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Old 06-27-2021, 08:18 PM   #1
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Motorcycle Loading…

For you other toy hauler guys, I wanted to share something with you who carry a motorcycle in the garage. Maybe you’re getting like me, where it’s becoming more & more difficult loading & unloading the thing.

Those of you who’ve been here for awhile may remember I had that accident in my truck a few years ago, resulting in a spinal injury. Before that, I thought nothing of riding my bikes up the ramp, and into the chock. Nailed it every time, no problem. Ok, well, once… when it had rained the night before, the grass was wet, and the rear tire of my Goldwing began sliding sideways on the ramp. Barely kept that 1,000 pound monster upright on that one!

But fast forward to the past few years, and riding bikes up the ramp has become a struggle. Due to the residual neural damage I now have, my sense of balance just ain’t the same, and my strength is no longer what it was either. Another factor is other stuff that I have in the garage. My Craftsman tool chest on the left, and my washer-dryer on forward-right. So it’s a narrower, more funneled entry than normal.

The issue was apparent when I first began riding again in 2018 (injury in 2016, took me a year to be able to ride again). Unloading the bike really wasn’t bad… just use the clutch & front brake to control things, and let gravity do the real work. However, riding up & it in to load was the real challenge. I had done some cursory research back then about using a winch to assist me getting the bike up the ramp while I straddled it, but the logistics seemed too cumbersome. So, I accepted the challenge and simply did what I’d always done. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

The first time I loaded the bike this year, it took me 3 tries before I successfully rode the bike up the ramp, and got the front tire secured into the chock. The 2nd time, I failed on my first attempt… backed it back down the ramp… and before I could try again, the neighbor next door & his son came over to help me just push it in.

Realizing this is only gonna get worse as I get older, I began looking for other options again. A winch would do the trick, but where to mount it? The only strong enough place for an anchor is on the floor… but placing it down there would put great stress & “pull down” on the bike’s front suspension the closer to winch it got.

Then I got the idea of a rolling cradle. Maybe attach some wheels to a wood pallet, tie the bike down to the pallet, and pull it up. That idea morphed into just fabricating a way to attach wheels to my Condor Pit-Stop chock (which I already use, and holds the bike upright on its own)… securing the front tire to it via a strap, and pulling it up with a winch.

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While researching what I’d need for that idea (wheels, tubing, hardware, etc)… I came upon a photo that showed where the folks at Condor had already come up with that concept. The product is one they make for towing & recovery crews, called the Cycle Loader (Part # CL-1000)

https://www.condor-lift.com/product/...-part-cl-1000/

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Basically, it’s exactly what I envisioned: one of their chocks with wheels… except instead of just 2 wheels, theirs has 4.

The concept is simple enough: You roll your bike into the chock… secure the bike to it via tie-downs into eye-loops on the wheel legs… and then just winch the whole deal into the rig. Sounded like exactly what I needed, so I ordered it.

Ok, that’s one part of the process… but I still have the issue of a winch.

As I alluded to above… to pull a bike plus the added weight of the loader, I gotta have a strong anchor, and the ONLY place for that is the floor. But I don’t want a big winch permanently attached to the floor of my garage, right? Talk about something constantly being in the way as a trip hazard… that’d be it. So what else is there?

Turns out, WARN makes a relatively inexpensive portable winch called a Pullzall. It’s got a 1,000 lb rating… a fixed hook at the rear, and a 15’ steel cable with hook at the front, so it can be secured at both ends. Plus, since it’s portable, it can be taken anywhere, and be used for other things… like a hoist.

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So anyway, in the midst of my RV’s brake & slideout controller issues that I wrote about last week, I had these items shipped to the KOA I stayed at in Butte last week. They arrived in time (Hallelujah!), and I was able to test the concept as I loaded the bike to bring up here to Great Falls where I’ve been this week for the annual BMW MOA national rally. It ended yesterday, and I’ve just finished loading the bike back into the rig again today.

I didn’t want to do a write-up until I had successfully used it twice… and now that I have, I’m kicking myself for not having gotten this setup sooner. It’s a no-stress solution that’s easy to use, and only takes about 10 minutes now that I know what I’m doing (first time was about a half-hour while I worked out the details of what I needed to do).

Using one of the built-in tie-down points in the floor as an anchor, the winch pulled the whole thing right up the ramp quite easily. The included 15’ cable was just a tad short for my 10’ garage + the length of the ramp… but i had a short double-loop extension cable made up over at Lowe’s, and it worked just fine.

I thought I was taking video of the process as I loaded today, but forgot to press RECORD on the camera. Ooops… but I’ll try to remember the next time.

