Maybe you’ve just bought the motorcycle of your dreams, or you’re moving cross country, or maybe even attending a motorcycle event in another state. How are you going to transport your bike? Just like transporting a car, you want to find a shipping company that has the expertise to move all types of motorcycles – safely, quickly, and efficiently.
Caravan Auto Transport offers free quotes from licensed, insured motorcycle transporters who know how to ship everything from choppers and cruisers to off-road and sport bikes. Every bike has its own particular set of needs and Caravan Auto Transport will help you find just the right partner to get your bike delivered safely.
Rather than drive it yourself – putting all kinds of miles and wear and tear on your bike – find yourself a reliable, licensed carrier to do the job properly. Click ‘Get Quote’ for a free motorcycle transportation estimate in just minutes!
How to Transport a Motorcycle
The main joy of owning a motorcycle is riding it. There’s nothing like that feeling of brisk wind in your face, the open road, and the oneness with nature that motorcycle riding provides. But when it comes to transporting a bike from one place to another, sometimes it makes more sense to have it shipped.
Following are some pros and cons of the various methods available to transport a motorcycle across the country:
Ride it to its Destination
Depending on how far you have to go, you may consider just riding your bike across country. You get to see all the scenery, enjoy the journey, live in the now . . . all that good stuff. But the reality is, sometimes you’re under a time constraint and riding the bike just isn’t an option. Or you have a family to move and going it alone just isn’t going to work. So, in this particular instance, it seems like a better idea is to ship the bike.
Load it Onto a Pick-up Truck
Do you have a buddy with a pick-up? Perhaps you’ve thought of renting a truck and loading your motorcycle in the back. The downside to this plan is the extra equipment you’ll need: arched ramps, a sturdy wheel chock/stand, soft-loop tie-downs, even a bed extender. It’s a lot of stuff. And it’s not easy to do. Your average motorcycle weighs around 400 pounds and can be a bear to load into a truck, even with a friend. It might be time to look at other options.
Rent a Motorcycle Trailer
On the plus side, motorcycle trailers are affordable, lightweight, and easy to tow. And they generally come equipped with an easy-access loading ramp, heavy-duty tie-down rings, and a built-in motorcycle chock. But again, bikes are heavy and hard to load. And if you’re towing the bike, that means you’re not towing other things, which may not be convenient when moving a family cross country. Plus, you’ll still have to pay for hotels, tolls, gas, and other on-the-road expenses.
Hire Motorcycle Shippers
The easiest option would be to hire a motorcycle shipper. Just like with auto carriers, you can choose between an open carrier or enclosed, depending on the level of protection you’d like and the amount you’re willing to spend. Open trailers are a good option if you’re only going a short distance, if you need faster delivery, or the bike isn’t too delicate or valuable. Enclosed trailers are generally a better option for more valuable bikes, and the preferred mode of transportation for those not on a time crunch.
The Best Motorcycle Transport Companies of 2024
Motorcycle Shipping Cost
The average cost to ship a motorcycle across the country is somewhere between $400 – $600. The per mile average is $0.50 for trips of up to 1,000 miles. Although some companies will charge a flat fee to ship motorcycles a short distance, longer trips are usually charged by the mile. Many different factors come into play when estimating the cost to ship your bike:
Enclosed Trailer vs. Open
Enclosed trailers cost more than open air carriers due to the higher level of safety and insurance coverage.
Size of the Bike
Most lightweight motorcycles can weigh anywhere from 230 – 330 pounds. Heavier bikes, like a Harley, can weigh as much as 500 pounds. Some transporters will charge more for a big bike as it’s harder to load, weighs more, and requires more heavy-duty equipment.
Where You’re Going
Where you’re shipping can affect the cost as well. If you’re delivering to a large city that’s on a transporter’s usual route, you’ll pay less than if the hauler has to travel to a rural area that’s harder to access.
