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Detailed Description of the K9 Moto Cockpit Custom Build Process

Woman and German Shepherd on BMW adventure motorcycle pose together with rocky background

The K9 Moto Cockpit is a tubular, steel-framed motorcycle dog carrier that we custom build for medium and large dogs. It combines cushioned, rigid protection with an authentic, open-air experience.


Other motorcycle dog carriers for medium and large dogs have major drawbacks:

Large, heavy, and ugly  ·  Ruins the motorcycle’s ride geometry  ·  Creates unsafe conditions for your dog

Here’s how the K9 Moto Cockpit is different and how we perform your custom build remotely.


Design Principles


The K9 Moto Cockpit is designed around several key principles that deliver maximum safety and superior performance:

Laying position prevents your dog from shifting around dangerously and improves their comfort.

Padded tubular frame maximizes impact protection while providing airflow and an authentic ride experience.

Sleek profile lowers the center of gravity and connects the load to the motorcycle to improve the ride geometry.

Partial bottom design enables the passenger seat to directly carry the heaviest load – head, torso, and front legs – which improves performance and reduces weight and strain on the chassis.

In practical terms, riding with your dog in their Cockpit feels like a mix between a small human passenger and a duffle bag.

The result is a natural ride geometry because:

  • Motorcycles are designed to accommodate this type of load
  • Motorcyclists are accustomed to riding with a passenger or luggage

For a detailed breakdown how the K9 Moto Cockpit works, check out this article!


About K9 Rider Safety


Your dog lays down on the Cockpit facing forward. The Cockpit includes 9 welded anchors for strapping your dog in. You secure the dog at the chest and at the butt.

Securing the dog’s backside is very important because it:

  • Prevents the butt from somersaulting forward in an emergency stop or crash
  • Restrains the dog from trying free themselves by pulling the harness over their head

For the best results, we recommend outfitting your dog with our K9 Moto Harness and securing them into their Cockpit with Commuter size Rok Straps (not included with your Cockpit).

For more information about securing your dog in their Cockpit, check out this video.

Dog goggles are also essential riding gear to prevent infections and injury due to flying objects like bugs and debris. We recommend Rex Specs brand goggles (not included with your Cockpit).

We recommend riding with hard panniers or wide soft cases. In the event of a crash or tip-over, side cases will keep your dog further from the ground and further reduce the chance of injury.


Custom Build and Customizing Your Cockpit


The most thrilling ride experience comes when you have a personalized connection with your motorcycle. The same goes for your dog and their carrier. That’s why we do not offer the K9 Moto Cockpit as an off-the-shelf carrier.

Your Cockpit is a premium carrier that is tailored for you, your dog, and your motorcycle so you don’t have to accept the compromises and shortcomings of a one-size-fits-none approach. The Cockpit’s design principles and a custom build approach produces the very best outcomes for our riders:

  • Mounts the Cockpit as low as possible
  • Positions the Cockpit comfortably behind the rider’s back
  • Locates the baseplates so the passenger seat is unobstructed
  • Accommodates your aftermarket accessories
  • Enables you to select color and texture upholstery you want

Customization also enables us to fit Cockpits to a wide variety of ADV, cruiser, and touring-style motorcycles – and even to dirt bikes, scooters, and ebikes.

Here are the steps we take to build your custom Cockpit.

  1. We create a page for your build project here at and it provides examples and simple instructions for the photos we need of your bike.
  2. You take the photos and upload them to your project page.
  3. We create a Measurements Markup based on two or three of your photos and we post it to your project page.
  4. You take the measurements and upload them to your project page. If you have any doubts, we schedule a video call and work through it together.
  5. We create a Build Diagram based on your measurements.
  6. You double-check the measurements and approve or provide revisions. Again, if you have any doubts, we schedule a video call.

That’s it. Once you approve the Build Diagrams, we start the metalwork for your dog’s Cockpit. You can choose the custom upholstery at any time before we begin the build. We post workshop photos to your project so that you can follow the progress throughout the build. Once your build is finished, we post final workshop photos and then ship it to you by UPS or DHL.


How and Where We Build Your Cockpit


RUFFLY is based in California but we spend most of the year in Panajachel, Guatemala at gorgeous Lake Atitlan (map). This is where we have our workshop where we employ skilled metalworks, painters, and upholsterers. If you’re coming to Guatemala on holiday or traveling overland, contact us to schedule a visit!

Our expert craftsmen shape the tubular frame by bending and welding ¾-inch steel bars to create smooth, angle-free curves and joints. They build the bottom platform from sturdy 3-inch and 1 ½-inch wide plates. Once the frame is completed, we drill holes in the platform and build the brackets for your specific motorcycle.

After smoothing and polishing the metalwork, our painter covers the metal structure with a base coat and then multiple layers of matte black, anticorrosive automotive paint for a rugged, rust-free finish.

Next, the painted frame goes to our upholsterer where they wrap the bars with foam padding and your choice of outdoor vinyl and stitching. We inlay 1-inch reflective tape around the exterior and we integrate your personalized embroidered text into the sides.

Your Cockpit also includes a matching, lightweight 2-inch-thick seat cushion. The Cockpit cushion is removable for easy washing and can even be used in the hotel room or at the campsite.

The complete build and upholstering usually takes 8 weeks or less from when you approve your Build Diagram. UPS/DHL delivers to most international destinations within about one week.


You Share the Thrill of the Ride


Once you receive your custom Cockpit, there’s only a couple steps before you’re completely ready to ride.

  1. We provide all the screws and U-bolts you’ll need for mounting your Cockpit but we don’t replace OEM screws. If the installation requires OEM screws, then we recommend replacing your motorcycle’s original screws with ones that are ½-inch / 1 cm longer.
  2. Make sure you have tethers for securing your dog into their Cockpit. Tethers are not include.

And don’t forget eye protection!

Teaching your dog to leap onto the Cockpit, lay down, and ride is the last step. For most dogs, K9 rider training (free how-to) takes much less time than you’d expect. Most riders expect a long training process and then report taking their first ride together within a few hours or less.

After just a few rides, the process of riding with your dog – leap up, lay down, strap in – becomes totally natural, adds only a minute to ride prep, and opens a whole new world of thrilling experiences together!

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