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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on truck ramps and general loading tips

    Once upon a time, I used to load 200-pound Hondas into the back of a Tacoma with one hand. But times have changed.

    I'm looking for advice on how to deal with my current situation. Things have gotten a little bigger and heavier since the racing days. The Tacoma and the Hondas are gone. Now, I have a lifted Chevy square body and a 600 pound Vulcan. I live alone in an extremely remote area, so spotters and driveway/curb cheats aren't in the books. Somehow, I need to harness anti-gravity.

    I've been looking at some of the double-wide/ATV style ramps as that seems like the best solution to my simple mind. Get a long, wide ramp and ride her up. Right? But it's been hard to find anything that isn't Chinese aluminum, and I don't like the idea of something that folds in half. Although admittedly, I can't think of a better way to do it.

    A buddy had recommended something called a "cruiser ramp" which is a type of automated pulley much like what the snowmobile goons use. You strap down your ride, step back and watch it do it's thing. It's cool, but that seems like a pretty extreme reaction to me (and not to mention the $$$$). And plus it makes your truck bed basically unusable, which is not an option for me.

    I know some of you guys ride bigger bikes than my Vulcan, and you get them in trucks somehow. What are some ideas and tips? I'm not in a huge rush, but at the end of this summer I'm packing up and splitting for the coast for a while, and I need to get everything together before then. Or else I'll be towing something embarrassing.

    vvvv This right here is what can be done with a free Craigslist ramp under the right alcohol circumstances...things seemed a lot simpler back then...but maybe that was just the drinking.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BTHZGn8A...on_share_sheet

    Last edited by Hatchet54; 01-28-2020 at 11:56 PM.

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    Why not simply buy a small Bike Trailer, they are cheap & simple to use and don't need 7 people to load. I am heavily disabled and can get my bikes onto this without any problems and cost me 250 (about $300) not a lot to pay for what it does.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 4356.jpg  

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    Back in the day of being poor... I would use a solid wood door to ride my shovelhead up and into the back of the ford pickup....

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    I think home depot sells them in their home/garden dept that are the welded alum type, I think the cap is 600-1000lbs. Enough to be stout enough to load a sportster. I paid way too much for mine at a pawn shop but I really needed it. I also ride around and try to find a hill to back up to.
    If you're not willing to shell out that cash, get a 2x12 or 14 and maybe screw a piece of sheet metal to it so it sits flatter. Better yet check dumpsters at construction sites with a scaffold contract. Usually they trash a couple when they're old or out of their spec. Those can easily hold 400 plus and they're free. They're also treated and fairly weatherproof. Again though, when wet they'll slip.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchet54 View Post
    I've been looking at some of the double-wide/ATV style ramps as that seems like the best solution to my simple mind. Get a long, wide ramp and ride her up. Right? But it's been hard to find anything that isn't Chinese aluminum, and I don't like the idea of something that folds in half. Although admittedly, I can't think of a better way to do it.
    There ya go, you can't think of a better way to do it, so what's wrong with that idea? New Harleys are now 40% Chinese aluminum, but that hasn't slowed sales (sales have slowed considerably, but that's not the reason). I flip bikes on the side and have used a couple Harbor Freight ramps for years. I also use a hitch rack that can carry up to a 600lb bike right in my receiver, I've carried Sportster 1200s that way. My Lexus GX470 has auto leveling airbags in the rear so it rides nice and level even with the weight hanging off its ass.

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    There are many ways to skin that particular cat. I have a Tommy Gate on my F150 (with Hellwig overload springs, Timbren urethane springs and coilover shocks which due to mounting differences don't conflict with each other) and also have open and enclosed trailers. Trailers are insanely useful if you'll have room to store them but not everyone lives in the country nor do they wish to rent a trailer. Tommy Gates should be on every truck that can handle the weight. They are cheap used, and easy to install but belong on long bed trucks because they're so heavy.

    I'm due for a decent ramp and looking (lazily since I'm cheap and have other options) for a salvage aluminum ramp off a rental truck since I want the long, shallow aspect for heavier loads for which short ramps don't offer a good approach angle. Try your local truck salvage.

    No need to ride up ramps (which doesn't work when retrieving broken bikes). You can copy Condor and similar loaders then winch your bike into place manually or under power. Expensive but very nice Condor hobbyists don't need but can copy easily: https://zips.com/parts-detail/condor...flat-beds-mtr8 Cheaper dollies are available and have more uses than loading.

