The K9 Moto Cockpit is a premier, custom-built dog carrier designed for superior safety and performance – but here’s who it might not be right for
The goal of the K9 Moto Cockpit motorcycle dog carrier is to help you share a thrilling ride together no matter what situations you encounter. That’s why we designed the K9 Moto Cockpit to deliver maximum safety and performance under the most demanding conditions:
- Large dog
- Tall motorcycle
- Challenging roads
- Extreme weather
The design principles make the Cockpit the safest, most effective solution for a wide range of conditions, motorcycles, dogs, and riders.
But the Cockpit is not the right carrier for every rider. In this article, we review several features to help you decide if the Cockpit is the best carrier for you.
Placing your dog in a carrier that is too spacious has serious drawbacks. They are easily thrown around inside the carrier during fast leans, hard braking, or a crash situation. On the other hand, if the carrier fits more snuggly, your dog will experience less movement. Less movement means less acceleration before coming into contact with the carrier.
It’s understandable to assume that your dog prefers to have space to move about freely. However, for your dog’s safety, comfort, and enjoyment, it’s best to limit their freedom of movement. It’s also safer when your dog’s motorcycle dog carrier fits them well.
Allowing your dog to move about freely means they are more likely to struggle to keep their balance. Fighting for balance is exhausting and stressful for your dog. It also takes their attention away from the purpose of riding: enjoying the amazing sights, sounds, and smells around them.
The K9 Moto Cockpit comes in three sizes:
- The Mini Cockpit is designed for dogs that weigh about 20-45lb / 9-20kg
- The Standard Cockpit suits dogs between 45-85lb / 20-39kg
- The Large Cockpit is customed sized to accommodate dogs larger than 85lb / 39kg
If your dog is smaller than 20lb / 9kg then the Cockpit is probably not the right carrier for them.
There are numerous carrier options for small dogs, which means you don’t have to look far. Just be sure to select a carrier that fits your dog well. Otherwise, their ride experience might be stressful and uncomfortable.
Check out our Rider’s Guide to the Best Motorcycle Dog Carrier for a review of the most popular small dog carrier.
Extreme Cold and Heavy Rain
Most riders ride in the spring, summer, and fall months when temperatures range from moderate to extremely hot. For those who also ride in the winter, most live in areas with temperate climates, like the American Southwest.
When riding in moderate to extremely hot temperatures, you want a carrier that provides maximum airflow and ventilation. This is the very best way to keep your dog cool and safe from the heat.
That’s why the K9 Moto Cockpit has an open-air design. The padded tubular frame allows free airflow for superior ventilation over enclosed-style carriers. If your dog requires sun protection, our sunshade cover is in development and will be available soon.
If you ride only or primarily in extremely cold weather or heavy rain conditions, then an enclosed carrier is the better option for you.
When your dog rides through cold and rain in the K9 Moto Cockpit, you only need two easily packable items to keep them warm, dry, and comfortable:
- K9 Moto Rainfly
- Cold weather dog jacket
For more information about riding in different types of weather, check out our article about Protecting Your Dog from the Elements.
Passenger Backrests and Trunks
Laying down is the safest, most comfortable, and most enjoyable riding position for your dog. When your dog is laying, they:
- Focus their attention on the sights, sounds, and smells rather than trying to keep their balance
- Don’t struggle and exhaust themselves fighting to keep their balance
- Don’t get thrown from side to side and smash dangerously against the sides of the carrier
The laying position is also better for the rider and the bike’s performance. It keeps the weight lower and better connected to the motorcycle for a more natural ride geometry. On the other hand, a sitting or standing dog moves around more and more erratically. These movements destabilize the motorcycle, stress the rider, and endanger you and your dog’s safety.
For these reasons, the K9 Moto Cockpit places the dog in a laying position within a padded, low-profile protective carrier. This means that the Cockpit has a long footprint to accommodate a comfortable, natural laying position. This design easily accommodates a rider’s backrest, but it does not allow for a passenger sissy bar or luggage stored above seat-level behind the passenger.
If your motorcycle has a non-removable trunk unit or backrest – or if you are unwilling to remove it while the carrier is installed – then the Cockpit is not going to work for you.
For riders who come to us with non-removable trunk units – like those found on some Goldwing and CanAm models – we have a recommendation. Consider how you might be able to strap a tether system around the trunk unit and passenger handrails. This might allow you to secure your dog’s harness into the bucket-style passenger seat. It’s not as safe and comfortable as laying in the Cockpit, but it might be the only option for your motorcycle.
For more information about the riding position, check out our article about the benefits of the laying position over sitting and standing.
It doesn’t require any explanation to imagine why a quick-release setup is desirable. However, we live in a universe governed by the iron triangle where we have to compromise between Good, Fast, and Cheap.
The latches, levers, and knobs that make quick-release systems Fast also introduce substantial vulnerability into the system. This is because, springs, snaps, buttons, and latches are weaker and more likely to fail than bolts secured with nuts and Loctite.