Anyway, I don’t know how many of you (if any) will find this post applicable to your situation, but… if so, just wanted to share my experience, and let you know that there is a workable solution out there.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:25 PM   #2
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Cool find tom! Thanks for posting!
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Old 06-28-2021, 12:01 PM   #3
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It's early in the morning and the message is extremely long while the end is buried in there somewhere.
The question being, did you use the Warn winch and the Condor roller or what exactly. In the short version if you will.
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Old 06-28-2021, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundancer 87 View Post
It's early in the morning and the message is extremely long while the end is buried in there somewhere.
The question being, did you use the Warn winch and the Condor roller or what exactly. In the short version if you will.
Ha, yeah I do tend to ramble. So the short version:

1) Roll the bike’s front tire into the Loader chock. The bike will then stand on its own.

2) Secure the bike to the roller with 2 tie downs: handlebars to the eye-bolts.

3) Anchor the winch the garage floor tie-down point with rear hook… then connect front cable hook to the Loader

4) Squeeze the trigger, and winch the Loader up the ramp and into the garage.

5) Remove winch, and secure the Loader (and/or bike) to the garage floor using tie-downs.
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Old 06-28-2021, 03:49 PM   #5
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Sounds easy enough, thanks.
I have the Condor installed already so I'll see if they have an adapter kit with wheels for it.
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Old 06-28-2021, 04:24 PM   #6
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Yeah, I had the Condor Pit Stop already too, but saw nothing on their website for an add-on adapter. But, I’m sure if you had access to a welder, you could add weld on some square tubing for wheel inserts. That was my plan before just deciding to buy the new Loader.

http://condor-lift.com/
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Old 07-27-2021, 08:19 PM   #7
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PART 1:

Ok, so I said a few weeks back that I’d make & post a video of this thing soon. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking how hard it’d be to do that working by myself. I did record the last time I loaded up, but… well, lots of dead air time, and because of where I had to place the camera, lots of my big ass blocking you from seeing anything. Ha!

So today, instead of video, I just stopped occasionally and snapped some photos on my phone. Biggest thing to keep in mind is, I’ve only got a 10’ garage, which makes thing a bit more complicated. Those of you with 12’ and longer garages… and not encumbered by a washer/dryer on one side, and a large tool cart on the other… would have a much easier time.

Ok, so the first steps are pretty simple: place the Condor dolly in ‘front’ of the ramp… roll your bike into the chock… and use tie-downs to secure it to the dolly. Now put the bike in neutral so it will roll freely.

(One note: because of the area I have to work with… I modified the arms, and moved the 2 front wheel of the dolly inboard to fit where I needed. That will become evident in the photos that follow.)

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Next, hook up the winch. As I mentioned in a previous post, the winch only has about 15’ of cable. My garage is 10… the ramp length is 7… so I needed to add some chain to get the length necessary. You can also see the narrowing on the space I’ve got to get the front wheels of the dolly into.

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Next photo shows the winch has began pulling the bike & dolly up & on to the ramp.

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Next photo shows the entire dolly is now in the garage, but… not only is the the rear wheel of the bike is still on the dovetail, but the winch cable is now fully retracted. This is where my small 10’ garage makes things difficult.

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At this point, I have to stop… get around the bike to put it ‘in gear’ so it won’t roll backward… unhook the chain from the floor anchor, and then extend the winch cable enough so that it’s rear hook can now engage the floor anchor on its own. Then, retract it again to place tension on the dolly… walk back around the bike, put it back in neutral… and now I can winch it the remainder of the way in. (I can eliminate all of this “extra work” with a 2nd length of chain between the dolly & floor anchor, which I plan to get soon)

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Old 07-27-2021, 08:24 PM   #8
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PART 2:

Now I can insert 2 more ratchet straps hooks into the front eye-bolts of the dolly… pull them taught… and now remove the winch from the equation.

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From there, I simply push the bike forward… put the bike back in gear… pull the 2 ratchet straps tight to keep it from rolling backward in transit… and secure a couple links of the safety chain, in case one of the straps should fail. I also use more ratchet straps on the rear wheel-arm eye bolts to the most rearward floor anchors to keep the whole thing from rolling forward in transit. Finally, I use 2 more straps from the mid-floor anchors to the bike’s passenger pegs to keep it all from shifting left-to-right.

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Typing it all out makes it sound more complicated than it really is. It’s actually quite intuitive & obvious what needs to be done once you begin doing it.

