Ship Your Bike Safely: Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Shipping Options

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated June 3, 2024

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Transporting your motorcycle to other cities or states can be quite challenging. Even for experienced bikers, finding the right shipping method that suits your budget and time frame while ensuring that you ship your bike safely is essential.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the best ways to ship your bike without breaking the bank. You’ll learn about the different bike shipping methods available, their pros and cons, and how to choose the ideal one for your needs.

What Are Your Options for Motorcycle Shipping?

Before we dive into the best ways to ship your bike, let’s first go through the different shipping methods available:

1. Open Trailer Shipping

Open trailer shipping is a famous and affordable motorcycle transport option. Your bike will be securely strapped to an open-air trailer along with other bikes being transported. While this method is cost-effective, your motorcycle is exposed to the elements, including debris, rain, and dust.

2. Enclosed Trailer Shipping

Enclosed trailer shipping is similar to open trailer shipping, but this method uses an enclosed trailer that provides protection against the elements. Enclosed trailer shipping is ideal for expensive or delicate bikes that need extra protection from the weather.

3. Crated Shipping

Crated shipping involves packaging your motorcycle in a wooden crate before being loaded onto the trailer. This method offers the most protection for your bike; however, it is also the most expensive method.

4. DIY Shipping

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can transport your motorcycle yourself. With this method, you’ll need to rent a trailer or truck to transport your bike. DIY shipping requires some knowledge of bike transportation, i.e., strapping and securing the bike, loading and unloading, and navigating through traffic.

Now that you know the different ways you can ship your bike, let’s explore the pros and cons of each method.

Pros and Cons of Different Motorcycle Shipping Methods

Open Trailer Shipping


– Affordable: Open trailer shipping is the most budget-friendly option.
– Easy to Book: This shipping method is easy to book and doesn’t require a lot of preparation.


– Poor Protection: An open trailer provides little to no protection against the elements or debris during transport.
– Risk of Theft: Since the motorcycle is visible to the public, there is a higher risk of theft.

Enclosed Trailer Shipping


– Better Protection: An enclosed trailer offers complete protection against weather and debris.
– More Secure: The motorcycle is inside the trailer and not accessible to the public, reducing the risk of theft.


– Expensive: Enclosed trailer shipping is more expensive than open trailer shipping.

Crated Shipping


– Maximum Protection: Crated shipping provides the highest level of protection for your motorcycle.
– Safe and Secure: Your motorcycle will not move inside the crate during transport, reducing the risk of damage.


– Expensive: Crated shipping is the most expensive shipping method.
– Time-consuming: Crated shipping requires a lot of preparation, including dismantling some parts of the motorcycle and loading it into the crate.

DIY Shipping


– Affordable: DIY shipping is the most budget-friendly option.
– Convenient: You can transport your bike on your preferred schedule, without waiting for a shipping company to schedule delivery.


– Requires Experience: DIY shipping requires some knowledge and experience with securing the bike for transport, loading and unloading, and navigating through traffic.
– Limited Coverage: Your insurance policy may not cover any damage that occurs during DIY shipping.

How to Choose the Best Shipping Method for Your Bike

When choosing the best shipping method, there are several factors you need to consider, including cost, distance, time constraints, and the type of motorcycle you own. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

– Budget: Consider how much you want to spend on shipping your motorcycle.
– Distance: The shipping method you choose will depend on the distance you need to transport your bike.
– Time: Determine how soon you need your motorcycle at the final destination.
– Type of Motorcycle: Your motorcycle’s value, weight, and physical size will impact your chosen shipping method.

Finding a Reliable Motorcycle Shipping Company

Finding a reliable motorcycle shipping company is crucial for ensuring the safe transport of your bike. Here are some tips to help you find the right company:

  1. Research: Start by searching online for motorcycle shipping companies that service your area. Read customer reviews and testimonials to gain insights into their performance and reputation.
  2. Licensing and registration: Make sure the shipping company is properly licensed and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or other relevant authorities.
  3. Insurance coverage: Verify that the shipping company provides adequate insurance coverage for your motorcycle during transport. Ensure that their policy covers potential damages, theft, or loss.
  4. Experience and expertise: Check the company’s experience in handling motorcycle shipments, especially if you have a valuable or unique bike that requires special care.
  5. Compare quotes: Request quotes from multiple companies and compare their prices, services, and shipping methods. Don’t simply choose the cheapest option; prioritize a balance of cost, quality, and reliability.
  6. Communication: Choose a company with responsive customer service that provides regular updates about your motorcycle’s status during transit.

