What is the Motorcycle Recovery System (MRS)?






The MRS is a z-drag rope-and-pulley system originally developed for mountaineering and rescue teams.  That system was modified for motorcycle recovery operations.  Recovery refers to the process of getting the bike back on the road or trail after taking an unexpected detour, or the process of getting the bike out of a bog or a sandpit.

Don’t be fooled by other towing kits or lifting systems that employ simple straps, roller cams, or a series of ratchets… BestRest’s MRS uses life/safety grade mountain climbing components to lift, drag, or pull your motorcycle.  Because we use those components, you’re gonna pay more.  Simply stated, there isn’t a better recovery system on the market.  You can take that to the bank.

Listen as Mr. BestRest explains the MRS on Adventure Rider Radio:  MRS – Adventure Rider Radio

This simple kit will get you out of a sticky situation… we know because it’s saved our bacon a number of times.

For a video showing the MRS in action (RECOVERY) click here:

For a video showing the MRS in action (TOWING) click here:

Photo at left shows the MRS Heavy Duty kit.  It comes in a blue nylon carrying bag.  (not red as shown in this old photo)

The MRS reduces an object’s lifting or pulling weight by 2/3, which means a solo rider weighing 200 pounds can literally lift a 600 pound motorcycle completely off the ground, or they can easily drag the bike out of any situation.  Think of it this way – if the Egyptians were able to build the pyramids using ropes and pulleys, you can use those same techniques to recover your fallen motorcycle.  Instructions clearly explain how to tie knots, how to hook up your bike, and how to use the system for maximum advantage.  Once you understand the system you’ll find yourself looking around for things to lift or pull or move – we did.  (As we practiced various recovery scenarios we found outselves sitting in an easy chair, pulling the chair and self across the living room.  That exercise was quickly terminated when Mrs. BestRest walked in…)

MRS Tow Rope Story #1.  In July ’12 I attended the Washington State BMW Rally.  Saturday morning 13 of us took a GS ride up to a remote mountaintop.  After a brief stop we headed down the mountain… well, most of the riders did.  My bike refused to start due to a fuel injector issue.  We tried every known remedy including a GS911 diagnostic module, calls to the dealership, adding fuel, etc.  We finally pulled out the MRS and used the rope to tow my bike 15 miles “down” to camp (it wasn’t all downhill).  Thanks to the MRS I saved a $300++ tow bill.  The injector issue was eventually resolved without a visit to the shop.  I’ll never ride in the hills without having the MRS in my saddlebag. – Mr. BestRest 

MRS Recovery Story #2.  In Oct ’12 I was riding my KTM 450 on the single-track trails near Mt. St. Helens.  The trail had a creek crossing, a bridge wash-out, and a steep rocky climb on the far bank.  We reconstructed the trail a bit, and I thought I could make it up the other side, but my skills weren’t up to the task and I fell halfway.  We couldn’t turn the bike around and go back, so we hooked up the MRS and proceeded to “winch” my bike up the impassable slope.  After my bike was across we did the same for my buddy’s bike.  It was surprisingly easy.  – Mr. BestRest


In the photo below, the yellow strap is attached to your anchor point (tree, large rock, other immovable object), the motorcycle would be attached to the rope at right, and you would be pulling on the rope at lower left.  As you pull the rope the motorcycle is easily pulled forward, or up, or out, depending on your situation.

Photos courtesy of Puget Sound Safety.

If you reverse the setup described above and connect the yellow strap to your bike (and the rope at right to your anchor point), you can literally sit astride the motorcycle while you pull on the rope.  As you pull, the bike will be inexorably drawn toward the anchor point.  Alternatively, you can stand alongside the bike and pull the rope, or you can stand at the anchor point and pull the bike toward you.  Two person recovery is easiest, but SOLO recovery is also possible.  We practice the solo method, since that’s the way we normally ride.

The MRS is great for every trail rider, dualsport rider, and adventure rider.  Whether you ride solo most of the time (like Mr. BestRest), or with a group of fellow enthusiasts, the MRS provides the means and methods to get your bike out of a difficult situation.

One word on recovery kits that use roller cams as part of their system… that word is FRICTION.  Roller cams have a much higher friction coefficient than the pulley systems we use in our MRS kits.  Those small cams eat up your pulling/lifting ability, and that reduces efficiency, and that reduces lifting ability.  Our SMC pulleys minimize friction, which is why they’re used by rock climbers and EMS rescue teams.

