Let’s say you just bought a motorcycle, great, congratulations! Now what? Well, you’ll have to get it home. You have a truck, or maybe a trailer, but the motorcycle looks pretty big, and your truck bed or trailer seem kind of small. How do you know if your truck bed or trailer are long enough to fit your motorcycle?
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Step 1: Find the dimensions of your year/make/model online
Start by looking for specifications for your particular year/make/model of motorcycle online. You can use websites like bikez.com, or just search on Google something like: “2006 Harley-Davidson Night Rod length” and get a result that looks similar to this:
If you find that the total length of your motorcycle is less than the length of your truck bed or trailer, you’re in luck! Nothing more for you to read here, your bike fits.
Step 2: Focus on the wheelbase
If the length of your motorcycle is longer than the length of the truck bed or trailer you’ll be using to bring your motorcycle home, don’t worry, you might still be alright. In my case, I was hired to pick up a 2010 Honda Fury for a customer. The Fury is about 8 feet long, but the platform I was going to be towing it on was closer to 8’9″. Uh oh.
Don’t worry too much about the overall length. Focus on the wheelbase instead. Wheelbase is the distance between the front axle and the rear axle. In the case of the Honda Fury, the wheelbase is about 71″.
Step 3: Factor in half of the front rim size, plus a bit more
Everything behind the rear axle doesn’t matter. If it overhangs off the end of your truck bed or motorcycle trailer, that’s okay.
What really matters is the distance between the rear axle, and a few inches in front of the motorcycle. In the case of the Honda Fury, we have a 71″ wheelbase, and the internet tells us that the motorcycle has a 21″ rim (half of which will be in front of the axle). That puts us at 81.5″ from the rear axle to the front of the rim, and I estimated another 5″ more in front of that for the rubber tire, plus the wheel chock I use to hold the bike up.
Step 4: Do the math
That brings the total length I need to worry about to a 71″ wheelbase + 10.5″ of rim + about 5 inches of tire and wheel chock, for a total length of about 86″-87″. I would need a trailer or truck bed that was about 86″ or 87″ to support the Fury, even though the Fury is over 96″ long. In other words, my 92″ motorcycle trailer can fit the 96″ Honda Fury on it.
But what if the distance that matters is too long?
If the distance from the rear axle to a few inches in front of the motorcycle is still longer than your truck bed or motorcycle trailer, you’re not completely out of luck. You can measure your truck bed or trailer diagonally. The length from corner to corner will be longer than the length from front to back.
You don’t have to measure a motorcycle in person to know if it’ll fit in your truck bed or on your motorcycle trailer. All you have to do is look up the motorcycle’s length, wheelbase, and front rim size. I had no idea if this 96″ Honda Fury would fit on my 92″ platform, but after a little homework on the internet and some quick math, I knew I could do it.
If you have any questions, please leave them down in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help you!