How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1800
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How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by WingAdmin »

This question comes up quite often, and one of the best descriptions of how this is done is found in the GWRRA Gold Book, which is reprinted here. I encourage you to join GWRRA - you will receive a copy of the Gold Book every year, which contains tons of invaluable reference information for the Goldwing owner - and in a size that is easily carried along with you in your bike.

How to Tie Down Most Goldwings (GL1000 to GL1500 - for 2001-2017 and 2018+ GL1800s, see below)

Each year, GWRRA receives requests for information about how to tie down their Gold Wing for trailering. We publish this information in the Gold Book, in hopes this helps as you prepare to haul your Wing.

Dave Hewitt, GWRRA #8551, of Mesa, Arizona, demonstrates the method he uses to tie down a Gold Wing on a flat bed trailer. His system is secure and puts no pressure on any delicate parts of the motorcycle. Though he demonstrates using a GL1500, the same system applies to most Gold Wings. He uses two sets of Ancra soft ties and two sets of Ancra adjustable tie-downs. Here is his method:

1. Push or ride your Gold Wing to the front of a flatbed trailer. Park it temporarily on the sidestand. Put the transmission in gear to prevent forward or backward creep.

2. Loop one end of one soft tie around the left front fork and over the top of the lower triple tree. Slip one loop of the soft tie through the other, then snug it tight so the free loop is accessible. (Photos A, B and C)

3. Slip one adjustable tie-down hook through the free loop of the soft tie, and connect the other end to the left front floor of the trailer. (Photo D)

4. Tighten the adjustable tie-down to compress the left front fork just halfway. (Photo E)

5. Repeat Steps 1 through 4 on the right side of the machine, using a second soft tie around the right front fork, and a second adjustable tie-down connected to the right front floor of the trailer to compress the right front fork about halfway. Note: Your Gold Wing should now be vertical, held in place by the combined tension of the two tie-downs. The front shocks should both have about one and a half inches of travel remaining. b. Raise the Gold Wing's sidestand.

7. Loop one end of a third soft tie through the left passenger hand grip, slip it through the other, then snug it tight so the free loop is accessible. (Photo F)

8. Slip the hook of a third adjustable tie¬down hook through the free loop of the soft tie and connect its other end to the left side rail of the trailer, avoiding contact between the tie and the Wing's saddlebag.

9. Tighten to snug. (Photo G)

10. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 on the right side of the machine, using a fourth soft tie through the right passenger hand grip, a fourth adjustable tie-down, and connecting to the right side rail of the trailer (again avoiding contact between the tie and the Wing's saddlebag), then tighten to snug. (Photo H)

Note: The passenger hand grips are bolted directly into the motorcycle's frame, so are designed to take considerable stress. Do not attach tie-downs to either the front or rear safety ("crash") bars; they are not designed for downward forces which could cause frame damage. Do not connect tie-downs to handlebars, as damage could occur to the bike's controls. Do not use the centerstand. Properly tied down, the bike needs no additional support to remain stationary, and the vibration of travel could cause damage to either the trailer or the centerstand.

11 . As an extra precaution on long trips, Dave loops a final soft tie through the front wheel and attaches it to a vertical member of the trailer to assure that the front wheel does not turn to one side or the other. (Photo I)

Note: To prevent the free ends of the adjustable tie-downs from flapping in the wind against the bike's painted surfaces, Dave secures them to themselves via a half hitch knot.

(To release the motorcycle for unloading, reverse the entire process, remembering to lower the sidestand before releasing the tension on the right front tie-down. This allows the weight of the bike to settle onto the sidestand, keeping it from falling over.)

How to Tie Down a GL1800 (2001-2017)

The 2001 and later GL1800 and GL1800A Gold Wings require some different arrangements. While the instructions are somewhat similar, note the significant changes.

These instructions and illustrations were provided courtesy of Allen Smith, president of Tulsa Enterprises.

Attach a soft tie to the lower triple clamp, hook an adjustable tie-down to the soft tie, pull forward and out, and do this on both sides in front. The tie- downs should attach to the vehicle about 24 inches out from the bike's front wheel. (Photo A)

Remove the Wing's side covers, attach a soft tie around the frame, hook a tie-down to the soft tie and pull slightly forward and out from the motorcycle. Repeat for the other side. (Photos B and C)

(The passenger handles on the GL1800 have rubber collars in the seat and are not designed to have tie-downs attached to secure the motorcycle there! Doing this could damage the bolt and/or the threaded area of the frame. In our view, this is actually a superior method even for the GL1500.)

Attach another soft tie around the rear bag guard and SUB FRAME. (Photo D)


Then hook a tie-down to this soft tie and pull to the rear and outward. This will help to stabilize the motorcycle.

If not using some sort of front wheel chock, it is important to secure the front wheel so it cannot turn. This is the way we tie our Gold Wing into the trailer and have been doing it this way for years; it is the most secure method we've found.

We caution you NOT to tie down a Gold Wing GL1800 using the handlebars or the engine guards or bag guards. They will break! That is the reason we use the SUB FRAME and bag guard.

