How To: Load a Motorcycle Using Ramps

Motorcycle Ramps for Loading Your Motorcycle

Let’s start with what is NOT appropriate. NEVER ride your bike up a single runner motorcycle ramp at any height. Ramps designed for riding motorcycles up are usually a minimum of 38 inches wide. These wide ramps provide room to put your feet down for stability should you have to slow or stop on the way up the ramp. In addition, when you back your motorcycle down the ramp you can put your feet on the ramp, grab the brake, pull in the clutch, and slowly back down the ramp using your feet for balance.

There are several types of ramps to choose from including portable ramps, hitch mounted ramps, and bed mounted ramps. Widths typically run from 38 inches to 44 inches. Arched and straight ramps are available. Surfaces include rungs, combination rung and solid surface, solid surface, and mesh.

Portable ramps require manual set up, securing with safety straps, disassembly, and storage. Typically, these ramps are comprised of three ramps connected together by either bolts or a pin. The center ramp usually has a greater weight limit than the two outside ramps. The capacity of the center ramp is greater to allow for the weight of the motorcycle and the rider. The outside ramps are designed for placement of your feet as described above. Many of these ramps can also double as ATV ramps.

The shorter portable ramps are usually straight ramps. They do not have an arch and are designed for loading onto trailers of limited height. These ramps typically fold in thirds.

Longer portable ramps are usually arched ramps. The arch allows the ramp to be shorter relative to a straight ramp by reducing the angle where the ramp, and thus the motorcycle, crests onto the truck or trailer bed. Most of these ramps are three ramps bolted together. They typically fold to ½ of their length while the width to lessen the space required for storage. Some models are designed as three separate ramps and are connected by a pin. An advantage of this style is that by removing the connecting pin, the three individual ramps can then be folded in half for additional storage options as less width is required.

Hitch mounted ramps, as the name implies, mount to the hitch of your truck. The advantages of these ramps include reducing the weight on your tailgate and flip up storage freeing up room in your truck bed or cab for other items.

Bed Mounted ramps are attached to the bed of your truck or trailer. Basically, the ramp slides out from under a platform that your motorcycle ultimately sits on and stores back under the platform. The load is supported by the ramp and bed eliminating stress on the tailgate. The tailgate need not be removed.

Now that your motorcycle is on the bed of your truck or trailer it is suggested that you chock your bike. There are various styles of motorcycle wheel chocks to choose from. The basic styles include permanent vs. removable and those that will hold the bike in place vs. those that require that the bike be held upright by the rider until the motorcycle is strapped in place.

Permanent chocks are best for trailers that are to be used only for motorcycles or those with the time to install and remove the chock mounting hardware and chock when needed. Removable chocks are removable in that the chock can be readily removed while the mounting hardware remains in place. Both the permanent and removable chocks typically require that holes be drilled through the floor of the truck bed or trailer. There few models designed for lighter weight motorcycles that do not require any drilling.

The least expensive models will not hold the motorcycle up. The rider must hold the bike up and secure the motorcycle into the chock with straps. The straps must be positioned so that the motorcycle is pulled forward and thus pinned against the chock. This is not a difficult proposition if there is more than one individual available to assist. It can however, be a bit challenging for one person.

Many of the more expensive models are design with a pivoting cradle that allows the motorcycle to be driven onto the chock and will hold the motorcycle upright without any assistance. The rear of the tire remains in the cradle and is pinned against the front stop of the chock. The rider is free to attach straps to the motorcycles.