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I did my track day on the ninja 400 last weekend. I have a Silverado 1500. It has a tow package, so the rear sits higher than a stock 1500. The angle at the top of the ramp and the bed is fairly sharp. The lower fairing makes contact with the top of the ramp as the front wheel rolls into the bed of the truck. Even taking my lower fairing off, the exhaust makes contact. The shop that set up my suspension has the fork tubes sitting lower in the triple tree, so this contributes to the issue.

My question to everyone doing track days is, has anyone used a hitch carrier for their bike? I have seen some guys at the track using them before but have not seen many. I have 0 experience with them.

I am considering getting a hitch carrier to make loading and unloading easier. Otherwise I have to look for a slope or drop to park at to safely unload the bike without damaging at the very least the header, but even more so the belly pan fairing. I would prefer not to take off the belly pan fairing everytime I haul the bike.

Good experience with them? Bad? Which brand do you recommend?

Thanks.
 

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My buddy has the same problem with his old Silverado and now Toyota Tundra. How he solved the issue is getting the front end up higher with ramps or a slight hill. The bottom of whatever bike he would put in the bed would drag the belly area slightly. Reduce the angle and no more dragging. 馃憤馃徑
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My buddy has the same problem with his old Silverado and now Toyota Tundra. How he solved the issue is getting the front end up higher with ramps or a slight hill. The bottom of whatever bike he would put in the bed would drag the belly area slightly. Reduce the angle and no more dragging. 馃憤馃徑
Yea, I made a mini wood ramp to put the front of my actual metal ramp on. I have not tried loading the bike using it yet, but it should be similar to lowering the back of the truck approx. 4". I think it would work as it reduces the severity of the angle at the top of the ramp/tailgate but the ramp I made is heavy and cumbersome. Just don't want to haul that around with me.
 

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I have a friend who swears by his, but if I recall the ramp that it comes with is relatively short.
 

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I always thought they seemed sketchy but I've seen people using them even with 1000cc bikes, weighing in over 400lbs.

What ramps are you using though? 8' curved ramps help a lot. That's what I have.
 

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As a versahaul owner I can tell you using one with a pickup is silly. Id sell you mine and its modified with a proper wheel holding chock if youre in driving distance of FL.
An arched ramp is what you need and a proper wheel chock. They make them in aluminum and they are very light & durable. Ive used mine on everything from 150lb dirt bikes to 800lb cruisers.
By proper chock I mean something like a baxley or bikegrab


You can make a wooden step out of scrap 2x material if you want to reduce the ramp angle another 6-10".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As a versahaul owner I can tell you using one with a pickup is silly. Id sell you mine and its modified with a proper wheel holding chock if youre in driving distance of FL.
An arched ramp is what you need and a proper wheel chock. They make them in aluminum and they are very light & durable. Ive used mine on everything from 150lb dirt bikes to 800lb cruisers.
By proper chock I mean something like a baxley or bikegrab


You can make a wooden step out of scrap 2x material if you want to reduce the ramp angle another 6-10".
Yea I made a small wood ramp from some 2x6 for my metal ramp to sit on. It reduced the angle of the ramp and tail gate but I have not tested it yet. I will test it out as soon as it warms up.

I have a pretty big ramp. It is probably 7鈥- 7.5鈥 long and about 4鈥 wide. It is not curved though. I will take a look around.

What I really want is a toy hauler but that is a pretty big investment.
 

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I got this hitch carrier when I purchased the bike from the original owner. He used it to haul the bike from Albany NY to Myrtle beach SC and I used to to transport from Myrtle beach SC to the Charlotte NC area.

This particular carrier is for dirt bikes and I would recommend a higher quality unit but they work great. Easy loading and unloading. Just make sure you strap the bike down good.

17052
 

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that gives me the willies... the way the canyon dancer is stretched... woof. That cast clipon is not an anchor point.
Does it at least have the anti rattle piece on the hitch?
 

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that gives me the willies... the way the canyon dancer is stretched... woof. That cast clipon is not an anchor point.
Does it at least have the anti rattle piece on the hitch?
Not sure I understand what you mean by cast clipon and anti rattle piece.

That carrier was used that way for over 1k miles without any issues but I would recommend using a higher quality unit as this is the cheapest one on the market and made for dirt bikes. If you look closely you can see the tires are wedged into the slots and it took a brrom handle to free the tires from the unit.
 

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Whi not buying an Harbor freight foldable trailer or a lanscape trailer from Lowes.I got mine from Lowes.It came with a ramp.
 

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Not sure I understand what you mean by cast clipon and anti rattle piece.

