The proper use of tools will make loading a dirt bike into a truck fairly easy. Without the use of these tools, it can become dangerous fast. Not only that, you also run the risk of damaging your dirt bike and truck. It is also important to recognize a few factors that will help you load your dirt bike successfully. These factors include rider height, truck height and whether your truck is on a slope or not. The methods described below are a starting point and should be used in conjunction with your personal findings.
Position of Truck
The first thing you want to consider when loading a dirt bike into a truck is the setup. Make sure your truck is either on a flat, or slightly downhill surface. You will find it easier to build up enough momentum to get the dirt bike up the ramp. The slightly downhill surface is also great when securing the dirt bike to the bed of your truck. The bike will naturally want to roll towards the front of your truck instead of out the back. This should make tying it down much easier and safer.
If you are shorter or have a taller truck, it may help to get your tailgate lower to the ground. This will make it much easier to load. The best way to do this is to back your truck up to a hill. You can almost always find a hill when you are riding your dirt bike at the dunes. If you can’t find a hill, you can back the rear wheels into a small ditch. This will reduce the height between your tailgate and the ground.
Securing the Ramp
There are many different ramps you can use when loading a dirt bike into a truck. Regardless of the type of ramp you choose, you must secure your ramp to your truck before loading. This is going to prevent your ramp from sliding off the tailgate when pushing the bike up it. All you have to do is thread a rope or ratchet strap through one of the rungs on your ramp. Then, find a place to attach it to your truck like the trailer hitch or rear axle.
Placement of Tie Down Straps
Before using any of the methods below you will want to make sure your tie down straps are properly placed in the bed of your truck before loading. You don’t want to have to unload and load again because you can’t find your tie down straps.
Loading the Dirt Bike
Of course, the easiest and safest way to load your dirt bike into the back of your truck is to have a friend help you. All you need to do is push the bike up the ramp and hand it to your friend standing in the back of your truck. The type of ramp you use doesn’t really matter for this method.
If you don’t have a friend to help, then the next best way is to purchase a really wide ramp. It is important to note that these can be pretty pricey. When using a wide ramp, simply gain some momentum and walk your bike up the ramp using the rungs as steps.
The technique gets a little more complicated when using a skinny single ramp. Unless you are extremely tall, you will need to use a step when loading a dirt bike into a truck. Most riders find that their dirt bike stand works great for this. There are many other items you can use, as long as they are approximately two feet tall and very sturdy. You can also pay a little extra money for a step that attaches to your receiver. Just be sure it extends far enough out to clear your tailgate when down.
You will want to position the stand about a foot from the end of the tailgate and about a foot to the side of your ramp. The positioning of the step may be different for everyone so it is important that you find your sweet spot. It is always a good idea to do a few test runs without your dirt bike to make sure the stand is in the right position.
Start by standing a good distance behind your truck so you have plenty of room to get a good running start. The goal is to make it into the back of your truck in one fluid motion. As soon as your front tire makes contact with the ramp you will want to transition your eyes to the stand, or whatever you are using as a step. Focus on stepping right in the middle of the stand with your dominate foot. You will then want to transition your eyes to the edge of the tailgate as your next step will be into the back of the truck.
There are other ways to gain momentum, but are only recommended for riders who are comfortable doing it. Instead of using the running start method discussed above, you can start you bike, put it in fist gear and let the bike idle as you are walking up the ramp. That little bit of extra momentum from the bike’s engine should do most of the work for you. This method makes it a little bit easier than running the bike up the ramp using nothing but manpower. This method can be used with any ramp setup but will be easiest with a wider ramp.
Skinny Ramp, No Step
As you can imagine, things only get trickier as you eliminate your resources. This method is great if you find yourself without a stand to step on when loading your dirt bike. It is important to note that it is much easier if you are a taller rider or have a truck that is pretty low to the ground. A shorter person may find themselves running out of reach when using this method.
Start by standing on the left side of the bike and push it up the ramp. You want to push it up as high as you can while still being able to grab the front brake. Once you get to that point, reach down and put the bike in gear. This is going to prevent it from rolling back down the ramp. Place one hand on the seat while keeping the other on the handlebar, and use the dirt bike to support yourself while you climb into the bed of the truck. Once you get into the bed, you can put the bike back in neutral or just pull in your clutch lever and continue pushing the bike into the truck bed.
Believe it or not, you can actually load a dirt bike into the bed of a truck without the use of a ramp, but you will need help from a friend. It will be a lot easier if you have a truck that is lower to the ground. If your truck is lifted or you are vertically challenged this method can be a little difficult.
Start by positioning the front wheel about a foot from the end of the tailgate. Then, both you and your friend reach down, grab the bottom of the fork and lift up at the same time. While you are lifting, walk forward and place the front wheel on the tailgate. Once you have the front wheel in place, have your friend climb into the truck bed to support the bike. Finally, head to the back of the bike and use the exhaust pipe as an anchor. Squat down and lift the rear end of the dirt bike off the ground. Once ready, walk forward until the bike is all the way in the truck bed. It is not recommended to use this method often, but can get you out of a pinch if necessary. If unfamiliar, please refer to this website for proper heavy lifting techniques.
Loss of Momentum
Sometimes you can get all the way up the ramp or really close, and run out of momentum. If you ever find yourself in this situation the best thing to do is grab the front brake right away. This will keep the bike from sliding back down the ramp uncontrollably. Once the bike has come to rest, you can ease off the front brake and reach back with your other hand to the rear tire. You can help the bike into the back of the truck by using the knobs on your rear tire to rotate the wheel forward.
Placement Once in Truck Bed
If you are just loading one bike into the bed of your truck, it is best practice to put it on the left side. This is because if you look over your shoulder to check your blind spot, all you will be able to see is a fender and a tire. If you put your bike on the left, your blind spot will be clear and make for safer driving conditions.