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Old 06-19-2012, 12:06 AM   #1
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Question Proper way to tie down a bike on trailer?

On the way to work this morning I passed two people messing with a large Harley in the back of the trailer. At first I didn't think anything of it until I got close enough to see that it was laying on its side. So I stopped and asked if they needed some help. yes.

Picked up the bike and got ready to tie it back down. The problem was they used a single 1000lb strap just through the rear wheel and it had broken allowing the bike to shift and fall over. First step was get two additional straps out of their tool box and tie the wheel in two places. The wheels were mostly solid so threading them through was a PITA. Got the rear taken care of and headed to the front. She was told not to use the handlebars as an anchor point because that will bend the handle bars. So it the straps were run through the lower part of the frame. Got one on each side (four straps total). Sent her on her way and told her to check it at the next gas station.

I think it will hold fine but I left wondering what the best way to secure that particular bike is? how should one should tie a bike down for transport? Where on the bike should you run the straps? is it likely to bend the handlebars? etc.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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Front wheel in a sturdy chock, which is bolted down on the trailer. 4 straps tied at a forward angle keeping the bike firmly planted into the wheel chock.

Nothing wrong with using the handlebar as the two front tie-down points, but I prefer not to use the handlebar and would rather choose somewhere solid on the frame. I also prefer to use soft ties on the motorcycle side.

Once the ratchet come-alongs are cinched tight, I wrap the ratchet mechanism with a plastic tie wrap drawn tight to keep it from accidentally "unratchet" loose. Don't ask me how I know. It's just extra insurance. Once I reach the destination, I cut the plastic tie wraps with diagonal cutters.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:19 AM   #3
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Solid wheel chock plus canyon dancer strap for the front plus 1 ratchet tie down on the rear.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:05 AM   #4
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i just used a strap to each clip on and tightened to it to the tie down rail in the front of my truck, that compressed it down against the front of the bed. Took like 2 minutes and I used i think 400 lb straps - the small ones. A lot of people use the friction straps instead to give you an idea of how (not) tight it needs to be.

some people use like 4 straps, chock, and then string up a bunch of stuff after that. totally unnecessary. If you have a chock just roll it up in there, strap down each clip ons to something and go.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:10 AM   #5
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I hauled mine from Austin in the bed of a truck with nothing more than two straps to compress the front end...
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:31 AM   #6
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You'd have to strap the living out of the bars to bend them, but I've seen people try. You shouldn't be cranking the straps so hard that you sack out the front suspension as this is very hard on the fork seals. Tighten the straps to the point where the suspension just starts to compress, and call it good.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:34 AM   #7
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I used to use ratchet straps until Godsuki fussed me about it. Told me most people WAY over tighten the ratchets.


Bike in a front wheel chock and two cambuckle straps to either end of a canyon dancer. I use a little body weight bounce on the straps to tension them and that's it. I don't bother with the rear. Haven't had any problems to date.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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On sport bikes 2 tie downs and a Cycle Cinch on the bars. Pull the forks down about halfway. I don't like Canyon Dancers as O seen to many of them break switch housing locating pins.

Crusier bars bend easily, especially the taller ones, so I'll tie down around the lower triple tree being careful not to pinch wires, cables or brake lines.
I may addd 2 straps in the rear to the passenger peg mounting to stabilize the bike, especially if the front isn't rock solod.

The optimum set up is a Baxley chock and Cycle Cinch with 2 tie downs.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:04 AM   #9
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How tight to draw on the ties depends on how wide you are able to set them apart on the trailer. If they are pointing almost straight down and you just barely compress the suspension, the normal bouncing around that will happen going down the road will make the straps go slack when the suspension compresses momentarily going over a big pothole, etc. If you use just the S-hook ends, they might just pop loose when the strap loosens. Again, don't ask me how I know. That's why I never use the S-hooks and would rather just tie a knot instead. Using a positive capture type hook would also work.

If you have the straps angled out a good ways, then they don't tend to loosens when the bike goes up and down on its suspension.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:12 AM   #10
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love the cycle cinch.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:14 AM   #11
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If you have the time and some spare $$, I think the best way to secure your bike is the pit Bull Trailer retraint system. Like Patrick said, Canyon Dancers damage too much, & even the synch seems to pull too much on the grips to my liking.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:16 AM   #12
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I like soft ties around the fork leg on the top side of the lower triple clamp. No stress on bars, no pressure on grips.
As mentioned above, no need to over compress the suspension.
A wheel chock is a good idea (especially the baxley type) , but not absolutely required.
Hauled bikes all over like this, works great.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
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...The optimum set up is a Baxley chock and Cycle Cinch with 2 tie downs.
I agree. I also have had good luck with the Canyon Dancer. You just have to be careful with the placement so you don't damage the handlebar switches.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:45 AM   #14
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Pit bull restraint is by far the very best, next is like Patrick said, a Baxley and two straps on the front with a canyon dancer or cycle cinch, I have seen so many idiots tie chit down so crazy over the years, they just dont know, I aint gonna take any chances with my babies
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:11 AM   #15
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Very informative. Thanks

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Old 06-19-2012, 10:29 AM   #16
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In addition to what others have said....

If using a trailer with a rail upfront, I'll wrap a strap through/around the front wheel and the front rail, that way the front tire can not turn if it started to bounce around or lean. I do this because we don't have a dedicated trailer to use a wheel chock in. It's usually used for 4wheelers, expect in emergency situations.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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I use a total of 10 straps to secure my junk.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:07 AM   #18
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:12 PM   #19
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As Patrick said the best tie down point for the front on a bike without a fairing is the lower triple. It seems like a lot of people don't tie down the rear at all, but I'm not sure why that works.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
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As Patrick said the best tie down point for the front on a bike without a fairing is the lower triple. It seems like a lot of people don't tie down the rear at all, but I'm not sure why that works.
Well if it doesnt bounce.. then the coefficient of friction between the tire and the surface should be sufficient to keep it from sliding... you know the whole reason motorcycle riding works...
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