Important Motorcycle Shipping Tips You Should Know

Transporting a motorcycle is a moderately straightforward process, but there are certain steps you should take to make sure that the process runs smoothly and that you receive the best service at the best price possible.

If you are only beginning to look for companies that transport motorcycles, you might get tired of the huge number of options in the market from the many shippers available online. But if you know your way around researching, there are best motorcycle shipping companies out there.

However, there are many factors to consider before you transport your bike to another location so that the whole process is safe and problem-free. Thorough preparation and hiring a trustworthy and experienced shipping company is essential to shipping your motorcycle to a new location with problems.

In this article, we will provide you with some important tips on ways to make your cross-country motorcycle transporting free of worries. Let’s dive into it.

Important Motorcycle Shipping Tips You Should Know

In this article

1. Know your Options

Before you reach out to a shipping company to ship your motorcycle, there are a few important things you need to have done. The major things you will need to have ready when receiving a price quote are where you are transporting the bike from and to, and the amount of time you have for the shipment. If you don’t have much time, some shipping companies offer to expedite or emergency delivery, but that will cost you more.

Even though motorcycles are usually transported in an enclosed transport carrier, you will be provided the options so you can choose between open-air and enclosed delivery with most shippers.

2. Understand the Difference between Open-Air and Enclosed Shipping

There are two different shipping options for motorcycles. Open shipping is actually what it sounds like literally. A shipping company ships your motorcycle in an open trailer. These services are cheaper, but if you are choosing them, just understand that the elements can affect your motorcycle. For the best protection, we recommend choosing the enclosed motorcycle shipping.

Should you choose this option; a shipping company will tie down your motorcycle securely in its trailer. Your motorcycle’s paint or the bike itself will be safe from the tie and the weather element with this transport option.

3. Select Transport and Delivery Method

Delivery methods can be door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal. You are required to ride your motorcycle to the shippers if you choose the terminal delivery option, while the door delivery option requires the company to pick up your motorcycle from the start address you gave them and deliver it exactly to the new address you supplied. Let’s take a look at these methods.

  • Terminal shipping: According to a customer, “I have used this shipping option for my bike in many cases and have never encountered an issue before.” It is the cheaper option and works effectively but you will need to ask the company in advance if their terminal is present in your city or state for easy pickup and delivery. In some cases, the terminals can be a bit far from town and you may need to drive to drop off the motorcycle. If this will not be a problem and you need to save some money, then you might be better off using terminal shipping.
  • Door-to-door shipping: We are yet to find a shipping company that doesn’t offer this type of delivery as customers often use this service as many times as possible. Yes, it is more expensive than terminal transporting but it is so easier to be able to stay inside your home and have the driver come pick the motorcycle up instead of you driving it or even transporting it on a trailer to a terminal.

We also enjoy the fact that when they use this delivery service, they don’t need to be worried about the thoughts of their bikes being left uncared for in a dark terminal parking lot. Any option you choose is a personal choice, but I prefer door-to-door services anytime possible.

4. Receiving a Good Quote

Since there is almost everything in life on the internet, it is reasonably easy to obtain a quote for bike transporting from hundreds of companies at a go. If you are like me and you want your email free of spam from several shipping companies, it is best to find companies online through suggestions from research website and obtain an individual quote from their website.

When you visit each motorcycle shipping, make sure you search many companies and obtain quotes from at least three to four before you conclude on one to hire. This will provide you options to compare prices between the companies to determine the company with the best rate and also the one that offers the highest quality of services and practices that will safeguard your motorcycle during shipping.

When you reach out through calling or submitting an online quote form with a bike shipping company, you must figure out how you prefer to want your motorcycle transported. Based on your preferred option, your shipping quote will either be reasonably low or high. You can often pick between the door-to-door or terminal shipping and the two are generally used and considered safe for all shipping types. This has been explained above.

5. Look into Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is one of the important factors to consider during your international motorcycle shipping because it is important to obtain the desired level of coverage for your bike. Before signing the contract with your chosen motorcycle transport company, look into their insurance policy carefully.

Below are a few things the shipping company should answer:

  • The liability of the company as regards coverage from the start to the end of the shipping process – It is essential to find out if they provide full protection till they deliver your motorcycle to you at the destination. Many shipping companies don’t cover the accident events that may happen while shipping your motorcycle from the unloading location to your specified destination address.
  • The proof of insurance shows that their insurance certificate and source are valid. Don’t be reluctant to ask whom to contact for insurance money and if they include subcontractors or brokers in the process.

After receiving answers to all your queries, get the insurance and contract in writing. Ensure that all the services they mentioned providing are highlighted in the contract before you sign.

6. Prepare your Motorcycle for Shipping

To make sure that your bike gets to the new destination in safe and ready-to-ride condition, you must get it ready for shipping.

  • Wash your bike and carefully check it for chips, scratches, dents, and mechanical faults
  • Fold the mirrors inwards, turn off the anti-theft alarm (if any), set neutral gear, and get rid of all personal items like panniers, top case, and so on.
  • Check for leaks, tire pressure, and make sure your gas is only half-tank filled to reduce shipping costs

Take photos of your motorcycle from various angles and keep each detail in a record before you handle it to the transport company. When the mover arrives to pick up your bike, make sure they sign your photographs as well as your statement so that you can use them as evidence of the condition of your motorcycle before shipping in case it gets damaged during shipping.

If you are not sure about the accuracy of the document involved in the international shipping of your bike, get assistance from professionals. Wrong documentation can cause additional charges, delays in delivery, and/or other problems.

Read Ultimate Guide to Shipping a Motorcycle


While there are many things to remember when you need to ship your motorcycle, choosing the best motorcycle shipping company will be the most important decision you should make. Immediately you are sure of whom you will be hiring, the rest will work well as you contact the customer service agent and begin to plan everything to help make sure your bike is safely and efficiently transported.

We hope you find these motorcycle shipping tips helpful. If you choose to use the enclosed bike carrier, our network of top motorcycle shipping companies are available to help across the nation, completely insured, door-to-door motorcycle shipping. Get a motorcycle transport quote now!

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