Preparing Your Motorcycle For Transport

“Many situations arise that call for shipping a motorcycle, and handing over your cycle to a shipping company can be stressful. Even though the odds of your bike getting damaged during shipment are slight, peace of mind is often lacking until your possession has safely reached its destination. If a situation dictates you to use a shipping company, the following steps will help to minimize the possibility of the bike getting damaged, as well as help you collect compensation in the off-chance that an accident does occur.
1- A thorough cleansing is the first step in preparing a motorcycle for transport. Wash down the bike and in the process note any existing scratches, dents, dings or other imperfections. Document this with a written account and by taking photos. Don’t rush through this, as this will be very helpful should anything happen and you are forced to file a claim. Following the scrub, remove any loose items that could possibly be lost while in route. A carrier’s insurance will not cover any missing or damaged accessories, so double check that you’ve got everything.
2- A quick mechanical check-up is the final step in your preparation. Even though the bike will not be driven much during shipment, the carrier may have to fire it up once or twice to get it on or off the trailer so it is important that it is in appropriate condition. Check the tire pressure, fluids level, charge the battery and make sure it has some gas. If the bike is experiencing any problems or requires special procedures be sure to notify the shipper beforehand.
3- If your bike is antique, rare or extremely customized you may want to contact a shipping company that specializes in servicing such vehicles. They will be accustomed to the extra steps that need to be taken when dealing with unusual vehicles”. Ben Leffler of Uship, an online marketplace for Motorcycle Shipment.

5 Responses to “Preparing Your Motorcycle For Transport”

  1. 1 Ken Glenn (Rat Judge) Nov 9th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    A customer recently shipped a Hyabusa to me like the one you have pictured above. It was shipped more than 2000 miles, so it needed to be crated. He went to his local Suzuki dealer and got a crate from a new one that they were just going to throw away. It was made to fit the bike and it was free. It is a good tip if you have a bike that is at least similar to a current model.

  2. 2 David Nov 9th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    A friend of mine shipped a Norton International with a company who specializes in handling motorcycles. Somewhere along the line a box fell on the headlight. It was an 8″ Miller with an integral headlight switch and ammeter. It was destroyed. He had made the mistake of having a $1,000 deductable insurance binder and the insurance company told him to just go replace it. I have never seen one of those headlights for sale in the last 40 years of swapmeets in USA and England so replacement is problematic. Lesson: Always insist on a zero deductable policy, and maybe remove the headlight prior to shipping.

  3. 3 Mick Chadwick- Custom Nov 9th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    RYBEC Shipping in UK are great never had a problem- ask for Kev- fantastic company and vehicle even cleaned and battery charged when i collected it! better than last 2 attempts where 2 resprays plus 1 cracked sheild plus 3 months wait for insurance claim-

  4. 4 Brian Nov 10th, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Down here in New Zealand, it has become reasonably common place for bikers to ship their motorcycles to the USA each year, generally for the Black Hills Rally, but also for Daytona. We always place them in crates and thus far, after three excursions to Sturgis, neither my girlfriend nor I have ever had our bikes damaged in transit. There’s a marine insurance company down this way that fully covers our bikes for damage, or theft while in transit (or in storage waiting for our arrival) They also provide up to $2,000 cover for any motorcycle related equipment a rider might place in the crate along with his / her bike. ie: helmets, jackets, chaps, tools etc.

  5. 5 Traci - Nov 11th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Another great tip in preparing your bike for shipping – remember your keys. The shipping company may not need your keys for the shipping process, but it helps to check. At, we do not need your keys for your vehicle, but you are welcome to attach the keys to the handlebars with a plastic tie wrap. It’s also good practice to have a spare set with you in your suitcase. Or if you are sending the vehicle to another party, you can opt to ship them through an overnight carrier or with certified U.S. mail.

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Cyril Huze