While we’d like to ride our motorcycles everywhere, that’s not always possible. Whether you’re looking to do a ride in far-off places and you want to do must of the highway driving in the comfort of a truck, or if you’ve got dirt bikes and a fair bit of pavement between you and where the dirt starts, it’s important to know how to load a motorcycle in a truck or even a trailer.

This might seem like it should be a simple task, but many people get the bike up to the back of the truck and realize that loading motorcycle into pickup isn’t as easy as it might first appear to be. Figuring out how to transport a motorcycle in a pickup truck can easily lead to several hours’ worth of frustration and, in worst-case scenario, a dropped bike.

And that’s why we’re here to help you out. Here are some tried tips and tricks to get that big bike into the back of your pickup truck or trailer.

1. Get a Motorcycle Ramp for Truck

One of the first pieces of equipment you’ll need if you’re figuring out how to haul a motorcycle is a ramp. Yes, this may seem obvious, but we’ve heard tales of motorcyclists who decided that they were going to borrow Jim’s truck for their weekend out in the dirt and completely neglecting the fact that Jim doesn’t ride motorcycles and thus doesn’t have a ramp for his truck. Oops.

So you’re going to need a ramp. A pair of ramps, one for your bike to walk up, and the other for you to go up with it. You want to specifically get arched ramps, since if you get flat ones you’re going to end up with a really tough angle when your bike gets to the tip of the ramp. It’s still doable if you don’t have the arched ramps, but it’s a lot more difficult and we vote that you make it as easy as possible on yourself. Particularly if you have to load the bike on your own, we really recommend that you get arched ramps.

And for the good of yourself and the bike, make sure that you attach the ramps to the back of the truck bed with ratchets or straps. Do not just rest the ramps on the edge of the truck bed. Doing so is a great way to ensure that you and your bike go crashing down to the ground when the weight of the bike causes the ramps to move. So strap them down and save yourself a lot of heartache and potential injury.

2. Get a Wheel Chock

You may be wondering what keeps the bike upright when you’re driving the truck. This is where a wheel chock comes in handy. This is essentially a piece that sits in the back of your truck, and it’s the secret behind how to tie down a motorcycle in a truck bed. We recommend one that weighs a reasonable amount so it doesn’t get inadvertently pushed around when you’re trying to push the bike wheel into it.

The lighter chocks are designed to be bolted down to the floor of a trailer, and should not be used in a pickup truck alone, since they aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of the bike while you’re driving. Get a solid, heavy wheel chock for your pickup adventures, or you’ll be sorry.

The wheel chock should be pushed up against the end of the truck bed, preferably in the middle unless you’re hauling two bikes.

3. Decide On A Plan of Attack for Getting It Up The Ramp

The two options here are to push the bike up using your own power, or to try and use the bike’s power to get up the ramp.

Generally speaking it’s safer to use your own power if possible, and if your bikes are on the lighter side (like dirt bikes) most people are able to walk them up a secured ramp into the back of the bike relatively easily. Heavier bikes like big cruisers, on the other hand, may require you to use some juice in order to get them up.

Generally speaking, though, all but the heaviest bikes can be pushed up with manpower alone, particularly if you have another set of hands helping you. (You walk the bike up the ramp while the other person provides some support behind when you’re pushing it up over the hardest arc and into the back of the truck bed.)

Some people do prefer just to ride their bike up the ramp, but depending on how wide your ramp is, this can be a somewhat hazardous maneuver and could result in you and your bike falling off the ramp. Proceed with caution.

4. Be Generous with the Straps

Once you manage to get the bike up the ramp and the wheel into the chock, it’s time to make sure that the bike doesn’t bounce all over the place while you’re on the road. This is where straps come in handy. If you have a good chock, you shouldn’t need more than a couple of straps to ensure that the front bit stays nice and secure.

When you’re positioning the straps, keep in mind the best place to locate them. For the one-piece handlebars of dirt bikes, attaching the straps to the handlebars is just fine, but if you’ve got clip-on handlebars you don’t want to do this because the force could end up breaking them.

Another great thing to have on hand is towels, so you can ensure that the straps don’t scratch up the finish on your ride.

A rack extender in the back is helpful to ensure that your bike is secured down in the back, but if you don’t have one of these you can usually rig up something based upon the configuration of your truck. Just make sure it’s secure. You also want the suspension of the bike to be held about halfway down. If it’s too loose, the bike could fall, but if the suspension is smashed too much it could cause damage.

Now that you know how to get that pesky motorcycle up into the back of your truck, make sure that you check out one of these motorcycle ramps for trucks so you can get on the road.