Shipping a Motorcycle Cross Country at Affordable Rates

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated January 16, 2024

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For motorcycle enthusiasts, owning a bike is more than just a hobby — it’s a way of life. Eventually, there may come a time when you need to transport your beloved ride across the country. 

Whether moving to a new state or purchasing a motorcycle from a seller on the other side of the country, the thought of shipping your motorcycle can be daunting. After all, you not only want your motorcycle to arrive at its destination safely, but also want to avoid breaking the bank in the process.

The good news is that shipping your motorcycle cross country doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. With a bit of planning and research, you can find a reliable and affordable shipping solution.

In this article, we’ll share our top tips for shipping your motorcycle cross country at affordable rates, so you can focus on the excitement of your new adventure rather than worrying about the cost. 

So, let’s rev our engines and hit the road to discover the best ways to ship your motorcycle cross-country without breaking the bank.

How to Ship a Motorcycle Cross Country?

When shipping a motorcycle cross country, there are several options to consider.

#1. Open-Air Carrier

An open-air carrier is the most common and cost-effective method of shipping a motorcycle cross country. These carriers are typically large flatbed trucks that transport multiple vehicles at once.

While exposed to the elements, they are a safe and reliable way to transport your motorcycle. The motorcycle is securely strapped down to the flatbed of the carrier and typically covered with a tarp to protect it from dirt and debris. 

#2. Enclosed Trailer

If you want added protection for your motorcycle, an enclosed trailer may be the way to go. These trailers provide protection from the elements and offer more security than an open-air carrier.

They are typically more expensive than open-air carriers but ideal for shipping high-value or vintage motorcycles. Enclosed trailers also offer more privacy as the motorcycle is completely enclosed and not visible to the public.

#3. Crated Shipping

Crated shipping involves packing your motorcycle in a wooden crate for added protection during transport. This method is ideal for high-end or vintage motorcycles that require extra care and protection.

The motorcycle is carefully placed inside a custom-built wooden crate and securely fastened to prevent movement during transport. Crated shipping is the most expensive option but offers your motorcycle the highest level of protection.

Benefits of Motorcycle Shipping

Shipping a motorcycle cross country can seem daunting, but there are many benefits to having your motorcycle shipped by professionals.

#1. Safety

Professional motorcycle shipping companies have the expertise and equipment necessary to ensure your motorcycle is shipped safely and securely. They have specialized trailers and equipment designed specifically for transporting motorcycles, and they employ trained and experienced drivers who know how to handle motorcycles during transport. 

This reduces the risk of damage to your motorcycle and gives you peace of mind knowing that your bike is in good hands.

#2. Time-Saving

Shipping your motorcycle cross country is also a time-saving option. Driving a motorcycle cross country can take days, if not weeks, depending on your route and schedule. Shipping your motorcycle allows you to avoid the time and hassle of driving and focus on other important tasks, such as preparing for your move or planning your trip.

#3. Cost-Effective

While shipping your motorcycle may seem expensive initially, it can be a cost-effective option in the long run. Driving your motorcycle cross country can be expensive due to the cost of gas, food, lodging and potential repairs. 

Additionally, driving a motorcycle long distances can put extra wear and tear on your bike and may require costly maintenance. Shipping your motorcycle can save you money on these expenses and help protect your motorcycle’s resale value by reducing its mileage and wear and tear.

#4. Convenience

Shipping your motorcycle is also a convenient option. You don’t have to worry about the logistics of driving a motorcycle cross country, such as planning your route or finding a safe place to park your bike overnight. Shipping your motorcycle also allows you to have it delivered directly to your new home or a designated pickup location, saving you time and hassle.

Motorcycle Trailers Suitable for Long-Distance Motorcycle Shipping?

When shipping a motorcycle cross country, choosing the right trailer is crucial. Several types of motorcycle trailers are suitable for long-distance shipping, including:

#1. Enclosed trailers

Enclosed trailers provide the most protection for your motorcycle during transport. They’re fully enclosed and provide protection from weather, road debris and other hazards. Enclosed trailers are the preferred option for shipping high-value motorcycles, as they provide the most secure and protected shipping option.

#2. Open trailers

Open trailers are another option for shipping motorcycles. They’re typically less expensive than enclosed trailers but provide less protection for your bike. Open trailers are suitable for shipping motorcycles that are not as high-value and are more commonly used for shorter distances.

#3. Hitch trailers

Hitch trailers are another option for shipping a motorcycle cross country. They are designed to attach to the hitch of a vehicle and can be used to transport motorcycles short and long distances. Hitch trailers are typically less expensive than enclosed trailers but provide less protection for your motorcycle.

What are the Legal Requirements for Motorcycle Transport?

