+ Load­ing bikes into vans safely

Bought a new bike? Off to a track­day? Here’s how to trans­port your bike in safety

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Is your van suit­able? 1 If you’re hir­ing a van, ask them what type/size of van is suit­able for trans­port­ing a bike. You should also dou­ble check that it has se­cure tie-down points at floor level. They need to be lo­cated at the front and mid­dle on both sides of the van. If you’re mov­ing a sin­gle bike you can se­cure it in the mid­dle of the van, this will keep the bike away from the sides and re­duce the risk of dam­age to both the bike and the van. Ramp it up 2 If you don’t have a be­spoke bike ramp, a wooden scaf­fold board will do. Slowly walk the bike up the ramp – if pos­si­ble ask a friend to help. If you’re more con­fi­dent you can switch the en­gine on, en­gage first gear and gen­tly let the bike’s power help you walk it up. If you’re load­ing a cus­tom bike or cruiser, you should check you have clear­ance be­tween the bot­tom of the bike and the top of the ramp. Per­fect place­ment 3 If you’re load­ing a sin­gle bike, park it in the cen­tre of the van with the front wheel up against the bulk­head. Put it on its side­stand then wrap a ca­ble tie around the front brake lever, and put the bike in first gear. Place the web­bing strap across the bars, ad­just­ing the ends so that they pro­trude the same amount each side. Make sure the web­bing doesn’t come into con­tact with the switchgear.

Rat­tle those ratch­ets 4 At­tach ratchet straps to the front two tie-down points then hook the other ends to the bar strap’s loops. Take the slack out of the ratchet straps by pulling the loose ends taut through the ratchet mech­a­nism then tighten up the straps equally, one side then the other. The bike needs to be tight­ened up with a slight lean on the side­stand side. Se­cure the rear 5 Now head to the rear of the bike. Find a se­cure point on the bike near or around the footrest hanger – an ex­posed sec­tion of frame or sub­frame is ideal (footrest hangars can bend). Loop the ratchet strap through this point, and back to the tie down. Tighten the straps equally, so the ten­sion is the same on both sides of the bike. Tight but not too tight 6 Ide­ally both pairs of straps should be pulling the bike down and forward slightly so that it sits tightly against the van’s bulk­head. Fi­nally, check the straps have the same ten­sion at the front and ad­just any slack out as nec­es­sary. You should be care­ful not to over­tighten, as ratchet straps are very pow­er­ful and ca­pa­ble of bend­ing brack­ets and sub­frames. Try it side­ways 7 Al­ter­na­tively, you can load a bike in a van and strap it to the side. This is also al­lows an­other bike to be fit­ted to the va­cant side. One of the po­ten­tial prob­lems you need to be aware of is the han­dle­bars dam­ag­ing the side of the van. A bar will eas­ily go through the thin ply­wood lin­ing and dent the outer panel (which is an ex­pen­sive mis­take). Pad it out 8 Load the bike into the van and po­si­tion it to one side, then turn the steer­ing away from the panel it’s lean­ing against. Find a piece of foam or ma­te­rial that can be placed be­tween the han­dle­bar and panel. The pad­ding from an old sofa cush­ion is per­fect for this job, but any soft item will do, as long as it’s some­thing that will spread out the pres­sure of the han­dle­bar across a broader sur­face on the side of the van. Keep it up­right 9 The bike needs to be tight against the side of the van, but make sure that the fair­ings, ex­haust or swingarm aren’t in dan­ger of be­ing rubbed or dam­aged – again you can use foam. Most bikes can be strapped to the front cor­ner of the van via the bot­tom or top yokes but check that no brake lines or elec­tri­cal wires are likely to be pinched. The rear can be se­cured by ei­ther the sub­frame or a footrest hanger.

Few peo­ple know more about load­ing bikes than MCN’S Bruce Dunn

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