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Motorcycling Guide: The Best Ways to Transport a Motorbike

While nobody will argue that a motorcycle is made to be ridden, sometimes there is no other way to get your bike to where you're going than to haul it there. The question is, what is the best way to move your bike?

We've put on our thinking helmet once again and nutted out what we think are the best ways to transport a motorcycle in New Zealand.


Option 1 | Trailer

One of the easiest ways to get your bike from A to B without riding it is, of course, chucking it into a trailer and towing it behind your family wagon. This has multiple benefits as you don't need a dedicated vehicle for bike transportation and just about any car out there has the ability to tow a trailer with the addition of a tow bar.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks to a trailer as you'll not only need the aforementioned tow kit for your regular vehicle but you'll also need the space to store the bulky trailer if you go down the route of buying one, or you'll need to hire one which comes with its own issues.

Let's not get started on the dark art of backing a trailer into a parking space either...

With all that said and done, a trailer makes for an incredibly versatile bit of kit to have in your vehicular arsenal that is well worth considering for your transport needs.

Pros: Easy, versatile, widely available.

Cons: Trailers need WoF and Regos, needs a place to be stored, reversing a trailer is a dark artform.

Option 2 | Tow Bar Mounted Motorcycle Carriers

While for heavy road-going motorcycle owners this style of bike transport isn't ideal, it does work a treat for dirt bike owners who want to cart their bike to the trail without the hassles associated with a trailer.

Kiwi Company Trax Equipment even sells a New Zealand Made alloy bike carrier right here in New Zealand called the Slipstream (pictured above).

In the pro column, you have the compact nature of the tow bar mounted carrier makes storing it when not in use a breeze. Unlike a full-sized trailer, you don't need a huge garage or driveway to store one.

They are also very easy to use and if you are a lone rider in your household makes it very easy

In the con column, there is the limited weight these can carry, meaning bikes over 150kgs aren't likely to safely fit. You can only fit one bike behind your vehicle using this method also, so if you want to cart more than one bike this isn't your best choice.

Pros: The most affordable option, easy to store, conserves space, can be fitted to any car with a towbar.

Cons: More potential to harm your vehicle loading, there is also the compact nature of the system meaning you are likely to only fit one bike on at a time and the rest of your gear will need to be stored in the car, tow bar mounted carriers are also usually limited in their use to bikes weighing less than 150kg.

Option 3 | UTE

The humble ute will always be a champion bike carrier. Not only are they the mullet of the automotive world (business in the front/ party out the back) they look cool and are incredibly handy beyond chucking the bikes in the back.

Offering the usability of a daily driver with the practicality to throw cart almost anything around in the back makes the ute a stellar option for the rider looking for a vehicle to fulfil multiple roles.

Trays come in different shapes and sizes, and it's not too hard to source an old ute with a flat deck that you can easily bolt a couple of bike stands to.

A big plus is the huge range of 4x4 utes available as well, making access to more out of the way places a safer bet than a 2wd car. With that said, don't downplay the ability of the many 2wd utes on the market today, with many offering plenty of capability to get you where you need to go before the real fun on two wheels begins.

Add in the versatility to also tow a trailer and the ute seems to have it all going it's way.

There are a couple of drawbacks, however.

While transporting with a ute your bike is out in the elements and much easier for scumbags to access your bikes. You also have less space to store your gear in the interior unless you opt for a dual cab ute - which in turn reduces the space for bikes in the tray.

So like adventure bikes utes are vehicles of compromise. Pick the traits that matter to you and you may find one that suits your needs.

Pros: Easy to load up, utes are cool, ease of access, abundant 4x4 options.

Cons: Bikes are out in the open meaning they are susceptible to weather and theft, utes also tend to be expensive – for even an old banger – making it not particularly cost-effective, you compromise between passenger space and cargo space.

Option 4 | Van

While the humble van is often overlooked, when it comes to motorcycle transport there is nothing that comes close to the utility of a van.

Sure, they aren't particularly cool or even marginally exciting, but when it comes to security, storage space and overall practicality a van is pretty much unbeatable.

While the size of vans can vary from the tiny Suzuki Carry to giant Mercedes Benz Sprinters, all feature the same benefits of enclosed storage space for your bike and all your gear, plus the ability to cart around anything else you want.

Prices for new vans often start in the same region as 2wd utes in the $20-30k range, with larger feature-packed options such as the Mercedes Sprinter topping the $100,000 mark and beyond.

With a van, not only can you easily stow your bike (or bikes) in an enclosed and secure environment, but once you reach your destination you also have a place to change into your riding gear without prying eyes seeing you in your undies.

There are a few drawbacks to a van, however.

Firstly, a van can be a cumbersome beast to drive daily. Parking can be a hassle due to their size and unladen their ride can suffer making them less comfortable. Add to this the lack of passenger seats in many - which often feature only the front row of seats - and this makes the van a less than ideal family vehicle if your moto tower has to do it all.

Pros: Your most secure option, Bikes are out of the elements, excellent storage for all your gear.

Cons: Cool factor often lacking, size can mean they don't make a great daily driver,


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