Shipping a motorcycle cross country requires complying with various legal requirements to ensure the transport is legal and hassle-free. Here are some of the legal requirements that you need to keep in mind:

#1. Registration and Insurance

Before transporting your motorcycle, it should be properly registered and insured. This means you should have a valid license plate, registration and insurance coverage that meets the minimum requirements in your state. You’ll need to show proof of insurance and registration to the motorcycle shipping company, and they’ll make copies for their records.

#2. Title and Ownership

If you own the motorcycle you’re shipping, you’ll need to have the title or proof of ownership in your name. If you’re shipping a motorcycle you’re leasing or financing, you may need to provide documentation from the leasing or financing company authorizing the shipment.

#3. Transport Permit

Depending on the state or states you’ll be traveling through, you may need to obtain a transport permit for your motorcycle. Some states require a permit for oversized or overweight loads, so it’s important to check the regulations in each state to ensure compliance.

#4. Weight and Dimension Restrictions

There may be weight and dimension restrictions for transporting motorcycles on certain roads and highways. These restrictions vary from state to state and may depend on the type of trailer being used. 

For example, some states may have restrictions on the length or height of the trailer or the total weight of the motorcycle and trailer combined. It’s important to check with the Department of Transportation in each state your motorcycle will pass through to ensure compliance with these restrictions.

#5. Customs and International Requirements

If you’re shipping your motorcycle internationally, there may be additional legal requirements that you must comply with, such as customs declarations and inspections. Depending on the destination country, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as a bill of sale or import/export documents.

How Much to Ship a Motorcycle Cross Country?

The cost of shipping a motorcycle cross country can vary widely depending on several factors. Generally, the cost can range from $300 to $1500 or more.

#1. Distance 

Distance is one of the most significant factors affecting motorcycle shipping costs. The farther the distance, the more expensive the shipping cost. Shipping from coast to coast is usually more expensive than shipping within the same region.

#2. Type of Trailer

The type of trailer used for shipping also affects the cost. Enclosed trailers provide more protection and are generally more expensive than open trailers. Open trailers are more cost-effective but offer less protection.

#3. Weight and Dimensions

The weight and size of the motorcycle also influence the cost of shipping. Heavier and larger motorcycles require more fuel and resources to transport, thus costing more to ship.

#4. Level of Service

The level of service provided is another factor that affects the cost. For example, door-to-door or expedited shipping will cost more than terminal-to-terminal or standard shipping.

Other factors that can affect the cost of motorcycle shipping include the time of year (shipping during peak seasons may be more expensive), the pickup and delivery locations (shipping to remote areas may be more expensive) and any additional services or customizations (such as adding a crate or a lift gate).

Time to Deliver a Motorcycle from State to State

The length of time it takes to deliver a motorcycle from state to state can vary depending on several factors, such as distance, weather conditions, and the shipping company’s transit time.

#1. Distance

The distance between the pickup and delivery locations is crucial to delivery time. The farther the distance, the longer it takes to deliver your motorcycle. For example, shipping a motorcycle from New York to California can take up to two weeks, while shipping within the same region may only take a few days. 

Consider the distance and allocate enough time to avoid unexpected delays when planning your shipment.

#2. Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can significantly impact the delivery time of your motorcycle. Adverse weather conditions such as hurricanes, heavy rain, or snowstorms can cause significant delays in shipping. Monitoring weather conditions and planning your shipment accordingly are essential to avoid unexpected delays.

#3. Shipping Company Transit Times

Different shipping companies offer different transit times, some offer expedited shipping options that can deliver your motorcycle within a few days, while others may take longer to transport the shipment. When choosing a shipping company, it’s essential to consider the transit times offered and choose one that aligns with your delivery timeline.

How to Get Affordable Shipping Rates

Shipping a motorcycle across the country can be expensive, but there are ways to get affordable shipping rates. Here are some strategies to help you save money on motorcycle shipping costs.

#1. Plan ahead

Shipping companies tend to offer discounts to customers who book in advance. By planning, you can take advantage of these discounts and avoid the rush fees that come with last-minute bookings.

#2. Compare quotes

It’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different shipping companies. This will help you find the most affordable option without compromising on quality.

#3. Choose the right shipping method 

Different shipping methods are available, and each comes with its own price tag. Terminal-to-terminal shipping, for example, is often cheaper than door-to-door shipping. Similarly, open-air shipping is usually less expensive than enclosed shipping.

#4. Choose a reputable shipping company

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, choosing a reputable and experienced shipping company is important. Look for online reviews and ratings from previous customers to ensure the company has a good track record of delivering quality service at affordable rates.


Shipping a motorcycle cross country can be a smart and cost-effective way to transport your bike. By following the tips in this article, you can find affordable rates, choose the right shipping method, and ensure the safe delivery of your motorcycle.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge, you need to take action and start planning your motorcycle shipment  today with CitizenShipper. CitizenShipper connects you with reliable and experienced transporters who can provide competitive rates and a high level of service. Update your profile and get started with CitizenShipper today!