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A Quick Buying Guide for Motorcycle Ramps

Posted On: 07/23/2020

If you own a motorcycle and plan on transporting it to and from destinations in a truck or trailer, a ramp is a must-have accessory. Ramps are generally inexpensive and more than pay for themselves in the utility they offer. It’s one purchase you’ll pat yourself on the back for any time you load and unload your bike.

To buy the right ramp, you need to make a few careful considerations. Ramps aren’t one-size-fits-all, and there are factors to consider outside of the ramp and its features. Below, we’ve compiled a quick buying guide for motorcycle ramps, to guide you through the process of buying the right ramp and making an investment that’s worth every penny.

Consider transport vehicle

What type of vehicle are you using to transport your motorcycle? The clearance of that vehicle will have a major impact on the type of ramp you buy. For example, the loading height from the ground to a truck tailgate is going to be much greater than the loading height from the ground to a tow-behind trailer. This dictates the type of ramp you’ll need. As a rule of thumb, the lower the loading height, the shorter the tamp you need; the higher the loading height, the longer the ramp. That said, factors like ramp arch offer some wiggle room.

Also, consider the width of the loading surface. You need to make sure the width of the ramp you’re buying doesn’t exceed the width of the loading surface! Choose a ramp width that’s proportionate to the width of your loading surface or smaller.

Consider motorcycle specs

The type of bike you have plays a critical role in what type of ramp you’ll buy. All of the following factors dictate what you need to look for in a ramp:

  • Bike weight: The weight of your bike determines the capacity requirements of your ramp. Your 900 lb. touring bike isn’t safe on a ramp with a 750 lb. max capacity! You can always buy a ramp with a higher weight capacity than your bike, but never a lower one.
  • Wheelbase: The larger the wheelbase, the bigger the ramp you’ll need (usually). Wheelbase is an important element in figuring out the smallest applicable ramp length needed to safely load your motorcycle (along with ground clearance and loading height).
  • Ground clearance: The clearance of your bike not only dictates the minimum rise of your ramp, it can help you determine if you need an arched ramp and if so, to what degree. As mentioned, it’s one element of determining minimum ramp length (along with wheelbase and loading height).

A bike with lots of ground clearance and a lower weight (like a dirt bike) generally has looser ramp restrictions than a heavier bike with lower ground clearance or a longer wheelbase. Get the scoop on your bike’s specs before you buy a motorcycle loading ramp.

Consider ramp style

There are all types of motorcycle ramp styles to choose from. Pay close attention to the defining variables of a ramp as you consider how they’ll support your motorcycle:

  • Long vs. short
  • Arched vs. straight
  • Folding vs. non-folding
  • Plate vs. rung construction
  • Single-runner vs. full-width
  • Aluminum vs. steel

Find the right combination of these variables to support your bike and your loading needs. A long, straight, plate-style, single-runner ramp is going to offer a different kind of support than a short, arched, rung-style, full-width ramp. Consider your bike and loading criteria against each of these variables and establish the features that make sense for you.

Consider budget

It all boils down to budget. Depending on the type of ramp you need, you’ll need to set a budget and figure out which features are must-haves vs. wants and how they affect price point. For example, you might find the perfect ramp in both aluminum and steel varieties, with the steel ramp coming in $X cheaper. From there, it’ a budget-based decision, so long as the ramp supports your bike.

There’s also some variability when it comes to the cost of different ramps vs. their practicality. For example, folding ramps might cost a bit more than non-folding because you’re paying for the convenience of portability. Opting for non-folding ramps can save you a few bucks—so long as the ramp still fits in your truck or trailer! Figure out what variables you can tinker with and how they affect the price of the ramp you’re buying.

Put everything together

There are thousands of different motorcycle ramps out there to choose from. To narrow down your options, go through the steps above one by one. When you’re done, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and you’ll be able to make a purchase you feel confident in—one that helps you safely load and unload your motorcycle.