Moving across the country and wondering how to ship your motorcycle? Whether you’re traveling thousands of miles or a few hundred miles, it’s important to know how motorcycle shipping works and what you can expect to pay.
We’ve researched and ranked the best motorcycle shipping companies for every situation. Motorcycle shipping costs can vary depending on several factors, so it is best to contact motorcycle shipping companies before booking an expedition.
In this article:
How much does it cost to ship a motorcycle?
If you’re wondering how to ship a motorcycle, you might be curious about the cost. Transportation by motorbike is generally much cheaper than transportation by car, with a 1,500 mile journey costing around $1,140 on average. This takes into account dozens of motorcycle shipping quotes we received from major carriers for a 2018 Yamaha V-Star in July, a peak delivery month.
A popular motorcycle shipping marketplace, uShip, estimates the average cost of shipping a motorcycle to be between $350 and $700 for a journey of 1,000 miles. Trips of 1,000 miles or less tend to be expensive between $180 and $300 on average. Since motorcycle shipping costs are highly variable and influenced by several factors, use these estimates only as a starting point.
Before contacting a motorcycle transport company, you should know the factors that can influence the price you will pay.
- Miles traveled: Expeditions across the country have lower per-mile rates than trips over shorter distances, but they cost more overall.
- Type of transport: Motorcycle shipments can be made with open trailers or closed trailers. Enclosed trailers cost more, but the extra protection can be worth it for luxury and classic bikes.
- Type of delivery: Door-to-door shipping is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping because your motorcycle is shipped as close to your door as possible.
- Period of the year: Demand is higher in January and summer, which makes motorcycle shipping services more expensive.
- Carrier competition: When using a marketplace type service, increased competition among motorcycle carriers means lower shipping costs.
- Fuel price: When fuel prices rise, the costs of motorcycle transportation also rise.
- Hidden fees: Insurance costs, surcharges and carrier price increases may result in higher costs for motorcycle shipments.
What to expect from the motorcycle shipping process
To better explain how to ship a motorcycle, we have outlined seven steps in the motorcycle shipping process below. However, it is important to note that some motorcycle shippers may require additional information or steps as part of their shipping processes.
You can choose between two main types of companies to ship your motorcycle: brokers, who connect customers with carriers in their networks, and carriers, who transport vehicles from one place to another. A reliable ship broker must be licensed by the Department of Transport and insured.
Motorbike transport companies will ask for your motorbike details to provide the right service. Most companies will require:
- Vehicle make, model, age and operability
- Pick-up and drop-off locations
- Preferred shipping time
- Name, email address and phone number
Using this information, the company will send you a quote for shipping your motorcycle. Your final shipping quote may be higher than the initial quote you received, as initial estimates often do not include service charges or motorcycle shipping insurance charges.
Most motorcycle companies offer open and closed transport options and door-to-door service. Others provide specialized services such as terminal-to-terminal shipping, international shipping, and expedited shipping.
After selecting a service, time frame and supplier, you can book your motorcycle shipment. Depending on the company, you will either pay the full amount upfront or part of the balance upfront and the rest once your vehicle is delivered.
A motorcycle transporter will usually be dispatched within three weeks of booking. Before transporting your motorcycle, they will inspect it with you for any existing damage. You should take photos of your motorcycle in case any damage occurs during shipping.
Most companies provide real-time tracking information through an app, website, or phone service. Checking in keeps you informed of any delays affecting the pick-up date or drop-off location.
Depending on the service chosen, your motorcycle will be shipped to your door or to a pre-determined terminal. Always inspect your vehicle with the carrier after drop off in case any damage has occurred during shipping. If necessary, you will pay your remaining balance at this time.
Ways to ship a motorcycle
When choosing how to ship your motorcycle, you will likely come across several options that will determine how your motorcycle is transported. Here are some motorcycle transport services that you may be able to select depending on the company and your budget:
- Open transportation: It is the most affordable motorcycle transport service, but your motorcycle is exposed to the weather.
- Carriage closed: With this shipping method, your motorcycle is transported in a closed trailer or container to prevent damage.
- Door to door service: Your motorcycle is delivered as close as possible to your home.
- Terminal-to-terminal shipping: Your motorcycle is picked up and dropped off at pre-determined locations along with other shipments. It can save shipping cost.
- Expedited Shipping: Carriers will pick up your shipment of motorcycles within a few business days.
Our recommendations for shipping motorcycles
Based in Schaumburg, Illinois, Montway Auto Transport is a reputable motorcycle shipping broker that offers enclosed trailers and door-to-door delivery. Montway also offers shipping options between distribution centers, guaranteed pickup and additional insurance coverage. Customer reviews of the company are generally positive, with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
Read our in-depth Montway Auto Transport review to learn more.
Our review team gave AmeriFreight the award for best discounts in our 2022 review of the best motorcycle companies. AmeriFreight ships motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters in open and enclosed trailers with door-to-door delivery. The ship broker offers discounts to people including students, military, and repeat customers to help you find the best price for your motorcycle shipment.
Read more about the company in our AmeriFreight review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our team of experts collects data from dozens of car transport companies to formulate rankings of the best carriers. Suppliers receive a score in each of the following categories, along with an overall weighted score of 5.0 stars.
- Reputation: Senders with a track record of strong business practices and expert endorsements receive the highest scores in this category.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of shipping routes, distances and vehicles. Businesses with lower prices and plenty of discount opportunities receive higher scores.
- Services: This rating is based on the types of car transportation services available, insurance coverage, and the ability to guarantee pick-up and drop-off dates.
- Client experience: We comb through customer reviews and do our own buyer analysis to get a sense of how responsive and helpful each car carrier is.