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How to Transport a Motorcycle Cross Country

Transport a Motorcycle

Although that romanticized vision of riding your motorcycle cross-country might seem enticing, let’s be realistic. When you’re moving long distance, you should probably ship it to your destination instead. You have a lot of other things to take care of, after all! We’ve laid out the best options for shipping your bike so you can rest assured its journey goes smoothly, and you can cruise the open roads in your new hometown.

Option 1: Transport your motorcycle with a truck

What kind of truck largely depends on how far you are moving. In some cases, you might choose to load the bike into a pickup truck, strap it down securely, and haul it that way. If you’re going further than a few towns over, consider covering your bike in a well-fastened tarp to protect it from the dirt and pebbles of the road. Otherwise, you can load your bike into a moving truck that has an approved weight limit that can handle it. Check with the moving company to be sure motorcycles are permitted in their trucks. Also, make sure the loading ramp is sturdy enough to support the bike as you load it in.

Once you have it loaded up, fasten it securely with straps in the standing position. In a moving truck, it is best to load it towards the cab end of the cargo area to avoid an unevenly weighted truck. Alternatively, fasten it to the side rails, being sure to load something on the opposite side of the truck to balance the weight.

Option 2: Use a tow trailer

Moving companies have thought of it all when it comes to how to transport a motorcycle cross country. You can easily rent a motorcycle trailer, specifically designed for easy loading and securing your motorcycle to be towed behind your moving truck or a separate vehicle. The bike is exposed to the open air, but the trailer is lightweight and easy to use for those who aren’t interested or able to put the motorcycle inside the moving truck for the cross country move.

Option 3: Hire a motorcycle moving company

The professionals know how to ship a motorcycle cross country safely and efficiently. Expect to pay between $400-$600 for a move of 1,000 miles, though rates can change if you use an open or enclosed transportation method. An open transport will be less expensive, but your bike is vulnerable to the impacts of the weather and environment.

Either way, choose a company that suits your budget and time needs. Then, find out what your current insurance covers, what insurance the moving company provides, and decide what you’ll need to purchase to cover any gaps. Take high-quality photos of your motorcycle from every angle to document its current condition and remove any loose or after-factory parts. Drain the tank to ¼ tank or less. Some moving companies will require that the tank is completely empty. Then wish your bike a good journey!

Loading tips

If you choose a DIY method like a tow trailer or truck, it’s important to load your motorcycle safely to avoid personal injury or damage to the bike. First and foremost, don’t try to do it alone! Motorcycles are large and heavy, and one set of hands just isn’t enough to move it safely. Get a few friends to support you.

Then, be sure your intended ramp is sturdy enough to handle the weight of the bike and is well-secured to avoid slipping. Using loose planks of wood is notrecommended since wood can slide or become slippery underfoot.

Then, put the bike in neutral and push it up the ramp. If at all possible, avoid trying to drive the bike up the ramp. It’s just not a good idea. If you need proof, an internet video search will yield plenty…

Are you also moving a car? Check out our list of tips!


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Unpakt Team