Shipping a Motorcycle From USA to Canada Without Breaking the Bank

Ship My Motorcycle

Shipping a motorcycle to Canada is a lot easier to do from the U.S. than other international destinations. But don’t let the proximity of the two countries and many miles of shared border fool you.

If you don’t understand how shipping a bike to Canada works, you can end up overpaying for the service. There are a few ways you can reduce the cost based on the method of transport, how you tackle customs, and knowing what luxuries you can do without.

What You Need to Know About Transport Options

If you want to ship a motorcycle from the U.S. to Canada, you have several safe and affordable options.

Roll On, Roll Off

This is probably the most common way to transport a motorcycle via ship. The shipper rolls the motorcycle on the boat and secures it with specialized equipment or strong tie-downs. Then, your bike will be rolled off the boat at the nearest port that’s convenient to you.

Note that this method can also be combined with overland transport after the bike arrives in Canada.


Choosing the port-to-port shipping method is the most affordable way to move a bike from the U.S. to Canada.

A port-to-port shipping service only handles taking the motorcycle from port A to port B. You have to deliver it to the shipping company and arrange for pickup once it reaches its destination.

This is a budget-friendly alternative because it allows you to forgo land shipping services, which in turn helps save hundreds of dollars. But this may not be the best option for you if the distance between you and the nearest port is too long, or you don’t have time to deliver the bike yourself.

Container or Crated Shipping

Shipping a bike from the U.S. to Canada in a container may seem like a great way to ensure your motorcycle’s safety. However, containers are large and can be expensive if you’re not shipping multiple bikes.

A better alternative for shipping a single bike is crated shipping. It’s also known as palletized shipping in some circles.

This method involves fastening the bike inside a crate, preventing it from tipping over and protecting against the elements.

If you combine crated and port-to-port shipping, you can get the best of both worlds in terms of protection in transit and affordable transport.

Shipping via Land or Air

Land transport is great for moving a motorcycle across several states, but it may not be the best way to ship one to Canada.

When it comes to land, shipping distance and weight will significantly affect the price. Although you have multiple options like flatbed shipping, open and enclosed trailers, trucks, and others, it generally costs more, especially if you’re shipping from the Southern States.

Air travel is usually more expensive, even if you need to ship something over short distances. Due to airplanes having limited cargo space and stricter packaging regulations, it’s more expensive even than land shipping over great distances.

Furthermore, air shipping a bike comes with even more restrictions if you have an electric motorcycle. Batteries need to be packed following strict guidelines that not all carriers may be equipped to handle.

Other Factors That Can Influence the Cost

The shipping method isn’t the only variable affecting the delivery price. The carrier may consider the time of year, weather conditions, and even the condition of your bike when calculating your quote.

For example, shipping non-functional motorcycles or disassembled bikes is usually more challenging in terms of logistics and packaging. If your bike can at least be rolled onto a trailer or crate, it should be cheaper to ship because it won’t require specialized machinery to move.

It’s always best to get a full quote breakdown to see how different carriers can tackle your unique requirements.

Avoid Broker Insurance

Every vehicle shipping company will have liability insurance. But depending on the policy, it may not cover certain damage, like that resulting from a natural disaster. It’s also possible that the carrier doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover expensive or collectible vintage bikes in the event of total loss.

This usually makes some people want to buy insurance from shipping brokers. Some of these extra insurance policies may have extended coverage that complements the carrier’s policy.

However, if you want to move your bike from the U.S. to Canada without breaking the bank, extended insurance coverage is an expense you can avoid.

Clear Customs the Right Way

Contrary to popular belief, shipping a bike to Canada, even from the U.S., isn’t always easy. 

Say you’re not shipping it across the border to sell it but to explore the Great White North. 

Even if you ship a bike for recreational purposes and personal use, it still has to clear U.S. and Canadian customs. Just as you must present the proper identification, your bike must be accompanied by the correct documents.

This involves a lot of paperwork you may not be prepared to handle, according to

Working with a carrier that has experience in international shipping is advised. Filling out the paperwork correctly will help your bike clear customs quickly and avoid potential fines or extra fees for missing documents.

Don’t Let the Process Scare You

If, for some reason, you can’t ride your bike into Canada and want it delivered, you don’t have to pay a fortune. U.S. to Canada shipping can be cheap and quick, depending on the distance and method of transport.

But working with a specialized carrier is often advised to ensure your bike can easily clear customs and reach its destination safely. Experiencing the Canadian landscape on a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, so don’t let some logistical details prevent you from having an amazing adventure.

If you’d like to learn more about traveling across Canada on a motorcycle for personal or business purposes, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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