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The fact is, loading a motorcycle into a pickup can be nerve racking experience due to the potential for catastrophic failure. In this post I show you some of the best motorcycle ramps for pickups to make loading your bike easy.
Why Do You Need a Motorcycle Ramp?
Trust me on this;
If you’re loading a big touring motorcycle, (or whatever bike you’re riding) and you’re going to load it into the back of a pickup truck, you need to find a ramp that can not only handle the weight, but make the process as easy and worry free as possible.
There are several things that you need know about loading a motorcycle in a pickup. Although I’m giving you a list of the best pickup truck motorcycle ramps that will get the job done, I would strongly urge you to take a look at the What makes a great motorcycle loading ramp buyers guide at the end of this article.
In it, I’ve tried to gather all the important stuff you’ll need to know so you can make the best decision on what will work for you before you buy your ramp.
Note that this isn’t the typical “10 best motorcycle ramps” type of article.
Why is that? Frankly, I couldn’t find 10 that were worth it, and not all ramps are designed for a heavy motorcycle.
In a Hurry?
If your short on time and trying to find the best motorcycle ramp for loading into a pickup that’ll work for you, use the links below to check selections that are available on Amazon. There are two basic types of ramps: Bi Fold motorcycle ramps and single runner ramps.
Best Bi Fold Motorcycle Ramp – Titan Ramps 10ft Heavy Duty Aluminum, 2700lb capacity (4/5 rating)
Best Single Runner Motorcycle Ramp – Trackside Heavy Duty Aluminum Folding Ramp (4.5/5 rating)
Best Motorcycle Ramps for 2021
These motorcycle loading ramps aren’t presented in any particular order, but I have broken them down into two basic types:
- Bi-fold motorcycle ramps
- Single runner loading ramps
They all have two important features. They will all hold a heavy motorcycle (high load rating) and they all have arched tops (for a smooth transition) which are both crucial when loading a motorcycle into a pickup.
- Why Do You Need a Motorcycle Ramp?
- Best Motorcycle Ramps for 2021
- What makes a great motorcycle loading ramp?
- How to find the weight of your motorcycle
- Loading ramp weight limit
- Load ramp Construction and Features
- Articulating Joints
- How the loading ramp will be stored for travel
- How long should a motorcycle loading ramp be?
- With Loading Ramps, Wider is better
- Connecting the loading ramp to the pickup
- Ground Positioning
- Arched vs straight Motorcycle Ramps
- Motorcycle Loading ramp surface
- Our Choices For Best Motorcycle Ramps
- Frequently asked questions people ask about motorcycle loading ramps
- Recap of Choices
What makes a great motorcycle loading ramp?
There are two very basic pieces of information that you MUST know before you shell out your hard-earned cash to buy any motorcycle loading ramp for your pickup.
I don’t mean to sound harsh, but If you ignore this info, you’re already setting yourself up for failure right from the very beginning.
- Weight of your motorcycle
- Loading ramp weight limit
Also, if you haven’t seen my guide on How to transport a motorcycle in a pickup truck you may also want to take a look at that post as well. In it I detail how to get your motorcycle loaded into a pickup safely and how I loaded my Goldwing for transport across country with no issues.
How to find the weight of your motorcycle
You’ve got to know this number first (the weight of your motorcycle that is), or you really won’t know which ramp to get or which ramp is suitable for the bike.
At the very least you need a ‘ballpark’ idea on the weight of your bike. Besides, knowing how much your motorcycle weighs is just handy information to have.
To find your motorcycle’s weight, there are three basic ways:
- Weight the motorcycle with a bathroom scale (yes you read that right)
- Use a commercial scale
- Call the dealership
Here’s the breakdown for each method.
Method 1: Weigh the bike with a bathroom scale.
In this old forum post about how to weigh your motorcycle that you can check out, you’ll find some interesting takes about how to get the job done with a bathroom scale.