Component Specifications (vary by kit):

Primary rope is 8mm diameter, with a 3,000 lb. load rating
Flat webbing is 1″ wide with a 4,000 lb. load rating
Prusik loops are pre-tied, 6mm diameter, with a 1,700 lb. load rating
Pulleys are single or double (depending on kit), with a 5,000 lb. load rating
Carabiners are non-locking, chrome, with a 4,500 lb. load rating

Want to see it in action? 

For a video showing the MRS in action (RECOVERY) click here:

For a video showing the MRS in action (TOWING) click here:

Available in 3 versions: 3:1 Trail Kit  or 5:1 Heavy Duty Kit


What does the 3:1 TRAIL Kit system include?

  • 1 – 65′ primary rope, 6mm, rated to 1,700 lbs.
  • 2 – 1″ x 5′ flat tubular webbing
  • 2 – pre-tied prusik loops, rated to 1,700 lbs.
  • 2 – rescue-quality non-locking carabiners
  • 2 – rescue-quality prusik-minding pulleys
  • 1 ea – quick reference “crib sheet” showing knots and setup
  • 1 ea – detailed instruction booklet – this info makes all the difference !!!
  • 1 ea – red nylon carry bag with velcro closure and loops for tie-down
  • Total size = 2.5″ x 6″ x 9″ ” – easily straps on back of bike
  • Total weight = 2 lb. 1 oz.
  • Mechanical advantage 3:1 (150 lb rider can LIFT a 450 lb motorcycle)*
  • recommended for small trail bikes up to 500cc







Only the Trail Kit has the webbing for strapping the kit to the bike.  Tie down straps not included.

What does the 5:1 HEAVY DUTY Kit system include?

  • 1 – 82′ primary rope, 8mm rated to 3,000 lbs
  • 2 – 1″ x 5′ flat tubular webbing
  • 1 – 1″ x 10′ flat tubular webbing
  • 2 – pre-tied prusik loops, 6mm rated to 1,700 lbs.
  • 2 – rescue-quality non-locking carabiners
  • 2 – rescue-quality double prusik-minding pulleys
  • 1 ea – quick reference “crib sheet” showing knots and setup
  • 1 ea – detailed instruction booklet – this info makes all the difference !!!
  • 1 ea – blue, soft nylon carry bag with reflective striping
    (main product photo shows the bag but that older version was red)
    (the heavy duty kit carry bag does not have tie-down webbing)
  • Total size = 7x7x11″ – easily fits in saddlebag or on tail rack
  • Total weight = 3 lb. 12 oz.
  • Mechanical advantage 5:1 (150 lb rider can LIFT a 750 lb motorcycle)*
  • recommended for larger bikes over 500cc (BMW R12GS, etc)

*Most recovery operations DON’T require that you actually LIFT the bike… some weight remains on the ground during recovery. Select a kit based on your weight/strength, and the weight of your bike.

We REALLY like the fact that you can use the kit’s components for other applications, besides just the recovery function. Additional uses include:

  • Secure a camp shelter or tent ridge
  • Hoist food up a tree to keep critters at bay when camping
  • Tie down the bike in a truck or trailer
  • Towing system in case of mechanical failure
  • Lash gear to the bike
  • Move logs or other obstacles off the trail

The kit’s hardware has ratings comparable to those used by emergency personnel and rescue crews. The contents are made and assembled in the USA.

Comments from Mr. BestRest about alternative recovery systems:

Warn Industries (used to) make a great electric winch system, but they discontinued the product.  We’ve seen it in action and it’s pretty slick.  Unfortunately it’ll cost you over $650 w/ the mounting plate, which (to us) is the financial equivalent of an arm and a leg.  The winch and plate are dead weight on the bike – about 10 lbs, and it’s too big to mount on a smaller trail bike.  The Warn winch pulls well, but the steel cable is actually rated for lifting (or pulling) less weight than the MRS.

If you’re a rock climber or sailing enthusiast, you’re familiar with ropes and pulleys and knots and that sort of stuff.  You can probably cobble together your own kit for a few dollars less than an MRS – go for it!  However, for the rest of us the MRS brings together a full kit of field-tested components, plus it gives you all the diagrams, tips, and methods needed for effective motorcycle recovery.  From our perspective that makes the MRS worth every penny.

Select the desired option from the drop-down menu at top of page.

Note:  As of April ’19 the Basic version of the MRS has been discontinued.  (it was a 3:1 system).  Order the 3:1 Trail Kit instead.