Will A Harley Fit in A Short Bed Truck? Explained

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Fitting your Harley-Davidson bike in the bed of your truck is a task that often gets challenging. There are things to consider when you load your Harley in a short bed. 

So, will a Harley fit in a short bed truck?

No, generally a Harley won’t fit in a short truck bed. Because the average Harleys are 7.1 to 8.75 feet long and a short bed is max 6 feet long. You can fit a Harley in a short bed if you angle it diagonally or use a motorcycle lift.

Well, don’t get panicked as I will guide you with a detailed answer on the issue. So, read on. 

Things to Consider When Fitting A Harley in A Short Truck Bed

Fitting a Harley in a short-bed truck depends on some considerations. If you’re not careful enough, you might damage both the truck and the bike, let alone injure yourself. Let’s now see what these considerations are. 

Comparing The Dimensions And Truck’s Capacity:

An average truck bed is 5-8 feet long whereas a Harley can be 7.1 to 8.75 feet long. 

The first thing you need to consider is the length, weight, height, and ground clearance of your Harley. Now, compare the dimensions of your Harley to the payload capacity of your truck and the length, and width of your truck. 

A short truck bed is 5 to 6 feet and your Harley is surely longer than that. So, you’ll need to depend on the tailgate for extra length and so measure its capacity too.

Now, let’s have a look at the dimensions of Harley. 

  • Length: 85-105 inches or 7.1-8.75 ft.
  • Height: 40-60 inches or 3.3-5 ft. 
  • Width: 40-80 inches or 3.3-6.67 ft.
  • Weight: 500-900 lb-ft. 
  • Ground Clearance: 3.5-8.3 inches.  

So, the above list is the average dimension range of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Find out the exact numbers in your Harley’s manual. 

Now, an average truck has a payload capacity ranging from 1400 to 4000 lbs. With your Harley loaded in the truck bed, calculate how many other things and passengers your truck can carry. 

Choosing The Right Types of Equipment:

It is important to choose the right types of equipment for loading your Harley into the bed. Here, I will discuss these types of equipment so that you understand.  


After figuring out the dimensions and comparing them, It is time to decide on the process. Now, there are several ways you can load the Harley on your truck bed.

will a motorcycle fit in a truck bed
Source: vehq.com

The easiest and most popular method is using a motorcycle ramp. A ramp is a long metal piece that creates an elevated bridge between the truck bed and the ground. Thus, you can drive your Harley up the ramp and into the bed.    

You can follow how to open the truck bed cover without key if you’ve lost the key. 

There are mainly two categories of ramps such as straight ramps and arched ramps. Both have their advantages so choose one based on your preference.

will a motorcycle fit in a short bed truck
Source: derekweaver.com

Aside from ramps, you can use the lifting option to load up the Harley on the bed. There are motorcycle lifts you can purchase to easily load the Harley. A hitch carrier is also another option that can load bikes up to 500 pounds. 


It is recommended to use a ¾” plywood in the bed to put the Harley on it. This will create a platform upon which you can sit the Harley without damaging the truck bed. 

Also, this will be efficient for loading your bike as you can easily lock it with brake-level locks.  

Straps, Brake Level Locks & Wheel Chocks:

You’ll also need normal straps, ratchet straps, brake level locks, wheel chocks to secure the Harley on the bed. Normal and ratchet straps ensure a tight strap of the Harley on the bed. 

On the other hand, brake level locks ensure that the brakes are secured enough. Wheel chocks ensure that the bike won’t move forward or backward while on the road. 

So now let’s see how to load up the Harley on your truck’s short bed.  

How to Load A Harley Safely in A Short Bed

The first thing you’ll need to be careful about is the space inside the short bed. As it is short, you’ll have less space to load your Harley into it. Follow the steps below to load up the Harley into the short bed. 

Step 1: Unpack the ramp you’re using and set it up aligning with the rear of the truck bed. Makes sure to place the ramp in the center aligning with the plywood placed in the bed center.

the ramp in the center aligning
Source: YouTube.com

Step 2: Use brackets to support the tailgate, like the yellow brackets in the picture above. Use straps to secure the ramp with the truck. Place the wheel chock by aligning it with the plywood platform. 

Step 3: Start your Harley and slowly drive it towards the ramp, then up the ramp and into the bed. 

Step 4: Once you’ve loaded it into the bed, it’s time to secure it properly. Use ratchet straps to secure the bike with the truck bed. It’s recommended to use at least two straps in the front and two on the rear. 

Step 5: Use the wheel chock to lock down the front wheel of your Harley. For extra security, you can use one for the rear wheel too. Then, use brake level locks to properly secure the brake of your Harley. 

Step 5: Now, you can use the ramp to make a barricade at the tailgate by strapping it horizontally for extra security. 

It’s done. Watch the video given to get a visual of how to do all this. 

Remember that you may need to position the Harley angularly to fit it into a short bed. So, place the wheel chock and the platform accordingly. 

Now you can use lifts or hitch carriers too for loading up the Harley into the bed. Simply place the lift/carrier beside the tailgate. Put the Harley onto it and slowly lift it to tailgate height. Watch the video below to learn how it’s done. 

Then, slowly move the Harley forward into the plywood platform. After that, follow the above process to strap it down. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can You Fit A Dirt Bike in A 5.5’ Bed? 

No, usually a Dirt Bike will not fit in a 5.5 feet bed. An average Dirt Bike is at least 7.1 inches long. But if you position the bike at a certain angle and use the tailgate, it might fit. 

How Big of A Trailer Do You Need for A Motorcycle?

A 6×12 trailer is enough for a smaller bike. For dirtbikes and other sports bikes, you’ll need at least 8 feet long and at least 6 feet wide trailer. Also, compare the weight capacity of the trailer to ensure it can take the motorcycle’s weight. 

Can A Motorcycle Fit Inside A Van?

If the space inside a van is large enough, a motorcycle can fit in it. It depends on the length and width of the motorcycle and the van. You’ll need to compare these two to see if the motorcycle will fit inside the van. 


So, now you know will a Harley fit in a short bed. 

It is useful to know that most of the regular trucks with average-length beds can fit your Harley. But then again, compare the weight limits of your truck. Follow the procedure discussed above before attempting to load up your Harley on a short bed.

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