How to Crate a Motorcycle?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated February 23, 2024

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You are planning on transporting your motorbike and have decided the safest option is to have it shipped in a crate. Now you know that real decisions need to be made. Should the crate be made of steel or wood, should you make it yourself or get a pre-built one? This article runs through the options of how to create a motorcycle.

Crated motorcycle shipping

Motorcycles are often loaded onto a trailer or the tray of a truck and strapped down for transport.

But if:

  • your bike is going a longer distance,
  • or you expect poor weather conditions,
  • or have a particularly expensive bike,

then putting your bike in a crate is a brilliant option.

A crated motorcycle will be fully enclosed, protected from the weather and the dirt and debris of the journey. Additionally, a well-constructed crate can assist in reducing the possibility of theft.

If you are transporting your motorcycle for an event such as Sturgis Rally, a crate can be a great way also to store and transport extra gear such as protective equipment, spare tires, tools, or riding accessories.

The motorcycle crate options

There are several options when it comes to transporting a motorcycle with a crate. The main choice is between metal or solid timber plywood. You can buy these crates can from a motorcycle transporter or a bike shop, or you can make your own. Surprisingly the cost is about the same for both options for the initial cost. But if you will be shipping your motorcycle often, then the cost over time will be less. If you think that you have the skills to make your own, this is a great way to get the crate customized exactly to your bike and gear requirements. There is a multitude of excellent tutorials online. Here is a great example:

And here’s a quick summary of the materials you’ll need for this wooden crate 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 don’t have a big budget and don’t intend to ship your motorcycle a lot, consider the palletized shipping alternative. It’s midway between a full crate and shipping using straps. This should go without saying, but the cost of purchasing or building a pallet is much lower as well.

Wood or metal?

This is a crucial decision to make. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and your own personal circumstances will inform the decision rather than there being a clear-cut answer. Metal crates can be lighter than wood, especially when they are made from perforated or cage steel. However, these provide less protection against the weather. Wooden boxes offer the most robust storage but can be bulky, hard to store, and can be damaged by impact.

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 details of your bike’s transport.

Finding a motorcycle transporter

Motorcycle transporters will have the necessary equipment such as a large flatbed truck or a car and a trailer with ramps to get your bike where it needs to go. You can ask around at local motorcycle shops, clubs, or race tracks for a recommendation.

Using CitizenShipper

Using a shipping marketplace platform such as CitizenShipper is the fastest way to get several quotes, fast. Simply post the details of your shipment on the CitizenShipper website, and then you’ll receive personalized quotes from experienced drivers. Once you receive the quotes you can discuss in more detail the journey, including your cart options. In some cases, CitizenShipper drivers can help with the crate by either lending you one or shipping your motorcycle in an enclosed truck or trailer. You can also discuss their experience with motorcycles, their availability, and if they have any additional insurance that you may need. It’s important to take into consideration a range of factors before choosing a transporter and not just taking the first or lowest bid (although sometimes these can also exactly meet your needs!)

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

Stay safe, and happy shipping!