Tie-down straps are actually not used as much as they need to be. Most people find them unusual, but they’re quite useful and almost necessary if you don’t have another option for securing your dirt bike properly. The worst-case scenario that can happen if you don’t secure your dirt bike properly is either damaging your truck, damaging your dirt bike, or even worse an accident which can cause injuries. Well, you get the idea where this is going. In other words, no matter how kinky tie-down straps may seem, having them will make everything easier and safer. For your information, you can get them in a variety of lengths and strengths, but the most interesting part is that there are also several options in terms of tie-down strap types.
Types of tie-down straps
Soft tie-down straps
Since you’re reading this article, I think that you will most likely decide to go for the soft tie-down straps. In my opinion, soft tie-downs are better when compared to hooking a metal S-hook onto a metal handlebar. When searching on Amazon, you’re going to notice that these type of tie-downs can be purchased separately, or as a part of the tie-down itself. Nonetheless, tie-downs have different size S-hooks, which means that they differ for different weight ratings. It’s important to note that if you are not using the soft straps, you will need to make sure that the S-hook fits around your bike’s handlebars. Another thing that you should take into consideration is to keep the straps away from wires or cables when attaching the straps to the bike’s handlebars, because if you don’t they might get crushed.
The option that I’d recommend to you are the Pro Taper tie-down straps on Amazon which are great because they come together with the soft straps built into the strap. However, in case you already own S-hook straps, these soft tie-downs are sold separately and they’re probably the best option you can find on the market today.
When it comes to specs, the Pro Taper 1.5″ tie-downs are long and wide with an 84″ x 1.5″ nylon webbing, and they feature a 1200-pound straight tension strength. They’re a pretty decent option which totally delivers great value for money. On the other hand, the RHINO USA Soft Loops tie-downs are built with heavy-duty tasks in mind, designed to secure motorcycles, kayaks, jeeps, ATV, and so on. You can also get them in 6 different colors, but that’s not really important. What’s important is the fact that they feature a 10,427lb max brek strength, so they’re pretty much invincible.
Ratchet tie-down straps
Well, you’ve probably seen or even used ratchet tie-down straps before. They are pretty popular because they have been around for such a long time, but to be honest, they’re not truly my favorites out there. Either way, they have some serious cranking power, which is also why they make a good addition for securing your dirt bike. They can be used to tie down a dirt bike, but as you know, dirt bikes can change based on weight and size, so these type of tie-downs can be large and heavy to use. One of the main reasons why ratchet tie-down straps aren’t my favorite is the fact that they have an unusual releasing system.
There’s truly no easy way to release the ratchet, it’s either tight or loose. Although, if you’re considering ratchet tie-downs for an ATV or a lawnmower, they’re perfect, the springing action is fine in those cases because such machines have four-wheels. That’s the downside with dirt bikes, the two-wheels construction is simply harder to balance without having a second hand to help hold the bike when the ratchet is sprung. The extra power that ratchet tie-downs deliver is perfect for dual-sport adventure bikes, and considering the fact that big bikes have kickstands, balancing them will be a lot easier.
The option that I’d recommend to you are these four pack ratchet tie-down straps on Amazon. They’re pretty much the most popular option on Amazon, and they’re currently on a very budget-friendly price, you should definitely check them out!
Cam-lock tie-down straps
If you didn’t quite like ratchet straps, the cam-lock tie-downs would definitely be your ideal option. Cam-lock tie-downs are relatively easy to use, a lot easier when compared to ratchet straps and without compromising the holding power. A few years ago, I saw a friend of mine use cam-lock tie-downs while I was asking him to help me deal with my ratchet tie-down straps. Just by seeing how easy and quick he was able to secure the bike with almost no effort, I immediately became a fan of them.
Today, these are my salvation when it comes to securing my dirt bike in the truck bed. To make it simple, all you need to do is put the dirt bike in place, and simply pull each tie-down to remove most of the slack, and you will need to pull each side to the same length so your bike isn’t standing unbalanced. You can also take an extra precaution by wrapping the excess material around the taut part of the tie-down, that will make sure the cam never gets loose during your traveling, even on bumpy roads.
These type of tie-down straps can be easily found whether you’re searching at Lowe’s, Walmart, and Amazon. They are also quite budget-friendly which is also their main selling point, but they can be a great addition when it comes to securing your dirt bike. The option that I’d recommend to you are the Ancra cam-lock tie-downs on Amazon. They are very practical, and the best part is the fact that you can choose in getting them as a two-pack, four-pack, six-pack, eight-pack, and 24-pack. They have a working load capacity of 400 pounds per strap measuring 66-inches in overall length with a sewn hand loop. In addition, the 4500 pounds rated aircraft quality nylon webbing is engineered to withstand weather and abrasion, so they’re pretty much everything you could ever ask for.
