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Motorcycle Transport Process

One of the most important considerations that come to your mind before or just right after the purchase of your motorcycle is the transportation to its destination. Finding the means of shipping your precious cargo becomes an overriding factor. You carefully look into safety and security of your motorcycle and the cost-effectiveness of the same during transportation. Timely delivery of your motorcycle is also considered when planning for transportation.

The Motorcycle Shipping Process

The best shipping process is one that is geared towards ensuring the motorcycle arrives at its final destination in the most timely, safest and cleanest condition possible. Standard procedures are inevitable and useful. It does not matter which part of the state, country or globe your motorcycle is headed. The initial questions that immediately come to your mind include the final destination of your motorcycle. This allows you to carry out your own research on the most reputable shipping companies. Things you would want to know, include the standing and image of the company. You will need to know if they are licensed, insured and bonded.

How Much Does It Cost?

There is no definite and correct answer when it comes to make calculations of transportation costs for your motorcycle. This is because many factors are taken into consideration to arrive at a sure cost. These factors include:

- Distance for the pickup location to the point of destination. The longer the distance, the more you spend on transportation cost.

- Shipping method. For instance, an enclosed method is more costly compared to the open trailer.

- The size and weight of cargo also matters.

All in all, the average cost does range from a few hundred dollars to about $2,000.

How To Get Started (4 Steps)
1. Get Quotes

As you begin scouring and searching for ways on how to transport your motorcycle, this is how you go about it. Identify a reputable shipping company that is licensed, insured and bonded. Request for the exact motorcycle transportation quotes. In all respects, this is inclusive of pickup location and delivery address, the type of vehicle, and its size. The time of delivery of your motorcycle and insurance choice is also an important consideration when making the quotation.

2. Choose your company

Once you have made up your mind on the motorcycle transportation quotes, you can then sign the shipping contract. The contract in essence, asks for details such as pickup location, and delivery destination. The type of motorcycle that is being shipped, it size as well as insurance choices of the ride. In the same contract, you also fill in contact information and method of payment. Depending on the communication system of the shipping company that you have chosen to work with, the fully filled contract can be sent by email, Fax or even mail.

3. Pickup Process

The contract that you have signed with the shipping company covers the location of the pickup for your motorcycle. It helps to ensure that the location is easily accessible for the pickup trailer. Legally and for safety purposes, the location should allow for safe maneuvering of a long trailer. This also applies if you are using the nationwide pickup service. Most times you find that pickup and delivery journeys are done on a given schedule. You should be readily available to facilitate the pick up of your motorcycle.

4. Delivery

For the arrival destination, contact details are often in the possession of the shipping company. Upon arrival of the motorcycle, the recipient should be readily available. The delivery location ought to also be favorable for safe unloading of the cargo. Inspection is done at the point of delivery to ensure that the motorcycles are safe and in perfect condition. Double check everything. In case there are any discrepancies and damage, these should be noted down. Take images of the dents or scratches and make a report to your shipping company. They can then make their own assessment and file for claims from their insurance company.

How To Prepare For Transport?

Just before the pickup of your motorcycle for shipping, there are a number of things you undertake in readiness. Your checklist includes the following:

- Thoroughly check your motorcycle for any pre-existing damage and malfunctions;

- Record down any problems you find on the motorcycle and include the date of recording, too;

- Undertake a thorough cleaning of the motorcycle;

- If you notice any scratches and dents however minor, record them down; you can as well take images of the same;

- Take clear photographs of your motorcycle from all possible angles including areas that show any pre/existing damage;

- Depending on the mode of transportation, you may drain the gas tank although not all of it completely;

- All loose items that are attached to the bike should be removed to prevent loss or further damage to your motorcycle;

- Inflate the motorcycle’s tires and recharge the battery;

- Do an inspection to fix any fluid leaks that are present;

Above all, ensure that your motorcycle is in perfect working condition. It is advisable to fix any mechanical issues before pickup. Think of writing down any special operating instructions. Then let these records and documentation be forwarded to the shipping company by the pickup person.

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Motorcycle Shipping Methods (Open, Enclosed trailers)

Most shipping companies offer at least two options when it comes to the mode of transportation; the most used in this case, are open and enclosed trailers. These transportation methods are considered in terms of security, safety and cost implications. For instance, an open trailer method is often cost-effective, but the downside of it is that it comes with no cover during transit. On the other hand, enclosed trailer method can be costly, yes, but it also comes with more security and safety. But considering the fact that most people often turn to shipping, unlike other methods, because it is more affordable compared to say air freight, it is then a tricky affair.

Open Trailers

In this type of transportation, the motorcycles are driven and packed into the ship in a space which looks a lot like a parking garage. Your motorcycle is then strapped and secured to prevent any kind of sliding and slipping during transportation. This trailer is designed with metal protectors which are used to lock the motorcycle into place. There obvious advantages to this method. First, it is much cheaper and hence more affordable compared to other means of transportation. It comes with reliable times of departure and arrivals. The times for leaving and arrival are already fixed in advance. The scheduling is akin to airline departure and arrival time system; you are actually sure of the time when your ride arrives. The securing process is so mechanical and there is no way your motorcycle could slide and slip out into the sea. Safety is paramount when it comes to this system. The open trailer can carry as many motorcycles as possible. However, the disadvantage with open trailers is that the motorcycles are exposed to the wind and other harmful elements. This means that your motorcycle’s delicate finishing could easily experience scratching, cracks and unwanted dents.

