How To Load And Unload A Dirt Bike


Today we’re going to show you how to load a dirt bike. Now it’s kind of ironic, loading a dirt bike should probably the easiest thing that you do before you go out and ride, but it can also be one of the most dangerous things that you do. If you Google it, if you look on YouTube, there is no shortage of compilation of dirt bike fails a rider trying to load and unload their dirt bike.

So, there is a technique to it and today what we’re going to go through is actually just show you some of our favorite ways that we like to load a dirt bike to help and give you guys some good tips. Now just remember though that everyone is going to have their own method, there’s a lot of things I kinda dictate how you’re going to load a dirt bike, how tall you are if you’re on a slope that you know the height of your truck.

But today we’re going to go through and show you different methods so regardless of your situation, there’s going to be a method in here that’s going to be right for you to help you know how to do it. So the first thing you want to consider is truck set up. Now, what we recommend is either a flat or a slightly downhill surface. Now the reason for this slightly downhill is when you’re pushing the bike getting that momentum to go up the ramp, it’s going to give you a little bit more momentum and also what’s nice is once you get it into the back of the truck, the bike is just going to easily roll towards the front.

So when you’re tying it down, the bike doesn’t want to roll back on you. Now for shorter riders or maybe you have a taller truck and you want to get your tailgate lower to the ground and make it a little bit easier, what you can do is you can back up to a little hill so that’s when you the tailgate it’s closer to the ground.

I’ve even seen riders including myself who actually use a small ditch if there’s one close by, and use that so when you back into the ditch, lower the tailgate, you’re closer to the ground. So before you load it, just consider your truck’s setup. So let’s talk about ramp setup. Now there is a lot of different ramps that we sell at Rocky Mountain, you’ve got your single skinnier ramps, we have ramps that fold out that are super wide.

I’ve even seen riders use two skinny ramps, but regardless of what ramp you’re using, very important what we recommend is to use a tie-down or a rope whatever you have available to secure your ramp to your truck. You can tie it the head, at your axle, doesn’t really matter, but that’s going to prevent your ramp from sliding off the bed of your truck. We’ve talked about those dirt bike fail videos, a lot of those can be avoided if the rider just takes a few seconds to secure the ramp to the truck. Now if you have a really wide ramp, well, it’s pretty plain and simple. You’re just going to walk your bike up the ramp and use the ramp to walk out.

But the most common way that you’re going to see most riders loading their bike is they’re using a single ramp and they’re using either a stand or maybe a cooler, whatever you have that’s tall enough and it’s sturdy enough that you can step up into your bed. So, we’re going to show you first using a standing method with the single ramp. Now when it comes to your position of the stand, some guidelines that I like to give is I will have my stand about a foot off at the back of my tailgate and then about a foot to the side of my ramp, that for me is kind of the sweet spot.

Now it’s going to be different for everybody, you don’t have to put it there but that’s a pretty good starting area. So get your ramp set up and get your stand where it needs to be and then right before you start to load, always a good idea make sure that your tie-downs are in your truck ready to go so when you get the bike in there, those are easy to reach. Alright, so now let’s show you how to load your bike.

Now before I do this, I’ll just get it out there, the easiest safest way is just to have a buddy help you out. If you have a buddy helping you, you don’t even need the stand or stepping stall, you can just push the bike in it to him at the back of the truck or vice versa and that’s going to be the easiest safest way. But before you load the ramp or load the bike, what you want to do is you want to have good momentum.

So make sure to get far enough back from your truck that you have plenty of room to get a good running start. And you want to make it a one fluid motion, so as you’re pushing the bike, as soon as your front tire contacts the ramp, you want to be looking at your stand or whatever you’re going to use as a step. And you want to step onto that, and then your next step is going to be into the truck. That’s the best way to just have a nice one fluid motion. Now in some situations, if you have, say a really wide ramp with those pretty self -explanatory, you’re just going to walk the bike up and into the truck.

