A Guide on How to Transport a Motorcycle

A Guide on How to Transport a Motorcycle
Published on July 14, 2023

A long, refreshing drive on the US’s highways is an unparalleled enjoyment for motorcyclists. But the truth is, not all bike trips are enjoyable and refreshing, as some might be distant, hazardous, and overwhelming.

Whether a home relocation or a short vacation, driving won’t be the wisest call if a motorcyclist wants to have their bike on board. Hiring a motorcycle shipping company is the smoothest and fastest way to get a bike delivered to any required destination easily.

So, here, we’re pointing out everything a bike owner has to know about transporting a bike. This guide will cover the following steps:

  • Find a reliable transport company
  • Decide on the trailer type
  • Decide on the shipping service
  • Order transport quotes
  • Prepare the motorbike for shipping
  • Document the bike’s condition
  • Crate the motorbike
  • Auto transport companies’ recommendation

1.      Find a reliable transport company

Transporting a motorbike isn’t less challenging than shipping a car or heavy-duty equipment; it requires a professional and experienced motorcycle shipping company. So, a bike’s owner has to be patient and never settle for a company until the following standards are met:

What to look out for in a motorcycle shipping company

●        License and Registration  

A license and registration are required for the commercial vehicles that motorcycle shipping companies utilize to safely and legally operate nationwide. The two parties concerned with overlooking shipping companies are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DoT.), so a reliable shipping company must be licensed and registered with these two parties; confirming this is possible by requesting the company’s USDOT number and run a check on the FMCSA’s website.

●       Solid Reputation 

A trustworthy, professional motorcycle shipping company will never be put out of sight; its name will be prominent in the bike shipping industry. A well-known, recognized company wouldn’t have earned such popularity if its services weren’t well-received by all clients who have hired it before.

Reliable review sites such as Google, Facebook, BBB, etc., would provide a clear insight into a company’s reputation and what previous clients have to say about it.

●       Long Experience 

Trusting a fresh, poorly experienced shipping company with a precious possession such as a motorcycle will guarantee the worst consequences. The inefficiency of a motorbike shipping company might result in the vehicle’s damage, no commitment to pickup and delivery dates and times, and a poor bike shipping experience in general.

That’s why one must look for a company that’s experienced in shipping motorcycles and has been in the industry for many years. A seasoned auto transport company will have the most advanced carriers, the best-sophisticated shipping techniques, and highly experienced drivers.

So, chances for damage or irresponsibility aren’t at all there. Tempus Logix is an auto transport company that matches all standards and requirements for a reliable shipping company; it has transported above 45,000 vehicles safely and successfully to different areas in the US.

●       Fair Insurance 

While no one can predict what the US highways and weather conditions might bring to the shipped vehicles, auto transport companies must give the client peace of mind. And that’s by offering proper insurance that protects their motorbikes during the pickup, journey, and delivery.

Auto shipping insurance could be fair, while others aren’t, so a client has to read a company’s terms and conditions to decide whether they’re suitable to their needs or whether they should buy additional insurance or look for another motorcycle shipping company.

2.      Decide on the trailer’s types

Motorbike shipping companies have two carrier options for transporting a vehicle, an open and enclosed trailer. Each trailer type ensures a different level of protection and comes at a separate fee.

Enclosed trailers are recommended when transporting a bike under severe weather conditions, hot or cold. This option prevails as harsh weather conditions can negatively affect the shipped bike’s interior and exterior.

In addition, an enclosed carrier is a good option if a client owns a vintage or luxurious bike; if so, road hazards and weather conditions could dramatically affect the bike and result in scratches and damages.

Enclosed auto transport trailers provide 360-degree protection and leave no chance for any kind of damage. As a matter of fact, some enclosed trailers are temperature controlled and can keep shipped bikes in a medium temperature suitable to the surroundings.

On the other hand, open trailers are a good option for transporting regular motorbikes for short distances, as they’re cost-effective and convenient. However, bikes on an open trailer are exposed to external weather conditions, road hazards, and debris. Furthermore, bikes are strapped throughout the journey, so some bike accessories might get stolen in case a carrier driver stops for a break.

3.      Decide on the shipping service

Bike shipping companies offer clients the choice to have their motorcycles picked up and dropped off from the company’s terminal or the client’s accommodation. These two options are known as terminal-to-terminal and door-to-door auto transport services. 

By going for the terminal-to-terminal shipping service, a client has to travel with their bike to a distant terminal, usually in rural areas. This service exposes the motorcyclist and the motorcycle to damage, dangers, and accidents; however, it’s more money-saving and affordable than its counterpart.

