Motorcycle Shipping: Answers to Every Common Question You May Have

4 min to read

Motorcycle owners know how important it is to keep their bikes in proper working condition, both on and off the road. And when moving or traveling across the country or overseas, you want to ensure your motorcycle makes it to its destination in one piece. 

We’re here to answer all the motorcycle shipping questions you may have to help you make the best decisions and ensure your transport goes as smoothly as possible.

What are the steps involved in motorcycle shipping?

From initial research into shipment, to when the motorcycle leaves its location of origin, there are many steps that need to be taken:

  1. Decide how you want your bike transported
  2. Find a company to ship your motorcycle
  3. Get a quote for transport
  4. Schedule pickup and delivery
  5. Prepare the bike for shipment

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine who is actually going to move your motorcycle and how you want it transported. Carrier companies are those that provide the actual transportation. While you can directly research and contact carriers yourself, you also have the option to use a broker or lead provider site to find the best offering. Many carriers provide several types of motorcycle transport depending on where the bike is being picked up and where it’s being delivered, including trailer, train, boat or air. 

Getting one or multiple quotes from transport providers is a good first step to better understand what is a reasonable rate and ensure you get the best value. 

Finally, you’ll need to schedule pickup and delivery of your motorcycle — agreeing on the location and timeframe with your chosen company — and prepare it for shipment. What you’ll need to do to get your bike ready is contingent on the carrier’s requirements and type of transport you select. 

For more on the motorcycle shipping process, check out our article on how motorcycle shipping works

What are my options for shipping a motorcycle?

Unless you ride your bike to its new destination or attempt to transport your motorcycle on your own (which we do not recommend), you’ll want to find a reputable company to ship it for you. 

Carriers provide the actual vehicle transportation. Keep in mind that finding a reputable carrier on your own is often time consuming and a bit confusing as they all communicate their services and pricing differently. You’ll have to source a list of carriers and contact each one, comparing their pricing, service, reputation and customer reviews. 

Another option is using a lead provider website. Lead provider services are in business to make money on your information. They will take your search criteria and sell it to a variety of companies. Expect to be inundated with emails and phone calls soliciting your business.  

Transport brokers have the expertise to connect you with a legitimate carrier. Working with a reputable broker can mitigate the complex steps of finding a carrier on your own and help you avoid the hassle of fielding offers generated by a lead provider service. A broker takes on the responsibility of vetting carriers and will match you with the right one for your needs and budget. Learn more about all the advantages of shipping your motorcycle with a broker.

What type of transport options are available to ship a motorcycle?

There are many factors to consider for shipment. Depending on your starting location and final destination, the motorcycle could be shipped via boat, air, train or trailer. If you’re moving or traveling overseas, boat or air transport will be required in addition to a truck that will drop off and pick up the bike from the ports or airport. Check out our article on motorcycle transport options and the differences between them. 

Trailers are the most common method for transporting a motorcycle across the country. Pulled behind a truck, trailers are most convenient as the driver can pick up, load and deliver your motorcycle from your home or another location you choose.

If you select this type of transport, you’ve got another decision to make: either an open or closed trailer. Be careful in choosing an open transport trailer as road debris could potentially damage your motorcycle. Visit our blog on open vs. enclosed shipping trailers to learn about the differences, benefits and challenges of the two.

What are best practices for shipping a motorcycle?

The process might seem cut and dry, but there are some tips and best practices to keep in mind for shipping your motorcycle. It’s important to take the time to understand your logistical transport options. Keeping yourself informed reduces the risk of using a disreputable company or falling victim to a scam (see next section). 

Likewise, you’ll want to request quotes from a handful of companies to weed out any that display significantly lower prices. Going with the cheapest option may result in lower-quality service — save yourself the headache and choose the best overall company that offers the most value for the price, good customer service and opportunities to customize your shipping solution. If you do your research and look at reviews, you’re sure to find what works best for your needs and budget.

When the actual shipping date and time arrives, make sure you and your motorcycle are prepared. Take pictures of the bike prior to pick up, noting any existing scratches or dents, so you can easily identify any damage that could be incurred in transit. Pay attention to carrier requirements and instructions about the amount of gasoline in the tank, tire pressure, fluid levels or other preparations.

Check out our extended advice to find additional best practices and motorcycle shipping tips.

What mistakes do motorcycle owners commonly make when shipping their vehicles?

There are a few things to avoid when planning and executing your motorcycle transport. 

Some motorcycle owners attempt to transport their bikes on their own. Without the proper equipment or skill, this is a surefire way to damage your vehicle and/or injure yourself. Like with most services, it’s best to leave your motorcycle shipment to the professionals. We cover additional mistakes and challenges motorcycle owners experience when shipping their vehicles in this blog post.

Don’t get duped by scammers trying to take advantage of you. Some frequent motorcycle shipping scams include pricing bait and switches, lead providers selling your personal information or con artists posing as motorcycle transport carriers who look to take your money without providing any transport services. Learn more about these motorcycle shipping scams and how to identify and avoid them.

Ready to get started? Montway Auto Transport is your partner throughout the entire process, helping you find a reliable carrier for your motorcycle shipment, arranging details of your transport and ensuring everything goes off without a hitch. Learn more about our motorcycle transport solutions.

Contact us at 888-989-8526 today and we’ll be happy to assist you.