Motorcycle Ramp Styles Breakdown:
How to Choose the Right One

Motorcycle Ramp Styles Breakdown: How to Choose the Right One

Posted on: July 23nd, 2020

Getting ready to pick out a motorcycle ramp? Great! It’s the best way to get your bike safely into a truck, trailer or the bed of a pickup, ready for safe transport. But before you buy any old ramp and call it a day, it’s worth considering the many different motorcycle ramp styles available to you. After all, one size does not fit all motorcycles.

Here’s a quick look at some of the options available to you when choosing a motorcycle ramp, and why each deserves consideration. Put them all together and you’ll end up with a ramp that’s right for your bike—one that’ll make the loading process simple, swift and safe.

#1Long vs. short ramps

Ramp length is the first variable to consider. Short ramps offer a steeper incline and are ideal for loading in tighter spaces where you might not have much of a lead-up. The problem is, a harsher loading angle isn’t conducive to higher loading heights. Short ramps tend to be best for low-clearance transport vehicles, like trailers.

Long ramps offer the inverse. They ensure a longer run-up to the loading surface on a lower incline, resulting in a smoother load. This low angle also makes long ramps great for loftier loading surfaces, like pickup truck beds. The downfall is that you need plenty of space to accommodate the ramp and the lead-up.

#2Arched vs. straight

Straight ramps typically correlate with longer ramps, since the approach is at a softer angle. There’s less concern about bottoming out your motorcycle or scraping the exhaust on the tailgate if the angle isn’t as sharp.

Arched ramps create an even gentler angle at the point of loading by softening the approach during a load. An arch halfway up the ramp might take the loading angle from 30 degrees to 20 degrees, reducing the chance of bottoming out as the bike goes from one surface to the next. Arched ramps better-accommodate larger wheelbases and bikes with lower ground clearance.

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Motorcycle Ramp Styles Infographic

#3Folding vs. non-folding

Folding ramps are all about convenience. Some ramps fold in half length-wise; others collapse onto themselves in a bi- or tri-fold capacity. The benefit is portability. It’s easy to quickly fold a ramp in half and stow it in the bed of your pickup truck after you’re done using it! it also makes for convenient deployment. Consider propping a tri-fold ramp up on your tailgate and gently unfolding it, rather than trying to position a broad ramp.

This isn’t to say that non-folding ramps aren’t convenient! Non-folding ramps are often more affordable and lightweight, since they’re manufactured with tensile strength in mind. Many smaller ramps don’t need to fold, either—they’re small enough to conveniently maneuver and handle.

#4Plate vs. rungs

Plate-style ramps are solid, often with some sort of textured surface to promote traction and grip. The chief benefit of solid plate ramps is the footing they provide—both for bike tires and for walk-ups. They also tend to be weightier, which adds an element of stability. The downfalls of solid plate ramps? Weight can work against you, as plate ramps tend to be bulkier. They’re also prone to picking up debris.

Rung-style ramps are much more common than plate-style ramps, which means a bigger selection to choose from. Rungs offer great traction by creating small gaps (usually 3” or so) for tires to grip. These same gaps are also great for removing debris from tires as you load your bike. Rung-style ramps tend to be lightweight. Their downfall? They’re prone to movement, which is easily solved by using tie-downs (something you should always do anyway!). You also need to consider rung spacing depending on the type of bike you have.

#5Single-runner vs. full-width

Single-runner ramps are exclusively for smaller, lightweight bikes—motocross or dirt bikes, as well as light street bikes and cruisers. You can’t ride your bike up them, since there’s no room to set your feet down—walk-ups only! They’re very easy to fold and stow, and less cumbersome than full-width models.

Full-width models are the ideal choice for heavier bikes and those that require a drive-up approach. They offer great stability because they distribute weight across the width of the loading surface. There’s also an option for bi- or tri-fold on full-length ramps, to help improve portability.

#6Aluminum vs. steel

Aluminum is lightweight and durable, and won’t corrode or rust when exposed to harsh conditions. It’s generally the preferred choice for frequent use, since it’ll stand up to most bikes and loading situations.

Need a truly durable option? Steel is the next step up and offers supreme durability and affordability. Steel is more susceptible to corrosion, which is why most ramps are usually powder-coated for protection.

#7Consider your bike before choosing a ramp

Just like a cruiser is completely different from a touring bike, motorcycle ramps differ dramatically as well. The best one for you is the one that helps you safely load your bike into the transport vehicle. Whether it’s a long, straight, rung-style ramp or a short, arched, plate-style option, if it gets the job done right, it’s a great investment to make.