    Since my shoulder was replaced I'm out of the bike pushing business but not out of pulling them. I threw together a cheap, quick, easy, ugly (because fuck the extra time cleaning up scrap) and strong version with a few tweaks for my use. I used castering front wheels for easy steering since this is for much more than straight loading There are no rear wheels because wheels dig into earth while skids ride on top and the there's little weight on the skid. That also lets me not bother with a separate small loading ramp since the tiedown straps suck the motorcycle into place. If fits through a standard gate. I can now move unpowered motorcycles all over my property quick, fast and easy using plain rope and a snatch block or two. I learned while felling trees that if you anchor a rope or cable then push the center you exert serious force with little effort.

    A dolly solves stability (and stability on steep incline) problems, but how to drag it? Common junk comealongs are delicate, self-disassembling garbage I refuse to own. I mounted my Ramsey industrial winch on a removable bed mount because common bumper mount winches are in front for convenient install, not convenient trailer or bed loading, but that's gross overkill for one move.

    What I'd do in OPs case is securely mount an anchor (folding D-ring or similar) in the forward middle position of his truck bed, but you can get away with a heavy ratcheting cargo strap between the front stake pockets. Hang snatch block off anchor, run puller wire or rope through block, connect to bike with strap and have at it. Study anchor points and snatch blocks. Your truck will become much more useful! A standard comealong will work but I move many heavy, strange objects so I require more than that. While I've got Wyeth-Scott pullers (magnificent design but while very heavy duty they're heavy and slow) for manual winching, synthetic rope can have advantages over wire.

    I just ordered these nautical "fiddle blocks" via Ebay (nautical rope gear usually goes cheap except for the capstan winches I crave). https://www.ebay.com/itm/274023818931 That 4:1 mechanical advantage is sufficient for most bike loading but my next system addition will be a Maasdam rope puller which is more than enough to load any size motorcycle (and the reach can help you extract a stuck truck). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE6MjmBJk20 The shorter the rope you order the less those pullers cost, and you can always add rope later. I have trees to drop so the combo will get plenty of use.

    A ramp/dolly/puller setup is so versatile because the load is pulled up the ramps/trailer. Dollies make bank for rollback operators and make secure tiedown easy. You could also use the dolly to load other heavy shit including bolting whatever add-ons you like to increase what it will hold. It can be the removable front of a different dolly or cart. . Adding a rear axle is easy as round bar and a couple of fixed wheels, or angle and shopping cart casters.

    I assemble solutions for many loads instead of one load. I copy riggers, wrecker operators, arborists, and sailors. Every rigging problem has been solved by someone else, usualy a sailor hundreds of years ago. Pickup trucks without easy ways load them are basically crippled so every gear upgrade is also a truck upgrade.


    Here's a Harbor Freight dolly you could add casters to easily or just let it skid since you'd only be moving a few feet. (I'd run casters) You could bolt casters to a piece of angle bolted to the crossbar holes and of course Harbor Freight sell a variety of casters:


    https://www.harborfreight.com/1800-l...ock-61670.html

    You might solve most of the problem with a visit to Harbor Freight. I'd drive your truck there as a visual aid to check ramp dimensions to see if they suit.

    You can buy sticks of steel channel via your local steel supplier if that style ramp interests you. (I use an old school bus bumper for my trailer but that's too short for a lifted truck and not wide enough for the dolly I built) You can drill and bolt them together by the flanges for say a "three channel wide" truck ramp.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ugly_dolly.jpg  
    Last edited by farmall; 01-29-2020 at 1:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    Since OP has an off-road truck this may be of interest. I copied this concept off a much lighter setup the builder used to load ATVs, It's a quick way to drop a mount above the bed anchored by stake pockets. Not shown are the two hunks of truck axle sticking down into the pockets. If you do this, control your cable so it never tries to lift the winch mount, or cut doublers for the inside of the truck bed then through bolt the mount to the bed. I swap that winch between trucks now and then so I didn't bother. Electric winch solenoids are their usual failure point so I put them separately on the aluminum channel bolted to the ammo can lid. Power and ground cables go through bottom of can for convenience and drainage. I've been too lazy for permanent wiring (and as mentioned I swap trucks) but jumper cables work fine since it's not in constant use. While I could connect a control pendant I don't need or care to store one so I used a toggle switch instead. The lid and cables come off as an assembly for maintenance or troubleshooting (build everything for easy maintenance, forethought is free). Winch is the magnificent worm drive Ramsey industrial style used throughout the wrecker industry in hydraulic and electric versions. Owners fry the motors (cheap to replace) due to undervoltage so I got my three cheap.

    You could easily make one with bolts instead of welding, or bolt together then bring to a weldor for extra strength. I used handy scrap but new steel isn't expensive. All my winches get chain grab hooks and that one got a "tow chain cluster hook" since it was handy and I use it to load cars.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails K1500_Ramseymount.jpg  
    Last edited by farmall; 01-29-2020 at 1:02 PM.

