Riding a motorcycle onto a flatbed trailer with a ramp is a nerve-racking endeavor. I don’t care who you are—man or woman, it’s no fun having to duck-walk or feather the throttle to ease a heavy motorcycle up a rickety metal ramp onto the short length of a trailer bed.
The expression on this rider’s face says it all as she braces for the precarious ride up the short ramp.
Up she goes, pursed lips and all!
Ahhh—she did it! All smiles as friends help tie down the motorcycle on the trailer.
What’s worse, a large number of motorcyclists drop the bike while riding up the ramp. Of course, most are too embarrassed to share that, including me. Well, it wasn’t me—it was my dear, sweet husband, Norm. He was riding my Harley-Davidson Street Glide
up a ramp when the ramp came out from under him midway up. Bam! Down he and my motorcycle went. The crazy part is that we weren’t even using a metal ramp. We were using wooden boards. How bad is that! He gets a free pass on that one. The rear end of his Road King
, which had already been loaded onto the trailer, caught my bike as it was tipping over, so there was minimal damage, thank goodness!
If you don’t own an enclosed motorcycle trailer
with an easy loading ramp, flatbed trailers and pickup trucks are other options for hauling a motorcycle. My trailer didn't come with a motorcycle ramp, and in my quest to find a decent one, I discovered a great retailer called DiscountRamps.com. This online store has tons of ramps to choose from that are designed specifically for motorcycles—at great prices, too! Unfortunately, I discovered this company after I'd already spent hundreds of dollars on ineffective ramps purchased locally from hardware and ranch-supply stores. These ill-fitting ramps were either way too short or too narrow, or the rungs were so far apart that I feared our feet would get caught as we eased the bike up the ramp. With each purchase, I naïvely hoped this
one would work.
This is the "best" ramp for my trailer and motorcycles, the Trifold Motorcycle Trailer Ramp (TF-6050) from DiscountRamps.com. Measuring 49.125 inches across, it’s extra wide to accommodate touring motorcycles like mine. The length is 60 inches, while the thickness is 1.875 inches.
The TF-6050 holds up to 1,500 pounds and comes with a heavy-duty attaching lip (the part that rests on the edge of the trailer). Like most of the ramps from DiscountRamps.com, it's made of lightweight aluminum so it won’t rust, and the rungs are serrated to prevent tires from slipping.
DiscountRamps.com has many different sizes of ramps to accommodate various combinations of trailers, pickup trucks, and motorcycles. To help you figure out the best ramp for you, the site includes a “ramp calculator.” To use, simply type in the measurements of your motorcycle wheelbase, motorcycle ground clearance, and trailer or pickup loading height. Click the photos below to enlarge them to see my measurements in the ramp calculator
The measurements I used for my 2008 Street Glide—the longer and lower of the two motorcycles my husband and I own—were wheelbase 63.5 inches, ground clearance 5 inches, and loading height 18 inches.
The handy ramp calculator on DiscountRamps.com determined that I needed a ramp with a minimum length of 55 inches. The nearest size up from that was 60 inches. The calculator steered me in the right direction.
On a blustery early spring day in Montana, Norm rolled my Street Glide onto our trailer for our journey south to Arizona. Despite the very low clearance of my lowered Street Glide, the motorcycle never bottomed out at the pitch point (where the ramp meets the trailer).
The TF-6050 folds up to one-third its full size, or to 16.625 inches wide and 6.375 inches thick, making it easy for storage.
The Road King is one of Harley-Davidson’s most popular models, so for those curious to see how that bike loaded up, here are a couple of pictures of Norm riding his 2000 Road King Classic up the TF-6050 ramp. No bottoming out here.
Once the motorcycles were loaded safely on the trailer, we were rewarded with a springtime rainbow.
A few things to note: As you can see in the photos, we used the edge of our garage to reduce the angle of the ramp and make the incline less steep. Of course, achieving this ideal angle will not always be possible. When we were in Arizona loading the motorcycles up for the journey home, we had a hard time finding just the right pavement angle to maintain this ideal slope. In that case, your choices are to find a longer ramp or to search around for the perfect angle of pavement. We found that on a sloped stretch of pavement near the loading dock in the back of a grocery store.
The ramp comes with two safety straps as extra security for securing the ramp to your trailer. We felt the trailer was secure and didn’t use them in these photos, but just to be on the safe side, I’d advise putting them to good use.
To sum up the pros of this trailer over other ones I've used:
- Extra wide to accommodate planted feet when loading; ideal for wider motorcycles
- Close rungs
- Serrated rungs
- Lightweight (just 32 pounds—I can lift it!)
- Easy to find your "best" size using the Ramp Calculator on DiscountRamps.com
The TF-6050 sells for $199.99, plus $35 shipping and handling—a good price for getting just the right size ramp. DiscountRamps.com has tons of ramps for all kinds of equipment. If you’re into any kind of powersports you’ll likely have fun browsing all the different options and accessories available there.
and tell them you heard about them on Women Riders Now (WRN)! Related ArticlesAn Easy Way to Tow Your BikeEditor's Pick: Trailer in a Bag