Top 6 Tips for Shipping a Motorcycle

If you are selling a motorcycle and are unable to meet the buyer in person, you may need to have it shipped. Shipping a motorcycle may sound complicated and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of planning, it can become a lot simpler and easier on your wallet.

For our top tips on motorcycle shipping, continue below.

Plan ahead

This should probably go without saying, but is worth noting. You will want to plan and schedule the shipping of your motorcycle at least a week or two in advance, if you are able to.

Giving a shipping company this notice allows them to do research. They can find the most efficient routes and explore other ways to cut costs. In turn, this helps keep your rate lower.

It’s possible to call a company and have them pick up your motorcycle the very next day. However, it will be much more expensive this way. And, your options may be limited. Planning in advance will help the entire process go more smoothly, and will save you a lot of money.

Research different companies

Researching multiple shipping companies is important if you want to keep costs low and your motorcycle safe. Explore their websites. See what their customers say about them, as well as how they advertise themselves.

Can you trust the shipper? Do they deliver motorcycles without damage? Do they consistently deliver on time? How far is the shipper able to travel? These are all important questions to ask for each.

In addition to browsing the company’s official website, check out third-party sites, too. The company has the power to hide the most negative reviews from their own website. So, you may receive a more truthful account of how the company operates on review sites they do not own. Google Reviews are a good place to start.

Consider insurance

All professional motorcycle shipping companies are required by law to provide a level of insurance for your motorcycle. Sounds great! Next step, right? 

Not so fast.

The required protection will rarely cover the full value of your motorcycle. It is a good idea to find out what kinds of damages the shipping company protects against, as well as the coverage limit.

If you own a valuable motorcycle or just want peace of mind for full coverage of the motorcycle you are shipping, you may want to purchase additional insurance coverage. Many companies offer it in-house. If not, they can refer you to a third-party insurance provider.

Get multiple quotes

Once you have settled on a handful of shippers you can trust, reach out to them for quotes. You can typically do so both online and by calling them directly.

Of course you will want as low of a figure as possible, but pay attention to the details of the quote. WIll it be delivered on time to make your buyer happy? Will it be in an open or closed trailer?

An open trailer may expose your motorcycle to road debris and weather elements, but are typically cheaper and ship out faster.

Compare all of your quotes, and decide which option works the very best for you and the buyer.

Properly prepare motorcycle for shipment

Before your motorcycle is placed on a transport truck, you must do a few things to ensure its safety.

The most important thing you will need to do is reduce the fuel level. Some shippers will allow up to a quarter of a tank, while others will request that you drain it completely. Be sure to complete this prior to handing your motorcycle off, as the fuel siphoning charge from the shipper may be steep.

Disconnect the battery so there is no chance of a spark or short circuit. Disable the motorcycle alarm, too, so it doesn’t accidentally trip and sound the alert while your motorcycle is moving. Remove all loose accessories, such as luggage racks, spoilers and GPS systems. Some haulers may require you to remove handlebars and mirrors as well.

Check your tire pressure and inflate them if they are not full. Having fully inflated tires will help the suspension system and do a better job of keeping your motorcycle upright during transit.

Collect all documents that your shipper requires, such as registration papers. Lastly, give your motorcycle a good wash before you send it off. Some haulers may require a level of cleanliness if shipping with other units. It will also make your buyer happy.

Document motorcycle condition before send-off

While you prepare the motorcycle for shipment, make notes on its current condition. Document any dents, chips, scratches and other cosmetic flaws on the motorcycle.

If there are any leaks that you cannot resolve before shipment, you must report them to the hauler. Failure to do so could result in damage to your motorcycle or others it is shipped with.

Take photos of everything so you have proof of its condition when you handed it off. Ideally, you will not need to use these and the seller will receive the motorcycle in the exact condition they expected it. However, if it is damaged in transit and you do not have any photos to back your claims, you may become responsible for the discrepancy.


That’s it! Your motorcycle is now ready for a cross-country adventure. It may seem overwhelming from the jump, but is very doable when broken down step-by-step.

If cash is tight, you may think it is a better idea to ride the motorcycle and drop it off to the buyer yourself. It can be in some cases, especially if you are just crossing a state line or two. However, hotels and meals can add up on the way there, as well as a flight back.

Have you ever shipped a motorcycle? Have you bought a motorcycle that needed to be shipped? Let us know your experience in the comments!

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