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So I got a 3 rail trailer, and am towing my KLR to NJ from Atlanta tonight. Any tips on points on the bike where I should put the hooks for the ratchet straps? And when I rachet it down, Should I rachet it down enough to compress the suspension a bit? My attachment points were going to be each side of the handlebars, and the frame underneath the rear fender on each side. Let me know what you think.
Rick
 

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I did some research on strapping bikes down for my dirt bike and KLR. A lot of people put the straps on the upper part of the handlebars, but that's really not a good idea because it stresses the bars and can bend or crack the cross bar over time. People have done this for as long as MC's have existed and got away with it, so who knows. What was suggested was to place the strap lower on the bars in between the handlebar clamps where the bar has far more support and less likely to bend. This will also keep the straps from pulling on the bars outward. You'll want to secure the front tire from turning left or right also.

The back is easy enough by using the back rack handles.

Make sure to have a good wide angle on the straps and make sure they can't slide around on the rail.

You shouldn't need to ratchet the front or back down all that much. Just give it a few clicks and check how secure the bike is by shaking everything around.
 

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I typically use a pair of "soft straps" which are short straps with loops on both ends. I run the straps around the fork tubes, above the lower clamp, running the one loop through the other, and then to your tie downs.



I use clamping straps with hooks on both ends made by Ankra, and hook from the soft strap to your outside location on the trailer/truckbed. Same in the rear, hooking onto the seat handles..

Soft straps in this manner don't put any stress on the bars, and won't mark your bike in any way.

This photo shows how I hook the straps, but doesn't show you how I go around the fork tubes.. Take a look at the photo and you'll get the idea.

I strap down, compressing the suspension about 1/3 of it's travel.

 

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We're going to start trailering our bikes some. I'm going to make braces to go between the wheel and fender - probably just out of wood. They're available online, but should be simple to make and secure with bungee around the forks.

Just an idea --if you didn't use a brace -- if you released the air compressed by compressing the front end - just tieing down against the upforce of the springs -- think that would save the seals? And obviously, the air would return after releasing the compression.
 

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Unless you ratchet the heck out of it, there should be no reason for seals to get damaged without any blocking. It doesn't take much to secure the bike if you have the front wheel chocked and tie downs on both sides. The bike won't go anywhere if it's just a click or two past taut. I actually prefer to use those cam buckles also because it limits the pressure one person can apply and usually ends up just right.
 
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