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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Burgman 400 and a new 2005 Dakota Quad cab (short bed) pickup on which I plan to carry the bike for a long trip out west. My question concerns the best way to load the bike. I seen carriers that mount onto the hitch on the truck but don't like the idea of the overhang on each side of the truck and all that weight bouncing off the back end. And I don't want to pull a trailer. That leaves a ramp to ride the bike up onto the truck bed and carefully back it down. I've seen quite a variety on the web and eBay and wonder if anyone has used them and their opinions as to the best of the bunch - at a reasonable price, of course.

Thanks.

Konrad
 

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I was wondered about the ramps they use to load bikes on a pick up till I saw it done a few time at the dealers, they make it look easy -one guy pushes it half way up, the guy on top grips the hand brake and then they both push/pull it on. But it does take two people.
The ramp it self is one piece with a little "hump" near the top so the under side of the bike does not hit the truck, right now I don't have prices but I am going to go looking. :)
 

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I personally like the folding aluminum ramps used by many of the cycle shops. They're wide enough so that you can have a person on each side of the bike when loading or unloading. When I first brought my bike home, I unloaded it using 2 single tire ramps used with lawnmowers and 4 wheelers. I dang near dropped the bike. Check around, you can get some good prices on ramps online but watch for shipping costs. For some examples of the folding ramps (haven't compared prices) see:

http://www.discountramps.com/bi-panel_ramps.htm
 

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When I bought the Burgman, one of the guys at the dealer just rode it up a ramp into the bed of the truck. When the Burgman was on the side of the Interstate, we pulled the Burgman up the ramp into the bed of the truck by each place a hand on the handlebars and the other on the passenger grips. Using the ramp, the Burgman did bottom out using the short (6 ft?) folding ramp. Using the longer curved ramp might keep this from happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to both Randy and Billmeek for their replies. Those single narrow ramps really do require two people to load a bike safely. As I will be alone I need a wide one that I can ride up and back down by myself. The main choices seem to be "The Black Widow" or "The Big Boy MF-12038" or the ramp from USA Ramp (http://www.usaramp.com). The USA Ramp attaches to the trailer hitch and simply folds up - high - behind the tailgate (looks like a cross-wise sail which could cost extra gas), while the other two fold in half, in three sections, and can be stored in the bed next to the bike. The Black Widow and the USA Ramp are eight footers while the Big Boy is a ten footer. The Black Widow is the least expensive of the three at $280, the Bib Boy at $400 and the USA Ramp at $529.

Has anyone out there actually used any of these?
 

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I know you stated you didn't want to tow a trailer, I'm not a fan of trailers myself unless absolutely necessary. I'm wondering if the Burgaman will fit in the box of the Dakota as they are pretty darn short if I'm not mistaken, and the Burgman is almost 7 1/2' in total length, granted some of that is rear overhang. Something you might consider is http://www.trailerinabag.com
These things are very good from what I've read and when the Burgman is ready to roll the trailer can be stored in its' bag out of the way.
 

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Rubble said:
I'm wondering if the Burgaman will fit in the box of the Dakota as they are pretty darn short if I'm not mistaken...
Shouldn't be a problem since the Burgman fits in my Ford Ranger and it's not very long either. I just have to leave the tailgate down.
 

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I was thinking if the ramp was folded up behind the tailgate as shown in the pics that it would be a tricky fit. The Dakota box is about 8" shorter than the Rangers.
 

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.... along with the 4" depth listed for the folding ramp, it'd be close. I think it's fit ok but it might be wise idea to check first. :wink:
 

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I gave a huge amount of thought to this subject recently. In the end, I decided that trailering was best, expecially because I already have a $400 lawn-mower trailer that, with a little work, oughta do just fine. I've pulled a boat many thousands of miles down good roads and bad, and everything from a 12' U-Haul to a '73 Buick halfway across the country. While I've never had to tow anything really large, such as a big RV, I would not hesitate to do so. Towing becomes easy once you've got the first couple hundred miles down, and once you've learned the skill and bought the hitch it becomes incredibly handy.

One note- the shorter the trailer, the harder it is to back. With a small utility trailer, it's better not to even try in most circumstances.

One thing that made my decision easier is that my primary truck is a 1995 K-3500, whose bed sits very, very high. I've tried to ramp lawnmowers into high beds before, and **** near got killed doing it once. Note that if your truck is a 4x4, then very likely you will need a much longer ramp than you would for a two-wheel-drive, especially if you don't have a high spot at each end to load from.

