Motorcycle Shipping Rates

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Motorcycle Shipping Rates

Motorcycle Shipping Rates

If you are planning to ship a motorcycle locally, nationally, or internationally, the first thing you do is request quotes from different shipping companies. But do you know how these companies arrive at these rates? Are you wondering why some quotes are so high while others are so low? Well, in this article we try to explain the different factors and services that are used to determine motor cycle shipping rates.


Distance is by far the main factor that affects the shipping rates. In fact, it is the first thing the shipper is interested in. Needless to say, the longer the distance between the origin and destination of the motorcycle – the more you pay.

Motorcycle Shipping Rates | A-1 Auto Transport

Origin and destination

The first question auto shippers ask is the location of the motorcycle and its destination. This question is not solely for the purpose of calculating distance. The company uses this information to determine if they have such a shipping route. If the location or destination of the motorcycle is not a popular destination, the shipping rates will be higher. This is because the shipper will stray too much from the normal route, and probably just to pick or drop one motorcycle.

Is the destination, out of the country? International motorcycle shipping obviously costs more. Long distances, which may involve transport by sea or air, are involved. The customs regulations to be observed also complicate the process further, making the shipping costlier.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Shipping seasons

Like any other business, motorcycle shipping has seasons. Generally, motorcycle shipping rates are higher in the onset of summer. During this time, more people are requesting the service to go and enjoy the hot summer in the southern states. Shipping a motorcycle during the winter season is also not necessarily cheap. Driving trucks in the northern states which are hilly and have harsh winters often involving snowfall is not easy.

In Sturgis, South Dakota, there is an annual bike rally that lasts a week. Motorcycle shipping to South Dakota few weeks before the event is in high demand. Therefore, the prices of shipping tend to hike making it a not-so-good time to ship motorcycles for those who are budget-conscious.

Size of motorcycle

Generally, motorcycles occupy a small space on the transport trucks. That makes them way cheaper to transport compared to cars. However, they do vary a lot in size and weight, which affects the shipping price. The larger and heavier the motorcycle – the costlier it is to transport.

Make and model

There are many types of motorbikes. Each type has different demands when it comes to transport. For instance, a sports bike requires special attention during loading compared to a standard motorcycle. Generally high-end and luxury motorcycles, which also tend to be bigger, cost more to ship because they require special attention and specialized loading equipment.


Shipping companies transport both operable and non-operable motorcycles. Shipping a non-operable motorcycle is more expensive. This is because more labor is required during loading and unloading.

Method of transport

There are three shipping methods when it comes to motorcycle transport;

  • Open-air transport – The motorcycle is loaded onto an open truck and transported to its destination. This method exposes the motorcycle to the wind, the sun, rain, and road debris. This method is only convenient when shipping over a short distance or if the motorcycle is not exactly valuable.
  • Enclosed transport – The motorcycle is loaded onto an enclosed truck. This method is much safer as it protects the bike from harsh weather conditions and potential theft because one cannot easily make out the content of the enclosed truck. This method is convenient when transporting motorcycles over a long distance or when transporting valuable motorcycles.
  • Crated transport – The motorcycle is loaded into a crate made of plywood. In there, the bike is protected from external weather conditions and damage as long as the crate is not compromised. Another advantage here is that you can transport other items such as bike gear and bike accessories in the crate.

Delivery and pick-up method

The delivery and pick-up method also influence motorcycle shipping rates. The door to door option is convenient but expensive. The cheaper options include terminal to door and door to terminal. The cheapest option is terminal to terminal. The options involving delivery to a terminal are cheap but consider that if you are not available to pick up your motorcycle when it arrives at the terminal you may incur storage fees.

The factors outlined above affect our motorcycle shipping rates. When you request a quote from us, we always ask that you be as detailed as possible when giving information that could potentially affect the rates. That is the only way to get an accurate quote and reduce the probability of unforeseen charges. Get in touch with us today to get started.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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