Shared Container Transportation

This method allows for multiple motorcycles to be loaded on to a specific container at a warehouse. Departure then takes place only once the container is full to its capacity. Unlike the open trailer method, there are no fixed dates for departure and arrival. Only once the container is full the does it then makes its departure. The advantage of this method is that it's cost-effective. This is because shipping costs are shared among all the motorcycles loaded onto the container. In the event that the more time-strict open trailer is not available, this method becomes a plan B. The motorcycles are also well secured and fitted to prevent any kind of swaying and sliding while at sea. The on and off-loading from the container is done with a lot of care; forklifts are used to remove the motorcycles one by one in order to avoid any mishandling and damage.

Enclosed Method of Transportation

In this type of transportation, your motorcycle is loaded into an enclosed air-ride trailer. This trailer serves well as a pickup from the pickup location. There is no hassling with agents and middlemen. The advantage with enclosed trailers is that they are already specialized in all steps of handling your motorcycle; from the point of pick up to delivery; they therefore ensure that the motorcycle arrives in safe and clean condition. Furthermore, your motorcycle is also enclosed allowing for non-exposure to any harmful elements; it remains squeaky clean as if it just arrived from the factory. Your motorcycle is loaded into a uniquely designed pallet and then tightly strapped to prevent it from moving from side to side during transportation. Additionally, security is most assured with an enclosed method, as your cargo is kept away from prying eyes.



Brokers or Carriers?

Brokers and Carriers have their defined and distinct roles in motorcycle transportation. Understanding the roles they play help you to choose wisely. You are also able to know where to start from as you make your transportation plans.


As aptly named, a broker is licensed to arrange for the transportation of your motorcycle for shipment. In their true nature, brokers enable transportation services by connecting their customers to carriers. They are there to arrange the transportation of your shipment and are actually third-party logistics providers. Serving as middlemen between shippers and carriers, they assign carrier companies within their formed networks to enable the shipment of your motorcycle at predetermined prices Dealing with brokers has its own advantages. For instance, brokers have a wide range of options in terms accessing necessary equipment as compared to carriers; this is because of the broad network they have among auto carriers.

A typical broker is both knowledgeable and exposed, doing all the legwork to know what is required at all times. Meanwhile, there are also some downsides when working with a broker. There have been reported cases of malpractice and unprofessionalism within some companies; hence it is recommended to take the utmost care when choosing a broker who is reputable. Moreover, brokers come with little overheads and literally no staff to speak of. Some of them do not have a familiar base or office for their operations. Working with a Broker Once you have made a decision to work with a broker, it is required that you initiate an immediate plan to connect and exchange important details.

This exchange of information can be done via email or direct phone call. Upon agreement, the broker can get to work by making contact with reputable carrier companies to secure transportation for your shipment.


Carriers are auto transport companies, who are also owners of transport trucks. They are able to handle the transportation of your shipment without a middleman. These often come in many forms, from auto owner-operators to large fleet’s operators. The advantage of directly dealing with carriers is that they have a schedule and they operate on fixed time-frames. They also take responsibility for damaged or lost cargo. Carriers have specialized staff, who are well-trained to handle and move the motorcycles. Working with carriers too, means that you are dealing directly with a company owner. They own the means of transportation and therefore understand the nature of the work at hand. You are also able to negotiate the cost one-on-one without passing through a third party. The drawback with carriers is that some of them may not be licensed to offer auto transportation. It usually depends on individual state regulations.

Dealing strictly with carriers could also limit you in terms of availability of necessary equipment such as forklifts when you urgently need them. It may also be more expensive because there are no competitive bids and offers for the service.

How to Know Whether a Company Is a Broker or Carrier?

It is easy to know and differentiate one from the other. For instance, you can access relevant information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. This implies that you carry out your research on specific companies by state and motor license number. Search also for the U.S Department of Transportation number. From the data you gather, you can easily determine which is which.

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Recent Shipping Reviews
Satoru F.
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Fernando A.

The service was fast and easy. Stacey is great and promptly fixed any issues during the process. I really appreciate the concern and customer service. I rate 5 stars mainly because this company has great communication and is by your side during the whole process. Thank you so much!!!

The driver arrived on time to pick-up my bike in San Diego, CA for its journey to Austin, TX. We were given three day for the bike to arrive in Austin, as promised, it arrived on time and in perfect condition. We were able to pack a few personal items in it which was great. Movewheels was great and the cost was fair, $650 door-to-door.

Shipping my son's bike was a massive hassle with numerous transport companies until I contacted Val. The First guy who was honest with me and could intelligently explain the process to me. This is your go to guy. The guy who clearly is head and heals above all his peers...Ask to speak to Val...THE BEST!

My driver, Carlos, was phenomenal. Great communicator, worked around my schedule... with 2 delays in closing on my house! I even had to deliver the Jeep to a different location than the one I originally ordered because I was living in temporary location. I moved from Miami to the San Francisco Bay Area. He kept in touch during the trip and delivered exactly when promised. I see the bad reviews on here, but Carlos and the person who booked (Ara Pinosian) gave me excellent service.

It was great experience only took a few days from Md to Florida.Car was perfect condition ,driver was super friendly and professional.Great deal would recommend to everyone.

Very efficient with staying in contact and keeping you updated about everything. Highly recommend!