Motorcycle Transport Options: Finding the Best Solution For You

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Transporting a motorcycle can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done so before. As a bike owner, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make — the first being what kind of transportation you want to haul the motorcycle from point A to point B.

What modes of transportation are available for shipping a motorcycle? Depending on pick-up and dropoff locations, as well as the route taken, there are a handful of options:

  • Boat transport
  • Air transport
  • Train transport
  • Trailer transport

Keep reading to learn more about each and how to determine which is the best choice for you.

Types of motorcycle shipping transportation

Boat transport

Boat transport only makes sense for motorcycle owners looking to ship their vehicle to remote U.S. territories or overseas. The bike will have to be left at the port in advance to be prepared and crated for shipment. 

Depending on the ship’s port of origin, destination and any route deviations, it can take several weeks or even months getting your motorcycle across the world by boat. You will also need to drop off and pick up your bike yourself or have a truck or trailer do it for you — adding to the final cost. 

Lastly, it’s important to consider regulations when transferring a motorcycle to another country. 

Air transport

Like boat transport, transport via air freight is typically recommended when moving a motorcycle intercontinental. 

Rather than waiting weeks to get your bike to its desired location, air transport only requires a wait of between 3 and 10 days from pickup to delivery — and any delays will only impact this timeline by a few days. But again, you will have to get your bike to and from shipping ports and consider customs regulations in the country you are shipping to if shipping across borders.

Train transport

Rail shipping is one of the least expensive transport methods, offering two options for motorcycle owners: bringing a bike as a carry-on item or shipping it as a parcel. The latter, like boat and air transport, requires you to bring the motorcycle to a parcel office at the departure train station. This type of transport is also one of the least attractive as the locations which your motorcycle can be shipped from and to are very limited.  

Trailer transport

Trailers are the most commonly chosen type of motorcycle transport when moving or traveling cross country. The trailer is attached to an over-the-road truck and driven by a professional with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). With the choice between an open or enclosed trailer, owners can select what level of protection they want based on the distance being traveled. Enclosed trailers are conducive for longer routes that require more stops, since they offer added shelter from weather, road debris and potential theft. Open trailers are cheaper and less protective, but may be sufficient for shorter trips. 

In most cases, the truck pulling the trailer can pick up and deliver the bike door-to-door or at a location of the owner’s choice (assuming that the selected location meets legal truck accessibility requirements), or the owner can drop it off and pick it up at a convenient distribution center location.

Read our complete motorcycle shipping guide to get answers to everything you should know. 

How a transport broker can help

Wondering which transport option is recommended for your motorcycle shipment? 

Working with a broker will help you weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine the best solution for you. Additionally, they will help arrange other details of your motorcycle shipment with the selected carrier. 

Montway Auto Transport is one of the most trusted auto transport brokers in the country, assisting 140,000+ car and motorcycle owners in shipping their vehicles every year. Contact us today at 888-989-8526 to learn more or get a quote for your motorcycle shipment.

motorcycle shipping