To get your ATV off of the asphalt and onto the trailer or pickup bed, you will need a ramp, or perhaps a couple of them (called dual runners), depending on their width. Ramps for loading ATVs and motorcycles are commonly made of aluminum because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. The array of choices for this piece of ATV towing equipment alone can be confusing: You must choose from arched ramps, bi-fold ramps, tri-fold ramps, heavy duty and other classifications.
But if you choose to ferry your ATV on a specially designed trailer, the decision is likely to be easy -- ATV trailers tend to have the ramps built-in.
If, however, you use a pickup bed or a general purpose trailer to transport your ATV, you must at the very least be sure the ramp will support the ATV's weight. While you may never require an extra heavy duty 6,000-pound capacity ramp, it is a good idea to allow a cushion of several hundred pounds.
Expect to pay around $200 for a light-to-medium capacity ATV loading ramp with about a 1,000-pound rating.
Use a winch, if possible, to load your ATV, especially if you are transporting it in a truck bed. Otherwise, ride it up the ramp slowly in low or four-wheel drive gear. Pay particular attention to steering straight ahead and mind the edges of the ramp. Tie-Downs
With an expensive toy like an ATV, tie-down straps are not the place to skimp and cut corners. Several manufacturers offer complete tie-down kits that include heavy-duty nylon webbed straps with ratcheting cams. These kits allow you to eliminate all slack in the straps when you secure your ATV to the trailer. The tires should be squished down upon the deck of the trailer and appear as if the ATV is carrying the weight of a rider. The ends of the straps may have simple metal S-hooks, or the more reliable "snap hooks," which click onto the trailer's anchor points and remain closed. As always, follow the manufacturers' instructions with any equipment for ATV towing that you purchase.
For more resources on towing an ATV, go to the next page.
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More Great Links
- Davis, Bob. "North Star Unistar Trailer." ATV & SxS Illustrated (online edition). July 10, 2008. http://atvillustrated.com/articles/10899 (Accessed Oct. 10, 2008)
- Priesgen, Anthony. "US Patent 7147417 - Slide mechanism." Patent Issued December 12, 2006. http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/7147417.html (Accessed Oct. 12, 2008)
- "Towing a Trailer: Being Equipped for Safety." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2008) http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/Cars/Problems/Equipment/towing/index.htm
- "Transporting Your ATV Safely." Today's ATV Rider Vermont. http://www.offroad-ed.com/vt/course/transporting.htm (Accessed Oct. 13, 2008)