What You Need To Know Before You Ship Your Bike

Insurance coverage is vital when shipping your motorcycle, as it protects you from potential financial losses due to damage, theft, or accidents during transport. Here’s what you need to know about insuring your motorcycle during shipping:

  1. Shipping company’s policy: Most motorcycle shipping companies include a basic insurance policy in their service. However, the coverage limits may vary, so review the policy carefully.
  2. Additional insurance: If the shipping company’s coverage is insufficient, consider purchasing additional insurance to fully protect your bike’s value.
  3. Personal insurance: Check with your motorcycle insurance provider to see if your current policy covers shipping-related damages. If not, inquire about adding temporary coverage during transit.
  4. Documentation: Before shipping your bike, document its condition with photographs and written descriptions. This documentation will be crucial in case you need to file an insurance claim for damages incurred during shipping.

Tips to Ensure a Smooth Experience

Proper preparation is essential for a smooth motorcycle shipping experience. Follow these tips to get your bike ready for transport:

  1. Clean your motorcycle: Wash and dry your bike thoroughly, as dirt and grime can hide scratches or other damage. A clean motorcycle also makes inspecting and documenting its condition easier before shipping.
  2. Perform an inspection: Check your motorcycle for any existing damage or issues, such as scratches, dents, or mechanical problems. Document these findings with photographs and written descriptions.
  3. Remove loose items and accessories: Detach any non-essential items, like saddlebags, aftermarket parts, or personal belongings, as they can get damaged or lost during shipping.
  4. Disable the alarm: If your motorcycle has an alarm system, disable it to prevent it from going off during transit.
  5. Check fluid levels and tire pressure: Ensure that your motorcycle’s fluid levels are correct and that the tires are properly inflated. However, some shipping companies may require you to drain the fuel or remove the battery, so check their specific guidelines.
  6. Secure any moving parts: Make sure that all moving parts, such as handlebars or foot pegs, are properly secured to prevent damage during shipping.

FAQs: Ship Your Bike Safely

How Do I Find a Reliable Motorcycle Shipping Company?

To find a reliable motorcycle shipping company, research online reviews, ask for recommendations from friends or fellow bikers, and compare quotes from different companies. Make sure the company has a good track record, proper licensing, and insurance coverage.

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Ship a Motorcycle?

A2: The cost to ship a motorcycle depends on factors like shipping method, distance, and the size of your bike. On average, it can range from $200 to over $1,000. To get an accurate quote, provide the shipping company with all the necessary details and compare prices from multiple providers.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Motorcycle?

The time it takes to ship a motorcycle varies depending on the shipping method, distance, and the shipping company’s schedule. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Make sure to communicate your desired delivery timeline with the shipping company to avoid any delays.

How Should I Prepare My Motorcycle for Shipping?

Preparing your motorcycle for shipping involves cleaning the bike, performing a thorough inspection, documenting any pre-existing damage, and removing any loose items or accessories. If using crated shipping, you may need to dismantle some parts of the motorcycle, like mirrors and windshields. Make sure to consult the shipping company for specific preparation guidelines.

Is My Motorcycle Insured During Shipping?

Most motorcycle shipping companies offer insurance coverage for your bike during transport. However, coverage limits and terms may vary. Reviewing the shipping company’s insurance policy and considering purchasing additional coverage if necessary is essential.

Bottom Line

Shipping your motorcycle can be overwhelming, but by choosing the right shipping method, you can have a smooth and hassle-free experience. Make sure to do your research, compare the different shipping options, and choose one that suits your budget, time-frame, and the type of motorcycle you own.

At CitizenShipper, we understand your bike is your pride and joy, and we’re committed to helping you find the best shipping option at an affordable price. Our platform connects you with reliable and affordable motorcycle shippers across the country, ensuring your bike arrives safely and on time. Try us out today, and ship your bike with confidence!