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.