Transporting options for dirt bike(s)

Getting back into riding, I bought a bike over the summer but have not ridden it much because I need a way to transport it from/to trails or track. Back in the day I lived next to a bunch of dirt roads so I always rode from the house, but now I need a transport system and I would like to know your opinions as I have never had a trailer or hitched vehicle. We are also in the process of replacing a vehicle so it could be a good opportunity to maximize efficiencies. I do most of the riding but my wife and daughter would also join in from time to time. Daughter wants a bike and wife a quad...

Let me know what I should stay away from, what works best, and if I my daily driver should also be my haul/tow vehicle or not. My drive to work is about 20 miles each way 5x week.



Get a midsize pickup. I think those do decent on fuel and are easier to load and unload with the bikes. Then you could always get a trailer if you have to bring some more bikes/quads.

I bought a 25 year old Ford Ranger (with 7 ft bed) as a 3rd vehicle, being in basically the same position as you. Nice for now, when I only need to haul my bike, and can tow a trailer when needed later. Gets 20mpg, and only cost $1000.

I think so much depends on your situation, and what you think you would use the vehicle for otherwise.

If you have to take family places in it frequently, you probably don't want a single cab truck. If you get a double-cab truck, make sure the bed is long enough, and if you get an SUV of some sort, you will also need a trailer (or something).

I ended up going the 3rd vehicle route because I didn't want to trade in my car which is almost paid off for a higher payment on a 4 door truck, but it really depends on your priorities...


I'm in the same boat. about a year ago I traded in my jeep with tow package for a mercedes r class crossover suv with no tow package. We have three boys and needed more seating etc. After doing some research, I found a class III hitch for the merc and installed it for less than $200. It wont haul a camper or anything super heavy but it will carry a few bikes on a small trailer nicely. I'm still researching trailers etc. Harbor Freight has a small foldable trailer for $299 that could be the most cost effective, space saving option so far. Many tt'rs have given this trailer a thumbs up as long as you use locktite on the bolts and keep the bearings greased. You can even get 20% off with a coupon online. Another option is a hitch mount carrier but seems to only be effective for one bike as the two bike system would put quite a bit of toungue weight on the hitch. good luck. keep us posted

3 rail trailer for the lightest of the trailers, or a "moto-tote" for one dirt bike (a single rail that slides into a tow hitch receiver) or a pick up truck for daily driver, tow vehicle and carrying other stuff. Pick up is simplest most straight, forward but may have some down sides. A small utility trailer, flat bed or enclosed is also good option and can be had for +/- $1500 for a 12'-15' trailer.

I'm mostly happy with my setup right now. I have use a Ford Expedition and tow a 5x8 utility trailer. I have three of the cheap wheel chocks screwed to the floor and can carry three bikes with no troubles. And I get to use the utility trailer for other things like hauling yard debris, fire wood, xmas trees, etc...

Things get more tricky when you throw an atv into the mix, though. I had an atv for my wife, too (which she hardly ever rode, but that's a different topic) and it just took up so much more space than a dirt bike. It was a 450 Kodiak and there wasn't room in that 5x8 trailer for anything of the smaller 250-sized atv's would have been small enough that I could put a dirt bike next to it. At that time I had a truck, so the atv would go in the truck, and the dirt bikes went in the trailer.

If you go the utility trailer route, don't go small. It seems like I always need a little more room.

Thanks for all the replies / suggestions (except the one on the roof of the car ;-)

I am leaning towards an SUV that I can use as a daily driver (also do snowboarding, have dogs, and like to be comfy on long trips) with this for the times I go solo:

and have a small trailer for hauling bigger stuff (eg. quad + bikes, house stuff, etc)

...had an atv for my wife, too (which she hardly ever rode, but that's a different topic)...

LOL - I think I know what you mean... (she'll go small / 250 stuff)

Thanks for the tips

There are motorcycle hitch carrier that you can use instead of a trailer, I'm considering one for my SUV.

