Unfortunately, motorcycles are not 100 percent reliable. They can break down, lose oil, or become otherwise unable to move under their own power. We've already covered how to get your bike home on a truck or trailer, but what if you're riding a dual-sport and the breakdown occurs far from the road? Somehow you need to get the stricken bike to where you can pick it up and tow it home. Bret Tkacs shows us how it's done.
The key to this method is to ride with at least one buddy—preferably one who will not break down. As a result, the trusty Kawasaki KLR 650 is the steed of choice. Really any bike that still runs is an option, but Bret Tkacs takes the opportunity to joke about every KLR stereotype there is, from its standard equipment milk crate to how slow it is compared to his KTM. He also gives the KLR full credit as being the bike least likely to break down on the trail, which is why it's good to have one along on any off-road adventure.
There are basically two ways to strap two bikes together for maximum safety: high and low. In both methods, attach the tow strap securely to the bike in front. On the bike being towed, wrap the strap around solid body parts that aren't going to move, but do not tie it off. Instead, allow the rider to control that connection, and to let it slip away at any time should conditions warrant, like downhill or if they're about to lose control. You can always stop, restrap, and try again.
The Up Side
Like the Schwartz in Spaceballs, there's an upside and a downside. For a higher towing arrangement, attach the tow strap to the rear rack or somewhere else secure on the bike in front that's doing the work. Try to center the strap as much as possible. Run the strap back to the bike being towed, under the triple tree, and up to the left handlebar grip, making sure not to crush any wires or hoses in the process. This way the towing force will go through the triple tree, not the handlebar, which would abruptly steer the bike.
Wrap the strap around the grip a couple of times, but do not cross it over itself, and do not tie it off. This will allow the rider to control the tow and release it at any time just by loosening their grip on the left handlebar.
The Down Side
Alternately, you can use the footpegs as your attachment points. Again, securely attach the tow strap to the bike in front, and wrap it a couple of times around the footpeg on the bike being towed. This way the rider can release the strap by lifting their foot, just like releasing the handlebar in the previous method.
The most important thing to remember when using this method is to never cross the straps. If the lead bike is towing from the right footpeg, attach the strap to the left footpeg of the bike being towed. Which side you use doesn't matter, as long as they are opposite. Then, during the tow itself, the bikes need to maintain whatever offset they start with to keep the strap out of wheels, chains, and such. This method is best for a wider doubletrack where each bike can stay in its own groove of the trail.