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How to Tow a Cruiser Motorcycle (or Any Motorcycle)

A lot of people struggle with how to tow a cruiser motorcycle. It’s not that I’m a nosey guy, I mind my own business 99.9% of the time. Normally, I just can’t be bothered to care what people are up to. Live and let live, am I right? But then there’s the 1% of the time I get curious: It’s what happens when I see motorcycles on trailers being towed across the highway.

I see a lot of people who aren’t securing their motorcycles as well as they could be when towing motorcycles. Victory motorcycle owners and other cruiser riders aren’t the only guilty parties either. But let’s try to level-set our expectations here: Most people don’t tow motorcycles for a living, so we shouldn’t expect them to tow like a pro… Not unless the pros start doing more to share their knowledge. Time for me to do my part.

This video is a walk-through of how to tow a cruiser motorcycle (how to tow a Victory Highball to be precise). In reality however, the principals and quick tips shared throughout the video can be applied to towing any motorcycle (cruiser or otherwise) with the utmost care.

Note: Much of this still applies, but this article is pretty dated. I have newer and better information on how to tow a motorcycle, here.

…As an aside: I know some of you will hate this video for it’s amateur production value, and that’s okay. My hope is that most of you can see past that and recognize the video for what it is: one motorcyclist using his time to try to help other riders who may need some thorough tips on how to tow their motorcycles. My videos aren’t Hollywood-caliber, but hopefully they can help a few riders out, so please give the videos a chance. Yes, they’re a change from the traditional “blog” format, but they help reach a whole new and growing audience as society moves from text to video as it’s preferred medium.

Back to the matter at hand: towing a cruiser motorcycle motorcycle, in this case a Victory Highball, or any other cruiser or motorcycle of any type for that matter.

This video gives a number of tips as well as answering the following questions:

  • Do I need a wheel chock to tow a motorcycle and what does it do?
  • How do I tie down the front end of a motorcycle without scratching it?
  • How many straps do I need to tie down a motorcycle properly?
  • How much do I compress the front suspension when towing a motorcycle?
  • What happens if I only use two or three straps when towing a motorcycle?

Not answered in this video:

  • Why does Adrian look homeless today?
    • Answer: My basement had just flooded a few nights before. It was a rough week!

Featured in this video:

If you have any questions on how to tow a cruiser motorcycle (or how to tow any other motorcycle questions), just leave me a comment down below. I answer every comment that comes in.

watch this video

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Watch this video!
Instructions for those who hate video:

1) Make sure your wheel chock is in the right position BEFORE you ride up the ramp/on to the trailer.

2) Always take the key out, but if you lose it, here’s how to get a new motorcycle key.

3) If you don’t have a wheel chock, have a friend sit on the bike for you, or buy a wheel chock, you can get a great one for only $89.

4) Never have metal on metal, you’ll scratch up the finish on your motorcycle, use soft loops.

5) Old ratchet straps are great, new ones will stretch but old ones won’t. If you’re using new ones, make sure you adjust them after ten minutes of driving to make sure nothing is loose.

6) Use soft covers over straps to prevent straps from ruining the finish from chaffing against your bike as you tow.

7) Start with the front end strap on the kick-stand side and have the kick stand out. This way if you over tighten the strap, the bike won’t fall over, the kick stand will catch it.

8) Don’t compress your suspension all the way down, instead leave about an inch of travel in your front forks so they aren’t under maximum pressure.

9) To deal with the leftover straps, you can learn how to tie the bowline knot, or you can simply tie three consecutive knots and make sure that they’re tight.

10) Don’t leave the back of the bike loose, if you hit some aggressive on/off ramps, the bike could shift and you could damage it. Don’t use just one strap either, the strap could shift and you could damage your motorcycle. Use two straps on the rear: one to stop your motorcycle from sliding in either direction on the trailer.

11) You can tie your straps around the frame of your trailer, or around some part of the bike itself. You can position them somewhere visible from inside of your car, but you also want to make sure that it’s nice and loose, so if the strap is flapping in the wind it won’t damage the finish on your motorcycle.

12) You also want to make sure that your straps aren’t in a position where they can get caught in your wheel well.

13) Give your motorcycle a good push and pull and make sure it’s secured well to the trailer.

14) Go over all final safety stuff including hooking up your safety chains, checking your trailer lights, putting on your coupler (use a clevis pin and cotter pin so your coupler doesn’t bounce off the ball).

COMMENTS: What’s the furthest you’ve towed a motorcycle? Do you strap bikes down like me or do something different? Let me know in the comments. I answer every comment we get!

About Adrian from YouMotorcycle

I started riding motorcycles in 2007, founded YouMotorcycle in 2009, and was working in the motorcycle industry by 2011. I've worked for some of the biggest companies in motorcycling, before going full-time self-employed in the motorcycle business in 2019. I love sharing his knowledge and passion of motorcycling with other riders to help you as best I can.

One comment

  1. The article is fully packed with information. Even have a youtube video Two thumbs up!

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