This article discusses the various ways to haul bikes.
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Customers are often surprised at how many different methods there are to transport motorcycles. Motorcycle shipping has been around for decades but many customers are unfamiliar with the ways shippers haul bikes.
In this article, we will identify and describe numerous methods that motorcycle transport companies use to ship bikes. Motorcycle shippers use trucks to transport most of their motorcycle shipments. Some motorcycles are shipped via rail-car and some are even transported via airplanes. Additionally, some motorcycles are shipped by boat. The motorcycles that are shipped by airplanes and boats are usually being shipped overseas where ground transportation is not a possibility. Rail-car motorcycle transport is not very common because of the logistics required by the customer to drop the motorcycle off at the rail yard and pick it up at the rail yard. Airplane, boat and rail-car shipping usually requires the motorcycle to be palleted or crated by the customer prior to dropping off the motorcycle at the shippers facilities.
Again, the vast majority of motorcycle shipments are done via a truck and trailer. There are various types of trucks and trailers that motorcycle transporters use to handle motorcycle shipments. Some transporters use a pickup truck with a box trailer with a ramp gate. Other shippers use vans to transport motorcycles and some shippers use 18-wheelers to transport motorcycles. All of these shippers will either have a lift gate or a ramp gate or a combination of both on their trucks, trailers or vans.
In addition to the various types of trucks used to handle motorcycle shipments, there are a variety of methods that are used when transporting motorcycles as well. Some motorcycle transport companies provide what is known as roll-on roll-off type service. These transporters usually have smaller trucks with ramp gates and they secure bikes in their trailers using soft tie-down straps secured to an E-Trac system in the floor and walls of their trailers. Some of the larger shippers who use 18 wheelers will use either wooden or metal pallets to secure the bikes on prior to loading them on their trailer. The 18 wheeler shippers usually have a large liftgate to load the palleted motorcycle onto their trailer. Wooden pallet shippers have pallet jacks on their trucks to move the palleted motorcycles around and on and off of their trucks. The shippers who use metal pallets usually have casters on their pallets so they can roll the palleted bike around without the need for a pallet jack.
Regardless of the method of transport a given shipper uses, they all use specialized tie-downs to secure the motorcycle either to the inside of their trailer or on the wooden or metal pallet system they use to transport motorcycles. The tie-downs they use are specifically designed for shipping motorcycles. That is one reason we always recommend only shipping motorcycles through motorcycle specific transporters rather than car shippers. Car shippers use heavy duty ratchet straps to handle car shipments that are too robust for use on motorcycles. It is common for car shippers who use these heavy duty ratchet straps on motorcycle shipments to cause blown suspension seals because their straps are too heavy duty for tying down motorcycles.
We work with the majority of the DOT compliant licensed and insured motorcycle specific shippers and that is what we specialize in. We do not specialize in car shipping, freight shipping or household goods shipping. We specialize in powersport vehicle shipping and so do the transporters that we work with. They have the right equipment, the right training and the right trucks to handle almost any powersport vehicle shipment. You can rest assured that we have vetted the transporters that we are going to refer you to to handle your motorcycle shipment. The shippers we work with ship thousands of motorcycles each year and they have been handling motorcycle shipments for many years.