In the world of power sports, loading ramps are an every day thing. Unfortunately most of us have to learn the hard way that ramps can be your friend or your enemy if not used the right way. If you’re fairly confident when using ramps to load a motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile, then make sure you send this to your buddy who always seems to have issues. Below are a few ways to be sure to fail loading your machine followed by an explanation of how not to fail.
1. Don’t Secure the Ramp –
Whether you are loading an ATV, motorcycle, or snowmobile, using a tie-down (or two) to secure your loading ramp will keep it tight against the tailgate and keep it from moving under force and momentum put on by your machine. Your ramps should also have rubber on the part that contacts the truck tailgate to help prevent it from sliding as well. Some ramps also have an option to secure the middle to your trucks tow hitch for even more stability.
2. Make the Ramp Angle as Steep as Possible – Even if your confident at loading, when conditions are wet and slippery, icy, snowy, muddy, etc. there is more chance for tire slippage on the ramp when ascending it. By keeping your ramp angle low, you will need less throttle and less momentum to load your machine, making for much safer loading. You can decrease that angle by parking so that your back tires are in a low spot or against a hill so that you can have the ramp higher than normally would be. Using longer ramps will also decrease the angle and make loading easier.
3. Use Improper Ramps or Wood Boards –
Most people who substitute wood boards or other materials for loading ramps usually end up the loser. Using wood planks is always a bad idea. Even if they can support the weight of the vehicle, they can’t be secured, they are extremely slippery, and they move very easily where they contact the ground and the tailgate. Loading ramps come in a variety of designs and styles. Choose one that will work for your machine, will fasten to your truck or trailer with a strap, and has good traction. If you are loading a snowmobile, make sure you use a ramp designed for snowmobiles such as the RevArc snowmobile ramp (perfectly designed for snowmobiles).
4. Load by Yourself – If you have a buddy handy, have him or her standby either to help you get it up the ramp or to help steady it in the back of the truck once you’ve come up the ramp. If you have two people, it’s best to walk a motorcycle up a ramp. If you’re loading an ATV or a snowmobile have your friend stand near the ramp so they don’t get hurt in the truck bed and can assist if you have trouble ascending the ramp. They can also film you while your loading for such moments as when you drop your bike or run your ATV into the back window of your truck.
5. Don’t Check the Clearance –
Keep in mind that the steeper the ramp angle is, the more ground clearance will be needed on your machine. Keep in mind that street bikes don’t have much and get high centered on most ramps. Many of the fails in the video above are caused by the bike hitting the part where the ramp and the tailgate meet, stopping their momentum at the peak of the ramp. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by following step 2 and making sure you’ve got the proper clearance.
6. Go Up The Ramp As Fast As You Can –
If you can’t walk the machine up the ramp, use just enough throttle and speed to get up the ramp. Too much and you could hit and damage the end of your truck bed or break the back window glass with a bumper when you launch into the bed of the truck. Too little and you may stall part way up the ramp and tip over. Always walk a machine up the ramp with a buddy if possible. In the case of snowmobiles or bigger machines, you’ll need some momentum to get up some ramps, just be careful and let the most experienced rider do the loading if you are uncomfortable with going up the ramp.
We hope that some of these tips will be remembered for your next trip out so you can avoid some common pitfalls.