Putting items and toys aboard the bed of your truck doesn’t need to be painful.
Lifting heavy loads into a pickup bed is pure agony. Our collective backs ache every time someone mentions putting a snowblower into the back of a Super Duty Ford. Same goes for dirt bikes and lawn tractors.
With this in mind, and perpetual loading and unloading heavy wheeled toys into the back of a pickup truck as part of everyday life, your author grabbed a set of ramps and a bottle of Tylenol. As it turned out, I could’ve left the Tylenol at home.
First and foremost, this set of aluminum ramps from CargoSmart feature an s-curve design. Why does that matter? Try to ascend a near-vertical ladder instead of one that is slightly angled and you’ll soon discover why. Physics, man.
The addition of an s-curve allows for gentle initial loading of your wheeled toy onto the ramp. This permits a good alignment of your rig before goosing its throttle and driving the thing up into your truck bed, thus avoid embarrassing hand gestures and the inevitable YouTube infamy when it all goes horribly wrong. S-curves provide a smooth and continuous high-traction surface, easing that initial transition off the ground.
Similarly, the curved design allows the ramp to flatten out a bit up top at the point where it connects with the truck’s tailgate. Compared to a straight ramp that forces a near 45-degree angle along its entire length, the CargoSmart S-Curve units permit a loading process that feels natural and not like trying to drive your quad/bike/snowblower up the side of a wall.
The main disadvantage of these and any S-curve ramps is their propensity to take up marginally more space during storage when compared to flat ramps. This is due to their unique shape. Make sure to budget for this aberration if you’re taking the ramps with you in your truck’s bed for unloading at your destination. It makes a difference when deciding where to store them in your garage, too. Your author is willing to make this trade-off and take advantage of the S-curve’s easier loading characteristics.
CargoSmart rates these ramps at a burly 1,500 lbs for the pair so they should have no trouble handling most ATVs or ride-on lawnmowers. Our first unit to sample the ramps was a John Deere D130 garden tractorweight somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 lbs when loaded with fuel. Don’t forget to add your own weight to the calculation if you’re on-board while piloting a rig up these ramps.
Setting the ramps in position was easy, as their lightweight aluminum construction allows them to be lifted with merely a finger. The upper edge of the ramp fit snugly on the tailgate of a 2018 GMC Sierra, giving a sturdy feel. A pair of ratchet safety straps extends from the ramps to a truck’s towing hitch, helping to steady the things and avoiding a ‘WHY DID YOU STEER’ moment.
The ramp treads are well spaced, measuring 12 inches wide. This allowed the John Deere to – quite literally – settle into the groove while climbing up the S-curve grade.
Yes, your high school math is serving you well, since the unit’s combined weight rating of 1,500 lbs can simply be cleaved in half to reveal each ramp can bear a 750-lb load. This is well south of most dirt bikes and other two-wheeled machines one may be loading into their pickup’s bed. Even the wet weight of a Harley Super Glide is listed at just under 700 lbs.
End to end, the CargoSmart S-Curve Aluminium Ramps measure about 7.5 feet in length. This is great for loading into higher deck heights or simply reducing the angle of loading attack but complicates matters when it comes to storage. Chiefly, most trucks on the road today have a 6.5-foot bed, ensuring these S-ramps won’t come along for the ride without some creative packing.
The alternative is selecting a ramp which folds in the middle, however, this approach adds a hinge and potential weak spot into the mix. Your author much prefers the style of ramp tested here, despite its cumbersome dimensions. Plan ahead and you’ll be fine.
After the season’s first snowfall, the S-curves were trotted out to load a snowblower into the bed of a Toyota Tacoma. Lining up the ramps with the tires was a dead simple affair, as was goosing the snowblower’s throttle while walking it up from the side. Reversing it back down the ramps only required making sure the snowblower slide shoes didn’t catch on the ramp’s leading edge.
It bears repeating that, technically, one should remove their truck’s tailgate before using ramps such as these. At a minimum, be sure to check its weight rating to ensure it won’t fold like wet cardboard when suddenly introduced to your Polaris Sportsman.
Lightweight, well-constructed, and reasonably priced, your author has no hesitation recommending these ramps for anyone who wants to save their back and sanity while loading items into the bed of a pickup. They turn a headache-inducing three-person job into a simple task that can be handled solo.
You’ll save money on Tylenol, too.
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