How Expensive Is Motorcycle Shipping: Costs, Options and Tips

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated: May 16, 2023 / Published: April 8, 2023

How Expensive Is Motorcycle Shipping: Costs, Options, and Tips

Experiencing the open road on a motorcycle is unparalleled. However, riding your motorcycle there might not be feasible when relocating to a distant new home with your family. Given their weight, motorcycle shipping by loading them into a moving truck is impractical. Towing it yourself is an option, but you could risk damage or theft over long distances.

Bike shipping across the country can be both affordable and convenient with the help of experienced shipping companies. Here’s a complete guide to shipping your motorcycle.

Average Motorcycle Shipping Costs and Factors Affecting Prices

On average, bike shipping costs around $940. However, prices may vary based on factors such as transport type and distance. Open transport (a truck without walls or a roof) is the most affordable choice, but it also comes with higher risks (some top motorcycle shipping companies don’t even offer this option). Bike shipping companies provide various price and risk levels to suit your preferences, whether you need open transport for a dirt bike or an enclosed carrier for a Harley.

Safe, Affordable Motorcycle Shipping

Estimating Motorcycle Shipping Costs

Shipping a motorcycle typically ranges from $300 to $1,300, which is less expensive than the average car shipping cost. However, motorcycle transport costs are subject to change depending on various factors.

Open transport (trucks without walls or roofs) is the most economical option, but also the riskiest. Some top bike shipping companies don’t even offer it. These companies let you choose the price and risk level you’re comfortable with, allowing you to ship your dirt bike using open transport or your Harley in an enclosed carrier.

Distance, Location, and Bike Shipping Costs

The primary factor affecting shipping costs is the travel distance. Prices may vary slightly between companies, but on average, you’ll pay around $0.60 per mile for nationwide bike shipping, although this figure differs from state to state. Costs are likely to be higher for remote or hard-to-reach locations, and some companies may add a surcharge for interstate shipments.

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Motorcycle Size, Weight, and Shipping Rates

Some companies charge higher rates for shipping large, heavy motorbikes. The average cost of $0.60 per mile can increase to $0.70-$0.80 per mile when transporting heavyweight models, such as Harley Davidsons, weighing around 500 pounds. Larger motorbikes are more challenging to handle, requiring oversized crates, specialized tie-downs, and unique packing accommodations to ensure safe transit. This price increase also affects insurance coverage, so take your time to collect price estimates when searching for a moving company.

Freight Type and Bike Shipping Costs

Various motorcycle shipping methods exist, each with different price ranges. Companies typically offer only one or two of these methods, so inquire ahead of time if you need a specific transportation method.

Professional Shipping Truck: The average price to transport a motorcycle by 1,300 miles by truck is around $800. Truck transport is the most common method for shipping a motorcycle throughout the United States.

Train: Train transportation is very budget-friendly, offering significant savings compared to other transport types. You’ll pay around $250 to $450 for a 1,300-mile trip. However, drop-off and pick-up locations are at train stations, so this method works best when shipping from one large city to another. Additionally, train-based companies prioritize commercial clients, so shipping spots fill up quickly.

Ship: Shipping by boat is slow and expensive, averaging around $1,500. However, it’s the most affordable option for shipping a motorcycle overseas if you’re moving out of the country.

Plane: Shipping a motorcycle by plane is much faster than by boat. The overall cost varies based on weight, but you’ll pay at least $1,000 and as much as $3,000 or more, depending on the destination.

The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Shipping

Exploring the open road on a motorcycle is unmatched, but when moving to a distant new home with family, riding your bike there isn’t always feasible. Due to their weight, motorcycles can’t easily be packed into moving trucks. Towing a motorcycle yourself could risk damage or theft during a long journey.

Motorcycle shipping is a convenient option for getting your bike from point A to point B, whether you’re relocating or selling your motorcycle to a distant buyer. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your motorcycle and ensure its successful delivery.

Step-by-Step Process for Shipping a Motorcycle

Step 1: Choose a Trailer Type When shipping a motorcycle, decide between an enclosed or open trailer. Enclosed trailers offer better protection during transit, while open trailers are significantly cheaper.

Step 2: Obtain a motorcycle shipping quote and request multiple quotes. Consider shipping costs and desired service levels (door-to-door, open or enclosed trailer, crating, etc).

To compare various shipping companies’ prices, use websites like Compare the Carrier or uShip.

Step 3: Schedule Service After selecting a carrier, promptly schedule your service to secure a spot on their calendar. Cross-country shipping takes about five days, so plan for a three-day window for pick-up and delivery to accommodate potential delays.

Step 4: Document Motorcycle Condition Before shipping, document your motorcycle’s condition, as carriers may not be responsible for damages occurring under their care without proper documentation. Take detailed pictures of your motorcycle from different angles.

Step 5: Prepare Motorcycle for Shipping Usually, there’s no need to empty the gas tank or disconnect the battery. Ensure saddlebags or tour packs are securely closed and avoid leaving personal property, like helmets, attached to the motorcycle’s exterior.

Step 6: Consider Additional Insurance Most shippers include insurance coverage, but it may not cover your motorcycle’s full value. Consider purchasing additional coverage for valuable bikes.

Step 7: Ship Your Motorcycle The carrier will either pick up your motorcycle or you can bring it to the shipper’s depot to expedite the process.

Step 8: Receive Your Motorcycle Meet the carrier and accept motorcycle delivery. Inspect the motorcycle promptly for any damage. If necessary, file insurance claims immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors affect the cost of shipping my motorcycle?

The cost of shipping a motorcycle depends on several factors, including distance, location, the bike's size and weight, and the shipping method used (open or enclosed trailer, train, boat, or plane).

How long does it take to ship a motorcycle?

Cross-country bike shipping usually takes around five days. However, shipping times may vary depending on the carrier, distance, and chosen transportation method. Always plan for a buffer of a few days to accommodate potential delays.

Do I need additional insurance for shipping?

While most transporting companies include insurance coverage, it may not cover the full value of your motorcycle. If your bike is particularly valuable, consider purchasing additional coverage to protect your investment.

How should I prepare my motorcycle for shipping?

Before shipping your motorcycle, document its condition with detailed photos, secure any saddlebags or tour packs, and remove any personal property like helmets. Typically, you don't need to empty the gas tank or disconnect the battery.

What's the difference between open and enclosed trailer shipping?

Open trailer shipping involves transporting your motorcycle on a truck without walls or a roof. It's cheaper but riskier than enclosed trailer shipping, which provides better protection for your motorcycle in a fully covered trailer.

Can I track my motorcycle during shipping?

Many carriers offer tracking services, allowing you to monitor your motorcycle's location and progress during the shipping process. Check with your chosen shipping company for specific tracking options.

What if my motorcycle is damaged during shipping?

If you notice any damage upon receiving your motorcycle, immediately report it to the carrier and file any necessary insurance claims. Documenting your bike's condition before shipping is crucial to help resolve any disputes or claims.

Bottom Line

Shipping your motorcycle is a convenient and secure way to transport your bike over long distances, whether you’re relocating or selling it to a distant buyer. By understanding the various factors affecting shipping costs, choosing the right shipping method, and taking the necessary precautions to prepare your motorcycle, you can ensure a hassle-free and successful delivery. Don’t forget to research and compare different shipping companies to find the best fit for your needs and budget.