Most of us like riding our motorcycle, even – or maybe only – on long distances. But sometimes it just can’t be helped, you need to put your motorcycle on a truck and pick it up at another part of the world.
For example, many of us like going to Sturgis, it’s an annual pilgrimage, but the ride takes up way too much time to get there, party, and then go back; it eats away at our holiday time. But arriving at Sturgis without a bike is like attending your Prom Night without a date. And shipping a motorcycle is not limited to Sturgis. There are many good reasons to ship a motorcycle.
But if you are going to ship your precious bike, there are a few things you need to take into account before you do so.
Select The Right Transport Company
Getting the right shipping company is important. Your best bet is using one that someone you know has used. There’s nothing better than using references in selecting a service company, and shipping is no exception.
But maybe you know no one who has shipped a motorcycle before, and you just don’t know where to begin to find a trustworthy shipping company.
No worries, there’s a website that can help you. Uship has not only an exhaustive database of motorcycle shipping companies, but they also have user ratings for each. You can find transport companies in your neck of the woods (USA, Canada, most of Europe, Australia and India), find out for how much they are insured (very important), and what recent customers thought of them.
Get as many quotes as you can handle. It’s the only way of properly judging not only what it will cost you, but more importantly, what the conditions are.
Check very carefully what the conditions are for delays (imagine that you are heading for Sturgis and the bike gets delayed), and also very important, check what is insured (accidents, fires, etc).
If your motorcycle is immobile, in other words, does not work, you will need to tell the shipping company. Many will drive the bike into a truck, and if the bike doesn’t work, it may raise costs.
Preparing Your Transport
You’ll need to do a few things before shipping your bike. It is not a simple matter of putting your bike on a truck.
Take plenty of photos of your motorcycle before it gets shipped. Make photos from the sides, front, rear and if at all possible, the lower parts of the bike. Specially if there’s existing damage, like scratches, make photos of them.
Print out the photos, and write out a statement of the state of your motorcycle.
Get It Signed
When the transporter comes to pick up your precious bike, make them sign your statement and photos. This way, if your motorcycle is damaged, you have proof what it looked like before it got mauled.
Here are the things to do and watch for before the bike gets loaded:
- Remove all personal stuff from your bike, including what may be in your saddlebags, panniers and top case.
- Check your tire air pressure and make sure it has a proper pressure.
- Check if there are any oil or fuel leaks. If there are, make sure you mention it to the transporter.
- Fold your mirrors inwards
- If you have an anti-theft alarm, deactivate it
- Set your gear to neutral
Some companies allow you to ship your motorcycle in a special crate. The advantage of crates, usually a more expensive option, is that your bike is protected from scratches. But to use a crate will mean you will need to drain your fuel tank, and you’ll need to un-hook your battery (you can imagine what happens if the fuel catches fire… you can not move a crate out that quickly from a truck).
Reception of your motorcycle
When you take delivery of your motorcycle, take a detailed inspection of your bike. Even the smallest scratch is going to be expensive to repair, so pay attention.
Any damage, no matter how small, needs to be reported immediately, in writing, to the shipment company.
Enjoy your ride wherever you sent your motorcycle.