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There are times when you need to transport your motorcycle rather than ride it to a destination. You might be wondering if you need a trailer or if the bike will fit in the back of a truck bed. We have done some research and have found an answer to help you decide.
Many motorcycles will fit into a standard or long truck bed, but there are some exceptions depending on motorcycle size, type, and weight.
Keep reading to find out more information about which motorcycles easily fit into a truck bed. There will also be important information about loading and transporting a bike in a truck bed.
When considering if a motorcycle will fit into a truck bed, one has to consider the type of motorcycle. Most bikes will fit into one of nine basic categories. Some are small and very easy to load and haul in a truck bed. Others are substantial and weigh quite a bit, so they will most likely require a trailer to transport.
Smaller bikes fall into the categories of scooters, mopeds, and off-road bikes. These types of bikes are small and lightweight. They should easily fit in most truck beds. Mid-size bikes include cruisers, sports bikes, and adventure bikes.
These are bigger and weigh more. They are harder to maneuver, especially alone, and may not fit in smaller trucks. Heavier bikes include baggers, choppers, and touring bikes. These may fit in full-size or heavy-duty trucks but are probably better off on a trailer.
Most motorcycles have an average length dimension between 75 and 105 inches. Of course, you will need to find out the exact dimensions of the bike you will be hauling. Then you have to compare that to the truck you plan to use for carrying the bike.
For comparison, truck beds come in short, standard and long. A short bed is around 5' 8". A standard bed is generally 6'5", and a long bed will be about 8'. These numbers may vary slightly by make and model, but this gives you a general idea for planning purposes.
The average weight of a motorcycle is around 600 pounds. However, this covers a range that begins with small bikes like mopeds and scooters, which are generally lightweight at an average of 250 pounds or less. On the opposite end of the scale are choppers and touring bikes that weigh over a thousand pounds.
When looking to haul a heavier bike, you need to know your truck's specifications and payload capacity. Remember that payload capacity is different than towing capacity. Payload capacity includes all cargo and passengers the vehicle is hauling.
Just because it fits doesn't mean the truck can handle it. A heavy bike in a small truck with multiple passengers could overload the vehicle. In this case, it is best to find a trailer to haul the bike.
Pros and Cons of using a truck bed to haul a motorcycle
The obvious advantages are the accessibility, convenience, and savings of not needing a trailer. If you own the truck you are using, then you are always ready to haul a motorcycle.
Using your truck bed to haul your motorcycle is convenient, but there are some disadvantages that you might want to consider. One is that it takes a toll on your truck's bed, including the tailgate. You are going to get dents and scratches over time when using this method.
Second, a truck bed is much higher than a trailer, so you are working against gravity. So loading can take more work, especially if you are alone or don't own ramps.
How do you get a motorcycle in a pickup truck with ramps?
The easiest way to load a motorcycle into a truck is to use a motorcycle ramp. The ramp is a metal piece that creates an elevated bridge between the ground and the truck bed, allowing you to drive the motorcycle into the truck's bed.
You want to center the ramps so that the bike is in the middle of the truck bed. Then, you should secure the ramp to your truck before you attempt loading the bike. You don't want the ramps to slip during the process.
Once you have the bike centered and pulled into the truck bed all the way forward, then you are ready to secure the bike for safety and stability. Don't forget this crucial step.
You don't want the bike to be moving around in the back of the truck. Besides the potential of damage to the bike and truck, the unstable weight can cause an accident.
To watch a bike loaded with ramps, check out this video:
If you need a motorcycle or ATV ramp, consider this heavy-duty aluminum tri-fold set from Big Boy.
How do you put a motorcycle in a truck without ramps?
It is possible to load a motorcycle into a truck bed without ramps, but it does take some effort and creativity. You should also have a friend to help. Then, there are a couple of methods that you can use.
If the bike is lightweight and easy to handle, you can stand the bike on its back tire and then lower the front tire onto the truck bed. From there, you can maneuver the bike into the truck bed.
This method has a high risk of causing damage to the truck or the bike and possible injury to you if not done correctly. While this method might work, it isn't the most recommended.
A better alternative would be to find an incline that is level with your truck bed. Backing up your truck to this spot will create a ramp allowing you to get the motorcycle into the truck bed with less effort and more safety.
It is important to note that you may want to remove your tailgate before attempting to load your motorcycle. Tailgates can bend or break if with too much weight and pressure. Depending on the length of your bike, it may not close anyway. To avoid potential damage, if you can, go ahead and take it off.
Take a look at this video of loading and unloading without ramps:
How do you fit a motorcycle in a short bed truck?
Hauling a motorcycle in a short bed truck can be a challenge unless it is a small bike. A short truck bed is less than 6', and most bikes are a little over 6'. If you cannot angle the bike to maximize space, you will have to rely on the tailgate for the added length.
Before attempting, you need to check the weight rating of your tailgate to make sure it will support the weight of the bike. You might also consider reinforcing the tailgate.
Another option is to purchase a hitch carrier for the motorcycle. This option only works for a bike less than 500 pounds. Unfortunately, this option increases the vulnerability of your bike if you are involved in a rear-end collision.
Watch this video to see it done:
How do you transport a motorcycle in a truck bed?
When transporting your bike in the back of your truck, you need to ensure that the bike is properly secured into the truck bed. Otherwise, the bike could turn over and cause damage to the bike or your truck. Even worse, the motorcycle could fall out of the truck and cause injury to someone else.
You want to make sure the bike is secured to the truck bed using ratchet straps or some other type of tie-down gear. It would be best if you centered it in the truck bed completely upright.
Then it should be anchored in multiple places, including front, back, and each side. It helps to secure the bike with the suspension compressed to keep it stable on bumpy roads.
It is also advisable to have a wheel chock in your truck bed to lock the front tire into place. Suppose you don't have a wheel chock. Improvise using a piece of wood or anything else that will fit around the front wheel to keep it straight.
It's better to use what you have handy rather than not using one. However, if you plan to haul your bike often, you should invest in one compatible with your bike.
If you need a wheel chock, consider this adjustable heavy-duty kit with mounting.
To see a video covering the entire process of loading multiple ways and securing the bike for transport, check out this video:
There are multiple ways to transport a motorcycle, but you might find yourself in a situation where a truck is the only option. No worries, it is a popular method. Just make sure the truck you are using is compatible with the motorcycle you are hauling and that you have a proper way to get it loaded.
For more information about transporting a motorcycle, consider reading this article: How To Load And Unload A Motorcycle In A Toy Hauler
Consider reading this article for more maintenance information: How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?