That carrier was used that way for over 1k miles without any issues but I would recommend using a higher quality unit as this is the cheapest one on the market and made for dirt bikes. If you look closely you can see the tires are wedged into the slots and it took a brrom handle to free the tires from the unit.
Do you have something that looks like this near the hitch receiver effectively clamping the holder?
17053


You have so much tension on the canyon dancer its stretching downward. First off thats the old grip twister style... need to make updates with PVC.
Second your clip on is a cast... as in its melted metal poured into a sandcast. Cheap to produce but not exactly the strongest piece. Its cheap and it breaks real easy... hence
why you shouldnt be cinching like its keeping the bike on the rack.
You should be using soft straps on the actual frame & triple. Yeah it takes about 5 min more to secure but you wont have to worry about an anchor point breaking. What you have there is an accident waiting to happen. Also putting a 400lb motorcycle in a carrier designed for a 300lb dirtbike... :D
 

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Do you have something that looks like this near the hitch receiver effectively clamping the holder?
View attachment 17053

You have so much tension on the canyon dancer its stretching downward. First off thats the old grip twister style... need to make updates with PVC.
Second your clip on is a cast... as in its melted metal poured into a sandcast. Cheap to produce but not exactly the strongest piece. Its cheap and it breaks real easy... hence
why you shouldnt be cinching like its keeping the bike on the rack.
You should be using soft straps on the actual frame & triple. Yeah it takes about 5 min more to secure but you wont have to worry about an anchor point breaking. What you have there is an accident waiting to happen. Also putting a 400lb motorcycle in a carrier designed for a 300lb dirtbike... :D
Well, it is a 400lb carrier and the bike is around 360-370 so it is under capacity. As I said, I would not recommend this unit because it is made for dirt bikes. It came with the bike and I used it to transport the bike for over 200 miles. A higher grade unit made for street bikes would be a much better way to transport.

The tires are wedged into the unit which is actually holding the bike steady. If you remove all the straps the bike would still be standing in that same position. It took a broom handle to free the tires when I got home.

The unit comes with something that bolts near the hitch for anti sway.

 

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Well, it is a 400lb carrier and the bike is around 360-370 so it is under capacity. As I said, I would not recommend this unit because it is made for dirt bikes. It came with the bike and I used it to transport the bike for over 200 miles. A higher grade unit made for street bikes would be a much better way to transport.
The tires are wedged into the unit which is actually holding the bike steady. If you remove all the straps the bike would still be standing in that same position. It took a broom handle to free the tires when I got home.
The unit comes with something that bolts near the hitch for anti sway.
Your vehicle has a max tongue weight. A 50lb carrier (being generous) and a 400lb motorcycle probably exceeds that #. A typical 1/4 ton pickup is ~500lbs.
I wouldnt use a HF anything on my bike(s)... been there done that with the original Chinese fabbed part seller... Lockhart Philips and their flimsy rear stands.
 

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If that SUV was rear wheel drive I bet you could do a wheelie with all that weight on the back! :D
 

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The carrier is 51lbs and the bike is 360 so a total of 411lbs which is well under the 500lb tongue load requirement. The vehicle has a class 3 and is rated for 3500lb towing weight.

I've towed my 3000lb+ Yamaha Jet boat with that SUV so a little 360lb bike isn't going to break anything.


17064
 

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The carrier is 51lbs and the bike is 360 so a total of 411lbs which is well under the 500lb tongue load requirement. The vehicle has a class 3 and is rated for 3500lb towing weight.

I've towed my 3000lb+ Yamaha Jet boat with that SUV so a little 360lb bike isn't going to break anything.
Oh noes not the "Ive toad stuff" defense. Your SUV has a 500lb tongue weight? Where did I say anything was going to break?
You can type 1000 words but the pictures tell me all I need to know. For the purposes of the OP question... youre doing it wrong.
Kawi lists the bike at nearly 370... Im sure you got an accurate weight though...lol
 

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I like harbor freight (HF) but I would be very cautious with any safety related product. You are getting really close to the tongue weight capacity with this setup. HF is not the manefacturer you want when going up to a rated limit on a safety device. This looks kind of dangerous to me and again, I wouldn't trust anything from HF to reliably be stressed to 85% of its rated maximum load. Just my 2 cents.
 

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About a year ago I inherited a Grom from my son who's in college down it Texas, I live in Wisconsin. He had a bit of a mishap with it and didn't have the tools or skills to repair it so I brought it home and fixed up for myself to play with. I bought the HF carrier and put it on the back of my Honda Pilot and it worked perfectly well for what I needed it to do. I thought the quality of the carrier was totally adequate for the weight of the bike I was hauling. Obviously, the Grom, at 230 lbs, is about 140 lbs. less the the Ninja 400 so I was well under the load limit of the carrier and my Pilot's hitch capacity.

As a side note, after fixing it up, I had a blast on the Grom all last year but needed more top end for the kind of riding I like to do. I finally got around to selling the Grom a few months back and just bought a 2019 Z400, which is why I'm here.(y)

My other bike is a V-Strom 650 and this exact same discussion is going on over at the Stromtrooper's forum. This particular post is what caught my attention and I think it's relevant to the discussion here. The VStrom, of course, is even heavier than the Ninja, but the discussion is all relative since they're talking about a 475 lb. bike on a 500 lb. carrier.


At the end of the day, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with the HF carrier, as long as you are careful to stay within its limits. Of course, that's the rub. Exactly how much weight it too much and how do you know until something breaks.

Here's my $.02...

If you are going to put a bike on a carrier of this kind that is close to the capacity of the carrier and your car's hitch, you should at least make sure you inspect the carrier and the structure of your car where the hitch is attached regularly. A number of years ago I had one of those bike racks that attach to the trunk of a 4-door sedan. I had 3 bicycles on the carrier because that's how many it could carry. After who knows how many outings I made with that carrier, one day I noticed that the trunk lid near the rear windshield was warping where the hook of the carrier attached. This was clearly caused by the weight of the bikes bouncing up and down as I cruised down the highway. No catastrophic failure occurred because I could see the area starting to fail but if I couldn't have seen the damage who knows what could have happened.
 
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