The method they talk about involves using a bathroom scale and a block of wood to weight each tire/axle of your motorcycle.
It sounds crazy but it will work as long your bathroom scale can take the weight. Meaning, your scale will give you a reading high enough.
You can weigh each tire one at a time, as long as the front and rear tires are level with each other while you’re taking the reading.
For example, if you’ve got the scale under the front tire, put a piece of wood under the rear tire to keep the tires at the same height. This will allow you to get the axle weight on the front tire.
Once you have the front axle weight then just switch to get the rear using the same method.
Yes, it will work. This is a common method used in weighing axle groups for large commercial motor vehicles with portable scales. The accuracy will depend on good of a scale you’re using to do the job.
Method 2: Find a commercial scale in your area.
Do you live in an area with a large truck stop? If so, for a couple of bucks you can go down and weigh your motorcycle on pro scales. You’ll get a printout that you can keep for your records.
Just look for truck stops that feature “Cat Scales” which is a particular brand of public scale. These public scales are certified and reliable.
Method 3: Call the dealership
If the other two options don’t sound appealing, pick up the phone and call the professionals. A local dealership or motorcycle shop should be able to tell you your bikes weight or give you an educated guess. If they’re giving you an educated guess round that figure up to be on the safe side.
There are two basic types of motorcycle ramps – Bi Fold and single runner ramps.
Loading ramp weight limit
Once you know how much the motorcycle weighs, pay attention to the load rating of the prospective loading ramp you’re interested in. In short, ensure that the load limit of the ramp covers the amount of weight you’re going to place on it.
For example: If your motorcycle is 900lbs and the ramp can only handle 600lbs, don’t buy it. You’re asking for trouble.
Conversely, if your bike weighs 800lbs and the ramp is rated at 1,500lbs your good to go.
I can’t emphasize this enough: Always check the load rating of the ramp.
In putting together this post of the best motorcycle ramps, I only included ramps that can handle big heavy motorcycles like a Harley Ultra Glide, Honda Goldwing or Indian Roadmaster for example.
If you have a motorcycle lighter than those bikes (sport bike or dual sport), you’ll be in good shape with any of the ramps on this list.
Load ramp Construction and Features
Generally speaking, all motorcycle ramps are going to be constructed of Aluminum. This of course, keeps the ramp lightweight and easy to handle as well as durable.
However, even though the Aluminum is a lightweight metal, you’ll want to pay attention to how much the loading ramp weighs.
Some are heavier than others and aluminum motorcycle ramps can get heavy and a bit unwieldly.
The overall weight of the ramp your looking at purchasing might be a little more than your used to throwing around.
It’s simple common sense;
Some ramps are heavier than others and you don’t want to be lifting and moving anything heavier than you have to. You’ve already had to deal with a big heavy motorcycle, don’t blow your back out stowing the ramp in your pickup!
Because all of the featured loading ramps fold in some way, pay attention to exactly how the ramp is going to fold up and hinge construction.
Does the loading ramp fold half from one end to the other with one articulation point in the middle or Bi-fold style laterally down the middle with multiple points?
Which style will work best for what you’re doing?
You may have plenty of room in your pickup when the motorcycles loaded so it may not even matter.
Ramps that fold in half usually use heavy duty bolts in their joints that are easy to replace over time vs a ramp system that uses an integrated pin system.
How the loading ramp will be stored for travel
Which way the ramp folds up may make a difference on how you stow the loading ramp for transportation after your motorcycle is loaded and secured.
For example, a ramp that folds in half with one articulation point in the middle may take up too much room in your pickup truck bed and damage the motorcycle during transportation.
What do I mean?
Depending on how the motorcycle is loaded in the pickup bed, you may not have much space between the bike and side of the pickup. If the ramp is still pretty thick when it’s folded, it may damage you motorcycle during transportation.
Then again, it may not make a difference (it didn’t for me) but it’s a minor detail you may need to consider.
