If you are moving, attending a motorcycle rally or event or buying or selling a motorcycle out of state and need to secure motorcycle shipping services this article provides tips for preparing your motorcycle for shipping.
Most shipping companies ship motorcycles door to door. Their trucks usually have ramp gates or lift gates for loading and unloading. If they cannot get their truck directly to your door the motorcycle transporters will usually be able to meet you nearby. Most motorcycle shippers do not require you to drain fluids such as gas, oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc. Some companies do want the fuel to be at a low level in the tank prior to pick up. Some shippers will drain the fuel for you for an extra charge if they require the fuel to be drained. You should make sure the motorcycle is not leaking fluids and that the tires can hold air prior to your motorcycle being loaded on their truck.
Most movers do not require the battery to be removed for motorcycle preparation. Some motorcycle movers do want the battery cables to be disconnected from the battery prior to pick up, however. Additionally, it is a good idea to disable or disconnect any devices that could drain battery power while the motorcycle is in transit such as alarms and communication devices.
The vast majority of transportation companies do not require the motorcycle to be on a pallet or in a crate for shipping. Most transport companies provide what is known as roll on / roll off (ro-ro) service. Some shippers do move motorcycles on pallets and if so these shippers provide the pallet and take the pallet with them after delivery to use on future motorcycle shipments. Some transporters use wooden pallets and some use metal pallets. The metal pallets usually have casters on them so the motorcycle can be moved around easily while it is attached to the pallet. The moving companies that use wooden pallets usually have pallet jacks on their trucks to move the palleted motorcycles.
If you plan to ship motorcycles it is a good plan to spend some time reviewing the condition of the bike prior to shipping. Make sure there are no loose parts or accessories that might come loose during the shipping process. There is a fair amount of road vibration that occurs during transit and loose items could become damaged or damage other areas of the bike. We recommend that you take the time to check the tightness of accessible fasteners and to make sure nothing is leaking. If you do have leaks you should either repair the leaks or remove the fluids that are leaking such as oil, fuel, brake fluid or coolant.
Even though most transporters do not require the fuel to be drained we recommend removing as much of the fuel as possible. Additionally, it is a good idea to disconnect the battery cables and wrap them so they do not come in contact with the battery terminals and cause a spark.
Use common sense when checking the condition of your bike prior to shipping and you should have a good experience transporting motorcycles.