Read This Before Transporting a Motorcycle Cross Country

Nov 14, 2022

There are several reasons why you may choose to transport your motorcycle cross-country. Perhaps you’re moving to a new home and want to make sure the bike gets there safe and sound. Alternatively, you may be preparing for a big bike show and want to ensure your motorcycle doesn’t get dinged up while it’s on its way to the event.

Whatever the case may be, you need to move the bike over a large distance.

But wait a minute!

Before you start plowing ahead with shipping, read this.

Understand Your Options

You have three options when transporting your motorcycle across the country.

1.       Ride it there yourself

2.       Hire a truck and trailer

3.       Work with cross-country motorcycle movers

Riding the bike yourself is seemingly the most cost-effective choice. Unfortunately, it’s also the option that places your bike at the most risk. You have to account for the potential for roadside debris to damage your bike, which may make this choice unsuitable if you’re shipping the bike to a big show. Furthermore, you have to make time in your schedule for the ride and need to account for the cost of fuel and weather issues, plus the cost of lost work if that’s an issue.

Using a truck and trailer cuts down on the wear and tear your motorcycle will experience if you ride it across the country yourself. However, you’re still responsible for getting the bike there in one piece, which means you still have to find time in your schedule. Plus, you have to rent or purchase equipment, including a trailer, straps, wheel chocks, and anything else needed to keep your bike in place. While this is still a cheaper option than using a cross-country mover, the costs tend to add up.

Using a professional cross-country mover is the safest and most convenient option. They already have the equipment needed to transport your bike. Better yet, some providers offer enclosed transportation, which protects your bike from accidents, weather, and roadside debris. Working with a transportation company may be your best option if you want to ensure no wear and tear occurs.

Preparing Your Bike

Whether you transport the bike yourself using a trailer or you work with a vehicle shipping company, you have some steps to complete before it’s ready for shipping. You can’t simply roll up with the bike and expect a carrier to ship it without any inspection. Thankfully, many motorcycle shipping companies give you a list of inspection instructions to follow beforehand.

These instructions vary depending on the carrier, though they typically include the following steps.

·         Clean any dirt, dust, and grime off your bike. This allows you to identify any preexisting dents and scratches, which you should catalog before shipping the bike. You’ll need evidence of what was there (and what wasn’t) before shipping if you need to file a dispute with your carrier later.

·         Inspect the bike to ensure it has no mechanical issues. Look specifically for fluid leaks and issues with your brakes. The auto transport company needs to know about these problems before shipping your ride. It’s also worth checking the tire pressure because most carriers either ride or wheel your bike onto their trailers, so you don’t want any flat tires interfering.

·         Secure or remove any loose parts, such as saddlebags or bike decorations. As a general rule, it’s best to remove all personal items, as your transporter’s insurance likely won’t cover losses or damage that occurs to personal goods.

·         Leave a quarter-tank of gas in the bike. This gives your carrier enough fuel to ride the bike on and off the trailer. Only having a quarter-tank reduces the bike’s weight, which lowers your transportation costs.

·         If there are any specific tricks or tips your carrier needs to know about the bike, make a note of them and hand them to your driver. You may know that you need to jiggle the key in the ignition before the bike starts but your carrier won’t unless you tell them.

How to Find a Good Motorcycle Transportation Company

Shipping a bike cross country means you’re trusting a company to take care of the vehicle over a potentially multi-thousand-mile journey. That means you need to find a carrier you can trust. These quick tips will help you do that.

Tip No. 1 – Collect Several Quotes

Never go with the first quote you receive. By collecting multiple quotes, you get a better idea of the true cost of transporting your bike. Use your quotes to figure out an approximate average so you can eliminate any providers who charge too much above or below the average.

Tip No. 2 – Ask About Insurance

You shouldn’t need to purchase special insurance to transport your bike. A reputable cross-country shipping company will have liability insurance to cover any issues that arise. Always ask about the company’s insurance status and ask to see proof in the form of a Certificate of Insurance.

Tip No. 3 – Choose Either Open or Enclosed Shipping

Many transportation companies offer both open and enclosed shipping. The open option is more cost-effective. However, it usually involves transporting your motorcycle alongside several other vehicles. Plus, the bike is exposed to the elements and road hazards during its journey. If you want the best protection available, choose enclosed shipping. You’ll pay a little more but the enclosed trailer guards your motorcycle against inclement weather and debris.

Tip No. 4 – Always Document the Bike’s Condition

Conduct an inventory of your motorcycle after cleaning it. Make a note of existing dings and scratches, ideally with photographic evidence. Take additional photos of the whole bike, which you can use as evidence if you believe your carrier has damaged your motorcycle during transit.

Transport Your Motorcycle Cross-Country Safely

When your bike needs to travel hundreds or thousands of miles, you have to feel certain it’s in safe hands. Working with a cross-country carrier is often your best option. However, you must ensure that carrier is right for the job. Use the tips in this article and research the carrier online before making your choice. When you’re ready to ship, schedule the appropriate dates and use this article to help you prepare your bike for its journey.