The angle of attachment is also important, and several of the straps come with detailed instructions (some even include a sketch) on the proper method. A good basic starting point is to ensure that the tie-downs are at a minimum of 10 degrees (but preferably 50-60 degrees) from vertical, with the front straps pulling the bike forward and the rear straps backward. This will ensure that tension exists to keep the bike from moving forward or backward during transportation.
The industry-standard Pingel...
The industry-standard Pingel wheel chock comes standard in many trailers.
Also, check and ensure that the straps do not touch any bodywork or painted surface on the bike. The vibration (and ensuing rubbing of the strap on the paint) during a long trip will ruin the surface over time. If you have an application that does not allow any other option, simply place a soft towel between the strap and the painted area.
Hot surfaces are also not a good environment for tie-down straps. Most straps are made from polyester or nylon, and therefore have a melting temperature low enough to allow the strap to be damaged or destroyed by a hot muffler. It's also a good idea to secure any loose strap ends after you tighten them down. Otherwise, the loose end will flap in the wind on an open trailer or truck bed, and could damage your paint over the course of a long trip. Some people prefer to tie the excess in a knot, while others prefer a strip of duct-tape to fasten it to the strap. Either way is fine-just make sure to secure it.
The most common problem we hear with regard to tie-down straps during normal use is "creeping" (slippage of the strap through the buckle), requiring constant checking and tightening during an extended trip. In order to measure each tie-down's creep, we developed a test utilizing steel plates hijacked from the high-tech Sport Rider weight-lifting center used to maintain our incredible level of physical fitness (the center is located right next to the official, well-stocked SR beer cooler). The total weight of the plates was 130 pounds; using the strap, we lifted approximately 100 pounds of the plates' weight. The remaining 30 pounds was supported by a scale below the fixture. As the strap slipped over time, the weight on the scale increased. We measured the results after one hour and then thoroughly wet the strap to simulate rain, making another measurement at the end of a second hour.
Most of these straps are rated at a working load of 400 pounds or more, so a tension of 100 pounds is only 25 percent (or less) of loading; however, it is representative of the force applied during normal use. Applying a tension of higher than 300 pounds on a single tie-down strap shouldn't be necessary on a sportbike-any higher could be harmful on the hard parts used for tie-down points. Most importantly, it's a good idea to check the bike after the first 20-30 miles to ensure that nothing slipped or came loose.
The Bed-Buddy from CCR Sport...
The Bed-Buddy from CCR Sport acts as a brace to stabilize both the front of the bed (so that the weight of the bike won't dent it inward), and the sides of the truck bed, as well as functioning as a wheel chock. Tie-down attachment loops are a plus.
For years, the standard wheel chock has been the Pingel unit, available in both permanent and removable styles, with prices starting at $40. We have used them for years, and our only complaint is that new-generation sportbikes with large brake discs now require more care when tying down the front wheel, as some 320mm rotors come very close to rubbing on the chock.
Some innovative new wheel chocks have entered the market. One example is a new-style chock from Mac's Custom Tie-Downs called "The Wedge" ($74.95). The basic premise of this unit is that the wedge shape allows many different tires to fit into the same chock, allowing you to haul your sportbike or big cruiser without any changes. The tire also sits on the steel base plate when in use, making the chock even more stable, and the higher frame of the chock extends over the centerline of the axle, which the producer claims results in better stability.