I have a 01 S-10 three door PU that gets good mileage, has storage for my gear, is easy to load, and I can cram 3 bikes if needed.

I've used both the jack-up hitch carrier and the ramp-onto carrier.

Both work fine, but the bike seems more stable (with fewer straps), on the ramp-on version. I guess there's more play in the mechanics of the jack version. And the jack is heavy & clunky & difficult to store in the garage. Can also be a PitA to get the holes in your footpegs to line up with the clamps. (If they line up). Ramp style is less than half the price too.

This one shows the front wheel drops into a "hole". The ramp carrier I've used has a folding bar you roll the front wheel over, then fold up against the back of the front wheel, then pull back against it with straps. Works great.

Get a plate on it and ride the thing!

This question is wide open. That said, I use a Honda Ridgeline and a flatbed to transport myself and two boys bikes around. The Ridgeline is a nice truck but SUCKS GAS! I don't regret buying it, but would not advise commuting in it due to the gas. My truck is a weekender and my every day is VW VR6.

The flatbed is cheap and versitle. ANY car can pull a flatbed with three bikes or ATV etc. Mine is small 6x8 I think. If you plan on taking 2 bikes and 1 atv, you'll need a much bigger one. Mine cost less than a grand new. It came with a huge folding gate/ramp which I promptly removed. It drags like an anchor on the parkway. The flatbed is low to the ground and cake to get cargo on and off. Another good thing about the flatbed is that you can drag almost anything you own around on it. The resale is excellant as well. Just try to find a used one.

The downside of the flatbed is securing the bikes. It's not that hard, but it takes us about 30min to do all three bikes and make them secure for highway speeds. You'll want to buy a gang of tiedown ratchets. I'd suggest bolting some angle iron like channels to help secure the tires.

I would avoid a p/u for carrying bikes cause they're high off the ground and a PITA to get the bikes in and out. You can only take 2 bikes anyway, so wifey's out. I have a cap on my truck and would not do without it. I like to have that whole bed secure and dry. We can throw all our gear back there and rest assured it's out of sight and dry. You'll be surprised how much stuff you wind up with. When I was a kid, we had a helmet and maybe gloves. Now, chest protectors, knee pads, boots etc. The cargo area is a pleasure.


Thanks for all the replies / suggestions (except the one on the roof of the car ;-)

I am leaning towards an SUV that I can use as a daily driver (also do snowboarding, have dogs, and like to be comfy on long trips) with this for the times I go solo:

and have a small trailer for hauling bigger stuff (eg. quad + bikes, house stuff, etc)

I use an X Terra with a hitch hauler, the Joe hauler type not the ultimate one. the ultimate h/h seems to get a lot of kudos around here but from my experience, I go with the ramp one. When I camp for myself (no family) I've set up the Terra with an inflatable matress and sleep inside! No wind or rain probs like a tent would have. Perfect set up for me and mild 4x4 capable even with the bike and hauler on the back!

If you're really talking about hauling as much as two bikes AND a quad, your only real option is a trailer. Hard to imagine all three of those in any pickup truck bed. Any vehicle that can safely pull the trailer should be fine. A small trailer plus two bikes and a quad is not really much weight to tow, so I'd think virtually any mid size SUV or even a strong car/wagon would do the trick, provided that it can be equipped with a proper hitch.

For me, I find that my quad cab 05 Ram 2500 does a great job hauling up to three bikes in the bed and it's a fine daily driver (19-20mpg with the diesel), but you'd have to work pretty hard to get a quad in there with two (or really probably even 1) bike in the bed.

Full sized truck, 1 quad & 1 bike in the bed, 1 bike on the Joe hauler! No trailer!

I have a '97 GMC van that I was in the right time and place to pick up for $800 with no significant mechanical issues. Some BFH-ing doors back straight, but no big deal. Perfect. Plus, you end up with friends owing you favors after they borrow it to move or remodel.

I like the bike on top of the car idea --

would work better if he had put the rear tire threw the back window-

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