On the other hand, the door-to-door auto transport service doesn’t require the client to move their vehicle or leave the comfort of their home; a carrier will come right to their home or office doorstep to pick up the vehicle with the least trouble and stress.

The door-to-door auto transport service is more expensive than the other as it requires the shipping company to obtain special permits for accessing residential areas. In addition, the bulky carriers operated by auto transport companies burn a lot of fuel during a trip. 

The other shipping service, however, doesn’t require any additional effort from the company’s side. Rather, each client will be responsible for delivering and picking up their vehicle from a pre-arranged location. For this reason, there are no additional fees for this service; it’s affordable and recommended if a client can safely drive their bike for long distances.

4.      Order transport quotes

One can get a professional service for a reasonable, economical price but must go the extra mile. Each auto transport company follows a different way of calculating its shipping quotes.

Some offer the best service for a big-budget price, while others can provide the same high-quality service level for a manageable quote. It doesn’t take more than ordering quotes from all reliable bike shipping companies and comparing them until receiving the most reasonable one.

However, bike owners have to remember that the shipping fee isn’t all that matters and isn’t what determines whether or not a service provider is reliable. Rather, clients have to consider all the standards mentioned above before reaching the level or ordering and comparing quotes. 

5.      Prepare the motorbike for shipping

The motorbike’s safety isn’t only the company’s responsibility; it’s a collaborative effort between a bike owner and a shipping company. A client’s part of the deal is properly preparing their bike for the long trip it’s about to undertake. And that’s by doing the following:

●       Clean the bike’s body

Even if the bike is transported on an open trailer and gets exposed to the road’s dust and dirt, a motorcycle shouldn’t be hauled on the carrier’s back until it’s squeaky clean. When a client cleans their vehicle and removes all dirt that covers its body, all current scratches, dents, and dings will be revealed.

By that, both the client and the carrier driver will get to know the bike’s pre-shipping state and be able to spot new scratches and damages if they exist.

●       Remove loose items

Whether the bike is in an enclosed or open carrier, the long, hazardous trip will put loose items in danger of getting damaged or lost. So, saddlebags, windscreens, and mirrors must be removed before the bike is picked up. It’s worth noting that all the insurance auto transport companies provide doesn’t cover loose items’ damage.

However, if removing loose items isn’t possible for any reason, a client can purchase additional insurance coverage to protect the parts that the original insurance doesn’t cover.

●       Drain the fuel tank

A full fuel tank means additional weight; additional weight means a higher fee. In addition, the more fuel, the more the chances of leaks and spills. So, a bike owner has only to fill ¼ of the fuel, no more, no less.

Additional preparations include:

  • Disabling the battery
  • Disabling the alarm
  • Properly inflating the tires

6.      Document the bike’s condition

After cleaning and fully preparing the bike for transport, a client has to document their vehicle’s pre-shipping state. And that’s by pointing out all scratches, dents, dings, discolorations, and chips. All the damages and issues on the bike’s body must be included in the receipt the carrier driver gives to the client during the pickup; this receipt is known as the Bill of Lading (BOL.)

Once the bike is delivered, both the carrier driver and the car owner must inspect the vehicle and look for any new damages; if any damage of any kind is noted, the client shouldn’t sign the Bill of Lading and immediately reach out to the company for insurance coverage.

7.      Crate the motorbike

A motorcycle crate is the best way to ensure a bike’s safety regardless of the carrier type a client goes for, open or enclosed; they work as a shipping container. Crates could be purchased, rented, or made. But because a crate’s price is somewhere between 300$ to 900$ and rental isn’t much more affordable, making a crate is the most affordable way many bike owners prefer.

The two popular crate materials are metal and wood; steel crates are light-weighted and provide a high level of protection; however, they don’t shield the shipped bike against harsh weather conditions. Wooden crates, on the other hand, are sturdy and ensure the highest level of protection but are harder to store than steel boxes.

No matter whether a bike owner goes for steel or wooden crates, the bike shipping company must be fully informed so they plan the haul and the shipment accordingly.

Best motorbike transport company recommendation 

Finding the most reliable and trustworthy auto transport company for shipping the most cherished possession, a motorcycle, won’t be easy, especially with numerous shipping companies in the industry.

However, Tempus Logix is a leading auto transport company that has served clients all around the US for over eight years. Its previous clients’ reviews, as well as Transport Ranking, an auto transport ranking website, have proven that the quality of its services is unparalleled and among the best in the field.

Tempus Logix provides high-quality services and reasonable quotes that comply with the service quality and suit each bike owner’s budget.

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