As a full-service towing service in the Portland and Vancouver area, we’re asked to transport a motorcycle from time to time. As motorcycle owners ourselves, we understand the concern with handing over the keys to someone else for transport. After all, motor cycle owners look upon their bike as their pride and joy, and we must do the same.
We’ve get a number of inquiries on the steps we take for shipping a motorcycle long distances, so today we wanted to explain the how we go about it and why we do it in the way we do it.
Using A Flatbed for Motorcycle Shipping
The first and most obvious thing is that a motorcycle has two, and occasionally three wheels. This inherently means that a motorcycle, sitting still is not as well balanced as their 4 wheel counterparts. Simply put, we can’t tow it using the same equipment as we use to tow cars or trucks. We need to use a flatbed trailer or a utility vehicle with a large enough cargo bay and strap holds to balance the motorcycle for the trip. With a flat bed trailer in mind, we go through the following protocol to ensure your motorbike makes it to it’s destination damage-free:
- First we always check that the flatbed trailer is physically sound, that the electricity connections linking the tail lights and indicators to the towing vehicle work, and that it can carry the weight of the motor cycle.
- The next step is work out how to secure the cycle to the flatbed. There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Tow straps – These are nylon straps that are attached to the front and rear forks of the cycle and ratcheted to ensure tightness. Do not attach them to the seat or other part of the cycle’s bodywork. Straps are often enough, but because the wheels are not fixed to the flatbed, the cycle runs the risk of falling over if a wheel moves, one of the straps breaks or the ratchet slips.
- Rails, Cradles and Chokes – These supplement the straps by fixing the wheels to the floor of the flatbed. A rail is exactly as it sounds – a single U-Shaped bit of metal, wide enough to take the width of the cycle tire. A cradle is a U-Shaped piece of metal, again the width of the cycle tire, formed into a C shape which fits to the front tyre of the cycle. Finally, chocks are just that. Bits of wood or metal that prevent the wheels from moving forwards, backwards and sideways.
- Load the cycle to the flatbed
- It goes without saying that taking the cycle on and off the flatbed needs to be done with great care. If you don’t do it properly, your motorcycle might accidentally fall, causing dents, scratches and perhaps internal damage. If it is to be loaded to a flatbed truck, we lower the hydraulically operated ramp and winch the cycle onto the truck. If it is to be loaded to a trailer, the usual way is to use a ramp and brute strength.
- If it’s a trailer, hook it up to the towing vehicle. In all cases head off to the destination.
- Unload the cycle using the same procedures above in reverse.
Well there you have it. If you’re looking for motorcycle shipping services in or out of the Portland / Vancouver and have questions or are in need of service, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (503) 468-5090 and a knowledgeable representative on our 24-7 Towing Team will be happy to help. Thanks for reading!
Need Motorcycle Transport? Call 24-7 Towing
With over 50 combined years of towing service experience. the 24-7 Towing Team is comprised of dedicated, trained towing professionals whose prime focus is to proudly serve the Portland and Vancouver metro area’s tow truck requests.
We’re fully licensed, bonded and insured in both Oregon and Washington and – as the name implies – available on a 24/7 basis with our versatile selection of tow trucks and equipment to address your unique towing service questions.