Moving a Motorcycle Across The Country

Living in the 21st century means living in a time where the Internet has connected opposite sides of the globe through its vast and communicative network; this sort of connection has far-reaching implications that even touch the motorcycle industry.

Bargain hunting has entirely new meaning now—a person in the market for a new or used motorcycle can search all over the country for their ideal bike, then simply have it shipped to them.

While it’s simple to find a motorcycle online, it can be rather nerve-wracking when it comes time to ship it. Buying a new motorcycle isn’t the only reason that someone might be looking into shipping options either. Whether a bike needs to be transported because it’s finding a home with a new owner, because the owner is moving across the country, or for any other reason, a qualified transportation partner is critical to peace of mind.

How Does Moving a Motorcycle Across The Country Work?

Every motorcycle owner is probably abstractly aware of the fact that they can have their bike transported for them should the need arise, but some might not fully understand the logistics. The most common reasons that motorcycle owners seek out transport services are sales, moves, and rallies across the country that would require trips far too strenuous for the motorcycle to make itself.

Despite these common reasons, the individual specifics of shipping a motorcycle cross-country can vary greatly between transport services. There are a few main ways that bikes are shipped: semis, flatbeds, trailers, and wholly enclosed transport options. Every shipper is different, and obviously one who offers the greatest deal of customization is going to be the most desirable.

That is to say, the transport company that allows the motorcycle owner the largest say in how their bike is transported is generally going to be the most appealing to the average owner. In addition to different shipping methods, there are a few ways that a bike can actually be retrieved by its owner.

Usually, a motorcycle owner can either opt for a door-to-door shipping service, or they can pick their bike up from a facility near their new location. For example, if someone is having their motorcycle shipped from Miami, Florida to Denver, Colorado, they can likely either choose to have the motorcycle dropped off at a specific address in Denver, or they can choose to pick the motorcycle up from a facility in the Denver area. Door-to-door is usually a bit more expensive, but the convenience is worth it for many owners.

Things like transit time and cost are also largely dependent upon the individual transport company, as well as any specifications that the owner might have. Because motorcycles are smaller than cars, they’re generally less expensive to transport, but this is not universally true.

Is Using A Transport Service Better Than Just Driving?

To some people, the idea of transporting a vehicle is nonsensical considering that the motorcycle itself has wheels and an engine. There are some situations where driving a motorcycle across the country simply isn’t possible, though—when moving, for example, it would be rather difficult to haul all of one’s belongings inside saddlebags.

In other scenarios, like attending a rally, it would be theoretically possible to drive the motorcycle to the destination, but that option brings about a host of potential risks, and requires a much larger time commitment on the part of the owner. When on a tight timeline with very little wiggle room, driving a motorcycle across the country could mean missing an event entirely should even one thing go wrong.

The problem is, a rider must always expect the unexpected. Mechanical issues, a flat tire, or a fender bender can all throw a wrench into the motorcycle owner’s travel timeline, and set them behind schedule. Not only does this mean that they have to deal with the stress of potentially missing their event, but they also have to figure out how to prevent themselves from being stranded and deal with the aggravation of repairing their motorcycle once they return home.

For the owners that love their motorcycles like their own children, the idea of ceding control and transporting their bike rather than driving it can feel rather scary. After all, they say that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” While that old adage is a good rule of thumb, it doesn’t necessarily apply here.

Unless the owner has their own hauling equipment, a professional transport service can certainly do a better job of safely getting a motorcycle from point A to point B than the owner can, provided that point A is a significant distance from point B.

On top of this, those who are especially concerned with keeping their motorcycles in pristine condition should avoid logging all of those highway miles between them and the other side of the country; a protected transportation method will keep the bike looking new or mint for far longer than driving it across the country will.

What Preparation Goes into Shipping A Motorcycle Across The Country?

To some extent, the amount of work that a motorcycle owner needs to put in before shipping their bike depends on the transport method. For most options, the preparation necessary boils down to common sense, and includes things like cleaning the bike and removing any superfluous attachments or accessories.

Additionally, any alarms should be turned off, and things like fluid and tire pressure should be checked before the move. As a safety measure, it’s also necessary that the motorcycle being shipped doesn’t have a full tank of gas. In fact, the tank should be less than a quarter full.

Finally, it’s a good idea to photograph the bike prior to shipping it. While most companies provide insurance as part of the moving process (this should come standard with reputable transport partners), oversights and accidents do sometimes happen. Documenting the state of the motorcycle prior to being shipped protects both the owners and the transporters.

If an owner elects to have their motorcycle shipped in a crate, additional measures will have to be taken prior to shipping. For example, fluids have to be drained completely and the battery has to be disconnected; other space-saving measures might be necessary as well, like removing mirrors, but not always.

While it might sound daunting to ship a motorcycle across the country, the reality is that it’s far simpler than the alternative, and the right transportation can make the entire experience a breeze.

About The Author

Jason Mueller is a motorcycle enthusiast, and world traveler. He grew up racing bikes and continues to have a passion for being on 2 wheels. Jay is a guest blogger and is the marketing manager at A-1 Auto Transport who provides reliable and top-rated vehicle shipping services around the country. From the enclosed transport option to door-to-door delivery, A-1 Auto Transport makes moving a motorcycle cross-country incredibly simple for the owner. With transparent pricing, a high degree of customization within their services, and a relentlessly high standard for customer satisfaction, A-1 Auto transport ensures that every motorcycle owner gets their bike exactly where they need it, when they need it.