Transporting a Motorcycle: How to Ensure a Successful Shipment

Transporting a Motorcycle: How to Ensure a Successful Shipment

When it comes to vehicle freight shipping, many think that driving their motorcycle is cheaper, but it can be more expensive when they consider the fuel, food, and potential overnight costs. Unless, of course, you have the inclination and time to go on a road trip. Rest assured, there are other less risky and more convenient methods to transport your motorcycle.

Motorcycle shipping is probably your best bet because, besides preparing your bike, you don’t have to do much other administrative work. Freight companies will take care of permits if the bike is traveling overseas, and most have 24/7 tracking to accommodate better planning. Let’s briefly break down how to transport a motorbike.

Choosing the Way of Motorcycle Transportation

Transporting a motorcycle can be done in two ways. You can do-it-yourself, or hire others who range in experience and professionalism. Whatever you decide comes down to your shipment’s distance, budget, and urgency.  

1. Do-It-Yourself

Opting to move your motorcycle yourself provides the most control but isn’t always the cheapest option. You’ll have to hire a trailer and be comfortable driving with it, as well as a ramp and tie-downs to keep your bike secure during transit.

Not having the right equipment can damage your bike. If you’re inexperienced, and the trip is going to take longer than a day, i.e., you have to stay over, DIY may not be the best way to haul a motorcycle.

2. Independent Hauler

There’s a load of independent haulers on uShip, who submit bids for your consideration once you’ve submitted essential shipment information. Occasionally, they work out cheaper than DIY; however, they’re not always most experienced. This option can often be hit-and-miss.

3. Freight Companies

Freight companies are highly experienced shippers and will know how to get your motorcycle safely from A-Z. If time is of the essence, they can also expedite your bike to get it wherever it needs to go, in the shortest amount of time. They are likely the most easily accessible and credible. For the safest results, your bike will need to travel in a crate, so to alleviate stress, you’ll want to find a company that offers this service as well.

Prepare Your Motorcycle Before the Transportation

Transport your motorcycle

Follow these when hauling a motorcycle to ensure it arrives in top shape:

Drain Fluids

Traveling with combustible liquid is a major safety hazard. Drain the tank, engine oil, and coolant to ensure maximum safety. You can always ask a mechanic to help or find a how-to video on YouTube if you’re unsure.

Remove Detachable Parts

Remove the battery and all non-essentials to prevent damage during transit. You should also wrap all loose cables to prevent sparks.

Reduce Tire Pressure

Slightly deflated tires better absorb road impact better. Just make sure that they’re not empty, as this can produce the opposite effect and cause more damage.

Take Photos

Photograph your bike before transport and then when it’s ready to go. This ensures you have evidence of what the freight looks like if anything goes poorly, and you have to claim from insurance. A professional shipping company will provide you with a form to sign attesting to the bike’s condition before they transport your motorcycle.

A Step-by-Step Guide on Transporting Motorcycle

Hiring a freight company is the best way to transport a motorcycle. It’s so easy; You won’t have to worry about how to move a motorcycle in a truck, or stress about the drive.

#1. Choose a Type of Trailer

You’ll need to choose a carrier trailer that’s either closed or open. A closed option provides better protection, but an open one is cheaper. If it’s a short, safe distance that doesn't require traveling on a gravel road, then an open trailer should suffice.

#2. Get a Quote

Compare several quotes from different carriers before deciding. You’ll want to assess the level of service they provide. Some are more expensive, but they offer a better overall service.

#3. Make an Appointment

Once you’ve decided, you should schedule the pick-up as quickly as possible. It’s a good idea to plan a few days' windows before and after pick and delivery date in case there are unexpected delays.

#4. Document Your Motorcycle’s Condition

Take detailed pictures of the motorcycle from different angles. If the bike gets damaged along the way, it’s challenging to prove it’s the carrier's fault without hard evidence.

#5. Take Care of the Insurance

While most shippers do have insurance, it likely won’t cover the full cost of your motorcycle. You should take out additional insurance for greater peace of mind, especially if your bike is valuable or a collector’s item.

#6. Get Your Motorcycle Shipped

Ensure your bike is ready to be shipped by following the industry standard, as well as your carrier’s shipping requirements. Occasionally, it’s possible to take your bike to the carrier’s depot to expedite the process.

#7. Confirm the Successful Transportation

Make sure you meet your carrier promptly at the delivery destination. Inspect your bike for damages, and if there are any, be sure to file a claim immediately.


It’s understandable for bike enthusiasts to be nervous about entrusting a third party to transport their vehicle. Carriers must understand the requirements that facilitate professional and safe bike shipping.

Our freight shipping company provides the simplest and most cost-effective shipping solution to get your motorbike to its destination. We have a 30-year track record of loading motorcycles and safely transporting them across all 48 contiguous states, including Canada. Contact us today for a free motorcycle transportation quote!

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