How to move a motorcycle to exhibitions: safety tips

There's nothing like the fun you have when you're on a motorcycle ride on the highway. You love your bike and want to take care of it as best you can.

However, it would help if you stayed in regular maintenance every 5,000 to 20,000 miles. However, if you choose to transport it to a bike show or exhibition, it is essential to have the same attitude when you send your favorite bike, you want to take the utmost care.

The cost of transporting your motorcycle varies and depends on your bike and the distance you travel. Despite the cost of shipping your motorcycle, you will know that your favorite motorcycle will arrive at your next destination in one piece. 

You should follow these motorcycle transportation safety tips and guidelines to ensure that your bike travels safely to any destination.

                                                                                                                                                Photo by Foad Memariaan

Hire The Right Motorcycle Shipping Company

It is imperative to choose the right transport company to transport your bike. Carry out your research and shortlist several well-known service providers based on user preferences and ratings. 

Ensure that all companies on your shortlist are registered, licensed, and legally authorized to transport and carry your bike. You should familiarize yourself with the equipment, containers, and transportation options they provide. Also, ask if they offer home delivery services.

Consider Methods Of Shipping

There are several different ways to transport motorcycles. Open transport is exactly what it suggests - the company attaches the bike to an open trailer. These services are inexpensive, but if you consider them, just know that the elements can affect your bike.

For maximum protection, enclosed motorcycle transport is recommended. If you choose to transport your bike in closed transport, the transport company will securely tie your bike to its trailer. With this method of transport, ties and weather conditions should not damage the paint on your motorcycle.

Open VS Enclosed Transport 

An open carrier means that your bike can be shared with several other vehicles, and they will be open to items throughout the journey. 

On the other hand, a closed carrier means that the item will remain inside the truck or in its container, safe from any external elements. Closed transport is much more expensive than open transport. Therefore, think carefully about this before you choose your transport method.

In general, open motorcycle transport works for 8 out of 10 customers. However, there are some cases where transporting motorcycles in closed transport is highly recommended. 

For example, if you want to ship a luxury Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship or a vintage 1939 BMW RS255 Kompressor, then shipping them through an enclosed carrier is mandatory if you want to protect their condition.


The bike should be cleaned before it is delivered. The battery will be switched off, and fuel and oil will be drained according to the shipping lines' requirements. 

If you use this method, you can put riding accessories, helmet jackets, etc. in the box with your bike. You will need to do a detailed inventory of everything you put in the box. 

You will also need to plan for collection at the end of your appointment, as it will still be a collection box. It means that you will need a trailer, truck, or Ute to pick up your bike. 

You won't be able to travel back on your bike, as the battery will still be switched off, and there will also be no fuel in the tank. This option is one of the most expensive ways to transport your bike.

RORO Method

For this method, the bike must be cleaned before delivery. However, the fuel will not need to be drained or emptied, and the battery will not be disconnected for RORO deliveries. 

The bike must be fully functional, with ¼ tank of fuel (no more, no less), and the key must be in the ignition, as the bike will have to be taken on board and left when it reaches its destination. 

For RORO delivery, you cannot send anything with your bike. No riding equipment or any other accessory or piece of equipment.

You will still need a trailer, truck, or Ute to pick up your bike as it cannot be lawfully ridden on the road until it has been completed and registered on the road. 

You will NOT be able to ride a motorcycle unless you have sales or temporary numbers in most places. 

You should contact your local Motor Vehicle Authority to find out how to get them. It is currently the cheapest option for transportation. 

Shared Container (Non-Crated)

It is a great cost-effective option as it saves you hundreds of dollars in box costs, but is currently only available from the US due to the large number of motorcycles that are imported from there.

With a standard container, your motorcycles don't need crates because they come in a container full of other motorcycles. 

Sometimes it is a mixed container of motorcycles and vehicles, but with every load. Some companies offer common containers for tourist groups, but it is economically advantageous if you have at least five motorcycles.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Your Motorcycle?

Before you decide which transport company is right for you, get transport rates from each of them. Check the conditions thoroughly for delays, insurance, and hidden costs. 

Several factors can increase your costs, such as additional insurance, vehicle immobility, storage during transportation due to extreme weather conditions, etc. Finalize the company once you are satisfied with its rates in terms of your budget and needs.

Using an online motorcycle delivery cost calculator is one of the easiest ways to determine how much it costs to deliver a motorcycle to different states. 

However, to give you a rough idea, the average cost to ship a motorcycle for 1000 miles varies from $350 to $700. For short-distance trips, the price ranges from $180 to $300. Meanwhile, the average cost per mile is about $0.50 for traveling nearly 1,000 miles.

These are several factors that may affect the total cost of transporting your motorcycle:

Motorcycle Size And Weight 

The size and weight of your bicycle can affect the shipping cost because there are transportation companies that calculate the cost by weight. Simply put, lightweight, easy-to-ride bikes are cheaper than bulky ones like Harley Davidsons. 