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    I bought an aluminum ramp, tri-folds, all hinges & ramp decking welded, and it's 8 foot long and 4 foot wide.
    Made by Widowmaker, American made.
    I forget the price.

    What I like about it: it has a strap on each side you cinch tight to the bumper or trailer hitch which they keep the ramp from kicking off of the tailgate while in the middle of a load. That would suck, you know. if it kicked off and you lost the load!

    What I didn't like about it: unloading my 50 pan/chop with a spool front wheel. Geez, I should have had it in gear that first go at it, lol.
    Also, the decking is perforated with holes that look punched through from the bottom side, it was raining, and my tennis shoe slipped on it while dragging up a refrigerator, the hand dolly landed on my shins after I landed on my butt! Better shoes for the occasion is what was needed.

    Otherwise, they are really sturdy. I have a 5 foot one also.

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  10. #10

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    ^^^^^^^^

    Hehehehe.... +1 !!!

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    Lots of great options and alternatives presented in this thread. Glad I asked the right people. Thank you everyone.

    I was much looking forward to Farmall's post, haha. I am thinking that dolly idea might be right up my alley. The bed mounted winch idea is REALLY up my alley, but that one might have to wait till next year. Also started passively looking for a tiny motorcycle trailer - not necessarily my first choice, but if I find one for dirt cheap somewhere nearby, the convenience is really appealing.

    I had a hitch receiver that I used one season when I had a truck bed full of crap and nowhere to put the bike. It was a 450Rebel that weighed maybe 550 pounds and I think that was about the limit for that thing. I never had a problem with it - never. But it swung around and wobbled and made me extremely anxious every time I drove with it. I just don't think I could balance a big cruiser on a 2in. point and be able to enjoy my time on the road.

    You guys rock as always, keep the ideas coming if there are any more of them.

    What's the verdict on the ATV ramps? Any recommendations there?

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    A piece of guard rail liberated from the side of the highway will get you by. God I love my rechargable impact and sawsall .
    Dusty

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatchet54 View Post
    I had a hitch receiver that I used one season when I had a truck bed full of crap and nowhere to put the bike. It was a 450Rebel that weighed maybe 550 pounds and I think that was about the limit for that thing. I never had a problem with it - never. But it swung around and wobbled and made me extremely anxious every time I drove with it. I just don't think I could balance a big cruiser on a 2in. point and be able to enjoy my time on the road.
    Rebel 450 weighs a tad over 400lbs dry. For whatever it's worth (this is a public forum, so for anyone else interested), I'm using one of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Goplus-Motorc...NsaWNrPXRydWU=

    I have carried several Sportsters on it, each of which was right at the 600lb limit...as well as several Shadow 750/1100's and even a Yamaha FJR1300. To keep it from teetering back and forth in the receiver slop, I'm using this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Rhino-USA-Hit...758235&sr=8-10

    Easy to install, and the bike rides steady like the hitch rack is welded to the truck.

  14. #14
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    There's no rule saying ya can't add one or two more hitch sockets to your hitch and matching pieces of box tubing to a hitch mount carrier. No twisting loads, little or no slop, and it would logically increase load capacity over one hitch connection. If one hitch connection will take 600lbs teetering load ya can guesstimate two or three will take much more. Hitch designs vary but you could see what fits with the hitch installed, unbolt it for modification, then reinstall it. (Loctite excludes moisture, I never install hitches with dry threads.)

    You can buy pre-drilled hitch sockets online or at ag stores and heavy wall 2" box tubing from your local steel supplier for not much money. Most suppliers have horizontal band saws and can cut to length or cut a 20' stick in half for easy truck transport. If you don't have a welding machine you could pre-cut the parts and a local weldor could make short work of it. Many hitches don't have a square cross bar so some fitting may be required but you can all all the steel your heart desires.

    The bed mounted winch idea is REALLY up my alley, but that one might have to wait till next year.
    A Maasdam rope puller costs a lot less than a winch and is much nicer to handle than shitty chain store wire cable comealongs while having a range as long as the rope you choose to use. The shorter the rope the cheaper the puller, and they sell them without rope if you have your own. I have a fair winch collection but I use manual equipment most often, usually with snatch blocks. Study how pulleys work and you'll see many options most people never imagine.

    https://www.amazon.com/Maasdam-Rope-...0765719&sr=8-6

    One is next on my toy list to use in conjunction with my fiddle blocks, but bike loading doesn't require both. My most versatile and most used pulling gear is manual. Winches have their place in the system but the more you learn about rigging and mechanical advantage the less you'll need a motor-driven winch and the more cool stuff you can do, and all the pulley and snatch block tricks work with winches too. Knowledge is free. Get some.

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