Pickups come in all shapes and sizes, so do their beds. Not everyone fancies a long bed, but in some cases, like in this particular, having one wouldn’t hurt.
Hauling a motorcycle in a shorter bed can prove to be a challenge for some, if not impossible at first, although thankfully it’s not that bad as long as you do, a thing or two at least, the right way.
The diagonal approach
In case you don’t like to have the bike’s back wheel resting on an open tailgate, you can try loading it on an angle.
This way the motorcycle may end up fitting up to the point where you’re even going to be able to close the tailgate, and who doesn’t want that!
Sadly, this method can only work with one bike in the bed at the same time.
Check the tailgate
As i already stated, the angled approach can only work if your goal is to haul a single bike at once ; to add to it, sometimes that method may also not work at all actually if the motorcycle you have is particularly big, or the bed of your truck is just that short.
In that instance, resting the rear wheel on the tailgate is inevitable.
The thing about hauling a bike this way, especially if carrying a heavy one, if not multiple at once, is you have to make sure that the tailgate is nicely secured.
What i mean by that specifically is the cables – if they end up snapping while you’re traveling, well, you already see where this is going!
Inspect them and make sure they don’t have any rust or corrosion. If you have any doubt about the cables being more flimsy than normal, invest into a pair of new ones – it’s an inexpensive measure that certainly will only go a long way.
It is known that on some pickup trucks the cables can be less strong than on others, which only proves the point you have to be extra careful about it, especially if you’re going to be driving on more off-roady situations that only going to make the motorcycle budge more.
This alone may still not make you feel comfortable enough, fortunately there’s a method to increase the tailgate support limit even further.
A way to reinforce the tailgate
Try placing a sheet of thicker wood under the bikes so it covers the standing area and extends right up to the tailgate’s end. This will help distribute the weight through the bed more evenly.
If that does not work out…
Get a hitch carrier (like this one). Using it is just as great, if not better than carrying a motorcycle in an open bed, as the bed is now going to be free to use for anything else you want to. The only gripe about this hauling technique is that you will only be able to transport one bike at a time.
Consider a trailer. Now i know that purchasing it pretty much ruins the whole purpose of owning a truck, in sense, but if yours cannot actually fit the motorcycles you have, even after trying out all of the tips i suggested, there’s really nothing else you can do.
More about loading a motorcycle
Using a wider ramp that covers the whole tailgate will make the loading process much easier, as you are going to have more space to walk the bike comfortably.
Don’t forget about a wheel chock (link to Amazon for the best choice). Yes, there are people who brag about never using them in their entire lives and not running into any problems, but at the same time I’ve seen a lot of situations when they fall during the middle of transportation, causing damage to the bed and the motorcycle itself. This probably won’t be as important if you’re going to place your bike diagonally, as the wheel will be resting against the walls.
Never forget to tie-down the back of the bike too, specifically considering if the back wheel is sitting on the tailgate – the additional vibration can put the unnecessary stress that can cause all the failures i mentioned before.
Hauling with an open tailgate means that anything that’s inside, not counting the main payload, can fall out. You can counter this nuisance by buying a bed extender, or a simple tailgate net, like this Moto-Gate.