Can A Motorcycle Fit In A Tacoma?

Owning a truck has many perks, and one of those perks includes towing around a motorcycle in the back without having to use a trailer.  Owning a Tacoma, however, may be a little different since they’re considered smaller pickups.  If you own a motorcycle, you may be wondering if a motorcycle can fit in the back of a Tacoma.

Can a motorcycle fit in a Tacoma? Most average-sized motorcycles will fit in a Toyota Tacoma if the tailgate is down. The average diagonal length of a Tacoma bed is around 73.3 inches and a long bed’s diagonal length is about 73.5 inches.  The length of an average motorcycle is around 80 inches.  

It may come as a surprise to some people that it is possible to fit a motorcycle in the back of one. Now, this isn’t to say that the process of making a motorcycle fit in the back of a Tacoma is easy, but it is possible. Here we will talk about some of the details and schematics of how a motorcycle can fit in the back of a Tacoma. There are also a few tricks and techniques to loading and securing a motorcycle in the bed of a truck, some of which we will talk about below. 

How To Safely Fit And Fasten A Motorcycle In A Toyota Tacoma

Safely getting a motorcycle into the back of a Tacoma can be more difficult than it sounds. There is a safe way to do this and it usually involves more than one person. Before you do anything, make sure that the truck is turned off and the emergency brake is engaged. Using wheel chocks is also a good idea in this scenario.  Essentially, you want to make sure your truck isn’t going anywhere while you’re loading up your motorcycle.

The first thing you’ll need to consider when placing your motorcycle in the back of a Tacoma is how you’re going to get it in there in the first place.  There are several safe and effective ways to do this.  The first way we recommend is by using a ramp strong enough to support your motorcycle.  You will need at least one other person to assist you with this since they can help you aim and push it all the way up into the bed of the truck.  If you plan on pushing your motorcycle up the ramp, ensure that your motorcycle is off and in neutral.

The second way is by backing up the Tacoma against a small hill.  This may be difficult to find, but if you’ve got one at the right height, it’s a perfect way to roll a motorcycle right in the back.  You can also try using a loading bay at a local business (with their permission of course).  This would mean you’d have to drive both the Tacoma and the motorcycle to said business for this to work, but it’s a good option in a pinch.

Lasty, you can always load a motorcycle in the back of a Tacoma by simply lifting it in there.  This will obviously require several people to do and this entirely depends on how heavy your motorcycle is.  I’ve been able to do this with three other people with some of my motorcycle rebuilds.

Once your motorcycle is in the back of the Tacoma, you can either pull it straight in or park it diagonal.  Parking it straight is more aerodynamic and it gives you more even attachment with tie downs on both sides. However, it’s okay if you need to park it diagonally if it fits better. 

It is recommended you use four reliable ratchet straps when tying a motorcycle down in a truck.  Use the ratchet straps on each of the four corners of the motorcycle and ensure they are strapped on to strong points of the motorcycle itself.  The best places to fasten a strap on the front of a motorcycle includes in between the handlebar clamps or to the front forks.  The best places to fasten a ratchet strap to the back of the motorcycle includes the rear seat hoop or somewhere around the rear frame.  The higher on the motorcycle you strap from, the better for the sake of stability. 

Some Tacomas will have bed anchors to attach the ratchet straps to, though there are some that only have two or don’t have any at all.  If this is the case for your Tacoma, you can safely attach your ratched to the under part of the bed lip. Keep in mind that if you ratchet it too tight, it can bend the under part of the bed lip, so be careful.

How To Safely Drive A Tacoma With A Motorcycle In The Back

Driving a Tacoma with a motorcycle in the back is a whole different ball game compared to driving without a motorcycle.  You have to be extremely careful while carrying this type of cargo, other people’s lives could be on the line.

First and foremost, make sure the motorcycle is securely strapped in the bed of the truck.  If you have the tailgate down to fit it, fasten an orange flag on the back of the wheel to help other drivers be aware that you have a long load. Tie up any loose slack from the ratchet straps so they don’t flail in the wind.

After driving your first mile, stop and check the tension of the tow straps that are securing your motorcycle.  I do this every time I have a motorcycle in the bed of my truck and every single time I’ve done it, I’ve had to tighten the straps a little bit more.

I’ve heard it said that any time you’re towing something big in the back of a truck, drive like your grandma is in the back seat. Be light on the brakes.  Hard braking will put extra unneeded stress on the tow straps and will compromise the security of your motorcycle.  Drive steadily and don’t tailgate anyone in front of you.  If you feel more comfortable driving slowly, stay in the slow lane and turn on your emergency flashers to alert other drivers that you are a slow moving vehicle.

Take it easy around corners; turning quickly will also put a lot of unneeded stress on the tow straps and you risk tipping your motorcycle over. Not only  can your motorcycle tip over, but it can fall out of your truck and onto the road causing a hazardous situation for other drivers (not to mention the amount of damage it will cause your motorcycle and truck!).

Other Ways To Tow A Motorcycle With A Tacoma

It can be a pain to try and get a motorcycle in and out of the back of a truck. Making sure you secure it correctly in a small space, making sure the ramps are secured, and not having a whole lot of room for a lot of other supplies can make hauling a motorcycle less appealing to many people. Luckily there are some alternatives to towing a motorcycle with a Tacoma without the need to put it in the bed of the truck.

One way to make hauling a motorcycle smoother would be to use a trailer. Unloading from a trailer tends to be much easier than unloading from the bed of a truck would be. A trailer also gives you extra storage both in the back of your truck and in the trailer itself so you can make sure you have everything that you need for the trip. 

Don’t have a trailer of your own? Uhaul actually has some amazing prices for daily rentals of a utility trailer that comes with ramps.  You can rent one for the day for around $25 – $40.  I’ve done this many times during my college days while I was rebuilding motorcycles and it was a total breeze and extremely affordable, especially for a college kid.

Another option would be a motorcycle carrierThis is a device that just connects to where the hitch goes and has a platform where the motorcycle sits sideways. You do have to be mindful of the size and weight of your bike with this option just like you would with the back of the truck. If you have a smaller motorcycle then this may be a great investment as it allows you to still have all of the truck bed space for storage and it may also be easier to load and unload.

Lastly, you can use a device called a tow dolly.  This connects to your hitch and attaches to and raises the front wheel of the motorcycle.  The back wheel stays on the ground during towing.  This isn’t too common, but it’s definitely effective in towing a motorcycle if there just isn’t enough room in the back of your Tacoma.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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