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How To Ship A Motorcycle

Learn more about the process of shipping a motorcycle, the best way to safely transport your bike, and how much motorcycle shipments typically cost.

From our #1 rated provider,


03/23/2024 05:59 PM

If you need to ship your motorcycle a few hundred miles or cross-country, it’s good to know what to expect and how to prepare. In this article, we’ll outline the motorbike shipping process and the average cost. We’ll also highlight two of our top-ranked car shipping companies to help you make the right choice to ship your motorcycle.

The Gist:

  • An enclosed transport vehicle is best for motorcycle shipping, as it protects your bike from road debris and adverse weather.
  • According to our research, the average cost of a 1,500-mile motorcycle shipment is between $700 and $800.
  • Shipping distance, transport method, delivery location, time of year, and the price of fuel are some of the key factors that determine your motorcycle shipping cost.

The Motorcycle Shipping Process

The first step in your motorcycle transport journey is to pick the right shipping company. There are plenty of brokers who can help connect you with reliable carriers. Reputable shipping brokers are insured and licensed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and you should see a USDOT number on every reputable company’s site. 

To find the best fit for your motorcycle shipment, take the time to read customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. Consider how long a shipping company has been in business and its overall industry reputation before deciding.

Once you’ve settled on a company, the motorcycle shipping process follows this basic outline:

1. Provide Basic Information About Your Motorcycle Shipment

Auto shipping companies will usually ask about the following details:

  • Your bike’s make, model and age
  • The bike’s condition (inoperable vehicles are more expensive to ship)
  • Pickup and drop-off locations
  • Your shipment time frame
  • Your email address and phone number

Upon giving this information to a shipping company, you’ll receive an estimate for your motorcycle shipment. Keep in mind this price may fluctuate depending on service fees and insurance costs.

2. Choose Your Auto Transport Method

Most auto transport companies offer both open and enclosed shipping options. Open auto transport involves shipping your vehicle on an open-air trailer, which means it’s exposed to the elements and potential road hazards. Enclosed shipping utilizes protected haulers that shield your car or motorcycle from bad weather and debris.

For most motorcycle owners, the extra protection enclosed auto transport provides is worth the additional cost.

3. Select Your Pickup And Delivery Type

Many car shipping companies can pick up and drop off your vehicle at a home address (or as close to one as possible). Or, you may opt to drive to a shipping terminal, which is a designated place (usually a storage facility) where your motorcycle is held until you pick it up. 

Door-to-door transport is more convenient but also more expensive. You can save some money on your motorcycle shipment if there’s a shipping terminal option near where you live. Keep in mind you’ll have to arrange alternative transportation to go and pick up the motorcycle from the terminal.

4. Book Your Shipment

It’s generally best to book your motorcycle shipment at least one to two weeks in advance. Many shipping brokers offer expedited service to pick up your bike in just a few business days, but this comes at a significant expense. You might pay the full price of your shipment upfront or have payment split between the pickup and delivery date.

5. Prepare And Inspect Your Bike

To prepare your motorbike for shipping, make sure the tires are properly inflated and the fuel tank is no more than three-quarters full. Fold-in mirrors and check for fluid leaks.

Before your motorcycle is loaded onto a hauler, you and the transport driver will inspect it for existing damage. We suggest taking photos of your bike before shipping to document its condition in case of dings or scratches during transport.

6. Track Your Shipment

Most auto shipping companies allow you to track your shipment in real time. Some offer GPS tracking, while others provide updates by phone or through an app. This is a good way to get updates on your motorcycle delivery at any time.

7. Pick Up And Inspect Your Motorcycle 

When your bike reaches its destination, you and the carrier will again inspect it for damage. If all is well, you pay any remaining balance and sign a bill of lading–which is a receipt of cargo (your bike). If you notice any new damages or mechanical issues, you can often use the bill of lading to file a claim with the shipping company.

How Much Does Motorcycle Shipping Cost?

Shipping a motorcycle typically costs much less than shipping a car. According to our research, it often costs around $1,500 to ship a car 1,500 miles with door-to-door service. You might pay half that price to ship a motorcycle the same distance.

Montway Auto Transport, our top-rated car shipping company, provides the following motorcycle shipping cost estimates:

Shipping DistanceAverage Door-to-Door Transport Cost
0 to 799 miles$680
800 to 1,499 miles$779
1,500 to 2,399 miles$859
2,400 miles and up$959

We also reached out to uShip for some motorcycle shipping cost estimates. Because uShip is a shipping marketplace, you can receive an unlimited number of bids from motorcycle transport companies. This often leads to some of the best shipping rates.