If your truck is rated for 450 or more pounds of tongue weight, you would probably be pleasantly surprised at how easily one of the receiver-hitch carriers handles a Burgman 400. (After all, weight is weight. If the suspension and carrier are designed to take it, then they will. It just takes a little faith, is all.) The main reason I didn't buy such a carrier is becasue it looked to me as if I could not ride onto it or use engine power to ease the bike up onto it, and 400 pounds of 400 is too much for such a steep angle, in my book.

Hope something works out for you! And, I'm interested in better ideas, too!
 

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kpoth wrote
As I will be alone I need a wide one that I can ride up and back down by myself.
Ah..........make sure you someone there to film you - that way you can sell the film (maybe Real TV?) and pay for the repairs on you and the bike.
I have no doubt it's done but I have to wonder how safe it would be. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Many interesting responses! I recognize that pulling a small motorcycle trailer shouldn't be all that hard - but it would stick out quite a bit in the parking lot of a crowded McDonald's. And backing out of a slot could be a nightmare. (I've seen the ads for "Trailer in a Bag" and it does look like a nice item.) As for the Dakota, it's a 4x2 with a lowered tail gate height of 32". I'm thinking that a 8' long ramp by 48" wide (three piece) should not pose too much difficulty for riding up - slowly. The rear wheel of the bike would rest on the open tailgate - I measured before I bought. For backing down I forsee straddling the bike with both hands on the brake levers and both feet on the 48" wide ramp and going very s-l-o-w-l-y. The posed photos of a pretty girl on a Harley full-dresser halfway up the ramp on one of the websites make it look easy! Or is that just good advertising? Surely someone out there has actually done this.

Thanks,
 

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Konrad,

Using the wide ramps where you can have a good footing, it should be easy to load and unload the bike from the truck as long as you take it easy and are careful. The only concern I have is the bottoming out of the bike when the rear wheel is still on the ramp and the front is in the bed of the truck. Using the curved and/or longer ramps may solve this issue. Also avoid loading/unloading when moisture is on the ramps and could lesson your traction.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bill - that's good advice about the moisture on the ramp, lessening traction - hadn't thought of that. I think I'll go ahead and order the Black Widow ramp - I'll just feel better with everything on the truck bed, chained down and locked and backed up to a motel door overnight.

Thanks to all for their help and comments.
 

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A trailer will bounce the bike around more than carrying it in the bed of a pickup. It will also get it dirtier with road grime, and I think it's less secure from vandalism/theft at stops.

JCWhitney sells nice curved folding ramps in either aluminum or steel. I have the aluminum and they are very secure. You need the curved ramps to keep from bottoming out. You also need 2 ramps.

Do not ride your bike up the ramp onto the truck. Have both ramps set securely against the tailgate, about 2 feet apart. With the engine running and both hands on the handle bars (and both brakes) - gently drive the bike up one ramp while you walk up the other. Do not push it - make it do the work. For unloading set the ramps the same way and also have the engine running. Use the brakes, to steady the bike and yourself. If you start to go crooked then use the engine to bring it back into the truck and start over. Have someone watch you load/unload a couple of times to make sure you stay off the edge of the ramps and alert you if you are going too crooked.

Get yourself some canyon dancer handlebar straps to secure the bars, and get (or make) something to secure the front wheel. You can buy removable wheel chocks (my preference), or just use some 2x4's to make one really cheap - but do something to make sure the front wheel doesn't turn.

For short trips I use 2 straps on the handlebars, and 2 on the rear. Do the webbing through the rear grabrails rather than doing the metal hooks on them). For longer trips I would put 6 or even 8 straps on a bike so that I know it's not coming loose. Don't compress thr front forks too much - or you'll blow the seals. Use more straps rather than more force. Check the straps after the first 20 or 30 miles - because they will settle a bit. Also check them if it gets rained on because they will probably relax a bit.

FWIW: My truck is an F250 4x4 offroad with larger tires - and I load into it with no problem. When possible I back it into a curb to reduce how I have to go. The easier you make it - the less chance of having a problem...
 

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I know it's sort of off topic, but this thread reminds me of when I was riding trials in the early '70's. A friend and I went to a very wet, rainy, muddy competetion (his first) in Champaign, Ill. After unloading from the truck, I watched as he slid down the slick hill, feet flailing in all directions, just barely keeping the bike upright. We had different start traps and didn't see each other all day until the end. I had dropped the tailgate and was resting near the truck when a guy came rather dancing up the hill, feet up, standing on the pegs. He was so muddy that I couldn't tell who it was or what he was riding, but I got a hint when he rode up to the rear of the truck, wheelied just high enough to clear the back, bounced off the bashplate, and parked it perfectly in the corner of the bed. He pretty much went from novice trialer to near-expert in about six hours.

Steve
 
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