I recommend placing a packing blanket between the loading ramp and the motorcycle to prevent damage during transportation.
How long should a motorcycle loading ramp be?
The longer the loading ramp is, the more stability your going to have in the loading process because you don’t have as steep a grade to move the motorcycle up. So ideally you want your loading ramp to be as long as you can get.
This becomes especially important when you’re trying to load a motorcycle into the bed of a pickup that’s 4 feet (or more) off of the ground. The shorter the ramp, the steeper the angle.
Most loading ramps lengths start around 6 feet. With some manufacturers, you can get ramps 7.5 and even up to 12 feet in length.
Having a long ramp (that’s stable) is crucial to being to get the motorcycle loaded safety into the vehicle. The longer the ramp, the less of an incline you’ll have to back you truck up to for loading.
Sizes matters here. You can’t lie like you do to your girlfriend.
With Loading Ramps, Wider is better
Whenever you’re loading a motorcycle into a pickup you want to have the widest platform possible. Ramp width is essentially how much room for error your going to give yourself.
The fact is;
Just using one single loading ramp (or single runner ramp as they’re referred to) is going to make the job very difficult and nearly unmanageable when dealing with a big heavy cruiser.
Loading a motorcycle works better and is less stress when you not only have space on the ramp to roll the bike, but space for you to walk along side the bike as well. Being able to walk with your bike as your loading gives you the best control and ability to place the bike where you want it.
If you choose a single ramp style, your going to want to order two. This is so you can place the ramps next to each other or bolt them together.
For my motorcycle loading ramp, I purchased two single ramps and chose to bolt them together to form one wide ramp.
Hindsight being 20/20, it would have been easier to buy a bi-fold or tri-fold loading ramp. Price out two single ramps vs a bi fold loading ramp and see what works best for you.
Although there are single runner ramps on this list, I always recommend two single runner, bi-fold or tri-fold ramps when loading big motorcycles. Some of the ramps on this list come with two ramps in one package.
Connecting the loading ramp to the pickup
There are generally 2 types of loading ramp ends that are used to connect the ramp to a pickup truck. They are:
Rubberized tongue – the rubberized ends are nice, as they provide a bit of traction to keep the ramp from sliding. They rest against the truck bed while loading. The also help to prevent scratches and dings on your pickup.
Metal plate – The plate end is simply a flat metal at one end of the ramp that rests on the bed of the pickup.
Your loading ramp should come with a ratchet strap that secures your ramp against the pickup to prevent the ramp from moving. There is a very high probability that the ramp will ‘kick out’ or move while your loading. For your safety, use this strap!
The ‘feet’ for motorcycle ramps can come in two styles:
Block style – Block style loading ramps are considered stronger than tapered end ramps, but can be harder to roll over and can rougher to transition from the ground to the ramp. If you’re pushing your motorcycle up the ramp, block ends can make it a bit harder.
Tapered ends – These are the most common ends that you’ll find on most ramps. They provide a natural point of entry onto the ramp and give you nice smooth transition from the ground to the ramp.
Arched vs straight Motorcycle Ramps
So, what does arched mean when it comes to loading ramps?
It simply means that the top of ramp (that’s against the pickup) has an arch that provides for a flatter or smooth transition from the ramp to the pickup truck.
A straight ramp just leans against the pickup bed.
It’s a no brainer;
If you have a shorter ramp leaning against a 4 foot or higher truck bed, your going to be dealing with a terrible apex point at the top of the ramp that’s resting against the pickup truck.
Leaning a ramp against a bed can give you a very rough angle to transition the motorcycle over while unloading.
This apex point is where the bike can actually get hung up or caught on during loading (high centered). If this happens, you lose forward momentum while loading and you stand a good chance of the motorcycle toppling off of the ramp.
You can also damage parts of your motorcycles undercarriage also.
Always load a motorcycle with an arched top loading ramp, never use a straight ramp if you can avoid it.
