Do I Need to Use a Motorcycle Wheel Chock?

Several online discussion forums recently popped up in our searches that asked whether it is necessary to use a wheel chock when transporting a motorcycle. The correct answer is (of course) a resounding, Yes!

The question came across each forum remarkably similar. In each instance, some guy was moving out-of-state and had never trailered his motorcycle for any distance. Where should he start? A gamut of experts chimed in from a very supportive, well-meaning community of fellow riders, and the range of responses was wide and varied.

First were the cowboys in the group, who basically told the inquirer to get himself a few tie down straps, push the bike’s front tire up against the front of the motorcycle trailer or pickup bed, buckle the thing in, and go for it. They’d moved lots of motorcycles that way plenty of times and never had a problem, they said.

The second group was comprised of industrious and handy do-it-yourselfers who fashioned their own wheel chocks from 2x4s. They presented their plans and measurements, cost of materials, time for labor and related the ease of their journey.

Motorcycle wheel chocks are very affordable, and there really is no substitute for a quality, commercially manufactured piece of equipment

The reality is that most people: A) Don’t want to risk damaging their motorcycle, which is why they asked the question in the first place and B) Simply don’t have the patience, time or interest in building their own motorcycle chock. The final part of that equation is that C) Motorcycle wheel chocks are very affordable, and there really is no substitute for a quality, commercially manufactured piece of equipment.

A motorcycle wheel chock is designed specifically to keep the front wheel aligned and straight to prevent it from turning, the result of which could be the motorcycle becoming wobbly and tipping over. A wheel chock is the best security against that happening. They are also used on trailers that have no front rail, to stop the bike from rolling forward.

When selecting the style of motorcycle wheel chock, there are different options to consider, depending on your needs and budget. Some are basic and straightforward, a simple curved bracket that hugs the front tire and is mounted directly to the trailer or truck bed. These do the job nicely, but the key is to make sure you get the right size for your tire, ensuring that it is a snug fit.

Beyond that, chocks come with base plates, a pivoting cradle that "locks" the wheel in place, adjustments to accommodate various sizes of tire diameters or widths, or even built-in tie down loops. Some wheel chocks perform double-duty, coming in handy when doing maintenance on your bike as well.

Many styles and accessories are available when shopping for wheel chocks.

Whatever the style, the wheel chock needs to be mounted to the deck of the pickup truck bed or trailer. You may want to consider using quick nuts for this step if you tend to move a lot of equipment (motorcycles or otherwise), since these create a permanent threaded hole you can reuse with each trip.

Finally, you’ll need four good tie down straps to secure the motorcycle to the trailer, two for the front end and two for the back; ratchet tie down straps or cam buckles are both a good bet. Some people like to use handle bar tie down clamps or soft loops to avoid any possible damage to the bodywork.

Tighten these straps bit by bit, moving from one side of the motorcycle to other, to create as much balance in the tension as possible. Pushing down slightly on the handle bars to compress the front forks as you tighten the straps helps reduce any additional bouncing, should you hit some bumpy roads, and prevents the tie downs from becoming unhooked. The second set of straps is for the rear of the motorcycle, this time, pushing down on the seat as the straps are tightened.

A final precaution is to put your motorcycle into gear once you have it tied down and secure. This extra step keeps the bike from possibly rolling backward and also takes some strain off the various tie down points.

A high quality motorcycle wheel chock is affordable, accessible, and available with lots of convenient options. It’s always a good idea, and there’s really no reason to skip it. After all, have you ever seen a more appalling sight than a motorcycle – your motorcycle, no less – tipped on its side? Do yourself this little favor and invest in a wheel chock.