How to Tie Down a Dirt Bike in a Truck Bed (Lifted or Stock)
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Loading and tying down a dirt bike in a truck bed isn’t exactly rocket science. However, if you’re new to dirt biking or just haven’t done it much, you can run into a few issues and/or questions. In addition, I do believe there is a right and a
wrong better way to do it. In the end, the way you tie down your dirt bike will depend on a few things, but most steps are the same regardless.
Here are a few tools you’ll need to tie your dirt bike down in your truck:
Ok, so I guess just one. 🙂 Other than the dirt bike and a set of tie downs, there isn’t anything else you need to have.
There are a few items that will make the job easier and, perhaps, make the trip easier on your bike. But again, these items aren’t 100% necessary. What are they?
- Soft straps (recommended if your tie downs don’t have them)
- Loading ramp(s)
- Fork saver/support brace
- Wheel chock
I personally don’t have a wheel chock but I can see how they’d be nice to have.
I don’t (currently) have a fork saver either, however I’m planning on getting one eventually.
Good news: if you tie down your motorcycle the way I’m about to show you, it drastically decreases the need for a fork saver. It doesn’t remove the need altogether, but if you’re not going a long distance, you should be fine.
How to Strap a Dirt Bike in a Truck
Instead of tying your bike down straight in, I recommend tying it down diagonally in your truck bed, from corner to corner.
Whether you choose to put the front tire in the front-right corner or in the front-left corner, it really doesn’t matter. However, for explaining the steps later, let’s just say that you should put your front tire into the front-left corner.
The point is to have the bike diagonal in the truck bed so that your front and rear tires are in opposite sides of the bed. This significantly reduces the pressure on the suspension.
Test it out. Next time you load your bike in your truck, check out how suppressed the front forks get when you tie your dirt bike down straight on. Then, try it diagonally. You’ll notice that the entire bike (rear suspension as well as front) suppresses and squats down as you tighten down the bike.
There are three other perks as well:
- You won’t bend your truck bed
- The tailgate can close
- You don’t have to secure the ramp, bags, etc. in truck because tailgate is up
- As shown above, you can actually fit a dirt bike in the bed of a Toyota Tacoma… with the the tailgate closed. That’s a win-win-win, in my book 😀
NOTE: Having your bike sitting in the truck bed diagonally… but having your wheel turned straight up against the back of the cab is not what we’re after. You don’t want your tire turned. Keep both tires straight – leaving the front tire stuck in the corner of the bed and cab.
NOTE #2: In reality, even this is probably only the second-best way to tie down your dirt bike in a pickup truck. I’d say that using a strapless tie down system like the Risk Racing Lock-N-Load Pro is most-likely a “better” way to do it… although a bit more expensive.
NOTE #3: In the picture above I hadn’t yet taken care of the loose/excess tie downs. These should be tied in a half-hitch/stopper knot up against the buck on the tie down. This will keep the tie downs from slipping and will keep the excess strap from flopping around in the wind.
Steps to Tying Down a Dirt Bike in a Truck
Like I said earlier, this really isn’t too hard. Here’s what you’ve got to do.
Load Dirt Bike Into Truck Bed
- Park on flat ground
Whether you’ve got a loading ramp or not, pick a nice flat surface to park your truck. If you can, back up to a hill or loading dock (could be dirt, concrete, logs, etc.) since this will make the job easier. Finding/building/using a loading dock at your house is great because they’ll eliminate the need for lifting your bike into the truck bed. If that’s not a possibility, I recommend getting a good loading ramp.
- Get the tie downs setup
Before loading the bike into the truck, make sure to have the tie downs ready to go. I like to put a tie down on each side of the handlebars so that they stay with the bike while I load it into the truck bed.
- Get the bike into the bed
Put the bike in neutral. If you’ve got a ramp, setup the ramp and simply push the bike into the truck bed. If you’ve got a loading dock, push the bike into the truck (minimal lifting may be necessary). And if you don’t have either, I hope you’ve been working out. Lift the front tire into the bed. To get the rest of the bike into the truck, pick the bike up by the swingarm and push the rest of the bike into the truck.
- Brace the bike
If you’ve got a wheel chock- great. Push the front tire into the wheel chock. Otherwise, simply push the front tire into the front-left corner of the truck bed. You should be able to hold the bike upright with one hand.
Secure Dirt Bike in Truck
- Tie down forks
Take the right-hand-side tie down (should be on your handlebars already) and attach it to the front-right truck bed’s ring. Next, step over the bike (climb on – sit – climb off other side) and take the left-hand-side tie down and attach to the back-left truck bed’s ring.
- Close tailgate
With your dirt bike in and secured, close the tailgate. Remember, the front tire will be in the front-left corner while your rear tire is in the back-right corner. However, the tire may not be snugged all-the-way up in the corner. That’s fine! Make sure both tires are straight and inline with each other.
- Tighten the tie down straps
Now that both the left and right tie downs are attached you can snug them down. Don’t go too hard. You don’t need to tighten them down as much as possible. Just enough to where the bike is in nice and snug. Once snug, tie off the excess straps around the buckle so that they don’t slip or flap in the wind.
- Tie down rear tire
In my opinion, this step is optional… especially with the rear tire wedged in between the tailgate and the side of the truck bed. Even if your bike doesn’t fit exactly like this, you can probably tell if the rear tire is going to bounce around in the bed. Either way, if you’d like to tie the rear tire down, you can run a tie down strap through the rear wheel and loop it around the tire once – attaching each end of the tie down to the right and left side of the truck bed. As far as safety goes – like if you were to get into an accident while driving – having the rear wheel tied down wouldn’t be a bad thing.
- Rhino Soft Strap Tie Downs
Recommended “soft strap” tie downs
- Rhino Soft Straps
Recommended soft strap additions
- Yaheetech Dirt Bike Ramp
I have this ramp and it’s great
- Pit Posse Fork Saver
For straight-in loading and long hauls
The “Wrong” Way
The “wrong” way: put your bike straight into the bed with the front tire up against the truck bed behind your cab.
Ok, so again, this isn’t actually “wrong” but it does put more pressure on your front forks. If you’re only going to load one dirt bike in your truck, I recommend that you don’t load it this way.
If you’re going to load two or three in your truck, you’re probably going to have to. Don’t worry though, it’s not that big of a deal… especially if you have a fork saver.
I would guess that 87.93% (ish) people load their bike straight into their truck.
I don’t. It puts unneeded stress on your front forks and requires most trucks to have the tailgate down.