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How To Load & Tie Down A Motorcycle

by Tristan Goodfellow | October 26, 2021

So you’re needing to transport a motorbike in the back of your ute, van or trailer. All it takes is a couple of quality tie-down straps, a bike ramp, and a bit of careful manoeuvring. Here’s some handy advice on how to load and tie down a motorcycle!

Prep Stage: Put the vehicle into gear and engage the emergency brake. Imagine having your vehicle start rolling away, as you're halfway up the ramp with your pride and joy. Not a situation I’d want to be in! 

Loading Stage: It's highly recommended you get yourself an extra pair of hands to help you here. However, if you can’t… don’t stress, we’ll show you how to do this by yourself!

Invest in a quality motorcycle ramp. Come in-store today and we’ll show you some great options! Secure the ramp on your vehicle, double and triple-checking the stability. A good technique for securing the ramp is by using a ratchet strap. Simply loop an end around the ramp and the other to a part of your vehicle, like the Diff or rear bar. That ramp won’t be moving anywhere!

Handy Tip: Consider the gradient that your vehicle is sitting at. Use gravity to your advantage, and position the vehicle and the ramp on a decline. Gravity will help you push the bike up and onto the vehicle. Makes sense right?

Once secure, walk your bike up the ramp. 

If you have an extra helper, get somebody to steer/ brake from the side and the other pushing from the back. If you are a lone wolf, simply turn the bike on and engage the clutch to the friction zone. (Depending on how heavy the bike is, you may need to gently twist the throttle to help get it up the ramp). It’s all about control here - carefully riding the clutch up the ramp. See pictures below for reference. 

Avoid attempting to ride up the ramp! As I’m sure you’ve seen, there have been far too many people attempting to do this, with little success. Don’t get me wrong, it is entirely possible, yet there are too many risks at play here. Don’t be one of those people in a Motorcycle Fail Compilation - your mates will never let it down. 

Congratulations, you got the bike safely onto the vehicle! Time to secure your motorcycle down, so it doesn’t fly off midway through the trip. 

Ask your mate to sit on the bike, while you go round securing the tie-down points. Once again, if you are by yourself, put the kickstand down and get to work!

Securing Stage: When it comes to working out the best tie-down points on your motorcycle, it will depend on your particular bike. The most common places are your Frame, Crash Bars, Forks (above the triple tree) or handlebars. You’re really aiming to find an area of the bike that won’t damage any paintwork and has heavy structural reinforcement (meaning... the part of the bike you are tying down won’t bend under pressure). 

Forget using rope here… opt for a motorcycle-specific soft hook tie-downs strap. One that I use all the time is the Oneal Deluxe 1-1/2 Inch Black Red Soft Hook Tie Downs. With double security stitching, non-scratching nylon webbing and a 272kg load limit capacity, this is an all-round grouse product. 



  • 1 1/2" Wide Nylon webbing
  • Double Security stitching
  • 600lb working load limit
  • 1,800lb Breaking strength
  • Soft-Tye Sewn-In
  • Non-Scratching, Fits in tight areas
  • Secure Hooks have Safety Latch with Unique self closing design
  • Keeps your bike secure while transporting
  • Industrial Grade Buckle
  • Will not slip
  • Colours: Black/Black, Black/Red, Black/Blue, Black/Orange, Black/Green

Loop the straps above the triple tree in the forks, and find an appropriate area on your ute, trailer or truck to tie the other end. Using the cam lock, gradually tighten the strap, which will engage and compress the front suspension of your bike. Repeat this process on the other side, and gradually tighten the straps in turns. 

By this stage, there is no need for your mate to be straddling the bike any longer. The straps are more than capable of keeping that bike upright!

Work our way to the rear. The rear tie-down points, although important, are more reassurance than anything. The best areas here to tie down the bike are the rear passenger pegs, frame or crash bars. 

There’s no need to strap the rear as tight as the front, as the rear of a motorcycle tends to be a little more fragile than the front. 

Handy Tip: Try and avoid leaning the bike on the side stand. Once the two front straps are in place and tight, the kickstand should be off the ground. If it’s not, enough pressure from the straps can increase pressure on the side stand, which can dig in and damage your vehicle tray. Not ideal! As well as this, enough pressure from the straps and rough road conditions may cause the side stand to bend or even snap off! So kickstands up or at least off the ground.

Well, there you have it. Give the bike a bit of a shake, and affirm that it's not going anywhere. It’s also not a bad idea to take it for a small spin around the block, testing out the firmness of the straps. 

So how do you get the bike back off onto solid ground?! This can be easily done by one person. Unstrap the bike carefully, ensuring the kickstand is down and secure. Once all the straps are removed and bike ramps in place, put the bike in neutral, and position your hand over the front brake lever. 

Looking behind you, ensure the ramp is correctly positioned and eyes fixed on your end destination (Bottom of the ramp). Allowing gravity to do most of the work, control the speed of the bike by gently feathering the front brake. Constantly check that the direction of the rear tyre is on track to safely get off the ramp. It’s all about the front brake here, so take your time. 

Following this, you now should be able to load, tie-down and unload your motorcycle into a trailer, van or ute! The first couple of times doing this may be a little daunting, yet it’s really not as challenging as you’d expect. Just remember to take your time and be diligent about what you’re doing. 

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Wanting to keep up with the latest news, events, reviews and specials? Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter today, and stay in touch with the current releases, exciting motorcycling events and be the first to hear about our upcoming specials.