How To Prepare for a Motorcycle Long Distance Transport

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated April 10, 2023

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As an avid motorcycle rider, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of the wind on your face, the rush of adrenaline, and the joy of exploring new routes and destinations. However, sometimes you may consider shipping a motorcycle cross country, and driving it all the way may not be a feasible or desirable option. In such cases, long distance motorcycle transport can be a convenient and safe way to get your bike to its destination.

But before you entrust your beloved ride to a shipping company, there are several things you need to do to prepare for the journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through each step of the process, from choosing a reputable company to packing your bike, securing it, and completing the necessary paperwork.

Research the Shipping Company

The first and foremost thing you should do when planning a long distance motorcycle transport is to find a reliable and reputable shipping company. Look for companies that specialize in motorcycle shipping, have experience in the type of transport you need (open vs. enclosed, door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal, etc.), and have positive reviews from past customers. Check their licenses, insurance, and safety record, as well as their pricing and delivery options. Get several quotes from different companies and compare them not only in terms of cost but also in terms of value, customer service, and guarantees.

Gather the Required Documents

Before you can ship your motorcycle, you need to have certain documents in order. These may include the title, registration, proof of insurance, and other paperwork depending on your destination and the shipping company’s requirements.

Make sure you have copies of these documents and that they are up-to-date and accurate. If you’re shipping your motorcycle overseas, you may need additional documents such as an export declaration, a bill of lading, or customs clearance forms. Check with your shipping company and the relevant authorities to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork and that you understand the regulations and fees.

Prepare Your Motorcycle

Once you’ve chosen a shipping company and taken care of the paperwork, it’s time to prepare your motorcycle for transport. This involves several steps that aim to protect your bike from damage, theft, or other issues during the journey.

Step 1: Clean your bike thoroughly, both inside and out. This will help you spot any existing damage or scratches and prevent dirt, dust, or debris from scratching the paint or clogging the vents.

Step 2: Remove any loose or detachable parts such as mirrors, saddlebags, screens, or fairings. Wrap them in bubble wrap, foam, or blankets and pack them securely in a separate box or container.

Step 3: Secure the remaining parts that cannot be removed, such as the handlebars, footpegs, or wheels. Use soft ties, straps, or bungee cords to hold them in place and prevent them from moving or vibrating.

Step 4: Drain the fuel tank to lessen the weight and minimize the risk of spillage. Disconnect the battery and remove it from the bike.

Step 5: Take photos or videos of your motorcycle from different angles and distances. This will serve as evidence of its condition before and after the transport and may help you file a claim if needed.

Step 6: Cover your motorcycle with a quality, breathable cover that fits snugly and doesn’t flap or rub against the paint. This will protect it from moisture, dust, or sunlight.

Secure Your Motorcycle

After you’ve prepared your motorcycle, the next step is to secure it for transport. This means choosing the right type of transport (open or enclosed), ensuring the proper loading and unloading procedures, and taking out insurance to cover any damage or loss that may occur.

Open transport: This method is less expensive but also less secure, as your motorcycle will be exposed to the elements, road debris, and potential theft or tampering. However, if you’re shipping your bike during good weather and short distances, you may opt for open transport as a cost-effective and convenient solution.

Enclosed transport: This method is more expensive but also more secure, as your motorcycle will be protected from the weather, dirt, and prying eyes. Enclosed transport is recommended for long distance shipments, valuable or exotic motorcycles, or when you want maximum peace of mind.

Loading and unloading: When your motorcycle is being loaded or unloaded from the carrier, make sure to supervise the process and check that the straps, ties, or braces are applied correctly and not too tight or loose. Inform the carrier of any special handling or loading requirements, such as a delicate or custom bike.

Insurance: Every shipping company should have insurance coverage that protects your motorcycle in case of damage or loss during transport. However, you may want to purchase additional insurance or check your own policy to ensure you’re fully covered. Ask your shipping company about their insurance policy and what it covers, and read the fine print carefully before signing.

Complete the Necessary Paperwork

Completing the necessary paperwork and documentation is the final step in preparing your motorcycle for long distance transport. This includes reviewing and signing the shipping contract, verifying the terms and conditions, and paying the fees and deposits.

Ensure you understand the refund and cancellation policies, the estimated delivery time, and the procedures for filing a claim if needed. Keep copies of all the documents and receipts, and contact the shipping company if you have any questions or concerns.

Motorcycle Long Distance Transport: DIY vs. Professional Shipping Services

When planning long distance motorcycle transport, you may wonder whether to do it yourself or hire a professional shipping service. While DIY transport may seem more cost-effective, it can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and risky. On the other hand, professional shipping services offer convenience, safety, and peace of mind, as they have the necessary equipment, experience, and insurance to handle your motorcycle with care.

International Motorcycle Shipping: Special Considerations

Shipping your motorcycle internationally comes with unique challenges, such as navigating customs, import/export regulations, and additional paperwork. When planning international motorcycle transport, work with a shipping company with international logistics experience and can guide you through the process.

Be prepared to pay additional fees, taxes, or duties, and ensure your motorcycle meets the destination country’s requirements, such as emissions standards or safety regulations.

FAQs: Motorcycle Long Distance Transport

How Can I Choose a Reputable Shipping Company for My Motorcycle?

Look for companies specializing in motorcycle shipping, with experience in the type of transport you need. Check their licenses, insurance, and safety record, as well as their pricing, customer service, and guarantees. Compare quotes from different companies to find the best fit.

What Documents Do I Need for Long Distance Motorcycle Transport?

Depending on your destination and the shipping company’s requirements, you will need documents such as the title, registration, proof of insurance, and other paperwork. For international shipping, additional documents like an export declaration, a bill of lading, or customs clearance forms may be necessary.

How Do I Prepare My Motorcycle for Long Distance Transport?

Clean your bike, remove loose or detachable parts, secure remaining parts, drain the fuel tank, disconnect and remove the battery, take photos or videos of your motorcycle, and cover it with a quality, breathable cover.

How Do I Secure My Motorcycle for Transport?

Choose between open or enclosed transport, ensure proper loading and unloading procedures, and take out insurance to cover any potential damage or loss.

What Paperwork Is Necessary for Long Distance Motorcycle Transport?

Complete the shipping contract, verify the terms and conditions, and pay the fees and deposits. Understand the refund and cancellation policies, estimated delivery time, and procedures for filing a claim if needed.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, long distance motorcycle transport can be an efficient and safe way to move your bike to another location. However, it requires careful preparation, research, and attention to detail. Follow the tips and advice in this guide, and you’ll be able to prepare your motorcycle for transport with confidence and ease.

Remember, when it comes to choosing a reputable shipping company, look no further than CitizenShipper, the US-based transportation marketplace that connects you with reliable and affordable carriers who specialize in motorcycle shipping. With CitizenShipper by your side, your motorcycle will be in good hands.