fit In A Truck Bed?
Whether you have recently bought or sold a motorcycle or are just taking it to a shop for repairs, you will have to figure out how to transport it. The last thing you would want to happen when you sell your motorcycle is to have it get damaged during transportation, so it is critical to do it as safely as possible on the first try. Some people may have access to a decent toy hauling trailer, but most people rely on loading the motorcycle into a truck bed.
How to Load a Motorcycle into a Truck Bed
It is common to have some apprehension around the question “can a motorcycle fit in a truck bed.” However, it is possible to do, and it is not all that difficult to get right. While there is no official rule book on how to get it done, there is equipment and some solid strategies you can use to make sure the loading goes smoothly.
The best strategies involve meticulous planning and high-quality equipment. If you’re wondering how to transport a motorcycle in a pickup truck, then follow the directions below.
Get the Right Equipment
Once you are sure the motorcycle will fit, it is time to gather the equipment you will need to load it. There are motorcycle-specific loading equipment options that help ensure the bike is transported safely and you do not wind up spending money on paint touch-ups down the road. The most essential equipment you’ll need is listed below.
Of course, the most crucial part of hauling the bike is the vehicle you will use to do it. If you have access to a pickup truck with a long bed, it will be easier to fit the bike. Four-wheel drive stepside pickup trucks do not have as long of a bed, but that is not necessarily a dealbreaker for loading the motorcycle.
Getting the right motorcycle ramp for a pickup truck is one of the most critical parts of loading the motorcycle onto the truck bed. There are several kinds of ramps on the market to choose from, but some are better than others for this purpose. No matter the type of ramp you use, you must be sure it has a weight rating that can handle the weight of the motorcycle you intend to transport.
Arched ramps are the best option overall as they lessen the effects of break-over angle. Breakover angle is the maximum supplementary angle that a wheeled vehicle can drive over without bottoming out. Essentially, arched ramps make it a much less dramatic angle and help to keep the underside of the bike safe.
It is also essential to get the longest ramp possible, as a long ramp will also lower the risk of bottoming out when loading the motorcycle. Of course, some of this depends on the type of bike being loaded. Bikes with higher ground clearance will not have as much of a problem with break-over angle, so a straight ramp may work just fine.
A chock is by far one of the most critical pieces of equipment you can get when planning to haul a bike in a truck bed. Chocks help keep the front wheel from turning while driving the truck. If the wheel shifts after hitting a bump in the road, there’s a good chance the motorcycle will get tossed out of the side of the truck.
Chocks do not have to be fancy pieces of equipment, either. You can make one from old boards or other suitable materials you have on hand. So long as it keeps the wheel centered and stable, it will work.
The chock alone won’t be able to keep the motorcycle in place when the truck is moving. You will also need to have several tie-downs handy to secure the bike once it is in the truck bed. The most popular options for tie-downs are ratchet or cam-buckle.
Ratchet tie-downs are easy to tighten compared to cam-buckle, but it is easy to over-tighten them, as well. Cam-buckle straps require a good amount of strength to operate, but they can prevent you from accidentally tightening them too much.
Now that you have all the gear you will need to load the motorcycle into the truck bed, it is time to talk about the loading strategy. If you are not all that concerned about damage, you can throw the whole setup together quickly and get on your way. However, if you want to keep the motorcycle in the condition it was in before it was transported, follow the directions below.
There is an old adage that says “measure twice, cut once,” which can be applied to loading a motorcycle on a truck. Taking accurate measurements is critical to pulling it off without any issues. Measuring twice ensures that everything is correct for the steps that follow.
First, take measurements of the truck bed and the motorcycle to be sure it will fit inside the bed. Be sure to measure the length of the truck bed while the tailgate is down, measuring the distance from the front of the bed to the tip of the tailgate. Next, measure the length of the bike from the outer edge of the front wheel to the edge of the back wheel. Also, measure the width of the bike, including the handlebars and axles.
Once the base measurements are recorded, you should have a good idea of how the motorcycle is going to fit. Once again, be sure to measure everything twice to minimize the risk of error.
Find an Incline
Using an incline is not always an option, but it is one of the best ways to start if you can access one. A steep incline makes the angle the motorcycle has to drive over more flat, so it is less likely to fall to the side during the loading process.
Inclines also offer the benefit of working with gravity. You can either load the bike onto a steep ramp and push it down into the truck bed or back up to a steep hill and achieve the same effect. Either way, this method is optional but does make it a lot easier.
Position the Truck
Whether you choose an incline or are loading the motorcycle onto a truck in your driveway, vehicle positioning is a critical consideration. Parking the truck on an incline that allows the ramp to be somewhat straight is ideal, but if that is not an option, then you will have to find a flat spot to park.
Even if the terrain where the truck is parked appears flat, it may not be as flat it seems. Try to find the flattest, most even area to park the truck, as this will make it much easier to keep the motorcycle upright as you load it.
Set up the Ramp
Once you find a perfect place to park, then you can set up the ramp. Properly setting up the ramp is critical, as a wobbly or poorly-placed ramp makes it easy for the motorcycle to fall during the process.
It is essential to push the top of the ramp as close to the tailgate as possible and that it sits against it properly. It is also a good idea to secure the ramp with tie-down straps, so the ramp does not move at all while the motorcycle is loaded onto the truck bed. You can do this by attaching one end of the strap to the truck bed and the other end to the ramp. Repeat this on both sides of the ramp and then tighten the straps as much as possible.
You may also want to consider using two ramps to load the motorcycle. Using two ramps allows enough space for the person pushing the bike up into the truck to walk next to it, keeping it stable.
Set the Wheel Chock
Now that the ramp is secured tightly to the truck bed, it is time to place the wheel chock. You can do this by placing it up against the front of the truck bed, making sure that it is properly centered. The wheel chock should be fairly heavy, at least 20lbs, so it doesn’t shift while the truck is driving.
Load the Motorcycle
With the loading setup complete, you are finally ready to load the motorcycle into the truck bed. There are a couple of options on how to do this, including using the motorcycle’s power to move it or pushing it up the ramp manually.
Using the motorcycle’s power can be done by either riding it up the ramp or clutching the motorcycle up the ramp. Of course, if you ride the bike up the ramp, you need to be sure the ramp can handle the extra weight. It is never advisable to ride a large cruiser motorcycle up a ramp, as they are too powerful and too heavy to handle without a disaster.
Clutching the motorcycle up the ramp is somewhat tricky, as the motorcycle is actually running, and there has to be someone controlling the bike as it goes. However, if the bike is really heavy, this is the best and easiest option for loading it.
Pushing the motorcycle up a ramp takes some strength, but it is the safest method of loading it. If pushing the bike, the ramp angle should not be very steep, as this will make it much harder to push it upward. This method is best for small motorcycles that don’t weigh very much.
Once the bike is loaded, it can be secured with your tie-down straps of choice. Of course, be sure to triple-check everything before taking off, as simple errors can mean catastrophe for a motorcycle. Once everything is secure and safety checked, you’re ready to transport the motorcycle to wherever it needs to go.