Motorcycle Driver’s Handbook

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Carrying loads

A motorcycle is not really designed to carry cargo. However, a small load can be carried safely if it is properly positioned and fastened.

Keep the load low

Secure loads to the seat or put them in saddlebags. Do not pile loads against a sissy bar or frame on the back of the seat. This will change the centre of gravity and disturb the balance of the motorcycle.

Keep the load forward

Place the load over or forward of the rear axle. Anything mounted behind the rear wheel can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes. It can also cause a wobble.

Distribute the load evenly

If you have saddlebags, make certain the load in each one is about the same. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to pull to one side.

Secure the load

Fasten the load securely with elastic cords or ropes. A loose load can catch in the wheel or chain. If this happens, the rear wheel may lock up and make the motorcycle skid.

Check the load

Check the load regularly when you are stopped. Make sure it has not worked loose or moved.


Rev: 2015