How To Transport A Motorcycle On A Pickup Truck

pickup truck yellow motorcycle

There will come a time when you’ll need to load your motorcycle in the back of a pickup truck to transport it. This could be to ship it elsewhere or for motorcycle repairs.

The steps to transporting a motorcycle on a pickup truck include:

  • Prepare your loading equipment
  • Set up the truck and ramp
  • Install the wheel chocks
  • Load the motorcycle to the truck
  • Recheck everything

It’s important to know the proper way to load your motorcycle on the back of a pickup truck to prevent any cosmetic damages as well as for safety precautions.

How To Load The Motorcycle

There are five main steps to load your motorcycle to the back of a pickup truck. It is important to use the proper equipment to keep the loaders safe and to make the process efficient.

motorcycle transported garage

Prepare Your Loading Equipment

Gather the equipment you’ll need to safely and efficiently load the motorcycle to the truck.

  1. Pickup truck. This is the main piece of equipment as it is the main hauling vehicle. The best option is to get a dedicated motorcycle trailer because they drive steadily, the vehicle hangs at a low level, and it is the safest option. Check the size of the truck against the motorcycle model to make sure everything fits.
  2. Ramps make loading easier and safer. You can just push the motorcycle upwards and into the truck. Arched ramps are better than straight ramps as they lessen the chances of damaging your motorcycle. They are also so much easier to use since the break over angle is smaller. Longer ramps are also better than short ones because the steepness becomes manageable. Some ramps have textured surfaces for better friction with the tires.
  3. A chock is equipment that helps keep the motorcycle wheels straight. Some chocks are made of metal frames and straps to keep the wheels in place. Any other solid mount will do.
  4. Straps attach the motorcycle to the truck. They also keep the movement to a minimum so that your motorcycle won’t move around on the trip. Try cam-buckle straps for convenience. Make sure the buckles don’t loosen over time.

Set Up The Truck And The Ramp

Set up the pickup truck by cleaning out its contents to accommodate the motorcycle and the other securement apparatus. Install the ramp of your choosing. Keep it as snug as possible to minimize movement. Make sure that the top of the ramp is fully flushed against the tailgate. It should also pass the weight rating of your motorcycle. Otherwise, the ramp might break and damage your motorcycle.

The next step is to find the perfect incline for you to park the truck in. Find the flattest surface possible. Any incline will make it difficult for you to push the heavy motorcycle up the ramp that is already steeply inclined.

man checking truck

The next best option is to lower the truck into a gutter or beside a curb so that you can prop up the ramp at least six inches off the ground. Every tiny change you implement to lessen the steepness of the ramp matters because it lessens the chances of the motorcycle rolling back to you while you are pushing it upwards.

Install The Wheel Chocks

Get wheel chocks that weigh fifteen to twenty pounds so that they’re heavy enough to not move around while the truck is moving. You can purchase kits at motorcycle shops. You can also make your very own by using 2x4s. Just make sure it is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the motorcycle. It should keep the wheels aligned and keep movement to a minimum while the motorcycle is being transported.

Load The Motorcycle To The Truck

The first tip is to get a buddy to spot you as you load the motorcycle. The second tip is to use the motorcycle’s power to load it on the vehicle rather than pushing it in its idle mode.

The ideal scenario is to have someone man the motorcycle placement and another person powering up the machine and pushing up the ramp. Whenever you feel like you need to readjust the front wheel to keep it balanced or if you need to adjust your body position, take a break, and restart the loading process. Getting distracted by exhaustion and bodily discomforts can harm you.

Another optional tip is to use two ramps instead of one. One ramp is for the motorcycle while the other one is for the loader. You can walk alongside the motorcycle as you push it up the other ramp.

Strap the motorcycle to the back of the truck using straps. Place two attachment points in the front and two more at the back. The four contact points are the minimum to keep the motorcycle strapped in. Use as many straps as necessary to minimize movement.

harley sunset new motorcycle

Recheck Everything

Go over the loading process one more time. Make sure the straps are tight enough and the motorcycle is as immobilized as possible. Use as many chocks or straps necessary to minimize the movement.

Take the pickup truck for a test run, gradually increasing your speed as you go. You should also check how your setup holds up around turns or sharp brakes. Have someone tail the truck because there’s a high chance that some straps or motorcycle parts can become loose and fall out.

Unloading The Motorcycle

This step comes after the successful transportation. You simply need to undo everything you have done. Reinstall the ramps and untie all the straps. For this, you can put the motorcycle gears in reverse so that you can unload it better. This motorcycle setting allows you to control the speed and resistance against gravity as you guide the motorcycle down the ramp.

Can You Lie The Motorcycle On Its Side?

It is inadvisable to do this frequently and for long periods of time. However, it can be allowed if it is the last option. Just make sure that the motorcycle will lay on a padded surface to avoid scratches, bumps, and other damage. You also risk damaging the handlebars, exhaust pipes, and other parts that jut out of the motorcycle. These cosmetic issues can be remedied with the proper motorcycle protective gear.

Another reminder is to completely drain your motorcycle first before laying it on its side. Empty the motorcycle gas tank and fuel chambers to prevent leakage.