But with the wide ramp or single sometimes you get all the way up or real close and you ran out of that momentum, so if you ever getting that situation, what you can do, just grab the front brake right away and then you can reach back with your hand, grab the knobs on your tire and actually just help rotate the tire, in that way you don’t have to muscle the bike in that’s going to help, just make it a little bit easier to get the bike the rest of the way in.

Now one little tip we have is after you load your bike if you’re just loading one bike in your truck, put your bike on the left side. Don’t put it on the right side because if you put it on the right side, well, as a driver if you look to over to your right to check your blind spot, you’re going to see a fender and a tire. So if you put your bike on the left side, that’s going to clear up your blind spot it’s just going to make a little bit safer for driving. Now another tip that we have for you guys is going to make it a little bit easier to load your bike and we only recommend this for riders that are comfortable doing it.

You can do it at any ramp set up but it’s probably going to be easy is if you have a wide ramp or two singles. But what I see a lot of riders doing is that instead of using the running method that we just showed you, what you can do is start your bike, put it in first gear and just let the bike idle as you’re walking up the ramp and just that little bit of extra momentum from the bike’s engine, well honestly they do most of the work for you.

So it just makes a little bit easier than running the bike up the ramp. So the next method we want to show you is if you have a ramp, a skinny ramp or single but you don’t have a stand or you don’t have a buddy to help you out. Now a quick little disclaimer with this method, it’s much easier if you’re a taller rider or if you have a truck that’s pretty low to the ground.

So for my example, I’m 5 foot 7, we’ve got this Ford ranger which is already pretty low, I ran out of reach if I try and do it with this method so just keep that in mind. If you’re a taller rider and you’re comfortable doing it this way, more power to you. So what you’re going to do is really simple, you’re going to wheel the bike up to the ramp, you’re going to push it up the ramp as high as you can get while still be able going to grab your front brake.

Now once you get to that point, you’re going to put the bike in gear, that’s going to prevent it from going back down the ramp. At that point you’re going to turn the bars, grab it with your hand, you’re going to just use that to support yourself as you climbing into the bed of the truck. Now once you get into the bed of the truck, you got a couple of options, if you have a bike with E-Start, you can fire the bike up and honestly just ride it into the bed.

If you don’t have an E-Start, put the bike back in neutral or just pull in your clutch lever and just continue pushing the bike in the rest of the way. Alright, so the last scenario for loading your dirt bike is if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a ramp at all. So for this scenario, there’s a way to do it, we’re going to show you. Just keep in mind it’s going to be a lot easier if you have a truck that’s lower to the ground. If you have a truck that’s pretty tall, if you’re vertically challenged like me, it can be a little bit difficult.

But the way to do this, you definitely going to want a buddy so I’ve recruited one, and it’s pretty simple, we’re going to walk you through it right now. So what we’re going to do we’re both going to come in the front of the bike, we’re going to walk it up to the truck, we’re going to reach down, grab the bottom of the fork we’re both going to lift up and lifted in. Now once we have it all the way up there, Josh you’re going to climb into the truck, I’m going to come to the back, I like to use the exhaust to anchor.

So I’m going to squat down, and there you go. So we just loaded the bike without a ramp. So you just saw, it’s, you know it can be pretty difficult especially if you have a taller truck so just something to keep in mind. But if you find yourself at a ramp, get a buddy. Alright, so now that you got your bike loaded up, you’re ready to tie it down. Now when it comes to tying down a bike, you got a lot of options as far as tie-downs go.

You got carabiners with hooks, you got carabiners to hook soft straps buckle ratchets, a lot of different options but the combination, the one that we like to use the most is a tie-down that has a carabiner on one end, just a standard buckle and then a hook with the soft strap. And the reason that we like these so much is the carabiner whatever you hook it to, it keeps it on there, it doesn’t fall off. And the soft strap is really nice because it’s a lot easier on your handlebars. If you don’t want to scratch up your handlebars, soft strap is the way to go.

