Transporting a Motorcycle: Process From Start to Finish


Every shipping company has a slightly different shipping process for motorcycles. These can differ due to company policy, operational procedures, or on a case-by-case basis.

But regardless of your particular scenario, there are a couple of steps that always remain the same when transporting a motorcycle to attend an event, or support a cause, far from home. 

Ask for Quotes

Hundreds, if not thousands, of carriers can handle automobile and motorcycle shipments across the U.S. and internationally. It doesn’t mean that everyone offers equal service or has the same level of experience.

When you need to transport a motorcycle with a shipping company, asking for quotes is one of the first steps to take.

This is a quick way to filter out carriers outside your price range. But don’t make the mistake of simply picking a shipping company based on the quote.

There’s a lot more to figure out before finding the right partner.

Ask for Background Information

Getting a quote from a carrier will quickly move into a discussion with a representative if that’s what you want.

But while the representative might try to overwhelm you with information designed to get you to buy their services, you should ask some additional questions.

Ask the representative about the company’s experience with shipping motorcycles. You’ll want transparency regarding the trailers, equipment, packaging, drivers, routes, and other aspects directly affecting motorcycle transport.

You should also ask about a history of fulfilled orders, reviews, potential traffic accidents, etc.

Lastly, you should learn more about the carrier’s cargo insurance policy. Depending on the type of motorcycle you want to ship or its value, not all carriers have policies big enough to reimburse you in the event of total loss.

Learn More About Shipping Costs

After you have some quotes and additional information on the carriers, you should compare the quotes.

Better still, you could research and compare the quotes to the industry average rates. There are usually set fees for transporting motorcycles locally, over long distances, and internationally.

There may even be set fees for specific weight ranges, motorcycle types, etc.

The more you learn about the pricing structure of a motorcycle shipment, the easier it is to determine which carrier gave you a reasonable quote and which of them are overcharging.

Pick a Transport Method

With a better understanding of motorcycle transport pricing, you can select the preferred method of transport.

This can be a purely financial decision, but it’s worth considering other aspects of shipping a bike. Open transport is more dangerous, especially over long distances or through busy urban areas.

Enclosed transport, while always pricier, will protect your bike from road debris, accident damage, and harsh weather.

Usually, enclosed trailer transport and container or crate shipping via freight ship are the safest ways to transport a motorcycle. They’re also the most convenient in terms of price to quality of service ratio. You can find more details on different transport methods in this article

Mention Any and All Specific Requirements

If your bike needs special care and handling, you should inform the carrier before agreeing to a deal.

For example, you might have a motorcycle with a blocked handlebar. Maybe it doesn’t have wheels, or it has fragile or worn-down elements.

You must ensure the carrier has the equipment and expertise to handle your bike with the utmost care.

Book a Date (Unless You Need a Same-Day Delivery Service)

If you want to book a motorcycle shipment days, weeks, or months in advance, doing so as early as possible is advisable.

It will give you enough time to reschedule and plenty of time to prepare your bike for transport. In some cases, you may even qualify for off-season deals and save money.

However, if you need a fast delivery, you’ll want to go through the next step first.

Clarify the Packaging Process

You don’t have to wait until you book a shipment and get a shipping manager to learn about the packaging process.

You can always contact the carrier and ask about your responsibilities and how much of the shipping process the company handles.

Some offer a full-service deal where they come and pick up the motorcycle, load it into a trailer, secure it, and take care of it until it reaches its destination.

Other carriers may require you to crate or wrap your motorcycle before pickup. To ensure there aren’t any contractual or insurance policy loopholes that can be used against you, clarify the packaging process well in advance.

Document Your Bike’s Condition

Don’t ship any vehicle without clearly documenting its condition before pickup. This will ensure that any damage during transit while in the carrier’s care can’t be dismissed as owner-caused damage.

Take photos of every scratch and dent, and inform the carrier of broken or malfunctioning components. 

Apply Any Finishing Touches

After coordinating with the shipment manager, there’s not much to do but sit tight and wait for the carrier to pick up the bike.

Make sure it’s clean, the tank isn’t full, and you haven’t left any personal possessions on the bike because they won’t be covered by cargo liability insurance.

In case you have to take the bike to a carrier for processing, follow the instructions given by the shipping company’s representative.

A Quick and Painless Way to Move a Bike Without Riding It

Whether you can’t afford to spend a few extra days on the road or want to spare your bike’s mileage, shipping a motorcycle is a no-brainer solution. 

Do you want to attend an event? If so, compare some quotes, do your due diligence on the carriers, set your delivery timeframe, and pick the shipping company that can cater to your needs.

Shipping a motorcycle ensures its safe and timely arrival and can free up your time to do other things. Besides, it’s a small price to pay to avoid road fatigue, bad weather, missing an event, or damaging your bike along the way.

If you’re interested in taking your bike outside your local comfort zone, feel free to reach out to find more about the best ways to transport a motorcycle and about events worthy of your attention.

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