Motorcycle shipping is an easy and often less expensive way to get your motorcycle from point A to point B than riding it. There are many companies out there which offer motorcycle shipping services to almost anywhere on earth. Shipping your motorcycle often makes sense when you don't have the time to ride to a distant vacation destination and want your bike there ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Shipping your motorcycle can also make attending a bike rally such as Sturgis easier and more enjoyable especially if you are coming from a long distance. And when moving, shipping your bike is necessary, unless you plan on carrying all of your belongings in your saddle bag. So it sounds like a good idea, but where do you start? Obviously conventional shippers won't ship a motorcycle for you. Here's a few tips to guide you through the process.
Next, you'll want to choose a motorcycle shipping company. Depending on the destination you will have dozens if not hundreds to choose from. Make sure to choose a reputable company who has been shipping motorcycles for at least 1-2 years. Asking for references is always a good idea; if the company is reputable they will be able to put you in touch with other bikers whose motorcycles they've shipped. Motorcycle shipping companies should be able to give you a firm and binding quote which you can compare to other companies. It really does pay to shop around and compare motorcycle shipping prices as the rates do often vary substantially between the shippers. Never go with a company that will not give you a firm price as this is often a scam allowing them to give you a huge final bill you would have not otherwise agreed upon.
The first step in getting your motorcycle shipped is to decide whether you want it shipped in an open or enclosed trailer. The vast majority of motorcycle shipping is done in enclosed trailers which will protect your bike from the elements, vandalism and other road hazards. Open trailer shipping may be slightly less expensive but is only recommended for very short distances or if you are not concerned about possible damage to your bike. If you think of your bike like most motorcycle owners then enclosed motorcycle shipping is the way to go.
When comparing prices also compare any motorcycle shipping preparation required by the shipper. Ask if they need the motorcycle put on a shipping crate or if their trucks are equipped to handle your bike without one. If one is needed, can they do this for you? Some shippers will also require you to drain your gas tank or remove your battery. Also inquire about insurance. You'll want to make sure that your bike is properly insured against loss or damage in transit. All reputable bike transporters will offer insurance options. Finally, remove from your motorcycle any loose parts such as saddle bags, tank bags, fairings, etc. Remove any personal items from the bike such as sunglasses, change and the like.
Once a motorcycle shipping company is selected you'll need to decide upon a pickup time and location. Be aware that often motorcycles are shipped in very large semi-trucks which may not be able to pull into your driveway or some residential streets. You may be asked to meet the truck at a nearby parking lot or something similar to load the bike. This will vary depending on the shipper; do inquire when arranging the pickup. Also be aware that the pickup may take 30 minutes or more to do the paperwork, inspect the bike for previous damage, load the bike, etc. Allot enough time so this process is not rushed as it will save you hassle in the long run.
Once your bike is picked up have realistic expectations of its transit time. Most trucking companies can give you an estimate of your bikes arrival date and time but be aware that an estimate is just that, an estimate. Variables such as the weather, traffic and mechanical failure all can and do cause shipping delays. Your shipping company will update you if there will be a substantial delay in the delivery time of your bike. Many shippers can now also offer you real-time tracking information via GPS. Inquire with your shipping company if tracking information on your motorcycle shipment is available.
When selecting the drop off location of your motorcycle again keep in mind the factors mentioned regarding pickup. The delivery truck will be very large and may not be able to access constricted locations so be sure your drop off location has sufficient access for large vehicles. When your motorcycle arrives be on time! Keep in mind that the trucker has many loads to deliver and cannot wait all day. If you don't show up to accept your shipment the truck will leave and substantial additional costs will be incurred to have the truck return with your bike. Once unloaded inspect your bike thoroughly and note any damage immediately. If you don't note the damage right away you may lose any claim to insurance you would have. Inspect the paint, chrome, mirrors, windshield and any accessories in detail to assure any damage is noted promptly.
That's it! All that's left is for you to get on your bike and ride. Easier than you thought, right? If the above steps are followed shipping your motorcycle is a breeze and can often make your vacation or move much easier and enjoyable than riding a long distance.