When shipping your motorcycle, you might have several container options available. From the bare-bones chock-on-trailer setup, you can go all the way to the full commercial enclosed crate shipping. But if you choose the DIY approach, a simple shipping pallet might be the most appropriate option.
So how do you make a motorcycle pallet, and how secure is it, anyway? The answers are “easier than you might think”, and “almost as secure as a crate”. But let’s dig in a little deeper.
Pallets vs. crates
In a lot of ways, a shipping pallet can serve as the base of a crate. Its purpose is twofold — it keeps the bike stable and makes the loading/unloading procedure easier. What it does not do is protect it from weather and debris on the road. For something like that, you’d need either an enclosed trailer or a full shipping crate.
Building a crate is more demanding than building a pallet, both in terms of resources and time. But having a solid pallet in place makes it easier to build a crate around it later on! We’ll briefly cover that down below, but first, let’s see what it takes to put together a motorcycle pallet.
Materials and equipment
It doesn’t take a lot of material to build a motorcycle shipping pallet. Keep in mind that the measurements listed below assume you’re shipping a moderately large motorcycle. Here’s the full list:
- Seven 2x4s, each about 8 ft. long (slightly longer than your bike)
- Five 2x4s, each about 32 inches long (a third of the 8-ft. long one)
- One 2×4, about 16 inches long (a sixth of the 8-ft. long one)
- A hammer and some nails (two dozen should be plenty)
- Eyelet screws are optional.
And that’s it! You can get most of this stuff at your local supply store; it shouldn’t be too expensive. Putting it all together might take you up to an hour, depending on your level of experience. So let’s get to it!
Making the motorcycle pallet, step by step
There are several video tutorials detailing the process on YouTube, but we’ll give you the basic rundown here.
Step #1: Start by bringing two of the longer 2x4s together, to a distance slightly higher than the width of your bike’s wheel. Make sure they’re standing up, the narrower side along the ground. At either end of this pair, lay down one of the shorter 2x4s flat and hammer them in place.
Step #2: You now have the “gutter” that the motorcycle will slide through. To make it stick, lay down three more of the shorter 2x4s across the longer ones, spacing them out more or less evenly. (Measure the bike axle to axle, and make sure one of the shorter 2x4s is behind the front wheel, one behind the back wheel, and one in between.) Complete the gutter by adding another 8-footer at the bottom, this one laid flat, for the wheel to rest on.
Step #3: Now that you have this basic structure in place, just flip it over onto two more of the longer 2x4s. These should be spaced out at about 32 inches so that the five shorter pieces connect to them. Hammer everything in place, then add another two 2x4s on top, sandwiching the shorter pieces in between the longer pairs.
Step #4: All that remains is hammering in the shortest 2×4 on one end of the gutter so that it serves as a rudimentary wheel chock. (If you’d purchased eyelet screws, choose where to place them on the pallet to help with the tiedown.) And you’re done! That wasn’t too hard, was it? Here’s roughly what the finished article should look like:
Enclosing the pallet
As we’ve mentioned before, you might later decide to enclose your bike after all. Luckily, with your shipping pallet in place, it should be easy to build a crate around it. All you need to make that happen are some screws, bolts, and six sturdy pieces of plywood!
We won’t go into details on this, but here is a helpful video tutorial to get you started:
Stay safe, and happy shipping!
Featured Image Credit: www.specialtycrate.com
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