It means that you can count on extra charges for shipping large motorcycles. Why is that? Keep in mind that transporting large motorcycles will require large crates, ties, and other unique packing materials to ensure their safety and condition.

Transport Distance 

Many full-service shipping companies provide their clients with affordable deals as long as their destination is within a specific range. It means that the closer the distance, the cheaper it usually is. 

The proximity of the pickup and drop-off point to major highways is also another big consideration. Additional charges may apply for delivery to remote or difficult to reach areas. 

You should note that charges may vary according to the transport company, so be sure to ask them about this information in advance.

Location Of Pick-Up And Drop-Off 

It is generally cheaper to send your bike within an urban area than in rural or remote areas, especially with door-to-door service.

Season Or Time Of The Year 

Seasonal demand may also affect motorcycle delivery costs, although not to the same extent. For example, in wintertime, a customer may require a closed shipment of their motorcycle with delivery. 

The weather in the winter season is not so favorable, so it makes sense to get closed transport. However, it will cost a lot. It can be about $150 more than the unclosed transport sent in the spring. Yet, sometimes you have no choice because the exhibition may be in the winter months. 

Most of the time, quotes these transport service providers give their customers already cover all the essential details of transporting motorcycles. It includes loading, unloading, insurance, and transit costs, plus taxes if necessary.

How Long Should It Usually Take To Ship Your Motorcycle?

Usually, the average delivery time is between two weeks and one month, depending on the landing site. For most transport companies, the date of receipt of an order is 2-7 business days after the customer places it. 

Then the actual delivery takes about 1-6 calendar days after receiving the motorcycle. However, for express delivery of motorcycles, the first delivery date is usually available within 24-72 hours. Therefore, you should consider this when planning to transport your motorcycle to an exhibition.

Properly Prepare Your Motorcycle For Shipment

Once you have hired a company, you should ensure that your motorcycle is ready to be loaded when the truck driver arrives to pick it up. 

A personal inspection of your motorcycle to check for any signs of damage, even minor cosmetic defects, paint chips, or small dents, should be marked in writing with photos or videos marked with time and date. To properly prepare your bike, consider the following:

Make Sure The Bike Is Clean

Wipe your motorcycle thoroughly, including the wheels, before transporting it. By cleaning your bike, you will be able to spot any chips or scratches that need to be documented before shipping. 

Drain All Of The Fluids

You should drain all the fluids from the bike. It means gas, oil, hydraulic fluid, or any other liquid that may leak. Truck transporters usually refuse to take a motorcycle that contains any liquids, as this could be considered dangerous. 

There may also be complex rules for transporting a gaseous motorcycle across borders where the carrier will most likely not want to travel. Avoid all trouble by draining everything.

If you are not able to do it yourself, ask for help. Professional service centers or garages can do it for a fee. Just make sure you have a way to get your bike back home after you drain it, as you won't be able to ride it.

Reduce The Tire Pressure

Once you've drained all the fluids, you'll need to pull some air out of the tires. It will help the bike frame better absorb the bumps and vibrations that it will experience during the ride. 

It will also help to keep your tires healthy, giving them more flexibility. However, don't blow them out all the way. It could damage the tire. Simply lower the pressure to make them a little softer than usual but to withstand the bike's weight.

Remove The Battery

If you take the battery off the motorcycle, it will prevent the battery's damage if the truck company takes your bike in bad weather. 

It should also prevent the battery from being accidentally switched on and discharged during transport. Also, some batteries contain hazardous materials that can be difficult to transport for the shipping company.

Remove Loose Objects

Remember to remove or secure any loose objects, and if you have an alarm on your bike, be sure to turn it off. 

After Delivery

When your bike arrives at its new destination, you should complete a careful inspection to check for signs of damage that may have occurred during transport. 


When your motorcycle arrives in the country of destination, the compliance process will vary depending on the country or state to which you transport it. 

It is strongly recommended that you contact your local compliance center to learn about the costs and processes involved. 

Make sure that your motorcycle complies with compliance regulations when you arrive at your destination. You cannot legally ride your motorcycle on the road until it has passed compliance and is registered for use on the road.

To Sum Up

Motorcycles are much easier to handle on the road than larger vehicles, and they are also easier to transport when you need to move them to an exhibition. When you get it transported, you can save time on a trip when you need to travel abroad and want your bike to accompany you. 

When you need to find a motorcycle service that will keep your bike in good condition, you will need to hire a reliable motorcycle delivery company to move your bike. 

If you need it shipped locally, all over the country, or even abroad, you need to know every detail of the delivery process to ensure that your bike is adequately prepared. 

Many companies can safely and efficiently load your bike with the right equipment. However, not all vehicles are immediately compatible. 

Asking people who often move their bikes to exhibitions can be an excellent way to get some idea of what works and what doesn't. 

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