Anyway, hope this helps for anyone who may find this a viable solution if your health begins failing as mine has.
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:33 AM   #9
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I like what you've done, good info. I must confess I dumped my HD on the ramp when it was raining and I'd been drinking. Cost me a new front fender. Sold the Harley and no longer have any ramp issues. Bike replaced with a RZR.
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Old 07-28-2021, 02:10 AM   #10
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I like what you've done, good info. I must confess I dumped my HD on the ramp when it was raining and I'd been drinking. Cost me a new front fender. Sold the Harley and no longer have any ramp issues. Bike replaced with a RZR.
Ouch! Glad it was only a fender, and nothing worse.

I began considering something like this the first time I almost dumped my Goldwing on the ramp a few years back.

I was sober (don’t drink)… but I was in Cooperstown NY, at a grassy campground site, and the morning dew had the grass wet behind the ramp. Naturally, this made my tires wet as I rode thru the grass to get in position. As I began riding up, the rear wheel began sliding sideways… and I don’t know how in the hell I was able to stop, get my foot down, and hold that 1,000 lb beast up without dropping it.

So now I’m standing there… half on the bike, half off… the bike half in the garage, half on the ramp, and at a good 30-35% lean angle to the left… my adrenaline running, and trying to figure out what the hell to do. If I allow it to fall, no way I’ll ever get it back upright in that cramped space without lots of help, and lots of damage.

After just taking a minute (or five?!?) to settle myself down, I was able to eventually get enough leverage to slowly stand it back up enough to stand upright, and clutch it back down the ramp.

Since then, I’ve almost dumped 2 other bikes over the years… and then finally, back in May, I just had to swallow my pride, and ask some folks in an adjacent campsite to help me push the bike up into the garage. That was the breaking point, and knew I had to find a solution if I was going to keep doing this.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:49 AM   #11
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Always was a thrill riding that bike up the ramp, especially after "one", Always worried about running into the kitchen! Sold my gorgeous full paint, loaded 3990 and bought a Riverstone. Hardly ride anymore, although I am leaving Chicago Friday out to Jackson Wyoming on the bike to scatter my buddy's ashes. I would sell the bike, but can't get crap for a 16 year old Ultra with 150,000 miles on it, so I just keep it.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:14 PM   #12
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… Hardly ride anymore, although I am leaving Chicago Friday out to Jackson Wyoming on the bike to scatter my buddy's ashes…
Sorry to read about your friend… but bring a gas mask with you as you ride west (figuratively speaking), and be prepared for lots of smoke & poor visibility. The western fires have been particularly bad this year, and air quality is somewhat diminished.
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:29 PM   #13
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Thanks. Will do. With the pending mask mandates, it can do double-duty. LOL
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:01 PM   #14
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…With the pending mask mandates, it can do double-duty.
This part of the country is still ‘free America’… we don’t have those out here.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:22 PM   #15
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I solved the problem without having to buy any equipment. I downsized my bikes. Sold off my Moto Guzzi Stelvio and Aprilia Caponord over the past 2 years and went to smaller and lighter bikes. I now have a Moto Guzzi V85 and a Yamaha Tracer 900. Just getting too old to push around 600 lb bikes! But your setup is nice. Eventually I'll have to go that route after my knees finally say no more!
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:00 PM   #16
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ATCguy - When you get loaded onto the Condo Dolly, could you actually ride the bike up the ramp under power as the rear wheel would have traction on the ramp? Like you, I have have missed the Condor a few times when riding into my 10' garage with the GL1800. If I could load the bike onto the dolly while it being on the ramp and then just ride up the ramp, that would solve the problem of getting a winch to do the pulling. With the Wing, I use the reverse to get down the ramp, but with the dolly, that process would be a lot easier also.
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:36 PM   #17
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ATCguy - When you get loaded onto the Condo Dolly, could you actually ride the bike up the ramp under power as the rear wheel would have traction on the ramp?…
Interesting idea, but I’m not sure that’s really feasible. I used to ride my Goldwing up into & out of the garage too… but the small wheels on that dolly don’t roll nearly as free & easily over the bumps like the much larger front tire of a motorcycle.

If riding up the ramp was a completely smooth surface all the way, I might feel differently. But the initial bump of transitioning from the ground to the ramp… and the gap between the ramp & rig at the hinges aren’t exactly insignificant. If one of those small wheels gets “stuck” or even just hung up at either one, it could skew the entry… and with the steering locked, you couldn’t correct.

In theory I guess it could possibly be done… but I gotta tell you, I’m not sure I’d want to try it for the first time on a bike that I was scared about damaging. I mean, if you & the bike become unbalanced, and it begins to tilt one way or the other… again, the steering is locked. You’d be unable to apply any input to correct… and over you’d go. Not a desirable position halfway up the ramp, with nothing to stop your fall.
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