Time of Year
Unlike autos, time of year doesn’t usually affect motorcycle shipping costs, unless you’re opting for a closed carrier. You may have a collector bike you’re shipping to a show, or If it’s winter, you may choose to send your bike in an enclosed trailer to protect it from snow, sleet, and rain.
Vintage or Luxury Bikes
If you’re shipping a vintage or luxury bike, you’ll most likely want to transport via enclosed carrier. With the higher level of protection an enclosed trailer provides comes a higher price tag. You can expect to pay about $800 to ship your rare bike via enclosed trailer.
How to Ship a Motorcycle Across the Country
Once you’ve decided to ship your motorcycle cross country you’ll have several factors to weigh. The usual method of shipping a motorcycle is with an enclosed carrier. It’s the safest most secure method, safeguarding the bike from poor weather conditions, road hazards, and theft. The timeline is similar to that of transporting an auto since they’re often transported together. Enclosed carriers are designed to carry motorcycles safely with the equipment needed to tie down a bike securely.
If the bike is only going a short distance, customers often decide to send their bikes by open carriers that can handle many bikes at a time because it’s much more affordable. But if the bike is going a longer distance, enclosed trailers are the preferred method of transportation.
Time plays a key role in making your decision on how best to ship your bike. If you need it picked up or delivered on a specific date, you’ll pay an expedited rate. It will be cheaper to ship via open air carrier, but again, it will be open to the elements and there’s risk involved. With all of that in mind, now it’s time for you to do some homework and choose the best way to ship your bike. Your next steps are to:
- Request motorcycle shipping quotes: Your first step is to find the best motorcycle transport company to handle your bike’s specific needs. Caravan Auto Transport provides quotes from shippers who have the appropriate expertise to safely transport your bike. Just as with an auto, you’ll want to work only with a licensed, insured carrier that’s equipped to get your bike where it’s going quickly and without incident. Remember, the lowest price isn’t always the best choice. Compare all the quotes and choose the transporter with the best track record, best reviews, most longevity, and expertise in the field.
- Schedule the shipment: Once you’ve chosen a carrier, make sure to ask for proof of insurance –just in case. Then, schedule pickup. If you’re moving coast to coast, transport time can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days, depending on the weather, road conditions, and other factors. An open carrier is usually fastest as there are more on the road and they can accommodate customers faster. Enclosed carriers are less common, so if you’re choosing that option, remember to leave a little extra transport time.
- Prepare the motorcycle for shipment: Before your motorcycle ships, you’re advised to do several things in advance. You should:
- Thoroughly clean the bike and inspect for dings, chips, scratches and other damage.
- Photograph your bike from every angle and document its condition. Include any mechanical problems.
- Remove anything extra from the bike that might break or fall off in transit. Loss or damage of accessories is not covered by insurance.
- Make sure the bike is in good working order by properly inflating tires, charging up the battery, checking fluid levels, and making sure the gas tank is no more than ¼ full.
- Date all records, including photos, and show documentation to the transporter when they arrive.
- Drop off at the pick-up location: Most motorcycle shippers work on a door-to-door basis. In some cases, however, their trucks may not be able to get to your home if the streets are too narrow, or have low-hanging wires, etc. In that case, they’ll arrange for you to meet them at an open lot near you to load or unload your motorcycle.
- Track its progress: The shipper will give you an idea of how long it should take to ship your bike when they pick it up. But if you’d like to check in along the way, most transporters will have software that allows you to check progress. If not, you can call and ask them to check for you.
- Receive the delivery: The time is finally here and your bike is being delivered! Make sure you thoroughly inspect the vehicle to assure it’s in the same condition in which it left. If damage is visible, take photos and report the damage to the driver and transport company immediately. They’ll advise you on how to make a claim, if necessary.
Motorcycle Shipping Quote
Caravan Auto Transport provides free instant motorcycle shipping quotes from licensed, insured professionals. Click ‘Get Quote’ and enter your specific transport requirements. We’ll send you no-obligation estimates from trusted, verified haulers around the country. We only work with top-rated bonded motorcycle shippers, so one click is all it takes to find the transporter that’s right for you.