Motorcyclist often joke about people who put their bike on a trailer to take it to a rally or a long trip. I have seen Gold Wing touring bikes on a trailer just to get to the other side of town for a weekend rally. How sad. However, sometimes you need to get a broken bike to the shop or you buy an old bike that you need to get home for a restoration. I used to work with a guy for a dealership who had to transport new bikes between stores nearly every day. I learned many ways NOT to tie down a bike by watching him over the years.

The following are just my personal ways to secure various types of bikes in trucks and trailers.

These are called Canyon Dancers or bar harness and are a basic tool for most motorcyclists. The wide part is a tube that slides over the grips allowing the tie-down straps to attach to the ends of the Canyon Dancers. They aren't perfect though. They have pulled the grips loose on some of my motorcycles and they can leave scars in very soft grips. My solution has been to wrap a shop rag around each grip before sliding on the Dancers. I use them to prevent tie-downs from rubbing or cracking bodywork.

CAUTION!!! If you use these on a bike with long handlebars they can bend or even break the bar with enough tie-down force. I only use these for sportbikes and motorcycles with short handlebars.

Ancra Anchor
I love these things! They quick release leaving only a tiny base, holds up to 4000lbs and also swivel. Made by Ancra. I have them in both of my trailers and several in the bed of my truck.

While driving with a motorcycle strapped to a trailer or in the back of your truck you are going to hit bumps that allow the bike to move up and down. Even with your straps on tight they can get some slack as the bike moves on its suspension. The danger is when the hook on the end of the tie-down strap comes off from that moment of slack. I have seen many bikes fall over from this. The best fix I know of (and do) is to replace the open hooks with real carabiners. They aren't cheap but they don't cost as much as replacing the whole left side of a dropped motorcycle.

I have a large soft bag that I keep all of my straps in when not in use. They stay together and stay clean. Each pair of matching straps goes in a smaller bag to reduce my time wasted with tangles and knots. On the outside of the bag I attach my extra carabners. I also have a small bag of clips.

I use good, solid ratchet type straps. The cheap ones always fall apart sooner or later so I stopped wasting my money and went to a strap that was a bit overkill. I cut off the useless hooks at each end and leave the loop for my carabiners. Keep your straps clean and check for damage. Try not to let them rub on anything.

A wheel chock will greatly help with securing the bike for bumps and bounces. It keeps the front wheel from turing during transport and allowing your straps to go slack causing the bike to fall. This is like a type I use that is quick release.

CAUTION!! Make sure your front brake disks will not hit the chock as the bike bounces.

Here is a picture I found on the internet and is a fairly good example. All of the straps force the bike to be forward and wont allow the bike to roll in any direction. Notice the heavy duty wheel chock that hold the front and back of the front tire. There is also a strap just to help hold the front tire to the chock and scrap wood was used to help with the ratchet. The rear footpeg mounts make a fairly secure spot for the two back straps. I would have added a Canyon Dancer to this setup for the best security.

This one isn't too bad either. Good, solid straps are used and the front straps are going to the front forks which are one of the most solid parts of the bike. They did not use the weak engine guards. The rear straps are use as a backup for the front and to reduce the chance of the back end of the bike from bouncing side to side as the trailer hits bumps. Notice the wheel chock and the flush mounted anchors on the floor. No tripping hazard.

Tie down loops are important to have when you need to get a strap connected to a bike with limited access to a secure point. These are best used on the front forks right above the lower triple clamp.