The following table shows the average shipping costs for a 2021 Yamaha MT-07 through enclosed transport with door-to-door service:

Shipping RouteApproximate
Raleigh, North Carolina to Austin, Texas1,335 miles$624
Chicago to Los Angeles2,020 miles$713
Miami to Denver2,065 miles$730
New York City to San Francisco2,900 miles$864

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Motorcycle Shipping

Many factors are at play when it comes to how much motorcycle shippers charge. The shipping method (enclosed transport vs. open transport) is a major price factor on top of  the added cost of door-to-door delivery. Here’s what else affects motorcycle shipping rates:

  • Distance: Cross-country shipments come with lower per-mile rates than shorter trips, but overall a longer shipping distance costs more.
  • Time of year: Auto moving companies see the highest demand during the summer months and in January, which means higher prices as well.
  • Competition: The more motorcycle carriers you can get to bid on your shipment, the lower your final cost. This is why booking ahead of time is so important.
  • Gas prices: Higher fuel prices mean costlier motorcycle shipping services. 
  • Hidden fees: You may find that added fees for insurance and other surcharges inflate the final price of your shipment.

Our Car Shipping Survey

In August 2023, we surveyed 1,000 car shipping customers to learn about their auto transport experiences. We found that:

  • 93% of respondents were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their shipments
  • About 61% of those surveyed paid less than $1,500 for their shipments 
  • 58% shipped their vehicles between 501 and 1,500 miles

How To Ship a Motorcycle: The Bottom Line

To ship a motorcycle, compare quotes from three or more providers, choose your shipping and delivery options based on how much you’re willing to spend and how protected your bike should be. Schedule your delivery further ahead to get the cheapest bids from carriers and make sure to clean and prep the bike before pickup. 

Inspect the bike with your carrier, take photos and sign the bill of lading. When your bike arrives at your destination, take stock of the bike again and use the bill of lading to file a claim with the shipping company if you notice any new damages.

Our Top Picks For Motorcycle Shipping

The best way to find cheap car shipping or motorcycle shipping is to compare instant quotes from several companies. We recommend including Montway Auto Transport and SGT Auto Transport for quotes. Neither offer terminal-to-terminal shipping but both include many shipping services and specialized perks.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Reputation

Montway Auto Transport is our top recommendation for motorcycle shipping because the company combines affordable rates, a wide variety of transport options, and excellent customer service. 

The broker has been in business since 2006 and boasts a network of more than 15,000 thoroughly vetted carriers. Although Montway doesn’t offer real-time GPS tracking for your shipment, there is a 24-hour online chat feature along with a customer service hotline open every day with extended hours. 

Learn more in our full Montway Auto Transport review

Montway Auto Transport Best Reputation
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry ratings Carrier vetting Large network of 30,000+ carriers Offers expedited delivery Competitive pricing Cons No real-time tracking or mobile-app; must contact company for tracking info No guaranteed pricing $249 cancellation fee No specialty shipping services for recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, trailers, or other watercraft Intrusive Pop-up Ads

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable auto transport broker offering several car shipping services and cheap car shipping rates. We named it the Best Reputation car shipping company for 2024.

SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Match Guarantee

SGT Auto Transport was founded in 2014 and ships to every state except Alaska. SGT offers a 24/7 chat feature for shipment tracking. Beyond affordable rates, SGT will match any written offer from a direct competitor. Strong customer ratings on the BBB and Trustpilot bolster the company’s reputation.

Read more in our full SGT Auto Transport review.

SGT Auto Transport Best Price-Match Guarantee
BBB Rating : B Phone : 864-635-4879 Coverage : 49 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Available in 49 states Offers price matching Has an option for a guaranteed pickup date Cons Doesn’t offer real-time tracking No terminal-to-terminal shipping option

We give SGT Auto Transport an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. This shipping broker has an outstanding reputation and offers affordable options for car transport services. Price matching, express shipping, and guaranteed pickups are other great features of SGT Auto Transport.

How To Ship A Motorcycle: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about shipping a motorcycle:

How much should it cost to ship a motorcycle?

According to Montway Auto Transport and the motorcycle shipping quotes we received from uShip, you should expect to pay close to $800 to ship a motorcycle 1,500 miles. For a shipment of 1,000 miles, you might pay between $500 and $600.

What’s the best way to ship a motorcycle?

The best way to ship your bike is in an enclosed trailer with door-to-door delivery. Although you’ll pay a bit more for enclosed shipping than for an open trailer, you get the peace of mind that comes with extra protection. Door-to-door service gives you a hassle-free delivery experience.

Is it easy to ship a motorcycle?

If you use door-to-door transport and book your shipment in advance, it’s easy to ship your motorcycle. The most difficult part of the process is comparing quotes from motorcycle shipping companies to find the right provider.

How We Rate Auto Shippers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While multiple qualities make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
  • Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and guarantees for pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
  • Reputation: A car shipping provider must be able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the BBB score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Customer experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.

*Data accurate at time of publication.