Suzuki Boulevards are very reliable motorcycles, but sooner or later you’ll still need to know how to tow one. The good news is that towing a Suzuki Boulevard can be safe and easy, provided you use the right equipment for the job, and follow these instructions.
Using endless loop ratchet straps can make it very easy to tow your Suzuki Boulevard motorcycle. Strap four endless loop straps, one at each corner, beneath your motorcycle’s suspension, for a trouble-free towing experience.
This article and the video below will give you everything you need to know to confidently strap and transport your Boulevard yourself. We’ll cover technique, what to use, and how to use it to make this an easy and safe job.
Why you shouldn’t compress the suspension when towing your motorcycle
The traditional way of towing a Suzuki Boulevard, or any other motorcycle, involves compressing the suspension. We do this so that the motorcycle won’t bounce around as your truck or trailer goes over bumps, which could cause your ratchet strap hooks to fall off.
The problem with this method of towing a motorcycle is that the springs in your motorcycle’s suspension aren’t made to stay under pressure for extended periods of time like this. You can end up causing premature wear, especially if you’re towing a motorcycle for several hours.
Instead of compressing your suspension with normal ratchet straps, you should use endless loop ratchet straps.
What do I need to tow a Suzuki Boulevard?
- 4 x Endless loop ratchet straps – ideally with a working weight of over 1,000 lbs and a break strength of over 2,000 lbs
What are endless loop ratchet straps and why should I use them?
Endless loop ratchet straps have no hooks. They simply form a big closed circle, similar to a belt you should put on. Because the loop is closed around your motorcycle and the anchor point, the motorcycle can’t escape and fall over or slide around.
The benefit to using endless loop ratchet straps is that you can strap beneath the motorcycle’s suspension, so your suspension doesn’t need to be compressed whatsoever. You can even leave a bit of slack in the straps, so that your motorcycle may shift an inch in either direction, but will never fall over. You won’t need to apply strong amounts of pressure on your Suzuki Boulevard to tow it safely.
How do you avoid damaging a motorcycle while towing it?
You can avoid needlessly compressing your motorcycle’s suspension for long periods of time by using endless loop ratchet straps. Take your straps and strap beneath where the suspension compresses. Look for solid metal pieces where your straps won’t put any pressure on anything fragile such as cables, belt guard, exhaust pipe mounts, etc.
Good places to strap to include around the fork lowers just over the front fender, around your rims (as long as they aren’t spoked rims, don’t strap to those), through your swing arm, or around your motorcycle’s frame itself. Generally, you’ll want to strap to parts of your motorcycle designed for carrying weight, as those will be the strongest and least likely to fail.
Try to always keep your straps at 45 degree angles when possible. That means your straps should be 45 degrees forward, and 45 degrees out. This helps to maximize strength and stability.
Remember that straps have a break limit rating, and a use rating. A break limit rating may be for 1,000 lbs, but the use rating is only for 500 lbs, you shouldn’t use those straps on your Suzuki Boulevard. Spend a little more money and get these endless loop ratchet straps, which are rated for 2,200 lbs and a break strength of 5,000 lbs.
Also be sure not to use a cover on your motorcycle. 99% of motorcycle covers out there are not meant to be used during towing. They will blow off, or get ripped and then possibly blow off. They could land on the windshield of the car behind you, or worse, over the head of a motorcyclist behind you. As far as I know, there is only one motorcycle cover designed for towing use on the market right now. You can check it out here.
Do I need to use a wheel chock to tow my Suzuki Boulevard?
A wheel chock is a piece of equipment that you can bolt down to the floor or platform of whatever your towing your motorcycle on. A cheap wheelchock is pretty useless, but a good motorcycle wheel chock will hold your motorcycle upright for you. That makes strapping down your Suzuki Boulevard a one person job.
You don’t necessarily need to use a wheel chock to strap down your motorcycle, but if you don’t have one you’ll want to get a second person to hold the bike upright while you strap it and unstrap it.
You should always use four straps to strap down a motorcycle for towing, but if you aren’t going to use a a wheel chock, using four tie downs instead of two or three is even more critical.
Do I need to four ratchet straps to tow my motorcycle?
You should always use four straps when towing any motorcycle. Ratchet straps can stretch, snap, fail, and fall off. By having four straps, one at every corner, you are protected in the event any of your straps fail along your trip.
Some people will say you don’t need to use four ratchet straps. This is technically true. Much in the same way you don’t need to eat fruit, meat, vegetables, and fibers, and you could live just off of candy and pop. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s a smart idea. Play it safe, be smart, use four straps to tow your Suzuki Boulevard motorcycles, and eat right.
What should I do with the extra strap flapping around?
You don’t want to have extra strap just flapping in the air. Your best case scenario is it repeatedly flaps against your motorcycle for hours as you tow your Boulevard and the friction damages the paint. Your worst case scenario is that the extra strap gets caught in a wheel or around the trailer axle and pulls your whole motorcycle over.
Instead, you should tie up the extra slack. You can tie three knots, that’s the simplest way. But if you want a better and cooler looking alternative, check out the video and see what I do with the slack. It’s quick and easy to tie and untie, and uses the straps own weight to keep itself tight as you drive.
What should you do before you tow your Suzuki Boulevard?
Double check that your motorcycle is level and all of the straps are taught. Make sure none of the straps are rubbing against anything or putting pressure on anything. If you have an alarm on your motorcycle, now is a good time to disable it.
If you’re still just in the planning stage and you aren’t towing your motorcycle today, you might want to look up a reputable local motorcycle towing company. Look for businesses which exclusively tow motorcycles, and nothing else, as they will be the ones who know how to best care for your particular vehicle. You may find that hiring a motorcycle towing company may be less expensive than you think and well worth the price for peace of mind and making life easy for yourself.
Is there anything I should do while I tow my motorcycle?
It’s a good idea to check on your motorcycle while towing it, especially if you’re using new ratchet straps. New ratchet straps will stretch out in time. When using new straps you should pull over and check on your motorcycle after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 40 minutes and so on.
If your straps have come a bit loose, and you’re using standard hook-end ratchet straps, that can be disastrous for your motorcycle. It’s good to check on your straps frequently. If you took my advice and got yourself some endless loop ratchet straps, you don’t have to worry as much, because even with some stretching in the strap your motorcycle can’t fall all the way over.
Can I tow any motorcycle like this?
Every vehicle is a little different. For example, some motorcycles use single sided swing arms, or even single sided front ends. Ducati, Honda, and BMW all make motorcycles with single sided swing arms. Vespa makes scooters with single sided front ends. The theory is nearly the same, but the tools you use and how you do the job is a little different. You can learn more about how to tow a Vespa here.