How To Tie Down A Motorcycle

How To Tie Down A Motorcycle

Written by Tristan Munden
November 18, 2022

The most comprehensive guide on how to tie down a motorcycle on a trailer when moving from place to place!

Motorcycles have always been a symbol of freedom. Cruising down an empty highway with the wind against you, and the open road ahead of you is a truly priceless experience. Yet, as many seasoned motorcyclist will tell you, not every ride is smooth sailing! If your bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere, or if you need to move to a new place, you’ll have to learn how to tie down a motorcycle safely.

Continue reading our guide on the best way to tie down a motorcycle on a trailer and get to where you need to be as safely and securely as possible.

  1. Prepare your ratchet tie-down straps
  2. Load your motorcycle onto the trailer
  3. Place your motorcycle on it's kickstand
  4. Prepare the soft loops for the triple trees
  5. Hook your ratchet straps to the soft loops
  6. Hook the other ends to your anchor points
  7. Ratchet your straps tightly to secure the bike

What Equipment will you need?

First off, what do you need to secure your motorcycle? Make sure you understand the necessary steps and secure the right items. It’s a good first step to have a chat with other moto enthusiasts. This could be a good way to get some good advice and gain some insights. Talking to others, especially those who have experience, can save you from a lot of rookie mistakes and prevent a lot of grief for you and your prized motorcycle.

You will need two tie down straps and two soft loops to ensure that your bike is secured properly. These should be attached to the corners of the vehicle or trailer you will be using for transportation. By connecting the bike to the corners of the vehicle or trailer, you will be able to make sure that it won’t be able to wiggle around, no matter what direction you’ll be driving.

ratchet tie downs

We recommend using some heavy duty ratchet straps as the best tie downs for trailers especially with motorcycles. By using these tie-down straps, the motorcycle will maintain the tension and strength needed to keep it suspended and completely secured. One of the other extra benefits is that these straps have soft loops. They can easily be attached to the hooks, making for a practical solution. This great feature will prevent your precious bike handlebars from being scratched or damaged by the metal components of the ratchet straps.

The heavy duty ratchet tie down set includes 4 - 1.6" x 8' HD ratchet tie-downs and 4 - 1.7" x 17' soft loops. It also comes with a heavy duty storage bag which makes it the ultimate ratchet tie down set for your motorcycle.

You can also opt to purchase a motorcycle wheel chock. This is great to have on hand, as it will help keep the bike stabilized, while you start to attach the straps.

Preparing your Ratchet Tie-Down Straps

Before you even put the bike onto the trailer, you might want to prepare the straps. Connect them to the anchor points of your trailer and lay them stretched out to the middle. Performing this step after you load in your motorcycle can feel a little awkward. If you choose not to set up the straps in advance, you might risk increasing your chances of accidentally knocking over your motorcycle.

The easiest way to get the bike secured safely is to get a buddy to help you out. Working on your own can be dangerous, especially if you are not experienced. Get a second person to hold the bike steady, while you tie everything down. This will ensure that your motorcycle isn’t at risk of falling over while you try and secure it, so you won’t damage your bike or worse, hurt yourself and others.

You can still do this on your own, but you need to take extra care and be cautious!

Loading your Motorcycle onto the Trailer

After the straps are prepared and ready for action, load your motorcycle and put the kickstand down. Get the front tied down and tightened. After the front has been finished, put the kickstand back up. This will allow you to make sure that the kickstand is adequately protected during transportation.

To securely fasten the straps to the bike, you need to attach the front straps to the lower triple trees. This is the part that connects the front forks together, linking them to the frame. After you have done this, get the front wheel against the front panel.

Keep in mind that most experts would recommend you against tying the handlebars, as it can potentially damage the motorcycle. The lower triple trees are a much better option when you need to secure your bike safely.  

If you are also going to tie down the back, attach the straps to the swing-arm or the frame. Be careful not to damage any of the sensitive parts, such as the brake lines. If you prefer, you can also loop the straps through the wheels and tires, to make sure the bike is as secure as possible.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how the ratchet mechanism works, read this guide.

Confirm your Motorcycle is Properly Tied Down

Make sure you leave enough time to do a final check! If there are any weak spots or mistakes, you could end up inflicting serious damage to your bike, or worse. Check that the straps are evenly tensioned, so that the bike will remain secured for the entire trip. In addition to that, you should make sure that the ratchets are closed, and the ties are utterly secure. Double check that the kickstand is up, and any excess straps are safely tied up.

If you’ve gone through this final check, then you’re ready to hit the road as safely as possible!

 A few additional notes:

Releasing Your Straps

You have successfully reached your destination, and it is time for you to unload your prized motorcycle. This can be a breeze when done right, however, some riders may find themselves scratching their heads when the ratchet straps just won’t loosen.

This is why it is important to always have a second set of straps on you at all times. Especially when you are transporting your bike to a more secluded area, where quickly stopping into a store for straps, is not a viable option.

If you’re having this issue, do not freak out! Yanking on the straps, and trying to tug as hard as you can should only be used as your last resort. Doing so can cause some very serious damage to your vehicle, trailer, or bike. We wrote a guide for the 3 most common reasons that your ratchet straps have jammed that you can read right here.

Secure Any Excess Strap

When you do not “tuck” your excess strap, the wind will pick it up during transport. Although it’s rare, doing this can slowly loosen your ratchet strap. Preventing this is easy, just wrap your straps or find a way to tuck them nice and tight so they don’t blow lose in the wind.

A Velcro strap is perfect for this, as you can just roll the excess strap and secure it with a strip of Velcro. It’s a simple, yet commonly overlooked thing when using tie-down straps.

Taking Proper Care of Your Straps

We see so many straps left in the bed of trucks or on trailers, this is horrible for the material as direct sunlight over a long period of time can actually damage the strength of the straps. We highly recommend putting your straps away in a place you will remember, and out of the sun.

This goes for almost any strap material. Even worse if it rains and your straps become water damaged! You don’t want that, be sure to put them in a spot for safekeeping, or use the heavy duty storage bag, which is included in the HD ratchet tie-down set!

Featured Product: Rhino USA Motorcycle Ratchet Tie Down Straps

 At Rhino USA, we also provide canvas drawstring bags with all of our straps to ensure the longevity of your tie-downs, this keeps them functioning like new, every time. We make the best tie downs for trailers and motorcycles, and all of our products are backed by a lifetime warranty!

We hope this article was helpful and informative, if you’re having trouble tying down your bike be sure to give our experts at Rhino USA a call (800) 575-7310. We’re more than happy to help!

rhino usa tow strapFAQ's

How many straps do you need to tie down a motorcycle?

For maximum security and peace of mind, it is recommended to use four ratchet straps to tie down a motorcycle. Placing two of them in the front and two in the back, creating an X pattern, is the ideal way to set up your motorcycle tie downs for the greatest strength and stability.

How much weight can a motorcycle tie down strap hold?

Rhino USA is one of the leaders in strap technology and offers one of the strongest break strength ratings available. Rhino USA's 1.6" x 15' ratchet tie down straps have a lab-tested break strength of 5,208lbs, more than enough to hold down any motorcycle or UTV.