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How to strap your Harley-Davidson down in a trailer

How to Strap your Harley-Davidson down in a Trailer?

We get a lot of questions on strapping motorcycles down. There are always pros and cons to any approach.  Keep in mind, we are just showing you how we strap them down over the past 77 years in business.  You do it whatever way you feel comfortable.  We support you.

From our perspective, the wrong way is to attach your straps to your handlebars. Why?  Well, for several reasons.e8908101d0bece296d1c1308e593a535_e7df9e0c8d5cb249.png

The main reason we don't recommend this is that your handlebars are not as strong as you think they are.  Compressing the bike down using the handlebars, often bends the bars when you go over a bump in the road.  Secondly, is when you go over a bump in the road, regardless of whether you have compressed the forks, there is still some slight give.  That "give" means your straps are loose for a moment when you hit a bump and the suspension compresses.  Then the bike rebounds and the straps become tight again.  Lastly, the reason, we don't recommend this approach is because you are compressing the suspension to a place where it is almost fully bottomed out.  We see a handful of bikes come in every season with leaky fork seals from this very issue.  Additionally, we have also seen a great deal of bikes layed over in a trailer from the customer strapping to the handlebars.  In the end, it is your motorcycle, you choose how to strap it down when transporting (remember to put your bike in transport mode).

So, how do we recommend you strap your motorcycle down?

We recommend you put your straps around the forks of your motorcycle and down to the side, pulling forward.  This allows the motorcycles suspension to absorb the road when you transport.  Every bump from our New England roads is absorbed by the trailer, but also, your motorcycles suspension system, with full compression. Things to keep in mind when doing that.  Do not allow the straps to make any contract with brake components. 

Lastly, we add two straps to the rear of the motorcycle to keep the rear of the motorcycle from jumping around.  If you have 4 straps, use all 4. 

If you have 6 straps, use all 6.  With that said, if you only have 2 straps, they should go around the forks of the motorcycle and allow your Harley to absorb bumps in the road.  

Wheel Chalks

We often get questions on which wheel chalks to use.  We recommend you use the Harley-Davidson Cruiser Cradle Wheel Chalk.  Yes, you can find some cheaper.  However, the cheaper the wheel chalk, the more likely it is to make contact with the rear fender or other components, especially on a touring motorcycle where the fender is longer.  A couple years ago, we had a customer, we will call, "Gino", strapped his girlfriend's bike down using an older inexpensive wheel chalk.  The issue was that the wheel chalk was making contact with the brake rotor.  They had the motorcycle serviced at Wilkins and then picked it up and brought it home.  They called that evening very mad that the front brake no longer worked well.  We picked it up after hours, apologized, and brought it to the shop.  The technician discovered that the brake rotor was bent. A mystery to us since it was braking fine when we test rode the bike a day earlier.  We replaced the brake rotor, at our expense, and released the motorcycle back to the customer.  Gino picked up the bike again, however, this time, when he was strapping it down, we noticed the contact with the rotor and pointed it out.  Don't go cheap with wheel chalks.  The good ones will even hold the motorcycle in place while you strap it down.8f0b6adca7f2bd48fcb6f8fc0f8d1ab7_eb64345773687fb6.png(Cheaper Wheel Chalk Making Contact with Rear Fender)

Should you have questions, always reach out to us. We want you to keep your Harley-Davidson safe.  Good luck and remember to put your motorcycle in transport mode so you don't kill your battery upon arrival.


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