So these ones are from Rider Cargo, inexpensive and this is our go-to. Now if you have a whole set of tie-downs that don’t have a soft strap on them, what you can do is pick up these soft strap extensions or it’s just going to be these tie-down extensions from Rider Cargo. And what these essentially do is just act a soft strap for your tie-down, so you just wrap this around your handlebar and then hook it to your tie-down and that’s going to prevent you from scratching your bars.

Now another nice item to have is a fork brace. Now, what’s so nice about fork brace is they just go between the fender and the front tire and they just allow you to tie down your bike securely without compressing your forks, so it’s going to be easier on your fork springs as well as your fork seals so I definitely recommend one of these. And lastly, after you have your bike in, you can see what this truck, we’ve got a long bed so we have no problems getting the tailgate up.

So if you ever have a shorter bed especially if you have two bikes you’re not going to be able to get the tailgate up, what you can do is take another tie-down and you can actually use that to help secure your items inside the bed. But an item that honestly we really like is the Moto Gate, so it’s actually just a nylon gate that wraps around the back of your truck essentially just acts a tailgate for you and that’s just going to hold your items inside the bed.

Now when it comes to tying down your dirt bike, there’s a lot of different methods. For a single bike, it’s pretty straight forward, but when you start to get two bikes and even three bikes, there’s a lot of different methods that you can choose from, so if that’s what you’re looking to do, we have a how-to video called How to Secure your Dirt bikes, where we show you how to load multiple bikes in the bed of a truck as well as a trailer.

So if you’re looking for different techniques for that, give that video a watch. But once you’ve got your bike loaded up, all you gotta do now is get your gas tank, your gear bag in here, get everything to secure and you’re good to go. Alright, so now you got your bike loaded up, it’s time to unload it. So maybe you’re at a location that you’re going to go riding at or you’re getting home. Now when it comes to unloading your bike, there are a couple of techniques and it’s going to depend really on the type of ramps setup that you have.

If you have a wide ramp as we’ve got right now or maybe two singles, you know it’s pretty simple, you’re just going to walk the bike backward, what we recommend is just using that front brake to just guide the bike down and let it come down slowly. It’s all about taking your time and being careful. Now if you have a single ramp and a stand, well, with that way, okay you’re going to walk the bike down slowly and you’re just going to take your foot, step on the stand and like let the bike come down the stand slowly.

Now depending on the side that you’re on, if you have a single ramp on a stand, you can either use your front brake but if you’re on the left side of the bike like I always do, what you can actually do is put the bike in the gear and then use the clutch to let the bike come down controlled.

 But honestly, guys if you have a single ramp and a stand, probably the best way just like we said earlier about loading is have a buddy help you out. So you start the bike down the ramp and then your friend takes over by grabbing the brake and then they actually let the bike come down the ramp nice and slow. So that’s going to be the easiest way if you have a single ramp. Now the last technique we want to cover from unloading your bike is that situation we talked about earlier where if you don’t have a ramp with you.

Now there’s a couple of ways you can do this, but this is the method that we found to be the easiest. So what you’re going to do, you want to do it on the right side, you’re going to walk your bike to the back of the truck to the edge of your tailgate, hop down, use your left arm to support the bike. Once you’re on the ground, you’re going to reach up with your right hand and grab your throttle. Then with your left hand, you’re going to reach around, grab the swing arm and then start to lean the bike over. Now as you lean the bike over, use your shoulder to support the weight of the bike on the exhaust.

Now once you have that support, start to just walk the bike backwards out of the truck and as soon as the front tire clears, you’re just going to let go and let the bike fall to the ground. So if you don’t have a ramp, that’s the method that we found easiest to unload your bike. Alright, so there you have it, those are our favorite techniques to load and unload your dirtbikes. So depending on the setup that you have, one of these techniques will really help you out.

But if you have a way that you load your bike or unload it and work well it’s fine and follow it with few tweaks if required. Always be safe and enjoy riding.

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