The average motorcycle shipping cost in the US is about $500. Of course this value varies with distance but also the size and weight of the motorcycle as well as the type of transport. On average, enclosed transport costs $150 more than open transport. Enter the details of your bike shipment and the calculator will give you an estimate of the cost to ship your motorcycle.

Looking to Ship Your Motorcycle? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

There’s nothing quite like riding a bike, feeling the wind rush past while soaking in the sun. Riding a motorcycle immerses you in the world around you, giving you a unique experience that just isn’t possible in a car. With the connection you can make with your environment and the pleasure that comes from riding, it’s no surprise that you want to ship your bike to where you are going so you can fully enjoy your trip. While most people would simply consider renting a car, shipping your motorcycle is relatively affordable and gives you the freedom you just can’t get with renting.

In addition to providing you with a more immersive experience, choosing to ship your motorcycle gives you better fuel efficiency and is more environmentally friendly than other transportation methods. Better yet, it’s also easier to find parking, often gets you more affordable tolls, and can easily be fixed if needed. So whether you are relocating permanently, going on an extended trip, or even just want your bike on vacation, shipping your motorcycle is a viable option.

Who Ships Motorcycles?

This question can be tackled in two ways. Firstly, anyone who wants to use their bike in their end destination may consider shipping their bike. For starters, shipping your bike means you’ll have a ride that you are familiar with. It also lets you express yourself without being locked into annoying and expensive rental policies. You may also want to consider shipping your bike if you’re going far. Not only do you not want to or have the time to drive your bike long cross-country distances, sometimes time or logistics just doesn’t allow you to do so. This is where shipping your motorcycle comes in handy.

As for who actually ships your motorcycle, many companies specialize in getting your bike from point A to point B. These full-service shipping companies provide end-to-end service. It is their job to take care of all of the variables involved. This means you can keep spending time with family and friends or even devote yourself to other aspects of your trip or move. You may also want to consider using a shipping service if you are buying or selling your ride. If you don’t want to rack up the miles on your bike but you still want to take it on vacation or take it to a motorcycle show or event, a motorcycle shipping company may be your best option. This is especially helpful for luxury or even vintage bikes.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Motorcycle?

When it comes to shipping a motorcycle, here’s a ballpark estimate when shipping in the lower 48 states: expect to spend about $1 per mile if you’re shipping short distances. Shipping long distances are relatively cheaper. For instance, if you’re shipping over 1000 miles, expect to shell out only about $0.50 per mile. Of course, the exact cost depends heavily on your initial location and your end destination. You’re likely to find a better deal when shipping between major hubs than for similar distances to smaller, more remote places.

Many motorcycle shipping companies have online shipping calculators to help you get an estimate of the cost of shipping your bike. These online shipping calculators are good tools to help you compare prices between companies. As always, it is important to look for shipping companies that have deals for first-time customers. If this is a part of an extended move, check with your moving company to see if they also ship motorcycles. If you don’t want to use the online calculators or want a more accurate estimate, most companies can give you an instant quote or at least give you an estimate on the phone.

Which Company Should I Choose to Ship My Motorcycle?

If you’re like most riders, your bike is more than simply a means of getting around. It’s a way to express yourself and is part of your personality. This means you want your motorcycle to be handled carefully so it reaches your end destination in the same condition it is shipped in. Therefore, caution should be used before choosing any shipping company. This includes the lowest cost providers as well as the expensive ones.

When choosing a company to ship your motorcycle you want to make sure that it is:

  • Licensed
  • Insured
  • Fully Bonded

These companies will likely charge a premium, but there’s a reason why. You really don’t want to risk your ride in amateur hands. It’s also important to ask for references and reviews for any company you are considering. You should find at least a few authentic ones online on sites such as Trust Pilot or the Better Business Bureau.

It’s also important to ask the value to which your motorcycle is insured in the hands of the shipping company. Some companies can also provide additional coverage per your request.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Motorcycle?

Shipping your motorcycle is not as simple as sticking it on a plane and getting it to your end destination in a couple of hours. Typically, shipping companies average around 250 miles every day or less. However, longer times to ship do not automatically translate into higher costs. Instead, your costs will be more dependent on distance rather than shipping time. However, you may pay a premium if you expedite your shipping. If you need your motorcycle to arrive by a certain date, make sure the company you are considering can accommodate that.

How is a Motorcycle Shipped?

There are many ways to ship a motorcycle. But, the good news is that you get to decide precisely how your ride ships. On the cheaper end, you can go with non-palletized transport. In this case, the motorcycle is strategically strapped onto the floor of the truck using I bolts. However, this kind of shipping isn’t as safe. Such shipments will also take a bit longer when loading and this option isn’t available for customized routes. When you choose to go this route, online tracking often is not available.

