Transporting Your Motorcycle: Tips for a Safe and Secure Journey

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated August 28, 2023

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If you’re planning to move to another state or sell your motorcycle online, you’ll need to find a reliable motorcycle shipping service. But how do you choose the right one? With so many options available, it’s easy to get ripped off when transporting your motorcycle.

At CitizenShipper, we care about your safety and want to help you make an informed decision when it comes to transporting your motorcycle. In this post, we’ll share our expert tips on motorcycle shipping to help you stay safe and secure throughout the process.

1. Do Your Research

The first step in finding a reliable motorcycle shipping service is to do your research. Look for reviews and ratings online, and check out the company’s reputation on platforms like Better Business Bureau. Take your time to read through the feedback, both positive and negative, to get a better understanding of what to expect.

Another way to find a reputable motorcycle shipping service is to ask for recommendations from your trusted sources. Friends, family, or colleagues with motorcycle transportation experience may have valuable insights or recommendations.

2. Get Several Quotes

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, request quotes from several motorcycle shipping companies. Ensure the quotes are detailed and include all associated fees and extra costs. Don’t be shy about asking for a breakdown of the costs to ensure there are no hidden fees.

Be wary of quotes that seem too good to be true. Low prices may be tempting, but they often come at the expense of quality service. In contrast, high quotes may not guarantee top-notch service either. Choose a provider that offers a fair price and transparent pricing structure.

3. Check Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is one of the most critical factors to consider when it comes to motorcycle shipping. Make sure the motorcycle transportation services you choose from offer comprehensive insurance coverage for your bike during transportation. Ask about the insurance terms and the claims process in case of any damages or accidents.

4. Prepare Your Bike

Before shipping your motorcycle, make sure you prepare it for transportation properly. This involves cleaning the bike, draining fluids, and disconnecting the battery. Remove any loose accessories that may be prone to damage during transit.

Also, take pictures of your motorcycle from all angles before it’s loaded onto the trailer. These photos will come in handy in case of any disputes or damage claims after transportation.

5. Choose the Right Type of Transport

The type of transport used to move your motorcycle can affect the safety and condition of your bike during transit. There are two primary types of transport: open and enclosed.

Open carriers are more affordable and readily available, but they expose your motorcycle to the elements and possible road debris. Enclosed carriers, on the other hand, provide a more secure and protected environment for your bike, but they tend to cost more.

Consider the distance of transportation, the value of your motorcycle, and the weather conditions in choosing the right type of transport for your bike.

6. Get a Tracking Number

Tracking your motorcycle’s journey during transportation is crucial in ensuring its safety and security. Choose a service that provides a tracking number or a real-time GPS location for your bike. This lets you stay updated on the bike’s location and expected delivery time.

7. Be Wary of Scams

Unfortunately, scammers are always on the lookout for potential victims. Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls offering rock-bottom prices or demanding upfront payments without a written contract. Always verify the credentials of a motorcycle shipping company before doing business with them.

Understand the Shipping Process when Transporting Your Motorcycle

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the shipping process when transporting your motorcycle to ensure a smooth experience. This includes understanding the pickup and delivery procedures and setting realistic expectations for transit time.

a. Pickup and Delivery Procedures

Different shipping companies have various pickup and delivery procedures when transporting your motorcycle. Some may offer door-to-door service, while others may require you to drop off and pick up your bike at designated terminals. Ensure you clarify these procedures with your chosen shipping company to avoid surprises or delays during transportation.

b. Transit Time Expectations

The time it takes to transport your motorcycle can vary based on several factors, such as distance, the shipping company’s schedule, and weather conditions. In general, domestic motorcycle transportation can take between one and two weeks. However, it’s important to remember that unexpected delays can occur, so it’s best to remain flexible with your timeline. If you need your bike by a specific date, communicate this with the shipping company, and they may be able to accommodate your request.

Secure Your Motorcycle for Shipping

Properly securing your motorcycle during transportation is crucial to prevent damage or accidents. Here are some tips on how to ensure your bike is safely fastened and protected during transit:

a. Proper Tie-down Techniques

When transporting your motorcycle, the shipping company should use appropriate tie-down techniques to keep the bike securely in place. This often involves using soft loop straps and ratchet straps to secure the bike to the trailer or shipping pallet. Make sure the company you choose has experience with motorcycle tie-down procedures and uses high-quality straps and equipment.

b. Using Padding and Protective Materials

In addition to securing your motorcycle with straps, it’s a good idea to use padding and protective materials to prevent any scratches or dents during transportation. You can wrap your bike with bubble wrap, moving blankets, or other protective materials to add an extra layer of protection. Discuss these protective measures with your chosen shipping company to ensure they take the necessary precautions when transporting your motorcycle.

Enclosed vs. Open Transport: Pros and Cons

When transporting your motorcycle, you’ll need to decide between enclosed and open transport options. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

a. Cost Differences

Open transport is typically more affordable than enclosed transport when it comes to transporting your motorcycle. This is because open trailers can accommodate more bikes at once, reducing the overall cost per motorcycle. However, the lower price comes with increased exposure to weather and road debris.

b. Protection from Weather and Road Debris

Enclosed transport offers better protection for your motorcycle from weather elements and road debris. Enclosed trailers shield your bike from rain, snow, dirt, and other potential hazards that could cause damage during transit. Although enclosed transport may be more expensive, it’s often worth the investment for high-value motorcycles or long-distance shipping to ensure your bike arrives in pristine condition.


How Long Does It Typically Take to Transport a Motorcycle?

The time it takes to transport your motorcycle can vary depending on factors such as distance, weather conditions, and the shipping company’s schedule. Generally, you can expect a transit time of 1-2 weeks for domestic shipping. For international shipping, it could take several weeks or even months.

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Motorcycle?

The cost of transporting your motorcycle can range widely depending on factors such as the shipping distance, type of transport (open or enclosed), and the size of your bike. On average, you can expect to pay between $400 and $1,000 for domestic motorcycle shipping. International shipping will generally be more expensive.

Can I Pack Personal Items With My Motorcycle During Transportation?

Some motorcycle shipping companies may allow you to pack personal items with your motorcycle during transportation, but it’s essential to check their policies beforehand. Keep in mind that the shipping company may not assume responsibility for any damage or loss of personal items during transit.

What Should I Do if My Motorcycle Is Damaged During Transportation?

If your motorcycle is damaged during transportation, notify the shipping company immediately. Provide them with photos of the damage and any documentation related to the shipment. Follow the company’s claims process and keep all communication records to support your claim.

Are There Any Restrictions on Transporting Modified or Custom Motorcycles?

Shipping companies may have different policies on transporting modified or custom motorcycles. It’s crucial to inform the shipping company about any modifications or customizations to your bike before the shipping process begins. They can advise you on the best course of action and provide appropriate accommodations for your unique motorcycle.

Bottom Line

Shipping your motorcycle can be stressful and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these expert tips can reduce the risk of getting ripped off and ensure your motorcycle reaches its destination safely and in good condition.

At CitizenShipper, we connect you with reliable motorcycle shipping providers who will treat your ride with care and respect. Browse our marketplace to find the perfect fit for your motorcycle transportation needs.