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Motorcycle Shipping: Getting Started

Don't trust your prized possession to just anybody

Your motorcycle is a prized possession and an accomplice on the road.  You give it constant care and attention, tending to its every need. You wash it, you brush it and you sometimes talk to it (no judgment here). You try to keep it safe from danger and tuck it safely away when you’re not riding it off into the sunset.  But what do you do if you need it shipped? If you’re like most riders, the idea of another man’s hands on your bike is upsetting. No one can protect it the way you can, right? 

Wrong. Let’s get real. If you don’t have a friend in the business, a proper transport vehicle or a clue, then you’re going to have to put your trust in the hands of a complete stranger. You’re going to have to let go of your partner in crime and hope for a blissful reunion. Here are a few tips on how to find a shipping service provider:

Know Your Bike

Motorcycle on Pallet

It’s simple. What’s the model? What’s the year? Is it a three-wheeler? Does it have a sidecar? Is it palletized and operable? You will need to know these details when getting a quote from shipping companies.

Open or Enclosed Trailer?

Open trailers are cheaper and a good choice for short distances. If your motorcycle will travel less than a few hundred miles, then an open trailer will be a safe bet. Also, open trailer carriers will haul your bike on a tight deadline, unlike enclosed trailers, which sometimes have month-long delivery times.

Most riders prefer enclosed trailers. Motorcycles are small, fragile, little things. They’re highly susceptible to bad roads, bad weather and bad accidents. Enclosed trailers tuck motorcycles safely inside, hiding them from the dangers of long journeys.

Delivery Location

Motorcycle on Open Trailer

Most shipping companies deliver door-to-door. This is the most convenient option because all you have to do is stumble out of your house, inspect your bike and sign some paperwork. Unfortunately, some residential homes are hard to get to. If low branches hang over narrow roads like lazy limbs, it might be difficult for a massive transport truck to pass through without getting tangled in a mess. In this case, you’ll have to arrange the delivery in a public parking lot.

Carrier Credentials

Before you agree to sign your bike off to a shipping company, make sure you verify all the credentials. You don’t want your bike to disappear into the abyss with a sneaky con man or an under-qualified salesman. This is very important. You need to be comfortable with the company and trust it dearly. Know the exact trailer being used. Check the transporter for DOT and MC numbers. If it doesn’t have these numbers, then it’s not legit. If the company does not answer your questions or hesitates to provide information, then forget about it.

Street Cred

A good reputation is key. Don’t jump into bed with the first shipping service provider that attracts you. First, do some online research. Do a Google search, visit online forums and read customer reviews. What are people saying about this company? Were they happy with their shipments? Were their motorcycles in good hands? Were there any problems? Do they recommend the service? This step is vital and it needs to be executed thoroughly. Remember, there will always be a few negative reviews but what is the majority saying? If no one is saying anything and you cannot find any customer feedback, look for another provider.


Before finalizing anything, review the shipping company’s insurance coverage. What are they liable for? All carriers must have some kind of cargo insurance, but it usually doesn’t cover the entire cost of your vehicle.  You have to read the fine print, even if that means using a magnifying glass and drinking caffeine to keep your eyes open. This part’s a boring hassle for most, but it’s necessary to take precautions. What is the coverage limit? What kind of damage is insured? What about the accessories? You might want to buy additional insurance.

Compare Services

The Internet is your best friend. It features an abundance of shipping websites that provide you with information on their services. These sites give you free quotes for your shipping needs. You can visit site after site and get quotes from different companies.  This is a long process because you have to fill out tons of questionnaires.

It’s best to go to a site that compares different companies for you. One interesting option is It’s like a dating agency. You highlight your needs and request specific services. The site provides you with candidates that match your requirements. These candidates are different shipping service providers that compete for your service by placing bids. Select the bid you like and the deal that suits you best. Research the company thoroughly and check their credentials before you sign on the dotted line.

Good luck!