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How to Transport a Motorcycle

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Are you planning for your move but not sure how to transport a motorcycle? Don't worry, we have got you covered!

Shipping a motorcycle is a lot easier than transporting other kinds of vehicles because of its compact size. As with many other things in the moving industry, there are companies that specialize in packing up and relocating your motorcycle to your new home. However, because of its portability, you can easily move your motorcycle by yourself and save yourself some money. All it takes is the right kind of preparation and planning.

How to Transport a Motorcycle

Here are some tips on how to transport a motorcycle:

Preparing the motorcycle for shipping

Much like transporting any other vehicle, there are several things that you need to do in order to prepare a motorcycle for shipping.

  • Remove the battery and empty the gas tank. When you ship an automobile, most car shippers will require you to empty your gas tank, leaving only a small amount of gas in it so that the shippers can drive it onto and off the truck. The same goes for your motorcycle, only with a motorcycle it's not necessary to leave any gas in your tank since the vehicle can be maneuvered without having to turn it on. Doing this will eliminate the possibility of gas or battery being exposed to high temperatures or other conditions, which can put the motorcycle at risk of getting damaged.
  • Wash your motorcycle thoroughly. This is less for the purpose of keeping your motorcycle clean than it is for being able to clearly see any dents, dings, or scratches on the motorcycle's body before you transport it. This is important if you are having the motorcycle shipped professionally because you'll need to take account of its condition before shipping to make sure it didn't sustain any new damage during the move.
  • Secure all loose parts. If your motorcycle has anything that can be dislodged or could potentially get in the way during the move, then those parts should either be secured to the motorcycle or removed entirely prior to moving.

    For example, the exhaust, saddlebags, tank bags, and fairings are all things that can be secured or removed to help minimize any loose parts being jostled around during the move. You can secure these parts by using rope to tie everything together and keep them stable and supported while the motorcycle is in transit.

  • Properly inflate tires and check for fluid leaks. One of the final things to do before you load your motorcycle onto the truck for the move is to make sure that the tires are properly inflated and that there are no fluid leaks anywhere on the vehicle. A quick examination of the motorcycle should be done to see that it is fully functioning and that all parts are in working order before you move it. If you notice any problems, you should take note of them and consult a professional motorcycle technician before transporting it.
  • Photograph the motorcycle and the crate you are shipping it in. This is an important part of the preparation process especially if you are shipping a motorcycle overseas. The captured photos will be a good documentation of motorcycle's condition before you shipped it, for insurance purposes and for record-keeping purposes should anything happen during the move. You should also photograph the crate that the motorcycle is being shipped in, as well as everything that you will be placing inside it, for an event whereby anything goes missing from the crate during the move.

Moving a motorcycle domestically

Once you have made all preparations for shipping, the next thing you need to know is how to transport a motorcycle. There are different ways of moving a motorcycle, depending on your moving budget, the available resources, and how you wish to ship your vehicle.

Choosing the carrier for moving a motorcycle

There are a few options available if you're shipping a motorcycle on your own:

  • Utility trailer. One of the most common DIY ways of transporting a motorcycle is to hook an open utility trailer to the back of your vehicle and then loading the motorcycle onto the trailer. You can easily maneuver the motorcycle onto the bed of the trailer by using a long 2x4 wooden plank as a ramp.
  • Moving truck or enclosed trailer. Usually, the best way to transport a motorcycle (on any other automobile) is to ship it in a closed truck or trailer to guard it against any man-made or natural mishap. If you want to keep your motorcycle protected during transit, you may want to rent a moving truck or a small enclosed moving trailer that will attach to the back of your car or truck. Then you can load your motorcycle into the back of the truck or trailer just as you would with any of your belongings. If the truck is not equipped with a loading ramp, you can use a wooden plank as a makeshift ramp to load the motorcycle just as you would with a utility trailer.
  • Pickup truck. A heavy-duty pickup truck is another way to transport your motorcycle in the absence of a trailer hitch or a moving truck.

Securing the motorcycle onto the trailer

After you have chosen a carrier for shipping your motorcycle, the next step is loading and securing the motorcycle so that it remains stable during transit.

To secure the motorcycle on the back of a trailer, you should obtain a wheel chock - a sturdy device designed to prevent the front wheel of the motorcycle from moving while it's in transit.

Simply place the front tire of the motorcycle into the wheel chock once it has been loaded onto the trailer or moving truck and secure it. Then use chains or ratchet straps to secure the motorcycle in place by connecting each handlebar of the motorcycle to a secure, fixed point on the side or floor of the trailer or moving truck.

In addition to keeping the tire stationary, the wheel chock will prevent the motorcycle from moving from side-to-side and will minimize the chance of damaging the motorcycle while it's in transit.

Shipping a motorcycle overseas

Since moving a motorcycle by yourself is most likely not an available option for an international move, you'll have to put it in the hands of a licensed and insured international mover. That's why it's so important that you do your homework beforehand to find a good and reputable company when it comes to shipping a motorcycle overseas.

How to Transport a Motorcycle Overseas

Here are some things to remember while choosing a reliable company to ensure that you follow the best way to transport a motorcycle:

  • Much like other types of moving services, it's best to avoid hiring the cheapest company you can find. Often, you'll find that these cheap companies are just sacrificing the quality of the services provided in order to offer a lower price.
  • Don't be swayed by a low estimate, though it may seem attractive at first glance, later it will only make you regret your decision.
  • To make sure that your motorcycle is in good hands, aim for well-established shipping companies and always get at least three different estimates before making your choice.
  • Remember that most reputable international shipping companies have agents that will take care of all of the important stuff for you during the actual move. This includes transportation of your motorcycle to and from airports and docks along with all the associated paperwork and customs forms that must be completed prior to shipping.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on April 5, 2013

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