Planning an off-road adventure with a dirt bike sounds irresistible, but how are you getting it there?
Your car might have space for your friends; the problem is how to tie that bike to the vehicle? It is an overwhelming concern because one wrong step and your rugged bike will slip down the road. Just like that!
This is where hitch carriers come. I have never respected the way these securements worked until I had to haul my motorcycle for a trip.
Now the core subject of this article is how to tie down dirt bike on hitch carrier, and that is what I am going to tell you as precisely as possible.
First, however, let us take a look at how to attach a hitch carrier to your four-wheeler.
The Structure of the Hitch Carrier
To understand the design of the hitch carrier or a cargo basket, you have to learn about the parts. What do you get with the carrier as you purchase it?
Sometimes it is also known as the hitch rack due to the design. However, I am going to discuss the basket-style since it is more complicated to tie down the best dirt bike on it.
Now back to the parts, and these are what you will likely get:
- 1x Left Frame
- 1x Right Frame
- 1x Main Arm
- 1x Drawbar Set
- 2x M8; 3x M10; 1x M12 Bolts
- Locking Nuts 2x M8; 3x M10; 1x M12
- 1x Flat Washer
- 1x Spring Washer
- 2x Locking Pin
- 1x R Pin;
- 1x Release Pin
Most hitch racks or carriers will have these components to attach the whole thing to the vehicle’s rear. Some might require less, while other designs may offer more parts.
How to Install a Rear Hitch Carrier?
Before you get on your feet to work on the carrier, make sure your vehicle comes with a receiver hitch. Also, keep an adjustable wrench and a ratchet torque wrench with ¾, 17, and 9/16 drive heads.
i) Connect the Frames
Join the left and right frames to form a basket by inserting the M8 bolts and nuts. Tighten them using the 9/16 torque wrench or adjust the manual wrench to that size.
ii) Attach the Main Arm
Make the frame sit upright to one side and slide the main arm down the path in the mid-section. Use the wrench (17 drive head) and M10 bolts/nuts to secure the setup. Make sure they are tightened properly.
iii) Attach the Drawbar Set
Now insert the drawbar set to the top of the main arm. This part allows you to join it to the vehicle. Use the M12 bolts and flat washer to the bottom holes. Attach the release pin on the top hole. Insert the locking pin to it that locks the bottom bolt as well.
Add the spring washer to the M12 bolt and secure it with the M12 locking nuts. You will need ¾ torque wrench for this procedure.
iv) Join the Carrier to the Vehicle
Bring the frame to the rear end of your vehicle, where the drawbar set faces the vehicle hitch receiver. Slowly insert it to the receiver and make sure the securing holes align to the frame’s holes.
Secure the connection with the R pin and a locking pin. Inspect the whole thing by pushing or jostling the rack area with your hands. All done!
How to Secure Dirt Bike on Hitch Carrier?
I have mentioned it before, the carrier rack/basket will come in various structures. However, the crucial point is how you tie the dirt bike to it. So here goes the process.
a) Position the Bike on the Carrier
Some carriers come with built-in wheel chocks, while others are not that lucky. Yet, you can always buy these things online or in relevant hardware stores.
In that case, plan to secure them to the hitch carrier first before mounting it on the vehicle receiver.
Remember, if the front wheel is not tightly secured, you will have a terrible time driving due to the constant checking and slowing down.
So, once you have the wheel chocks ready to one side, position the bike in such a way that the front wheel locks between them. It prevents displacements during the bumps and turns your four-wheeler might have to encounter.
But how do you carry that bike to the carrier in the first place? It is no toy, nor is it lightweight. Get a ramp to one side of the hitch carrier.
If you do not have it officially, it is time to make one. Some adventurers use a long wooden panel/board for the task.
Anyway, now push the bike carefully on the ramp and slowly maneuver it to the carrier. This is when you secure the front wheel into the wheel chocks.
b) Prepare Straps for the Front
At this point, it is needless to say that you might need a helping hand for the job. Two hands might not be enough to transport the dirt bike safely, especially if you are inexperienced.
And get a lot of straps for the tie-down. You will find additional straps in the hardware stores that are made specifically for the hitch carriers. Please make sure they are adequate for the job. Do not purchase anything cheap.
You do not want to pay for the ramifications with expensive bills later.
Generally, 2 to 4 tie-down straps are sufficient for the front section of the bike. If you do not have the wheel chocks in the carrier, you might require about four straps.
As you secure the bike, try not to lean on it at all. Gently tie down the straps around each handlebar to the bottom of the carrier. Hook the straps with caution so that the tying remains stable.
You can attach one more strap to the front wheel if your heart feels insecure. This is rather a preventative measure to ease your mind. However, it should be mandatory in case of no wheel chocks.
c) Prepare Straps for the Rear
Now you can move to the other side of the carrier, as in the rear wheel of the dirt bike. Let someone stand guard near the front section if this is your first time strapping the dirt bike for hauling.
Here you will have to seek a stable part that is good enough to hook the straps safely. Some prefer strapping around the sitting part, whereas others tie them down along with the rear wheel.
The point is that you must use the bike frame instead of the auxiliary parts to fasten the straps. I would suggest using two to keep the back wheel in position sturdily when driving.
Simply follow the instruction of the front wheel securement but this time with the back wheel. You will require about two straps for the operation, and make sure they are tightly secured and hooked to the hitch carrier.
d) Inspect the Tension of the Straps
As you complete the difficult part of the travel preparation, remember to recheck your work. Ensure that the tension at the back stays equal to the front section.
Take a few steps back and check what you have done. It is absolutely necessary the bike stands immobile and upright.
If you are in doubt, hold on to the bike vertically and tighten the straps as much as possible. Compress the tension as far as you can take it.
The maneuvering might require pulling or ratcheting on the straps, so prepare to exert some energy. You have to understand that the main essence of such a measure will eliminate any bounce or loosening when you drive.
A lot of people make the error by securing only the front section. You have to keep in mind to ensure safe strapping to the back as well. Otherwise, the risk is imminent. Too much moving as you drive will eventually free open the straps.
Next is to check the whole thing from one side. It will allow you to see whether the bike is leaning adjacently or not. Find out which tension is causing the leaning; loosen it and retighten the part again.
e) Final Shake
One way to double-check if your dirt bike is sitting taut on the hitch carrier is by shaking it. Hold those handlebars and give it a good shake! Is it moving?
The answer should be no. By now, it should become a part of the carrier, just as the carrier rack became an extension of the vehicle. As a result, the dirt bike will stand its ground even if you jostle, tug or pull it roughly.
If not, well, you will have to go through the steps once again. Nevertheless, I am pretty confident you can do it!
That was one heck of a journey! Whether you are inexperienced or trying out a different hitch carrier, these steps will come in handy.
If you race professionally, then you must know how to fasten the dirt bike at the back. Besides, once you get the thrill of this addictive interest, securing it to the hitch carrier will be the least of your worry.
Do it safely, and make sure not to lean on the mounted bike for a selfie. Finally, have an adventurous, non-incidental trip down the terrains!