Prevent crashes in your trailer!
Tying One On
Aside from the maniac who rides it, the greatest threat to your motorcycle’s well being comes when it is being hauled. Tying a bike down is just risky business. Wheel chocks, while handy, are famous for bending the huge, yet wafer-thin, brake rotors found on modern sportbikes. A chock alone won’t restrain a motorcycle for transport, so you’ll need some tie down straps. If you tie it down too loosely or a strap slips its adjustment, your cycle can pop loose during transit. On the other hand, lashing your machine too tightly can lead to bent components and/or blown suspension seals. A machine that slips its bonds can fall into the cycle next to it or perhaps even bail out of an open trailer or pickup bed. Any of the above scenarios will absolutely ruin your day.
Strapless Stands are an excellent solution. The design is simple. A Strapless Stand consists of a pair of posts, each equipped with a small ramp near its top. The stand clips securely into quick release plates attached to the floor of your trailer or truck bed. A model specific, spacer-equipped bar slides through your machine’s rear axel. To restrain the bike, you roll it backwards until the axel bar engages and then rides up the ramps, sliding into slots in the posts. To lock the bike in, a retainer drops into the top of each post, capturing the axel bar. Once trapped, the bike can’t move at all in any direction. Since the Strapless Stand is gripping the bike by its rear axel, there is no stress whatsoever on any part of the motorcycle and no pressure on its suspension.
A Better Mousetrap
The Strapless Stands that you can buy today are the second generation of the design. We’ve been using the first-gen version for a couple of years with great results and were intrigued to see what improvements had been made. For starters, the latest rendition bolts together while the original was a single, welded unit. This has more to do with ease of shipping than anything else but we feel that the new bolted design is even more rigid and robust than its predecessor. For additional strength, the stand has been given a longer footprint, an improved locking device and an extra pair of latching ears in the quick release floor mount, for a total of six ears where the previous model had only four. This makes the stand even less likely to rip free of its floor mounts, although we’ve never spoken to anyone who’s had one of these earlier version stands fail. This redesign means that a first-gen Strapless Stand will not mount to a second-gen pair of floor plates and vise-versa. Up top, the axel clips are now restrained by a pair of locking knobs where the originals were held in by gravity and friction. Axel bars are interchangeable back and forth between the old and new models. We’ve put many a mile on the first version of Strapless Stands and are still using them. This redesign has simply made a great product even better.
The Elephant in the Room
The Strapless Stand is a great product. It rewrote the rules on how people transport motorcycles. We’d love to simply encourage readers to buy Strapless Stands and call this article completed but there’s one problem. You can’t discuss strapless methods of tying down a motorcycle without considering the more recently introduced Pit Bull Trailer Restraint. Each device has its pros and cons. TrackdayMag.com has had experience with both products, so let’s compare them:
Cost: Strapless Stand - $249.00. Axel bar kit if you change bikes, $49.00
Pit Bull Trailer Restraint - $279.95. Axel pin kit if you change bikes, $79.95
Size: The Strapless Stand is physically smaller than the Pit Bull Trailer Restraint and presents less of a trip hazard while in use. This makes it easier for you to move through the trailer when the bikes are loaded.
Storage: Once the bikes are unloaded and either system has been released from the floor, the Strapless Stand and its axel bar take up less room than the Pit Bull device, reducing clutter in your trailer’s interior while you’re at the track.
Footprint: The Strapless Stand takes up absolutely no room behind the motorcycle, while the Pit Bull uses up some floor space. If you’re trying to cram a second row of bikes into a short space, motorcycles secured with Strapless Stands can be parked closer together.
Prepping to load: Both the Strapless Stand and the Pit Bull Trailer Restraint attach and lock to the floor easily. The Pit Bull is easy to install on bikes with a kickstand but gets clumsy if the bike is sitting on a swingarm stand. The Strapless Stand’s axel bar installs easily to bikes, regardless of what kind of stand is supporting them. This is a bonus if you are working alone.
Ease of loading: The Strapless Stand requires the bike to be backed into it, so you’ll either need to load your machine facing rearward or roll it past the floor mounting plates, clip the stand to the floor and then slip the bike into it. The docking process is very easy if you lock the stand to the floor first and then back the bike into the trailer but good luck doing this alone if you choose to load the bike facing forward. The Pit Bull’s lower profile allows you to run over it after you’ve attached the device to the floor, making it possible to load the bike solo whether you’ve chosen to have it facing forward or backward. For solo loading up a ramp and into the bed of a pickup truck, the Pit Bull would be the best choice. However, because it mounts to the cargo area behind the motorcycle’s rear wheel, there’s not enough room in anything short of an eight foot bed to use the Pit Bull Trailer Restraint. We’ve seen the Strapless Stand used successfully in smaller trucks.
A few years ago, this would have been a no-brainer. You’d have bought the Strapless Stand because it worked as promised and was the only product of its kind. Now there is the Pit Bull option and it’s hard to deny that company’s brand recognition. Which is best? It’s up to each consumer to weigh the options and decide which product will best suit their needs. The TrackdayMag.com corporate office (that would be our trailer…) is rigged with Strapless Stands and we’ve had nothing but good luck with them for several seasons. We like the fact that Strapless Stands are less expensive initially and that the adaptors for a new machine are cheaper as well. We also appreciate that they take up less room, both when in use and while removed. Which is our favorite? We bought a pair of Strapless Stands back when they were the only game in town, then bought two more this season in spite of the fact that competing products had become available. You could say that we voted with our wallet.