We’ve all seen it before: The guy who frantically pulls into the emergency lane of a 110km/h highway, only to scramble out of his truck so he can fix his tie-downs before his motorcycle becomes loose.
Let’s call him Larry. Because we all know a Larry, don’t we?
The mate with the “she’ll be right” attitude… That is, until it’s not alright.
And Larry’s certainly not the kind to read an article on How To Load A Motorcycle Onto A Ute before his weekend away, is he?
Well, this article is here to show you how not to be a Larry, which can save you from damage, injury and strife.
We’re about to cover…
- Choosing a motorcycle ramp
- Nice-to-have ramp features
- The tell-tale signs a ramp is poor quality
- Moving up and down the ramp
- How to secure your motorcycle
Choosing A Motorcycle Ramp
The first step to successfully loading your motorcycle is being equipped with the right ramp. Because despite what the local hardware store will try to tell you, there’s more than one option.
You’ll need to check things like…
Have you checked the ramp capacity against your motorcycle weight? It sounds obvious, but so many riders miss this important step. The worst bit? The wrong weight rating can put you and your bike at risk.
This gets a little high school mathsy, but stay with us. The height of your truck or ute will determine the length of the ramp you need. So, measure the height from the ground to where you plan to attach the ramp. Then, punch in this height and the length of the ramp you’re looking at into our Ramp Calculator. This will tell you the gradient, which should be no more than a 1:4 ratio (if it’s steeper than this, repeat the process with a longer ramp until you get it right). See, not that hard eh?
To determine the right width for your motorcycle ramp, ask yourself how you’ll be using it. Do you plan to ride up the ramp? Opt for a super-wide one so you have room to place your feet down. Would you rather push your bike up the ramp? Then you can get away with something narrower.
Need more guidance on finding the right motorcycle ramp before you start loading? Check out our article on the Best Motorcycle Ramp.
Nice-To-Have Ramp Features
There are a few more ramp features to think about before we get to the loading part (and then of course, the fun part).
A high-quality ramp company will have options with…
- These keep your ramp securely attached to your ute or truck (and avoid any embarrassing slippage). These range from soft rubber tips which rest on your vehicle to a plate and locking pin for added safety.
- When you’re wet and muddy after an epic day, you don’t want to worry about slipping down your ramp. The best motorcycle ramps come with anti-slip surfaces so you can go riding in rain, hail or shine.
- If you’re regularly moving your ramp around (or doing it solo) choosing a lightweight aluminium will save your back.
The Tell-Tale Signs A Ramp Is Poor-Quality
Now for the not-nice-to-have ramp features.
In other words, tell-tale signs the motorcycle ramp you’re about to buy is poor quality and you should run for the hills…
The price is too good to be true
As the saying goes… if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. So before you head to the checkout, ask yourself how did they make it so cheap? What safety features are they cutting corners on? Am I really getting a bargain with this super cheap ramp?
There’s no mention of international standards
If there’s no mention of international standards, they probably haven’t met them. We recommend getting ramps certified to high international standards like NATA, CE, TUV, GS Certification, EN ISO 12100:2010 and more.
There are a measly few options on the shelf
If you buy a ramp from your local hardware store, chances are the options will be scarce. So the chances of that ramp being perfectly suited to your motorbike are slim. To be on the safe side, go with a ramp supplier that has a range of options.The ramp is second hand
You might get lucky with a second-hand ramp. But the truth is, you can never be sure how it’s been treated before it lands in your hands. If you’re looking at a second-hand ramp, proceed with caution. Or at the very least know the red flags.
Moving Up And Down The Ramp
Now for the fun part: loading up for a day of riding.
Before you start loading, make sure you have your wheel chocks and tie-downs at the ready.
Start with placing your ramp in position. Whether you have rubber tips or a locking pin, triple check the connection point to your ute or truck. Then for added security, make sure you turn to your mates and say “that’s not goin’ anywhere!”
From here, there are two different ways you can move up and down the ramp…
Walk it up
- If your motorcycle ramp is extra-wide (or it comes with side ramps for your feet) you can ride or walk your bike up with ease. This is perfect if you’re loading it solo or want to look like a total badass in front of your mates.
If this sounds like you, check out our Heeve Heavy-Duty 3 Piece Loading Ramp.
Push it up
- A little less cool, but equally convenient. If you have a narrow ramp it’s best to push your bike up the ramp while standing on the ground. When loading it this way, you can either use your muscle power or the bike's power. But a word of warning: if you plan on using the bike’s power to push it up it’s a good idea to get a mate to help, with one person in charge of positioning the bike correctly, and the other gentle pulling the throttle.
If this sounds like you, check out our Heeve Curved Folding Ramp.
If you’re still wondering how to load a motorcycle into a truck or ute by yourself, we recommend either walking it up or pushing it up with muscle power only.
Finally, there’s no “best way” to haul a motorcycle. It comes down to your personal preference and whether you’re riding solo or with mates.
Securing Your Motorcycle
Step 1: wheel chocks
First things first, have a wheel chock ready in your ute or truck. These come in a range of shapes, sizes and styles, but the goal is the same: to secure the front tyre and keep your bike in position when you’re driving. Some wheel chocks can be permanently installed, while others are temporary.
Step 2: Tie downs
Once you’ve got your wheel chock, invest in some good quality tie-downs to make your life easier. Our favourites are ratchets or cam buckle straps.
The front tie-downs are the most important, however many riders also choose to tie down the rear of the bike for extra security. Let’s take a closer look…
- Place soft loops around your bike’s handlebars (which are gentler on your bike than applying the tie-downs directly).
- Attach the tie downs to the soft loops and the attachment points in your ute or truck.
- Tighten the tie-downs without overcompressing the suspension, as this can lead to wear and tear.
- Attach the tie-downs to the rear of your bike, either on the frame or loop it around your wheel. Take care not to attach it to sensitive parts of your bike.
- Finally, tighten the tie-downs in the same way as the front of your bike.
- Give it a small shake to check it has minimal movement. Then turn to your mates once more and say, “that’s not goin’ anywhere.”
Step 3: Hit the road
Once your bike is secure, it’s time to hit the road. Make sure there are no loose items in your truck or ute that can slide around and damage your bike (that includes securing your motorcycle ramp).
Regularly look in your rearview mirror to check your bike is secure. You may even choose to pull over after driving the first few kilometres to make sure your tie-downs are holding up.
Say you beaut, then keep on driving.
Don’t Be A Larry, Choose From Australia’s Largest Range Of Motorcycle Ramps
So there you go, a step-by-step guide on how not to be a Larry. Because having a successful motorbike trip starts with buying the right gear - from the ramp to the tie-downs to the wheel chocks.
At Ramp Champ, we’re Australia’s largest ramp retailer, selling thousands of ramps every year. While some automotive stores might only have one standardised motorcycle ramp on the shelf, we’ve got more than a dozen ramps to choose from which vary in load rating, width and features.
The result? You can load your motorcycle onto your truck or ute with ease, then quickly get to the fun part of your weekend: riding.
Whether you’ve got a dirtbike, Harley or ATV discover our range today.
Questions? Our friendly team would love to help. Give us a buzz on 1300 913 047 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org