On the other hand, a safer option is to shell out extra for what is known as palletized motorcycle shipping. This is when your bike is strapped securely to a pallet in enclosed ride trailers. This method of shipping typically takes between one and two weeks and often includes online tracking. Basically, you’re paying for all of the extra tender loving care: strapping down the front and the backend to the pallet, securing the pallet to the sides of the truck, rafters added as extra protection for the tire area, and automatic power lifts to load and unload.

Note that the open trailer shipping option simply means that your ride is going to share the truck with other vehicles or cargo. It is also likely to be exposed to the elements. Closed air means the bike goes in a container, but may still share the space – at least over the long haul.

Door-to-Door Shipping

You must also pay close attention to what “door-to-door shipping” really means. In most cases, your bike would be picked up at your doorstep, if the truck can be driven to your location. There should be enough working space, no overhang from branches, balconies, etc. You also need to make sure your community does not restrict truck movement and loading and unloading work. On the other hand, for busy, high-traffic areas with little space, the exchange is carried out in a neighboring parking lot.

It’s important to make sure to go over the whole process in detail. The FAQ section of your shipper’s website would be a very good starting place for understanding the exact process that they use. For everything else, do not hesitate to pick up the phone. If the attitude of the person handling your call makes you feel less than enthused, perhaps the company is not the right match. Imagine the kind of anxiety you will experience calling to get a status update if the website isn’t working or if you cannot get updated information out of them.

It may also be a good idea to see how long the company has been in business. Or, you could go by the number of bikes that the company has experienced moving. If your ride happens to be a big-ticket item, it doesn’t hurt to ask the company what kind of equipment they have or will be using to handle it.

What to Do Before Your Bike Is Picked Up

Here are some shipping tips for your motorcycle.

  1. Make sure to wash your bike before you send it away.
  2. Give it a proper once over in the presence of your shipper. Take photos, or record a video taking note of all pre-existing damages.
  3. Remove personal items. Deactivate any alarms or locks to make it as convenient as possible to move, maneuver or arrange the bike.
  4. If you’re going with crate shipping, disconnect and remove the battery and empty the gas tank.
  5. Make sure to get quotes from a few different companies for comparison. Make sure your shipper is registered with the US Department of Transportation. Take a look at their BBB ratings. Of course, these are not all must-haves, but the more detailed their profile, the more confident you’ll be with your decision.

Just make sure to accommodate for the extra time that these checks and balances will take during pick up. Your driver will have his own notes to take, detailing the condition of your bike. Damages during transit are quite rare actually. But you will know you’re doing everything in your power to stay safe and covered.

Shipping Your Motorcycle Abroad

When shipping your ride overseas, the experience of the shipper is everything- from the ports you will use, to the level of service you require! As much as possible, you want to deal with a fully licensed NVOCC and international freight forwarder. This way, your shipping lines are the only other link in the entire chain. Experienced companies will have the tie-ups needed for competitive rates. They should be able to track your bike at all times and provide you with condition reports from time to time (photographs!).

The NVOCC status implies that the shipping lines are in charge of the rates and you don’t have to worry about add-ons. Such carriers will also have a wide selection of ports and destinations, including those in Europe or the Pacific rim. Also be sure to look for licensing from IATA, DOT, FMC, etc.

Here is a quick tidbit: for many end destinations in Eastern Europe, you will be better off shipping your bike to the closest Western European port normally covered. From there you can arrange for inland transportation. Also remember air freight is always more expensive, even if it takes less time. Introductory rates to Europe start at about $700 one way. Thereafter, your dimensions, specifications, and the exact selection of port will determine prices. Expect to pay duties, taxes, and fees on top of normal shipping fees.

Documents Needed to Ship Your Motorcycle Overseas

Here is a checklist of documents needed to export your bike:

  1. Title (clear and original)
  2. If your bike is relatively new, the bill of sale. Usually, this period is six months.
  3. Passport or other government ID
  4. Power of attorney depending upon the ports used.

Keep your import documents safe if you intend to register your bike. However, if you only planned to attend an event or a rally, registrations are not required. Just make sure to have insurance that covers your jurisdictions. Documents become more important if you decide to bring the bike back home to the US. Certain jurisdictions may require you to convert your odometer units and ensure your bike meets emissions standards, or otherwise undergo exhaust conversions and lighting modifications.

We can imagine that the process appears intense, particularly if all you wanted to do was ride your bike in peace. Our biggest recommendation would be to go with a carrier with experience. They will be able to smooth out the rough patches and help you prepare for the unexpected. Bon voyage!