How to Tie Down a GL1800 (2018+)

These are the Honda recommended methods for tying down the 2018+ GL1800 Goldwing.

There are two recommended methods to secure the 2018 GL1800 for transportation or maintenance. Either method requires two soft-ties and four buckle or ratchet type tie-downs.

Do not attach any straps or tie-downs to the handlebars as this can damage the heated grips and/or handlebar switch gear.

Engine Guard Tie-Down Method
  • Remove the fog light covers to expose the engine guards.
  • Secure a soft-tie around each engine guard as shown.
  • Connect a buckle or ratchet style tie-down to each soft-tie and affix the other end to the anchor point as shown.
  • Remove the saddlebag guard cover to expose the saddlebag guard.
  • Connect a buckle or ratchet style tie-down to the saddlebag guard and the other end to the anchor point as shown.

Fork Holder Tie-Down Method
  • Secure two soft-ties around the fork holder as shown.
  • Connect a buckle or ratchet style tie-down to each soft-tie and affix the other end to the anchor point as shown.
  • Place a protective pad between the fork and the tie down.
  • Remove the saddlebag guard cover to expose the saddlebag guard.
  • Connect a buckle or ratchet style tie-down to the saddlebag guard and the other end to the anchor point as shown.

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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by barnawi »

Good information thank you.
Ride safe
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by Coop19742 »

Hi, thank you for the advise on tie downs and would appreciate clarification of a couple terms. In your post I can't actually see (in pictures) the fork and saddlebag soft tie points so I need to rely on your description of the tie down points. You mention a triple clamp on the fork and I am assuming you are referring to the lower fork bridge? Does the soft tie go around the fork and bridge or just up and over the bridge itself? Lastly, is the sub frame you mention also called the saddlebag stay? I'm new to Goldwings (convert from HD Road King) and only have the the 2015 GL1800 service manual as a point of reference. I appreciate any pointers you can give me.
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by GILRIVERA03 »

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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by Gatorbait58 »

Just read the latest e-mail from, the segment on trailer suggestions. Upon scrolling a little further I noticed the "recommendation" that the photo contained incorrect tie down and offered a link to this forum for proper tie down procedure. I can't believe what I am seeing here or why any one would think to tie down their Goldwing this way and I'm certain others are wise enough not to follow this procedure. Why would it be suggested to never use the crash bars for tie down? These are bolted directly to the frame and offer the strongest and most secure hold. Instead you think the rear seat handles are more secure? You're running straps all over the place that are resting against the painted surfaces which will eventually mar them. Metal hooks from the straps touching surfaces of the Goldwing? Not on mine thank you. I have an Anderson 5x10 open trailer. The front tie down hooks on the trailer are forward of the forks on the Goldwing. Both strap hooks go here, not touching the Goldwing at all. Straps passes through the front crash bars. As the straps are drawn tight, they are pulling forward which collapses the forks. The motorcycle doesn't budge. I then do the same on the rear crash bar for extra security. I plan to design a clamping system that will be installed in the trailer so when I drive the Goldwing up on the trailer, the clamps will hold all four crash bars not allowing the motorcycle budge in any directing, then there will be no stress on the forks due to collapsing them. "Never use the crash bars for tie down"? Right, lets tweak the handle bars instead of holding the motorcycle secure via the frame! I'll do it my way thank you very much! Y'all do with your motorcycles what you wish.
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by Circles »

Your front and rear crash bars are screwed into aluminum. One good pot hole and your straps will be holding a bar that is no longer attached to the bike. That is the reason for wrapping the soft tie around the frame itself and not to an object screwed into the frame. Like you said, do it whatever way you want.
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by Vern Anderson »

I take the tin plate off under the engine and I made a block the fits onto the wheel rails on the trailer ( so the block can't slip out) when I tie the bike down the it pulls the bike down tight to the block to take the pressure off the front great and don't have to worry about blowing shock seals..I trailer mine 2000 miles every winter.
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by Modersical »

It sounds like there are "optimum" locations for the D-Rings, mounted to the trailer or vehicle, in which you are hauling your Wing. Thusly, the suggested soft tie down straps, can be pulled by the Rachet straps in the proper direction; to both stabilize the bike, as well as having the straps placed in such a manner you are not distorting or chaffing the very expensive ABS Plastic/painted surfaces.

I can easily see that a typical trailer with typical tie down points might not have them located in the optimum positions. Is there a pattern suggested, with measurements around the 1800 Wing that allows positioning the ratchet straps to pull the correct direction, in a non-chaffing position?

I can easily see that a non-typical rider, who is not very thoughtful or insightful, might think that their trailer was constructed to haul a Goldwing, with optimum tie down location already installed.
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Re: How to tie down Goldwings for transport

Post by edaddy0 »

Is this still the recommended way to tie down a 1500? I have to trailer mine this week and I am fairly nervous about the trip. I do not have tie downs on the floor. Was planning to utilize the front lip and sides of trailer to attach the straps to. It is difficult to see in the pics if he actually ties to floor or the wall of the trailer. Thanks for any info on this.

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