How to Transport a Motorcycle

ATTENTION: Taking care of a task for your motorcycle? You should be prepared to satisfy any insurance requirements.

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If you’ve just purchased a project motorcycle, chances are you’re going to need to tow it home.

Options for Motorcycle Transport

You’ve got some options when it comes to moving a motorcycle, the best ways tow a motorcycle include:

  • Towing a trailer.
  • Using a motorcycle carrier that mounts to your hitch.
  • Moving the bike in a van.
  • Moving the bike in the back of a truck with a ramp.
  • Renting a truck.
  • Hiring a motorcycle shipping company.

What you’ll need to tow a motorcycle if you do it yourself:

  • A hitch (for trailers and carriers).
  • Tie-down straps.
  • A wheel chock (for trailers and moving motorcycles upright in a van or truck bed).
  • A ramp.

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Do You Need a Wheel Chock to Tow a Motorcycle?

A wheel chock secures the front wheel and forks of your motorcycle in pace while it’s on a trailer or upright in a van or truck bed.

The chock prevents the motorcycle from shifting around or falling over as you go over bumps and around corners.

While you can tow a motorcycle without a wheel chock, you can be more certain that the bike is properly secured and protected by using one.

How to Tie Down a Motorcycle

Securing your motorcycle with tie down straps in a crucial step no matter how you transport the bike.

To tie down a motorcycle, you’ll want to use strong, durable ratchet straps.

To tie down a motorcycle safely:

  • Secure the wheel chock in place.
  • Load the bike up the ramp and onto the trailer, truck, or van.
  • Push the front wheel into the chock to secure it.
  • Wrap a cloth or something protective where you plan on strapping to the bike.
  • Hook a ratchet strap to each side of the handlebars and secure them.
  • Hook a strap to each side of the frame towards the rear and secure it to the trailer.
  • Be sure to route and connect the straps to solid, structural points on the motorcycle.
  • Attach the straps to low points in the trailer.
  • Avoid compressing the shocks as you tighten the straps.
  • Double check that each strap is secure and tight.

Moving a Motorcycle in a Van

Depending on the bike, moving a motorcycle in a van (or even a minivan) is pretty easy.

If you’ve only got access to a minivan, it is possible to move the bike, you’ll need to:

  • Lower or remove all the seats.
  • Keep seat belt straps and other things secured and out of the way.
  • Angle the bike so it fits completely (you may need to put it on its side).
  • Empty and fluids before hand or put down a tarp to prevent stuff from leaking into the van.

Towing a Motorcycle with a Car

If the only vehicle you have is a car, you’re not totally out of options.

If you’re picking up a project bike that’s in pieces, you might even be able to jam it into the back of a sedan.

If you have a sedan with a hitch, you should be able to tow a trailer with most motorcycles just fine.

Refer to your car’s manual to see its maximum towing capacity, but most passenger cars have a towing capacity of anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds.

Remember, the towing weight will include both the trailer and the motorcycle.

For the most part, a passenger sedan should be able to safely tow all but the heaviest and largest of bikes.

To tow a motorcycle with a car, you’ll need:

  • A trailer hitch.
  • A utility trailer the weighs about 200 to 300 pounds or a hitch rack.
  • A wheel chock.
  • Tie down straps.

And if towing the motorcycle yourself is the best option, you can always compare the cost of shipping a motorcycle too.