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Pushing dirt bike into truck

How to Load & Tie Down a Dirt Bike into a Pickup Truck

Necessary Tools

Loading Ramp

A single runner dirt bike ramp is a simple and affordable way to safely load your bike into your truck. Ensure the ramp is rated for your bike’s weight and is long enough to accommodate its wheelbase and ground clearance, along with the height of the truck’s tailgate. Use our motorcycle ramp calculator to help with the math.

Motorcycle Tie-Down Straps

Use tie-down straps that are rated with a working load limit strong enough for your setup. Ratchet-style, cam buckles, or snap hooks work well for getting a taut fit.

Soft Loops

These handy and inexpensive nylon loops create tie-down points on your dirt bike exactly where you want them and prevent scratches from the strap hook ends.

Optional Tools

Wheel Chock

A wheel chock mounted to your pickup bed helps make loading and tie-down a one-person job. Roll the front end of your dirt bike into the chock and it will be stabilized enough for you to attach the tie-downs by yourself without the bike tipping over.

Trailer Hitch Step

Dirt bike hitch step

A hitch-mounted step makes it possible for one person to load a dirt bike when no one is available to assist by helping you navigate up onto the tailgate with several smaller, controlled steps – all while hanging onto the bike’s handlebars.

Loading the Dirt Bike

The loading process is highly manageable if you follow the proper steps to minimize the risks:

  1. Park your truck in a flat area ­– backing the tailgate up to an incline also reduces the angle of your ramp
  2. Clear the back of your truck to prevent tripping
  3. Unfold the ramp and place its plate or finger ends onto the edge of the tailgate
  4. Use a tie-down strap to secure the ramp to a metal attachment point on the truck underneath the tailgate. Never attach the tie-down strap to a plastic piece!
  5. Put your dirt bike into neutral and line it up several feet out from the foot of the ramp
  6. Standing on one side, hold the bike by the handlebars. Have someone on the other side toward the bike’s back end grab hold of a stable area that can take the pressure of being pushed.
  7. In a single, coordinated effort, push the dirt bike forward and up the ramp as high as possible
  8. When you’ve reached a stand-still, apply the brake and sit tight while your friend climbs into the truck bed to pull the bike up into the truck (up high on the front forks is a good spot) as you continue to hold the dirt bike upright.

Tying Down the Dirt Bike

Repeat steps
  1. Grab your tie-down straps and attach the first side somewhere above the suspension (usually the handlebars) to an anchor point on the truck. Repeat on the other side, taking care to keep the bike balanced between the two sides. Have your friend press down at the handlebars as you continue to tighten the tie-downs, but not so tight that you don’t have some play to take the bumps you’ll encounter on the road.
  2. Repeat the tie-down process at the rear of the dirt bike, securing between the frame on both sides and the truck. Again, press down on the suspension to get the straps a bit tighter but not overdoing it, and tuck in the tail ends of the straps.
  3. When on the road, it is best to occasionally stop to check to make sure nothing has loosened.

Remember

  • Check the owner's manual for guidance on the weight rating of your truck's tailgate
  • Avoid totally compressing the suspension of your dirt bike when tying it down, as doing so could cause damage
  • Secure your bike upright without using the side stand – lowering it creates an imbalance when tightening the tie-downs
  • Tighten straps so bike stands upright

Other Helpful Resources

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