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There are many ways to move a motorcycle from one place to another. Some people even come up with the most outrageous of ideas. Safety should be the number one priority when transporting a motorcycle so it’s important that the method of transportation is thought out carefully.
One uncommon way many may wonder about is if it’s possible to transport a motorcycle using a van. Vans are excellent at transporting people and large objects, but it may not be possible to fit a motorcycle inside.
Is it possible to fit a motorcycle in a van A small motorcycle can fit in the back of a van. It may be necessary to remove the back seats completely from the van. The handlebars of the motorcycle may also need to temporarily or permanently be moved. This method of transportation requires that the motorcycle be completely secured.
This is one of the nice things about owning a motorcycle; it’s small enough to fit in small spaces such as the back of the van. This article will detail how to transport a motorcycle in a van. It also explains what safety precautions you should take.
Fitting A Motorcycle Inside A Van
The idea of having a motorcycle inside your vehicle seems odd. Many people picture a motorcycle being taken on the open roads or hauled around by a trailer. But as crazy as it may seem, it’s completely possible to fit and haul a motorcycle inside a van and thousands of people do it every year.
Before considering hauling a motorcycle using a van, you’ll first need to consider the size of the motorcycle and the size of the van you’ll be using. You’ll likely have a lot more luck using a cargo van since they’re a little larger, but using a mini van is also completely possible.
Every motorcycle’s size is different. For example’s sake, I’ll give some likely dimensions you’ll run into. A large motorcycle measures approximately 7 feet in length, 3 feet wide and 4 feet high. This includes both the handlebars and side view mirrors.
A lot of people end up using cargo vans to transport motorcycles because they’re the larger choice. Cargo vans can be used to move people who live in studio apartments or taxi large numbers of people (usually 12+). The average dimensions of the inside of a cargo van are 10.5 feet long (this is from the back door to the back of the driver’s seat), 5 feet wide, and about 4 feet tall.
The cargo van’s length and width will comfortably fit most large motorcycles. However, the height of the bike is a problem. You’ll likely have to either adjust the side view mirrors and/or handlebars or completely remove them in order for the motorcycle to fit. You’ll also want to make sure there’s some room between the top of the motorcycle and the ceiling inside the van so there won’t be any damage caused to either.
As I had mentioned earlier, it’s completely possible to use a mini van to transport a motorcycle, but the dimensions are a lot more strict which will likely limit you on what types of motorcycles will fit inside.
Minivans are approximately 7.5 feet long, 5 foot wide, and under 4 feet tall. As you can see the dimensions are slightly smaller than a cargo vehicle. When fitting a motorcycle into a van, every inch is important. A minivan might be more suitable for transporting a small or medium-sized bike. You can find other creative ways to transport your motorcycle in my article here.
Is It Legal?
Now that we’ve established that you can, indeed, fit a motorcycle inside a van, you may be wondering whether or not it’s okay to do so, or if you’d get in trouble with the law.
Some people prefer to store their motorcycle in a van for long-term storage, while others prefer to keep their motorcycle inside the van so it can be hauled more securely. The U.S. trailering laws are quite lax. In the United States, there are no laws that prohibit someone from transporting their motorcycle in their van.
There are many motor homes built specifically to haul toys inside, so it’s not unheard of to carry a recreational vehicle inside a larger vehicle. But if you’re being completely unsafe about the matter, you may find yourself getting a ticket.
If you are pulled over for having a motorcycle in your van, the officer may ask you to check that everything is secured in the back. You could be cited for reckless driving and being careless with how you secured your motorcycle. So while it doesn’t seem to be illegal to fit a motorcycle in the back of the van, you can still get in trouble if you’re not being safe about it.
How to Safely Fit a Motorcycle With A Van
It is important to have some assistance when fitting a bike into a van. I don’t recommend you make this a one man job, otherwise you risk damage to your motorcycle, your van, or both.
You should measure the outside of the van and your motorcycle. Make the measurements yourself and don’t rely on what other people tell you or what dimensions you see online. Make adjustments to mirrors. if necessary. If there are any seats in the back, you’ll likely need to take them out so there’s room for the motorcycle and for you to walk around and secure it.
Before placing the motorcycle inside, find the points where you’ll be able to hook the straps to tie down the bike. If you need to remove the seats, the mount hooks at the floor can be used to attach the straps.
It’s best to empty any fluids you may have in your motorcycle before loading it up in the van. Since you or someone else will likely be driving this van around, you’ll be in a confined space with toxic fumes that you shouldn’t be inhaling, especially while you’re driving.
You’ll need a reliable ramp to roll the motorcycle into the van. It is best to have at least one person do this job. It can be awkward trying to roll the motorcycle up the ramp. You should have the proper help.
Once you have it inside, put the motorcycle in gear so it doesn’t roll around and strap it down securely Click here to see my recommendation for tow straps. Always use at least four straps to secure the motorcycle and try to strap the motorcycle down from it’s four corners if possible.
After the motorcycle has been strapped down, you can place a tarp under it to catch any leaks. Even if you drained all the fluids, there’s probably some residual droplets somewhere so it’s better to be safe than sorry and not leave the carpet with fumy stains.
If there’s any risk of any parts of the motorcycle rubbing up against any part of the inside of the van, try using either a blanket or pillow and place it in between the two parts to reduce damage.
What about Weight?
When fitting a motorcycle inside a van, it’s also a good idea to consider the weight of everything you’re putting inside. Before you try to fit your motorcycle inside a van, be aware of the weight limit.
A motorcycle weighs in the neighborhood of 400-500 pounds. Touring bikes and larger motorcycles will weigh in at 800-900 pounds, while dirt bikes and dirt bikes will be around 200-300 pounds.
A cargo van average can transport an additional 3,600 lbs. Be aware that gas and passengers are added to the calculation. Even then, the weight of even a large motorcycle shouldn’t hinder you from using a van to haul it.
A minivan can hold an additional 3,500 pounds, which is the same weight as a cargo van. Again, this includes all passengers, fuel and other cargo. But just like the cargo van, a minivan shouldn’t have an issue hauling or handling the weight of a motorcycle.
These numbers are not representative of actual values. You should get the precise dimensions and weight of your motorcycle as well the van. Always check to see what the van’s load capacity is before attempting to do this.