The vulnerabilities inherent in quick-release systems are generally acceptable when it comes to securing a top case or trunk. If it fails, you only stand to lose easily replaceable items like clothes, tools, and spares. But it’s well worth asking yourself if a quick-release system is fail-proof enough to rely on for securing your 40, 60, or 80lb dog.
The K9 Moto Cockpit does not employ a quick-release system or quick-release connections for installing to your motorcycle. However, as a custom build, we often create brackets that can subtly remain on the motorcycle while the Cockpit is not in use.
If you know of a specific quick-release system that you trust to use with your Cockpit, then we can build your Cockpit to mount to it. Otherwise, the Cockpit might not be the right carrier for your preferences.
Most Cockpit mounting setups rely on no more than a handful of bolts or U-bolts. That’s why most Cockpit riders report that installation and removal takes less than 5-10 minutes with a little practice.
Participating in the Process
We do not mass produce the K9 Moto Cockpit. Instead, we build your Cockpit to accommodate your dog, your motorcycle, and your aftermarket accessories. This allows us to achieve a final product that is unique to the needs, preferences, and style of the rider.
We preform your Cockpit build remotely because it eliminates the:
1. Cost of transporting your motorcycle to a workshop
2. Time lost while your motorcycle is at a workshop
We developed a tested, effective ‘pre-build process’ to collect the information we need and build your Cockpit remotely. In most cases, the pre-build process takes 30-60 minutes of quality garage time with your motorcycle.
The pre-build process involves:
1. Uploading a series of photos of your dog and motorcycle
2. Providing measurements according to the Measurements Markup we prepare
3. Double checking measurement specs in the simple Build Diagram we create based on your original measurements
We perform the pre-build process through your online project page, which you receive after completing the checkout. Your project page provides simple written instructions, examples, and video recordings to guide us along. This simple, step-by-step process has proven extremely effective and has evolved to incorporate the important feedback we have received from our many dozens of riders. Of course, we are also in personal contact throughout the process to answer any questions or provide clarifications.
If you are unable or unwilling to take the photos and measurements and use the online tool for this process, then the Cockpit is not the right carrier for you.
As an alternative, we offer the K9 Moto Cockpit Build Guide for riders who have the construction skills and tools to build their own Cockpit-style carrier. For those who prefer an off-the-shelf solution – and have a make-model for which one is available – refer back to our Rider’s Guide to the Best Motorcycle Dog Carrier.
Motorcycle dog carriers are universally expensive because your motorcycle is not designed to carry a canine passenger. Smaller carriers are less expensive because the design challenges are far less complex. Nevertheless, an inexpensive carrier for small dogs is probably not a safe option.
For medium and large dogs, the challenges are far greater, which means that even a Cheap carrier is expensive.
Putting your dog in a sidecar or trailer is a simpler solution, which you might expect to be less expensive. In most cases, it is not because side cars and trailers include axels, wheels, tires, and lighting systems. Aside from the price, this is not a Good option because it drastically alters the experience of riding on two wheels.
The K9 Moto Cockpit is designed to maximize your dog’s comfort and safety, and your motorcycle’s performance. These are the top design priorities. We are conscious of price but we will always choose to be Good rather than Cheap.
That’s one reason why RUFFLY offers the Cockpit as a custom-build. It allows us to produce a final product that best suits your motorcycle, your preferences, and your aftermarket accessories.
If low price is a top priority for you, then the Cockpit is not the right carrier for you.
Other carrier options are manufactured as off-the-shelf products. This means they:
- Can only be mounted to a narrow range of motorcycles
- Offer few options to personalize your carrier
- Cannot accommodate aftermarket accessories
The off-the-shelf approach enables some carriers to achieve a lower price point while others cost as much or more than the Cockpit.
We achieve a competitive price through smart purchasing and manufacturing practices. But, again, we will always choose Good over Cheap.
For more information about what makes the Cockpit a premium carrier with superior performance features, check out our article about the design principles.
Get Informed and Choose What’s Best for You
We think that the K9 Moto Cockpit is the best way to help most – but not all – riders to share the thrill of the ride with their dog. If one or more of the situations described above applies to you, then the Cockpit is not the right carrier for you.
We want you to have all the necessary information, so you can weigh the options to determine which carrier will work best for you. We only want you to choose the Cockpit when you’re totally convinced that it is the superior platform for you and your dog.
If you go with another carrier, will still be here to happily answer any questions you have about riding, traveling, and motorcycle camping together. We’ll also welcome you with open arms when another carrier leaves you dissatisfied, revealing that the Cockpit was actually the best choice for you all along! 😉
Other resources to explore
For a full overview of the K9 Moto Cockpit, check out our Gear Guide video. For more questions about safety, check out this article about the safety features and considerations. You can always head over to our FAQs page and join the K9 Moto Cockpit Group on Facebook to receive a range of opinions and advice. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!