One of the trickiest dirt bike manoeuvres you will ever have to master is loading your bike onto a van or truck. This seemingly simple task can go wrong very quickly. There are a wealth of videos that demonstrate how you can load your dirt bike onto the back of a truck with dirt bike loading ramps.
At Motocross Advice, we are big believers in keeping things safe and straightforward. There are enough risks to take with dirt bike riding, without adding unnecessary injuries, and damage to your bike. While you may look like a hero, solo loading your 125cc onto the back of your flatbed through sheer brute force; the chance of serious injury is significant. Try the same method with a 450cc and things can get tricky. Counterbalance and physics only help so much. After a tiring day riding in the dirt, it makes sense to keep bike loading simple. Unless you have had your dirt bike ramp stolen, or you forgot to put it into the van, let’s assume that you are going to use a ramp every time!
What types of dirt bike ramp are there?
There are four main variations of dirt bike ramp.
- Folding, single wheel width
- Folding wide
- Folding with steps
- Rear Carrier Style
In this article, we will look at what is needed from a suitable quality dirt bike ramp, or carrier. We will also give you a few tips for safely loading your dirt bike.
What design features should a dirt bike loading ramp have?
Whatever your need, there are a few features that are worth looking out for. It is always a good idea to go for a ramp with rubberised ends. Rubber ends will stop the ramp from slipping while loading and will protect the lip of your van/truck from damage.
We would also recommend going for a ramp that is as wide as possible. Single tyre width dirt bike loading ramps are tricky to negotiate, and for just a few extra dollars, you can find products with a much broader footprint. The wider the ramp, the less chance you have of your bike slipping off, or going sideways as you load.
Which dirt bike ramp? Solo dirt bike rider:
If you have just one dirt bike to worry about, then a simple folding ramp of almost any variety will do.
Which dirt bike ramp? Multiple bikes:
If you are regularly loading multiple dirt bikes or big adventure style bikes, then you should look at wide, or full-width dirt bike loading ramps. When loading more than one bike, you will have to move the ramp sideways as the back of the truck fills up. A wider ramp will enable you to accurately position bikes on the flat bed and will reduce the number of times the ramp needs to be moved in the process.
With heavier bikes, a broad, or full-width bike ramp will allow you to walk up beside the motorbike as you load. One of the most common causes of accidents when loading/unloading a motorcycle is the bike going sideways. This is often because the rider attempts to load or unload in the seated position, and finds that they have nowhere to put their feet when things go wrong!
Finally, when loading heavy bikes, or when riding up a ramp it is always wise to go for a design which includes a security line. By harnessing the ramp to the back of the truck, the chance of a slip is eliminated.
How can I carry a dirt bike if I don’t have a truck?
When you first buy a dirt bike, you may not have the appropriate vehicle. Your first dirt bike is likely to be a smaller engine model, and therefore much lighter. If you have a 4 x 4 but have yet to invest in a truck or van, you might be able to get away with a rear carrier. A rear carrier will allow you to load a smaller, lighter dirt bike along the rear of the vehicle. Alternatively, you may be looking at a trailer. Learn more about best dirt bike trailers in 2021.
Whatever dirt bike you ride, and wherever you may be riding, use common sense.
Top 5 Guide to the best dirt bike loading ramps in 2021
1. Black Widow-Three beam-folding dirt bike ramp
This ramp is superb value for money. It is constructed from high-grade, lightweight aluminum and has heavy-duty rubberised truck guards at the top end. We do like to see rubberised pads at the ground end, however, as this fabulous product includes a ratchet system safety line we can overlook that.
- 750 lb. weight capacity
- Measures 7′ 5″ L x 11-1/8″ W
- Serrated rungs to provide outstanding grip in the wet
- Folds down to five and a half inches height.
- Arched design to prevent grounding
Why we chose the Black Widow three-beam ramp
This is an excellent starter ramp for any dirt bike rider. It doesn’t cost that much more than some of the most basic dirt bike loading ramps, and yet it has a safety-line, extra width, and outstanding grip.
The weight rating is also exceptionally high, at 750lb. This ramp would easily double up for anyone who has a road racing bike, or heavier road bike in the garage.
2. Bosski Revarc Ramp with steps
When you are loading single-handed, especially in the middle of nowhere, safety comes first. Having an accident while loading or unloading your bike could ruin your days riding. In remote places, it could even prove to be very serious. The Bosski loading ramp and step system is the safest way to load a single dirt bike. As well as a premium quality ramp, the Bosski system provides you with a sturdy four-step ladder which allows you to walk up beside the bike as you load.
