I needed a bike ramp that would allow me to safely load and unload my 2003 Yamaha FJR1300 into/out of the back of my truck without any other assistance. I did a Google search, and found this ramp from Discountramps.com. It's called "The Dresser Ramp".

It is 89" long, 38" wide, and has a rated capacity of 2700 pounds. It weighs about 70 pounds, and was manufactured by Oxlite (who apparently makes most of the trick aluminum motorcycle ramps sold by other companies). It's rather expensive (about $300 including shipping) but well worth it!

It is slightly curved to prevent low-centering the bike, and folds length-wise to make carrying and storage easier. A friend used it to load his Aprilia Futura, which he simply rode up the ramp and into the back of his full sized Z-71 pickup.

It's kinda overkill for loading dirt bikes, but it sure is the hot setup for loading big road bikes and touring bikes. The arch and the width means you can just ride it in. One person can unload by simply putting the bike in 1st gear, and using the clutch as a brake, along with the front brake, to straddle-walk the bike slowly backwards down the ramp.

So, here I am trying to load my FJR on a level bit of pavement. Notice that my feet aren't touching the ground or the ramp. Note THE GRIM REAPER lurking near the rear of my bike. Needless to say, I chickened out...

After redeploying the truck in the driveway, and blocking up the front wheels to level the bed, I tried again. This time successfully!

I thought of removing the saddlebags after I got the bike loaded. Doh! I should have removed them first so that if the bike had tipped over, there would have been less damage.

An FJR1300 in the bed of an extra-cab Toyota Tundra. A bit too long to close the tailgate.

These are the tiedowns I use and recommend. They are made by Powertye, and are in my humble opinion the best motorcycle tiedowns available.   [see update below]   They have a big plastic-covered hook with security latch on one end, and a built-in "soft tie" on the other end. They are very quick to hook up, and won't come loose even if you hit a bump big enough to compress the forks.

I hooked two of the Powertyes around the passenger grab rail, after first putting a bit of old cotton diaper cloth around the rail to protect the paint. When I actually did truck the FJR to California in January, 2003, I looped the tiedowns over the rear tire instead.

Here's how I did the handlebar end. Given Paul's recommendation (see below) I first attached straps to the forks, just above the fender mounts. These served to keep the bike from moving side-to-side.

Then I attached a second set of tiedowns just snuggly enough to put some compression on the forks, to keep the bike from moving up and down.

Here's a close-up shot of the tiedowns on the bars. I have a Canyon Dancer, but believe it would put too much leverage on the ends of the handlebars, possibly bending or braking them. In this case, I didn't put enough tension on these straps to actually hold the FJR in place -- I relied on the lower set for that. I used just enough tension to add "security" (backup) to the other set.

As I mentioned above, I used this scheme to truck my FJR from Spokane to Portland, OR during the winter of early 2003 so that I could ride from Portland down to Healdsburg, CA for the Western FJR Owners gathering. It worked great! I'm now confident in loading/unloading the FJR by myself, without a spotter...


Update:

In Dec-2002, Paul E. Gerle wrote:

I have TONS of experience transporting bikes, in trucks, on open trailers, and in enclosed trailers, and I've had my fair share of scratched paint, broken plastic, and close calls. I feel I have to provide you my comments here in the hope you'll consider editing your page to help others avoid some common mistakes.

First, there are much better straps than the ones shown. Motorcycle tie-down straps should always have ratchet-style adjusters (like these PowerTye BIG DADDYS). The cam-style adjusters shown can and will slip, though as you mentioned, some are better than others. The ratchet-style adjusters wrap the strap around a spool, and although they're more trouble to use, they are completely slip-proof.

Secondly, the routing of the straps shown in the pictures is very dangerous to the health of your fairing. The tension of the straps is directly on the plastic! That may not cause any damage on a VERY short, easy trip, but constant bouncing and vibration will at least mar the finish, and at worst, crack the plastic.

In a pickup, you have a much better option. The pickup bed has eye loops a good 16 inches or so up off the bed. Therefore, you can route the straps from them to the fork tubes just above the fender without an extreme angle of the straps. Let me explain.

In certain situations, an extreme angle of the straps (usually, mounted on the floor of the truck or trailer, and too close to the bike's centerline) combined with:

... conspire to allow a fall, by passing through a "point of no return", in which the straps fail to provide support, and the bike topples. To avoid this, you need to have the straps closer to horizontal, a less severe angle to the bed of the vehicle, and the path from the front forks to the pickup bed's tie-downs allows a perfect angle for that. It's harder on a flat trailer with tie-downs on the floor only.

If attaching the straps to the forks applies pressure to the fender, you can use cord, rope, or strapping material to prevent it by tying off the main straps from above (like the lower triple clamp).

Copyright © 2002-2003, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.