Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

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Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby awkwardbydesign » Oct 13th, '17, 10:23

Several years ago someone suggested it would be a good idea to use extra straps if you use tie-downs with hooks. The reason being that a big enough bounce could cause the hook to jump off the frame and leave the bike unsecured. Since then I have always done that, despite almost everyone else saying it never happens.
Well, it did last Friday on the way back from Mallory! I only noticed when I got home and went to untie the bike. Without the extra straps the bike would have been off the side of the trailer.
So you have been warned.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby graham22 » Oct 13th, '17, 10:46

I done thousands of miles with bikes on trailers and this very rarely happens if done right.

Only times I've seen it happen is where the strap wasn't done up tight enough - easily done if the strap gets caught on a 'longer route' and subsequently frees itself.

Also if people haven't put the hook itself in the 'longest' way - hard to explain but a hook could be more around a tie down loop if turned 180 degrees.

If you are really concerned, get straps with rings and use carabiner clips to secure to tie down points.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Jug_Inspector » Oct 13th, '17, 11:46

Once had a bike fall off a trailer but that was due to using a tie down strap with a small tear in it. I now don't use straps with any damage.
I also double strap as I never again want to look in the mirror and watch my bike fall off the trailer..

So top tip from me.. Don't use damaged straps.

My single bike trailers' main tie down points are just a bent hook so I use a pair of reusable cable ties to secure the strap hooks to the trailer hooks, that way they cannot come adrift.

Finally two pro tips.
Use a fork saver - these stop the forks being held under constant pressure and also makes the front end solid so proper tension can be held (This is more for dirt bikes TBH but I don't do this).

Wrap a bungee around the two front straps (held midway up), this helps by applying addition elastic tension to the straps and will take up any slack in the straps if the bike bounces. This can be done by passing a bungee around the straps and through the front wheel.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Jug_Inspector » Oct 13th, '17, 12:25

Oh, and I don't use ratchet straps, I just use the pull tight ones as they are quicker to use and can't easily cause damage due to over tightening.
I get them tight by pulling the bike towards me to create slack, then take up the slack and finally let the bike move back to center. No need to jump on the bike to squish it or try to literally pull the bike down with the strap. This simple method tightens it great, sometimes too much.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby ptolemyx » Oct 13th, '17, 13:14

I also use the cam lock ones, push my fat belly on the suspenders and pull them tight - man tight, not gorilla tight. and I also use screw lock carabiners to back up the hooks at the tie down points.

I once had a bike fall off when using ratchet tie downs - I'd loaded the bike on the trailer the night before travelling, it rained a fair bit - well a lot, next morning I drove away with only a cursory check......... :roll:
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby billinom8s » Oct 13th, '17, 19:26

My tie Downs have a spring clip Across the hook part so even if the Bike does jump the hooks can't come unhooked.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Scotty » Oct 15th, '17, 09:05

I never use straps with hooks, too many negative possibilities like hooks unhooking and too easy to whack paintwork with them too. Plain ratchet straps are by far the easiest and safest things to use. No issues in over 20 years of strapping bikes in vans and on trailers with them. If anyone has problems with these, they aren't using them properly. End of.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby awkwardbydesign » Oct 15th, '17, 18:53

I've been using ratchet straps for 20 years. Just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it can't happen.
My post was simply to warn of the possibility. You don't have to take any notice if you don't want to.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Dailaughing » Oct 16th, '17, 07:47

I would second not using hook straps mostly as already explained because they can bang around during fitting if you are a bit tired or distracted which I normally am at the end of a day. I had to buy straps in a rush (having used looped tie downs in the past) and do not like the hooked ones as much afyer using them a few times.

Having said that I have not had them jump out. I do use secondary straps now I have them but do not tighten those as much because that would slacken the main straps. They are just there to keep the bike from disappearing off down the road without me if the main straps do give up in an accident.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby awkwardbydesign » Oct 16th, '17, 07:57

Dailaughing wrote:I I do use secondary straps now I have them but do not tighten those as much because that would slacken the main straps. They are just there to keep the bike from disappearing off down the road without me if the main straps do give up in an accident.

Which is exactly how I use them.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Dailaughing » Oct 16th, '17, 08:16

Paranoia is useful sometimes
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby graham22 » Oct 16th, '17, 08:17

Dailaughing wrote:I would second not using hook straps mostly as already explained because they can bang around during fitting if you are a bit tired or distracted which I normally am at the end of a day. I had to buy straps in a rush (having used looped tie downs in the past) and do not like the hooked ones as much afyer using them a few times.

Having said that I have not had them jump out. I do use secondary straps now I have them but do not tighten those as much because that would slacken the main straps. They are just there to keep the bike from disappearing off down the road without me if the main straps do give up in an accident.


You were quite happy with hook straps being used at one time :D :D :D
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Dailaughing » Oct 16th, '17, 08:28

I was young and ignorant (and didn't care because it wasn't my bike and the trip was short)! I have always used looped ones for use with boats etc. and although fiddly they make me feel happier.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby graham22 » Oct 16th, '17, 08:32

Dailaughing wrote:I was young and ignorant (and didn't care because it wasn't my bike and the trip was short)! I have always used looped ones for use with boats etc. and although fiddly they make me feel happier.


Joking aside, would that collapsible trailer be any good to you? I have a new trailer now.
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Re: Ratchet tie-downs and trailers.

Postby Dailaughing » Oct 16th, '17, 08:38

No, thanks. Got myself a garage and a good trailer so I'm ready for anything now. It's nice to be able to drive up to Clevedon, stay overnight and then ride from there onwards. I hate the A30/M5 on a bike.
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