Shipping a motorcycle across the US is not as mystical as many think. There are hundreds of myths floating around the internet about how to ship a motorcycle across the US. In this article, I have attempted to make some clarifications and discuss the important aspects of shipping motorcycles across the US.
Nationwide Auto Transportation is one of the largest companies across the US that specialize in this kind of shipment, and they give you a detailed explanation of how to prepare your motorcycle for shipping.
Prepare your motorcycle for shipping
Carefully clean your entire motorcycle of dirt, from wheel to wheel and everything in between. Also, assess and observe the damages on it such as scratches and dents. This is important because you want to know the state of your motorcycle before it is loaded for shipping. Taking a series of photos of your motorcycle pre and post trip is also a good idea that helps eliminate discrepancies.
There are basically two methods of loading a motorcycle for shipping
- Individual loading – here motorbikes are individually crated for shipping. This is the best practice because it gives extra protection to the motorcycle.
- Multiple loading – Motorcycles are braced and locked inside the crates to allow multiple bike loading
The Best Method for Shipping – Closed or Open Carrier?
Your choice of shipping method boils down to your own needs and preferences. You can ship your motorcycle(s) across the US either in an enclosed trailer or on an open carrier.
While the cheaper option is an open carrier, it is not the safest method for transporting your motorcycles. With the open carrier transport, your motorcycle will be exposed to the dangers of road hazards and environmental elements. Also, when it is in transport, it is visible to everyone if it’s not crated.
Closed transport may cost more in the end, but it is the wiser choice when shipping your motorcycle. The bike is totally enclosed from the pick up to delivery point. With the closed carrier, your motorbike is safe from debris and the elements (ex. rain, hail, snow, dust). Your motorbike is most likely going to be delivered in the exact condition it was before loading. So you have no worries about scratches, damages or even theft. You may still want to take a pre and post photo in the event of unavoidable accidents or possible damage.
How Shipping a motorcycle differs from shipping a car
Cars are relatively safer to ship, providing more stability from the hand brake and having four tires. They can therefore, stand firmly during shipping. Motorcycles are lighter in weight, having just two wheels with nothing providing it stability other than the fulcrum stand, and maybe straps and/or load bars. Therefore the carriers that transport motorcycles are always extra careful.
It is a general belief that motorcycle shipping is usually cheaper than car shipping due to the difference in size and weight of the vehicles. However, this is not always the case as motorcycle shipping calls for special items such as specially closed carriers to transport them.
There is a wide range of different services that courier companies offer, that combined with the distance to travel and your needs will determine the cost of transporting your motorcycle, which will vary from company to company.