If you notice, all motorcycle ramps on this list are arched top motorcycle loading ramps.
Motorcycle Loading ramp surface
You want the surface of the loading ramp to give you traction and support the motorcycle while your loading.
The ramp will either have a solid, serrated (for traction) or ladder rung type surface.
Solid – Make sure the ramp is not too smooth. You’re going to need as much traction as possible if your pushing uphill. Too smooth means it will get slick, specially of it’s wet.
Serrated – Serrated is just a fancy word for the little teeth or points in the metal that help keep your traction.
Ladder rung – This style is pretty common with most ramps and they work quite well. The only pitfall here is making sure that the rungs aren’t spaced too far apart so that your foot can fall through while loading.
This is why most ATV ramps may not be suitable for loading motorcycles, the rungs are too far apart.
The better the traction your loading surface has, the easier and safer your job will be while loading the bike.
Our Choices For Best Motorcycle Ramps
Like we mentioned earlier, wider is always better when you’re pushing a heavy machine 4 feet off the ground! If I had to run out and buy a new ramp to load a loarge motorcycle, I would just spend the money up front and get a nice wide ramp.
Titan 7.5′ Plated Truck Loading Ramp For Motorcycles
If I didn’t already have a ramp this is the one I would get, because it’s wide and will handle up to 2100lbs. Those are two features that can take a lot of worry when loading a heavy motorcycle.
Titans 7.5’ ft truck ramp gives you plenty of space for you to walk alongside your motorcycle while loading which makes loading a breeze, especially if you’re by yourself.
This ramp features a traction area of with a plate style for walking up the ramp and serrated rungs for bike traction.
This Titan ramp also has an arched top for a smooth transition from the ramp onto your pickup. This helps keep the motorcycle from getting high centered during loading.
- 2100lb distributed weight loading capacity
- Included are 1 ramp and two plated top side panels
- Panels can be unbolted for other uses and configurations and also fold in half
- Ramp includes safety straps
- Size: 90”L x 34” (each panel is approximately 12” wide) and
- 9 rubberized fingers to provide stability and prevent damage to your vehicle.
Click this link to purchase on Amazon
Trackside heavy duty aluminum folding ramp
Editors Note: I personally own the Trackside 1500lb ramp. I purchased two and joined them together to make one ramp. No issues loading my Goldwing GL1800 into my pickup, which is a very heavy bike.
This Trackside Aluminum ramp is heavy duty, which means that each ramp has 1500lb loading capacity.
It’s a single runner design that folds in half making it easy to stow for transportation when you get to your unloading point.
This ramp is a solid 8’ feet long by 18” in width. Although the 18” in width is ok, it’s recommended that you purchase an additional ramp to ensure that you have plenty of room to walk with your bike while guiding it up the ramp.
Includes a safety strap to keep ramp connected to your pickup.
Made of high-grade aluminum.
- 1500lb loading capacity
- Overall size: 8’L x 18”W
- Stowable folding design
- Aluminum construction
Click this link to purchase on Amazon
Frequently asked questions people ask about motorcycle loading ramps
Q: Can motorcycle ramps be used to load other mobility vehicle like wheel chairs and scooters.
A: Yes. You’ll need to be mindful of the width and loading ramp surface (such as rung spacing).
Q: Can one person load a motorcycle by themselves using a motorcycle ramp
A: Yes, but not recommended. You should always have help loading a motorcycle even with the best ramp.
Q: Can you use motorcycle ramps to drive a lawn mower into a shed.
A: Maybe. A single runner ramp will not be enough and you will need to be mindful of rung spacing on the ramp.
All of the loading ramps on this list really represent the best motorcycle ramps for pickups that I could find that will make loading easy and as stress free as possible. With the features that a motorcyclist really needs, there really aren’t a lot of choices.
Don’t just use any ‘ol ATV ramp!
Many ramps that other websites list are really not the best choice for motorcyclists (specially cruisers) because they lack some very specific features.