tie-down failure - how common?

tie-down failure - how common?

I know personally of 3 cases, all due to buckle slippage, 2 bikes came off the trailer.

Wondered how common it is. Thoughts?

Its not too bad when they come off the trailer and you stop. But when you drive down the interstate for about 2 miles before you notice, THAT REALLY SUCKS! Fortunately it was my friends bike, not mine :)

Actually it wasn't too bad. It only ground down about 2 inches off the left bar. :D :D :D

I've heard horror stories ....fortunate to never experience personally.... I have found an easy solution... take a couple of small pieces of rope and tie the wheels down to the rails. I've had a couple of times where my trailer has whipped so bad that the bike has leaned so much that it bent the cross rail that support the three rails....in both cases ...the straps never gave an inch.

One piece of advise....don't skimp on the straps...spend 20 bucks instead of 10....your bike will thank you.

Once I pull the straps down tight, I also tie off the loose ends of the tie down to some point, even if it is just across to the other one... first, I will do a simple hitch around the tensioned strap, right up near the buckle, then, tie it to some point, a rail, the wheel or wherever - then, if the buckle gives way, the strap cannot release all of it's length, and you have a back-stop... not a perfect solution, but it buys you some time if you notice the bike has come loose and you have to pull over to tie it down again...

I second the one about quality tie-downs... I have both cam and ratchet types, and have more faith in the ratchet ones...

I suppose the ultimate back-up system is an enclosed trailer... :)


I only use ratchet type tiedowns, the failure rate on them is non existent compared to the other ones. I work for a company that does transportation for people in wheelcahirs, we only use ratchet type. to many problems with the other ones coming loose and the chairs moving in transit.

I've been riding for 26 years and have always used Ancra straps on dirt and street bikes. I have never lost a bike using these straps.

I also replace them at the slightest hint of wear. I also use a u-lock and lock the bike to the trailer through the front wheel just in case. :)

Not very common. In 19 years, I have only had one break on me. This happend four months ago. But the tie down was chaffed and five years old. I should have known better. The bike fell over in the trailer and was dinged up pretty good.

When I worked at a Honda shop, I'd use a pair of Ancra tiedowns and a forklift to lift Goldwings out of the crate (800 pounds?). If the customer was watching, I'd lift it really high before sliding the crate base out of the way :). No failures ever.

I had a cheap tiedown snap in two and dump a bike once.

I agree with Rockieman. I always tie the wheels down with rope. In case a tie down does come loose or break then the bike is still secured.

I use a good set of ancra tie downs along with a Wal-Mart set of ratchet type. I use the ancras on the bars and coonect the ratchets to the the ancra hook. Also use a 2x4 under the fender, this takes pressure off your forks plus your suspension can't "bounce"(espeacially on a trailer) and risk a un-leash at the bar. I also use a trailer at times when a group is going along. On my trailer I extended the outer tiedown hooks a couple of feet with square tubing. Most trailers I've seen the outer hooks are too close and can't provide the properly needed force(directionally) to counter the force on the inner hook. These trailers allow the bike to sway back and forth and sometimes loosen the straps espeacially if they are wet. Another idea is to go get some fail proof hooks(like they use on cable weights in a gym) hook these to the 'O'closed portion and not use the ? open type portion. These are available in most hardware stores. Have never lost a bike, but did have our trailer to actually pass us down hill once! :)

Its not too bad when they come off the trailer and you stop. But when you drive down the interstate for about 2 miles before you notice, THAT REALLY SUCKS! Fortunately it was my friends bike, not mine


How do you drive 2 miles without noticing!?

LOL :)

A buddy of mines KLX fell of the trailor and when it did it felt like the tranny fell out of the truck.

But it was just a KLX so we kept going.

tie-down failure - how common?

I know personally of 3 cases, all due to buckle slippage, 2 bikes came off the trailer.

Use ancras or a good tie down for the weight of your bike (if its bigger) and consider eye mounts on the vehicle. Your can also use a carabiner on your tiedown base instead of the open hook. Check David suggestion also. If you double up the free end or half hitch it between the ancra metal pawl and the base end of the tie down, it will lock the pawl if it slips.

I am looking for a small, cam actuated clamp, to press the tensioned strap againts the loose strap at, or near to, the buckle to provide further tension. A knot at the clamp is what I do now, but a strap clamp would be way cool. You, in effect, would double-up on securing the tension. Such a product probably doesn't exist. My daughter (TTR125L) thinks I should use a couple of vice grips. I'm now worried about her future, but atleast she doesn't ride red.

Momilkman, We never heard a thing. We jam out pretty loud alot of the times. I saw sparks flying through the rear view mirror then stopped. He was pissed. :D I couldn't stop laughing :D :D :D and that made him even more mad :):D :D

But it was his fault. He strapped his own bik.

I kind of do what Yamaha.dude does. Once they are tight I take the loose ends and put a half hitch tightened under each buckle. I found after a few miles the half hitches get pretty tight so there seems to be some slipage until the knots tighten up.

Another thing I do is in a truck with single bike and a slippery bedliner I nose the front wheel into one of the corners instead of straight on. This way I know the front wheel won't slip out to one side.

I think someone could write a book just on tie down tips/tricks and procedures. :)

I know personally of 3 cases, all due to buckle slippage, 2 bikes came off the trailer.

I think it's more common than some will admit. There was one case on the yellow board recently. That one was because the suspension compressed and allowed the hook to come unhooked. A 4X4 between the fender and front tire will prevent that.

Doesn't matter what brand you use-don't trust the cams. With the loose end, I make a loop and tie it into a half hitch around the tension end, pulling it tight so that it wedges under the buckle. With it tied this way it's impossible for it to slip. When you want to unload, just tug on the loose end to untie then release the cam.

I also use two tie downs on the rear for redundancy and to keep the back from coming around.

I have a question for all of you guys. Have any of you [or anyone you know] used carabiners instead of the hooks at the "bottom end" of your tie down straps? To eliminate the possibility of the hook extracting itself from your trailer?

I have lost 2 bikes from broken tie-downs, but NEVER using Ancra's.

Now, I tie both wheels down, the forks (BUT THEY ARE HARDLY COMPRESSED) and the real trick >> I run tiedowns from each footpeg straight out to the side rails on my trailer.

The bike is set in like concrete, and there is zero chance of doing any damage/wear to the fork seals/springs.

This is the ONLY way I'll travel w/ my bike in tow or in the back of a pickup.

I have been trailering dirt bikes and road bikes for many years without problems. I have always done the following:

Tie the loose end of the tie down around the tensioned part of the strap with 2 hitch knots right below the tie down clamp. This keeps the strap from slipping in the clamp. Next use a bungy chord from each tie down. Attach the bungy hooks to tie down hooks. This eliminates the chance for the bikes suspension and movement to cause a tie down hook to come off (un-hook).

I have had good luck with ratchet style tie downs also.I just bought a suspension stabilizer from P.C Racing.Its just a molded plastic bar that goes between the tire and front fender.Has any one else used one of these?

03WR450FR-picked up 2/3/03. 6 miles and still no woodruff key failure :).Think I'll put another 1/2 mile on her tomorrow :D :D :D

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