Stuck Motorcycle: Best Recovery Systems

If you venture off the pavement, there's always the possibility that one wrong move and your bike is off the side of a trail or stuck in a mudhole. The question is, do you have what you need to extract your bike? People, winch, or block and tackle? 

We did some testing of three different systems, two of which you can take with you on any ride, and one of which is a good back up if not venturing too far, and it’s also ideal for loading your bike on to a trailer. 

We spoke to Andy Lilienthal at Warn, Dave Petersen at BestRest, Jon Mason at Superwinch and PSSOR riding instructor, Bret Tkacs, who shares some great pointers on motorcycle recovery.

Bret Tkacs: PSSOR Riding Instructor

Tips and techniques on using motorcycle recovery systems.

PSS Off Road - Motorcycle Recovery System Part 1: What is it? This video describes the concept of self-recovery and the Motorcycle Recovery System.

Dave Peterson: BestRest Products

Motorcycle Recovery System (M.R.S.)
- z-drag rope and pulley system which has been modified for motorcycle recovery, originally made for mountaineering and rescue teams.
- 5/16” (8 mm) primary rope, with a load rating of 3000 lb (1360 kg)
- 1” x 10’ (2.5 cm x 3 m) flat webbing, with a load rating of 4000 lb (1814 kg)
- pre-tied prusik loops, with a load rating of 1700 lb (771 kg)
- pulleys (single or double depending on kit), with a load rating of 5000 lb (2268 kg)
- non locking chrome carabiners, with a load rating of 4500 lb (2041 kg)

BestRest's Motorcycle Recovery System (MRS) is a compact, lightweight rope-and-pulley system you can use to recover a bike that's gone off the the road or trail. Available with a 3:1 or 5:1 mechanical lifting ratio. In Part 2 we show you how to use it to tow a disabled motorcycle.

Andy Lilienthal: Warn Winch

XT17 Portable Winch
- pulls up to 1700 lb (771 kg)
- 9 lb (4.08 kg) aluminum construction (winch & rope)
- 40 feet (12 m) of 5/32” (4mm) synthetic rope
- winch size 10.3" L. x 4.0" D. x 4.2" H. (26cm L. x 10cm D. x 10.7cm H.)
- sealed motor and contactor
- runs off motorcycle battery
Website: Warn Industries' Jason Smith and a buddy went riding their KTM motorcycles in Western North Carolina. They brought with them the new WARN XT17 Portable winch to try out. The WARN XT17 Portable winch weighs only 8.5 lbs. but pulls up to 1,700 lbs. It works great for motorcycles, quads, and utility applications.

Jon Mason: Superwinch

W2G 4000 Portable Winch
- pulls 4000 lb (1814 kg), up to 8000 lb (3629 kg) with double line technique
- 43 lb (19.5 kg)
- 3/16” x 50’ (4.8 mm x 15.24 m) cable (synthetic rope available W2G 4000 SR)
- tackle box kit includes 3 shackles, 2 straps, pulley block (for up to 8000 lb capability), handheld remote, 10’ battery leads and gloves
- can be permanently mounted, or winch can be securely strapped to something stationary such a tree with included straps
- we used a portable battery to power the W2G 4000 when we tested it

Not a motorcycle, but you get the idea.

Fun Fact: We came across another way that a winch can be really beneficial and useful to a motorcyclist, especially if parking is limited or safety is a concern. 



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Some music on this episode by Jason Shaw at