How much does it cost to crate a motorcycle? | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated March 15, 2023

So you’re arranging motorcycle transportation and you’ve decided to play it safe — it’s enclosed shipping all the way. Sadly, that’s not the last of the choices you’ll need to make. Do you go with a wooden crate or a steel one? Maybe save some money by using just a basic pallet? But how much does it cost to crate a motorcycle anyway? Let’s quickly run through the available options.

Crated motorcycle shipping — pros and cons

When shipping a motorcycle, the common approach is to just load it into a trailer, strap it down, and drive. But that’s not satisfactory for every bike owner, of course. The alternative is crated shipping, which involves fully enclosing the motorcycle in a wooden or metal container.

Crating a motorcycle in transport has its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, the main upside is the extra protection that the crate provides. The bike is safe from wear-and-tear, and the risk of theft is vastly reduced.

As an added benefit, crating usually allows you to store any additional equipment that needs transporting. (While you might be able to load your extra gear onto an open trailer too, that’s not an option we would recommend.)

A minor disadvantage of crating a motorcycle is the convenience reduction. Crated bikes can be more challenging to load and unload than uncrated ones. They require forklifts or other additional equipment, possibly limiting your choice of pick-up/drop-off locations. Likewise, requesting crated transport on an online marketplace might end up reducing the overall number of bids you receive.

That said, there is only one major downside to crated motorcycle shipping, and that’s the higher price point. In most cases, you’ll need to fork out a couple of hundred more to move a crated bike. But let’s look into that issue a little closer.

Price ranges and corner-cutting

Most motorcycle shipping companies that provide crated transport also offer their own crates. These robust containers of plywood or steel can add between $200 and $400 to the shipping cost. Incidentally, that’s about the same amount they cost to build! So when you hire a bike hauler, he might quote you an extra couple of hundred for the crate. But if you decide to build your own, the expense incurred will also be in a similar price range. It’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of situation.

Of course, building your own crate does save money if you’re moving the bike more than once. This might take some elbow grease, but if you’re up for a challenge, there are online tutorials out there. Here’s a good example:

And here’s a quick summary of the materials you’ll need for the project:

  • Sheets of plywood, either half-inch or quarter-inch 
  • Two-by-four wood studs
  • Steel eyelets for the tie-down
  • Styrofoam padding (optional)

If you’re not into DIY and still need a way of bringing down the cost, consider the palleted shipping alternative. It’s sort of midway between a full crate and plain old no-container shipping. This should go without saying, but the cost of purchasing or building a pallet is significantly lower as well.

No matter what you end up going with, it’s vitally important to discuss your plans with your motorcycle transporter! You’ll want them fully informed and prepared to meet your shipping requirements. And who knows, they might also provide useful advice on the particulars of your bike’s transport.

If you have more questions about prepping your motorcycle or booking a transporter, follow these links or email us at

Stay safe, and happy shipping!

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