- The ramp is a lightweight aluminum
- Steps are constructed from powder-coated steel
- Weight capacity of 500 lbs (ramp)
- Weight capacity of 300 lbs (steps)
- Ramp measures 8′ Long x 12″ Wide
- Folds in half for easy transport and storage
- Includes safety line
Why we chose the Bosski Step Ramp combination
We feel this offers any dirt bike rider who loads and unloads alone unparalleled safety and convenience. The step system reduces the need for extreme momentum when loading. Loading at your own pace, and being in control of the bike all of the way up is definitely more confidence-inspiring.
3. Black Widow four beam – extra-wide Motorcycle loading ramp
When you are loading more than one bike on to a truck, then you will need to maximise the width of your ramp. Loading multiple bikes takes accuracy, and being able to steer sideways and adjust course as you load makes things a whole lot easier.
If you prefer to load and unload in the riding position, you will need to get your feet down too. A full-width ramp will give you the necessary working surface to do that.
Storage space has to be traded against convenience; however, the Black Widow ramp can be folded down into a reasonably small space, given its working size.
- High-strength, lightweight aluminum
- Weight capacity 1,500 lbs (Center)
- Weight capacity of up to 600 lbs (sides)
- Two load lengths up to 9′ long
- 40″ total width
- Serrated rungs
- Three pieces for easy transport and storage
- Solid plate lip
- Three safety lines
Why we chose the Black Widow four beam
Providing the ultimate level of safety and comlete ease of working, the four beam model is a comprehensive solution for big groups, racing teams and the hyper safety conscious.
4. Bike Master 4×4 bike rear carrier
After you decided on your first dirt bike, how long was it before you realised you might need a new vehicle? The truth is that we cannot all drive expensive trucks, or run second vehicles for our hobby. For the first time dirt bike rider, the simple job of getting your bike to and from the track, or trail can become a nightmare.
Bike Master has designed a motorcycle hitch carrier which will fit on to a standard tow bar hitch. The bike is then rolled on parallel to the rear tailgate. It is a neat and practical solution for smaller adult dirt bikes and junior motocross bikes.
There are limits to this design, of course. You cannot use the Bike Master at the same time as towing something else. You cannot load a bike heavier than 500lbs in weight, or with a tyre width greater than five inches on the front. To keep weight down, Bike Master has made the contraption as light as it can be, which gives it a slight flimsy feeling. In practice, the carrier does work.
We would recommend this carrier as a short term solution. It could fill a gap while you consider your vehicle options, provide transport for a junior MX bike, or act as a potential additional carrier if you are carrying other bikes and kit in your flatbed.
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Up to 500 pounds
- 18-inch distance from center of hitch pin to center of the ramp.
Why we chose the Bike Master Carrier
For the casual rider, who cannot invest in a dedicated dirt bike vehicle, this design is a godsend. It may impose a few restrictions, but it beats having to run a second vehicle.
We like the fact that the Bike Master can grow with your family. If adult bikes are filling the van or flatbed, then Juniors bike can sit here comfortably. Keep an eye on your maximum loaded weight though!
5. Best value dirt bike loading ramp deal
If you want a one-stop deal, then we have found just the thing for you. This package from Motosport offers a high-quality ramp, MX engine stand, and strapping for a superb value package.
The engine stand can even act as a loading step when used in conjunction with the ramp.
Top tips for loading your dirt bike safely:
1. Never load your dirt bike with your engine running
We know just how tempting it is to ride your bike up onto the flatbed, or into the van. We have all seen someone using engine power as they walk their bike on to the ramp. The truth is that engines are not required. By using your engine, you drastically increase the chance of the bike accelerating away from you. If you watched the video at the front end of this article, you would have seen how dangerous loading a bike with the engine running can be.
If your bike is too heavy for you to load solo, have one person each side, rather than attempting to ride the bike into the vehicle.
2. A narrow ramp is for the bike only
Always use a step or steps to elevate yourself as your dirt bike apporaches the top of the ramp. Trying to walk up the side of a narrow ramp is risky. Attempting to load without a step is an accident waiting to happen.
When loading or unloading, use your engine stand as a step to bring yourself to a level where you can control the bike at its highest point. The combination deal above includes the engine stand, which makes an excellent step for this purpose. Other solutions include fitting a rear step to your truck or opting for the ladder/ramp combo.
3. If your bike falls, let it go
When your bike falls, your instinctive reaction is to try and stop it. Torn muscles and ligaments take time to heal. It is easier to replace a plastic panel than it is to deal with torn rotator cuff muscles and other small tissue damage. If your bike goes over, let it fall and stand clear. While we are on this subject, don’t try lifting a motorcycle on or off a van with no ramp.
Dirt Bike Loading Ramps In conclusion
Getting to and from the circuit or trail will be a breeze with any of these high-quality dirt bike loading ramps. None of them is particularly expensive when you consider how valuable your bike is, or how much your safety and physical fitness mean to you.
Whichever you choose, have fun out there!