Choosing the Best Tie Down Straps for Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle and ATV transport can be tricky, especially if you do not know which tie-downs to use for the job. Fortunately, Strapworks can help ensure things go smoothly by offering this handy motorcycle tie down guide. Check out our guide, then check out our tie-downs and get the tools you need to make sure your motorcycle or ATV arrives at its destination exactly as it should.

The Best Tie-Downs Start with the Best Materials

In the past, many motorcycle tie-downs were made with nylon, but nylon has several downsides when it comes to a strap that will be used outdoors. Nylon stretches, especially when wet. Transport your bike in a storm and you are sure to have to stop several times to tighten the straps. Nylon also absorbs moisture. Once wet, it can start to develop mold and mildew if not dried out and stored properly. Nylon can be an affordable option, but be prepared for the extra hassle of maintaining it if it is to be exposed to the elements.

For straps that will frequently be exposed to rain and moisture, Strapworks recommends polyester webbing. It stretches a minimal amount,  and most importantly it does not absorb moisture like Nylon does. Go ahead and throw them in the corner of your pick-up, in a pile, neglected. The next time you need them, they will be dry and ready to go.

For hardware, we offer a selection of hooks, ranging from the traditional open S-Hooks to industrial-style snaps. While the open-style S-Hooks have their uses, we recommend selecting hooks that have a closure such as our Safety S-Hook, which has a clip so that it stays secure even if your strap slips out of place.


Our Ratchet Motorcycle/ATV Tiedowns come with and without built-in softies. Softies (or Soft Ties) are an extension of the strap that helps ensure hardware on the strap does not contact any sensitive parts of your vehicle. The softie typically wraps around a handlebar and connects back to itself, leaving only soft webbing against the bike. Straps without softies are more often used with ATVs as there usually is a non-sensitive point of attachment on the vehicle. Our Ratchet tie-downs in 1.5-inch polyester come rated at 1500-pound breaking strength per strap. Since you will be using two for a motorcycle and 4 for an ATV, strength far exceeds needs. Options include ratchet buckle style, as well as end hardware choices (like wire hooks, flat hooks, and more).


While the Ratchet style is the most popular, some folks prefer a cam buckle style. The main difference between the two styles is the cinching buckle. Ratchets can give you an extremely secure, tight strap, but sometimes you may want a gentler touch. If you want to avoid over-tightening the strap and putting too much stress on your vehicle's attachment points, a cam buckle is a good low-profile alternative to the more heavy-duty ratchets.


If you already own straps with end hardware but no built-in softie, you can buy an add-on softie to retrofit your straps. Our softies are designed to wrap around the handlebar, and you can then hook your existing strap into that extension for a damage-free attachment.


Even when using the best materials with the best workmanship, you cannot ignore your straps. Before each use, check the webbing for wear. In general, your webbing should not rest against anything abrasive when used properly. How do you know if it's time to retire a strap? We recommend replacing your tie down when the webbing has nicks, wear, or fraying, or the hardware appears stressed, bent, or rusted.

To keep your tie-downs in top shape, even polyester straps should be hung between uses and let them air dry when wet. Additionally, using a oil-based lubricant now and then can go a long way to keeping your ratchet or cam buckle functioning smoothly.

Your motorcycle or ATV represents a substantial investment. Keep your tiedown straps in tip top condition!