Whether buying a new bike, taking your bike with you to a new home, or going to a rally too far to ride to, shipping your motorcycle may be necessary in many situations. It can be very hard to find a good, trustworthy carrier if you do not know what you are looking for or where to start. Here are some helpful tips to safely and successfully transport your bike:
There is a good chance that one of your friends has needed a similar service in the past and used someone they would recommend to you. This may be the best place to start when looking for motorcycle transporters since you know that someone you trust had a good experience with them. You can also try asking local motorcycle clubs or posting on forums to find recommendations.
Many motorcycles have a lot of monetary and sentimental value to their riders, so you would not want to send them with a carrier you do not trust. Most companies should be able to provide multiple positive references. Make sure these references are specific to motorcycles so you know the company has experience with bikes and a good reputation. This is especially important for bikes since they require special shipping needs and most carriers should have specific experience to know how to safely transport motorcycles.
Motorcycles are shipped on either open or enclosed trailers. Enclosed trailers are best when the motorcycle is very valuable, will be travelling a long distance or through extreme weather conditions, or if you have a very flexible timeline. Booking an enclosed trailer can be difficult since they often hold more than one bike, so you may have to work around the driver’s previously scheduled deliveries. Open trailers are safe if your bike is not going very far since it will not be subjected to prolonged exposure to the elements or thieves. They also provide you with more flexibility when scheduling the transport since most open trailer carriers do not carry a large number of motorcycles.
Door to Door Shipping
Most motorcycle shipping is door-to-door. This does not always mean that the carrier will come straight to your door as some large companies have trucks that are too big to fit on residential streets. You may have to meet them in a nearby parking lot that can accommodate large trucks. If they will be picking up or dropping off the bike at night, make sure there is enough light available to thoroughly inspect the bike for damage.
Your personal policy will not cover your bike when it is being shipped. Your carrier should offer a minimum amount of coverage, but this will most likely not cover the full value of the bike. If your bike is very valuable, you may want to purchase additional insurance. Your carrier may be able to provide this or refer you to a third-party insurance company. You can verify the insurance your carrier offers by asking for a copy of their insurance certificate. Double-check the coverage with the insurance company listed on the certificate or with the Department of Transportation at www.safersys.org.
Preparing Your Bike
Carriers are not responsible for lost or stolen accessories, so make sure to remove everything before the carrier arrives, including anything you may have been storing in the bike. Also, check the company’s policies since some require a drained or empty fuel tank and disconnected battery before transport. Inspect the bike thoroughly at pick-up and drop off, and take inventory of any scratches or dings. Taking pictures of your bike from several angles will help document the existing damage and prevent claims that damage incurred during shipping was already there.
When riding your bike to your destination is not a feasible option, shipping your motorcycle can really come in handy. With gas prices so high and still rising now, it can also save you money! Good luck and safe riding!
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