Locking tie-down straps
Locking tie-down straps boast a unique design, similar to cam tie-downs but not as much. It’s a design that includes a carabiner at each end along with a built-in combination lock and a thin steel cable inside the strapping material. Well, nowadays it’s hard to actually secure things that are valuable to you, and as you know, nothing is 100% foolprof. Nonetheless, if someone is planning on stealing something, they will surely select a target which can be acquired easier, which brings the locking carabiner into the spotlight.
The locking carabiner is a great addition which reduces the thieve’s confidence, while the steep cable requires small bolt cutters, so there’s nothing for you worry about in such cases. The option that I’d recommend to you are the LockStraps locking tie-downs on Amazon. You can pretty much use them for also securing coolers, gas cans, etc. Also, make sure you check whether you’re purchasing a single strap or a two-pack, because that’s an option you usually have to check by yourself.
How do you load up a dirt bike into a truck bed?
First, you will need to load the dirt bike into the truck bed. To do that, there are a few steps you need to follow:
- Park on flat ground
Find a flat surface where you can park your truck, while it will be a lot better if you can back up to a hill or loading dock. Using a loading dock at your house is great, it makes everything easier, but if that’s out of reach, what I’d recommend is a loading ramp.
- Tiedowns check
I always like to put a tie-down on each side of the handlebars so that they stay with the bike when I load it into the truck bed, and even though it doesn’t make much difference, I still like to keep things more organized.
- Get the bike into the bed
First, put the bike in neutral. Now, in case you own a ramp, you simply need to set it up and push the bike into the truck bed. A loading dock will help you with lifting, but if both options are not available, you can use a thick and wide piece of wood, you store it up and you simply push it into the truck bed. It isn’t the safest method but it will get the job done.
- Brace the bike
This step only requires that you push the front tire into the front-left corner of the truck bed, and hold the bike upright with one hand.
How do you strap down a dirt bike?
Yet again, to strap down a dirt bike properly, there are a couple of steps you need to follow, but these steps require a bit more attention. Here’s what you need to do:
- Tie-down forks
Grab the right side tie-down and attach it to the front-right truck bed’s ring. Afterward, go onto the other side of the bike and take the left-hand-side tie-down and attach it to the back-left truck bed’s ring.
- Close tailgate
Once your dirt bike is in and secured, you can close the tailgate, but make sure you’ve done it correctly with the front tire standing on the front-left corner of the bed and the rear tire in the back-right corner.
- Tighten the tie-down straps
Assuming that both the left and right tie-downs are attached, now you can snug them down. You don’t necessarily need to tighten them too hard, just to a point where you feel like the bike is nice and snug. Once it is snug, tie off the excess straps around the buckle, that way you’re making sure they don’t slip or flap in the wind.
- Tie-down rear tire (Optional)
This is something that doesn’t necessarily need to be done, but if you see the rear tire bouncing around in the truck bed, then you can run a tie-down strap through the rear wheel and loop it around the tire once, while attaching both ends of the tie-down in both the right side and the left side of the truck bed. Even though this is an optional security precaution, it’s still a good thing to do, why not, right?
How do you use ratchet straps?
As mentioned above, many people get confused when it comes to tying down a dirt bike with ratchet straps. For the most part, I don’t blame them because I once struggled as well, but it isn’t that hard once you get a grip of it. Here are some steps you can follow:
- To thread ratchet buckle, place webbing through slot in enter rotating spool of closed ratchet.
- Pull the webbing through, leaving some slack.
- Start ratcheting, which means raising and lowering handle.
- Webbing will wind itself and be locked in place so that further ratcheting will rapidly increase tension in the strap.
That’s pretty much it. As you saw, tie-downs are really important when it comes to securing your dirt bike. If you leave it bouncing or moving(not properly tied), bad things can happen not only to your truck or dirt bike, but to other people in case the truck makes the dirt bike swing on bumpy roads.
If you ask me, if you don’t own tie-down straps, you should definitely get yourself some straps, they won’t cost you much and they will keep the bike secure at all times while traveling. If you can’t find anything that you like on Amazon, you can always check your local stores. I hope this article was helpful to you, and if by any chance I left any questions regarding this topic unanswered, make sure you contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.