Hauling in a truck (mostly)
In a truck
In reality, the best way to haul a bike in a truck is... on a trailer. Think about it. How much control do you have while trying to get your bike into/out of the back of a truck, especially while unloading? How much would it cost you to fix what might break should you just momentarily lose control? It makes the price of a trailer (or renting one) seem pretty good. Scan your local want ads or Craig's List. With patience you should be able to find what you need.
Sometimes you may not have another choice, though. Transporting in a truck is fairly simple to actually do.... You just have to know the tricks to make it easier.
Find a ditch or small hill that you can back into. This points the bed down and lowers the angle (drastically). If it's still too tall for you to easily step into, then you need someone in the bed (2 man job) or something to step on (a cooler) to get into the bed.
You're also going to need a ramp of some sort. You may be able to rent one from a rental place or a big building supply like Home Depot. You can also make your own ramp, or get ramp tops (Lowe's) and attach them to 2 2x8 boards. A better option would be to get a bi or tri-folding ATV ramp. That way you can walk up next to the bike. The way these fold you can lay them in the bed under the tie downs. The other ones that fold in the middle would be squarish and wouldn't be easy to use. example example 2
General loading tips
Use a wide ramp, so you can walk up the ramp next to the bike. Have the bike running and in gear... no sense in pushing that which will push itself. You're just there to guide it. This may be an advanced task for a new rider who doesn't have clutch control down to a fine art, though. PRACTICE. If you want to give it a shot, walk the bike in a parking lot, using the clutch so the bike pushes itself. Practice.
Get the bike in the truck. Push the front tire against the back of the bed. Get a buddy. Figure out who is the best with ropes/ties. Whoever sucks at the tying part sits on the bike holding it upright. Tie the front down (see below).
Tie the rear down. Get off the bike - slowly let go of the bars. The ties will hold it in place. DO NOT USE THE STANDS.
General unloading tips
Be careful. Unloading is more dangerous than loading. It's easier to lose control.
Try to find a hill that you can back up against, then roll the bike out onto the hill.
See if there's a place close by that has a loading dock you can use.
Tying the bike down in a trailer or truck
For tying down into the bed, use normal tie-downs (not the ratcheting kind, too easy to put WAY too much force on the bike) and soft tie-downs:
A note on Canyon Dancers ties from Craig: I do tech at track days, and there are always several bikes that come through with messed up sticking throttles. Yup, they all used a Canyon Dancer. When I tie down my 250s I just use Ancra tie downs. Hooking a pair of Ancra soft ties to the lower triple before loading the bike makes things a little easier to hook up, especially if you are loading the bike by yourself.
Loop these around the lower triple tree and fork tube ~ you shouldn't have an issue with touching any plastic from this point:
Then run the tie-down from the open loop to the anchor spots in the lower corners of the truck/trailer bed....
Note that there is an additional anchor in the center of this truck bed for hauling 2 bikes. Tie the rear to a secure part of the frame. The pillion (passenger) peg brackets work well.
Also, leave the bike in gear. PUT ALL OF THE STANDS UP - DO NOT USE THE STANDS. Take the leftover end of the tie-down strap and wrap it around the front brake lever:
This keeps the ends from flapping in the wind and beating the paint off the bike or the truck. Keeps them useable for longer, too. Tighten the tiedowns tight enough to compress the suspension some, but not enough to bottom it out.
Alternate front tie points
In some situations, crossing the straps could work better, such as where the tie-down points are too wide or too high and pull significantly on the fairings. For example: If you need to use the normal tie-downs in a truck, halfway up the bed and in the far corners. Crossing the straps there may actually be the best solution.
Loop the straps (via soft-ties) around the forks, just above the lower triple:
Using soft ties, put the plastic hooks right on the fender. This shouldn't create a lot of pressure, but there could be enough that over time it would wear through the paint. Wrap the hooks in shop rags or towels. This shouldn't cause any problems for short trips, but if you're going a long way, put a couple layers of adhesive shelf liner on the fender so the hooks wear on that, instead of the paint.
Using a moving van
The general guidelines given here all still apply. You may want to read the article on towing in a trailer for more information on tying things down. As many trailers and vans have more than one rail, you should use those to your advantage. You can see here how the bike is strapped to the upper and lower rails on each side of the truck. Make sure you also strap down anything that may slide into the bike, and put blankets or other soft stuff around your bike.
In a trailer
See also: Hauling on a trailer
Many people find that using a motorcycle trailer is handier than putting their bike in the back of a truck. U HAUL has a motorcycle trailer that rents for about $15 a day. It's very easy to load/unload a bike in it. It has 4 tie down points and a built-in wheel chock up front. Easy loading because of the included ramp. You'll need a 2" hitch ball to tow it.
At the time this was written, the motorcycle trailer had to be returned to the location where it was rented, so this may not be an option if you're moving cross-country. Check.
There is the usual 45 mph speed marked on the trailer, but no one ever pays attention to that. One of our members reports doing 1200 miles in a weekend with the trailer behind a Ford Ranger, at freeway speeds. He says: "It was as if it wasn't even back there. Very light and stable."