Motorcycles are generally reliable machines that you can take most places without a problem. Whether you're hitting the tracks on a sportbike or exploring the trails on a dirt bike, riding a motorcycle can be exciting and convenient.
That said, bikes are not invincible, and there are some instances wherein they're not a viable option. In these situations, you might need a pickup truck to transport your bike. It's not as simple as you might think, though, so this short guide can help you learn how to load your motorcycle into a truck bed properly.
What you'll need
- Pickup truck — A pickup truck is one of the two central items in this guide. If you don't own one, you'll need to rent or borrow one to proceed. Mind the length of the truck bed and make sure your motorcycle will fit comfortably.
- Ramp — A high-quality ramp will spell the difference between a terrible and easy bike-loading experience. There are several different types available in the market. A straight ramp will do the job just fine, but an arched ramp can ease the transition from the ground to the truck bed. Some people swear by a piece of 2x4 wood. It's doable, but only if you know what you're doing. Also, longer ramps will reduce the loading angle, but they're much less portable. You'll have to find a balance that works for you.
- Wheel chock — While you may be able to travel with the front wheel hanging about, it's not the best idea out there. A good wheel chock will keep the wheel fastened so that your bike doesn't tip over at the slightest speed bump.
- Restrainer — Make sure you secure the bike to the truck bed with a cam-buckle or ratchet straps. Some make do with ropes and knots, but if you love your bike, make the wise choice and fork out the cash for reliable straps.
- A friend — Depending on the size of your bike, you may need a friend or two to make things easier. If you're loading a light scooter like the Yamaha Mio Sporty, it's possible to stick it out alone. However, if you have a hefty and expensive liter bike like the BMW S 1000 RR, forget about it—you need someone to help out.
There are numerous ways to load a motorcycle into a truck bed, each with corresponding advantages and disadvantages. Some people attach the ramp and ride the bike all the way to the truck bed. We don't recommend this method unless you're confident in your skills and have a wide enough ramp. It's all too easy to lose momentum on the ramp, and when you're right in the middle of it, nothing will be stopping you from eating dirt
The responsible choice would be to leave the engine alone and load the motorcycle with brute strength. It's why we recommend enlisting a friend to help you get the job done. If you go this route, there's a better way to go about it. Have your friend or yourself climb up the truck bed to cover the front end of the bike. This person will handle balance and steering, so the other person doesn't have to worry about it. Then, the other loader will be on pushing duties, guiding the bike from the street to the truck.
If this is your first time, you might not be able to do the job in one go. You can practice the motions without the bike to help you gain confidence when you're doing it for real. Once you do load the motorcycle successfully, don't forget to secure it in place with the chock and straps.
Loading a motorcycle into a truck bed the proper way is a skill worth learning. You never know when your bike will break down or when you need another mode of transportation. All you need is the right tools, a friend, and some good old practice. Be careful when loading the bike, be mindful of your surroundings, and when in doubt, call a professional.