Motorcycling Guide: How To Tow Your Motorbike


Sometimes we need to get our bikes from point A to point B without riding them, and this generally means throwing them on the back of a ute, van or in a trailer. But is there a proper way to get the job done?


Before we move on there are a few items you’ll want to have before you throw your bike on a trailer. They are as follows:


  1. A trailer, Van or truck bed long enough for both your wheel to securely sit on a flat surface. Resting your rear wheel on a lowered tailgate can be done, but in our view is less than ideal.

  2. Secure tie-downs such as ratchet straps. You do NOT want to tie your bike down with ropes as you simply cannot tie it down securely enough.

  3. A good set of points to tie your bike down to.

  4. A ramp strong enough for your bikes weight when putting it on your trailer/truck bed.

  5. Optionally a step to help you walk your bike into the trailer/tray/van is nice to have and similarly so is a front-wheel chock but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have these.

So as far as things that you need to have it’s pretty simple. Ensuring you have the basics in place will make your life much easier.

To start, clear the space in your trailer/van/tray for your bike, ensuring there is nothing you might trip over while putting your bike in place. Place the ramp down securely before you roll your bike up it. Here it helps to have a bungee or similar to help tie it down in place temporarily. If you have a step now is the time to set it up to help you step up with the bike.

Walk your bike up the ramp in first gear with the clutch in. This will mean you have two options to help prevent the bike rolling backwards down the ramp. We strongly advise against riding the bike up the ramp, as the power of the bike can dislodge the ramp from your vehicle.

Once the bike is in your vehicle/trailer, ideally you want to park it in the same direction of travel as the vehicle. This will help prevent unnecessary side-to-side movement as you accelerate and decelerate.


Next, secure your front wheel. This will help keep your front suspension in alignment, which will ensure your tie-downs don’t loosen as you drive.

The next step can be tricky if you’re rolling solo and don’t ya e a side stand. You are now going to steam the front of the bike down to a secure point.

Start by first securing your tie-downs. Ideally, these will be on roughly a 45-degree angle in front of your bike, but work with what you have.

Next on the list, you will want to secure the tie-downs around part of your bike. Depending on what style of bike you have, you have a few options on where. As our CRF250L Rally has plastic fairings and messy handlebars with accessories, we chose to wrap our tie-downs around the forks between the triple clamps for a secure position.


The reason you want to tie-down your bike by the front end and not by simply throwing strops over the top of it is to do with utilising your forks as a securing agent. Once you have your tie-downs wrapped around either your handlebars or triples you want to then tighten down as much as you can without blowing out the fork seals or bending your handlebars.

You don't want to tighten down so much that your forks are fully compressed either, as you want to still have some suspension action to soak up any bumps you might experience on your drive.


With the front end secure, your last job is to sort out the rear.

The idea behind securing your rear wheel is to prevent the rear of the bike from "hopping" if you hit any large bumps in the road. If the rear wheel hops up, it can jeopardise the stability of the bike as a whole and cause it to fall over.


Simply loops a tie-down through the rear wheel - being careful to not put any unnecessary pressure on spokes or your inflation valve – and secure to a tie-down point.


Give everything a once over to make sure the bike is securely tied down and you are ready to hit the road with your bike in tow.


Did we miss any important steps or great tips? Let us know by emailing mat@onthrottle.co.nz and we'll amend this article.


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