Motorcycle shipping costs can fluctuate based on many factors, from the type of bike being transported to the time of year. In this article, we’ll explain how carriers calculate shipping costs, what motorcycle enthusiasts can expect to pay, and how to save on shipments.
Our review team researched and ranked the best auto and motorcycle shipping companies on the market. We’ve also conducted multiple consumer surveys to see what customers experience and how satisfied they are with different companies. To find the most affordable transport service for you, we recommend getting quotes from carriers to compare pricing.
Our Motorcycle And Car Shipping Methodology
While there are a few specialty companies that only ship motorcycles, most motorcycle shippers also ship cars. Our team has thoroughly reviewed 19 auto and motorcycle shipping companies to see which providers offered the best shipping experience. We scored providers in each of the following categories and gave each an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
Shippers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category. You want to know your bike is safe during transit, so this rating includes how long a company’s been in business, which shows us its longevity and years of experience.
We also pay attention to the ratings, accreditation, and complaints a company has on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site. The BBB is a trusted organization that evaluates a company’s business practices, customer satisfaction, and licensing information.
Of course, you want to get good service, but you don’t want to overpay. Our research team reviews sample quotes for various shipping routes, distances, and vehicles to rank providers on affordability. Companies with lower prices and many discount opportunities receive the best scores.
This rating is based on the types of auto transport services that are available with a company, including insurance coverage, and the ability to guarantee pickup dates. Our team also looks at the pickup window and average transit time companies advertise. The more a company has, the higher its service rating.
Great prices don’t mean anything with poor customer service. That’s why we comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analyses to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each transporter.
A shopper analysis can include calling the company directly and speaking with a customer service rep or browsing the website to see what helpful shipping process information is available and displayed.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Motorcycle?
Motorcycle shipping quotes we received from the industry’s top providers show the average cost is about $1,140 for a 1,500-mile trip with enclosed trailer transport. Motorcycle shipping costs vary depending on several factors, so you should use this as a starting point.
The quotes we requested were for an operable 2018 Yamaha V Star. To give you a better idea of the average cost of motorcycle transport services, we listed cost ranges for various shipping services below.
- Open trailer motorcycle transport: $535 to $1,295
- Enclosed motorcycle transport: $385 to $1,895
- Interstate motorcycle shipping (520 miles): $385 to $1,295
- Interstate motorcycle shipping (1,660 miles): $605 to $1,895
The motorcycle shipping rate you receive during the quote process will likely not be the final price you’ll pay to have your bike shipped. Motorcycle transporters sometimes include a service fee with your bill. Depending on the company, you may need to pay for additional insurance or surcharges. If you opt for expedited shipping or a guaranteed pickup date, you’ll also pay extra fees that will increase the shipping cost.
Cancellation fees are also important to consider when thinking about cost. Some companies – like Montway Auto Transport – charge a cancellation fee after a carrier has accepted an order. Most transport companies will allow you to cancel for free until your shipment details have been sent to a hauler.
What Factors Affect Motorcycle Shipping Costs?
Several factors influence motorcycle shipping costs. From the type of transport you choose to your delivery preferences, these factors can either increase or decrease your shipping costs.
We’ve outlined some of the key factors that impact motorcycle shipping costs below.
- Distance: Our research has shown that while long-distance trips cost more than shorter-distance trips overall, they have lower rates per mile.
- Enclosed vs. open transport: Enclosed motorcycle transport offers a higher level of protection but costs significantly more than open motorcycle transport.
- Door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal delivery: Door-to-door motorcycle transport is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping because your motorcycle is picked up and dropped off as close to your home as possible.
- Time of year: Motorcycle transport is more expensive when shipping demand is high. The most expensive times to transport your bike are during the summer and in January.
- Carrier competition: If more motorcycle carriers are available for a shipment, it drives the cost down.
- Location: Transporting your motorcycle to or from a rural area will likely increase your motorcycle shipping costs.
- Type of motorcycle: Bigger motorcycles will take up more space in trailers, so they’ll cost more to ship.
Open transport, terminal-to-terminal shipping is generally the cheapest way to ship your motorcycle. However, we’ve found that most motorcycle shipping companies only transport motorcycles in enclosed carriers. The extra protection against the weather and road debris may give you peace of mind, especially if you have a classic bike.
Ways To Reduce Your Motorcycle Shipping Costs
While motorcycle shipping is cheaper than vehicle shipping, it can still be expensive, especially if you request specialty services such as expedited shipping or a guaranteed pickup date. One of the easiest ways to lower the cost of shipping is to find a motorcycle transport company that offers discounts.
Our top five recommended motorcycle transporters offer the following discounts:
- Montway Auto Transport: Military, returning customer, multiple vehicles, and pay-in-cash
- AmeriFreight: Military, first responder, medical personnel, student, senior citizen, early bird, returning customer, and multiple vehicles
- uShip: Military
- HaulBikes: Round trips, motorcycle rallies, military and service personnel, groups, and dealers
- Motorcycle Shippers: Military and dealers
We recommend comparing quotes from several providers to ensure you get the best motorcycle shipping cost. Depending on the company, you can quickly receive online motorcycle shipping rates. You’ll typically need to provide the following information to get quotes:
- Pickup and drop-off locations
- Motorcycle’s make, model, age, modifications, and operability
- Transport preference (open or enclosed shipping)
- Preferred pickup and delivery dates
How Motorcycle Shipping Works
When you use a reputable company, you’ll get a motorcycle carrier with experience shipping bikes. They’ll use specialized platforms for motorcycle shipping and follow safety precautions to bring your bike from point A to point B in good condition. Below are some things to be aware of that can make the process hassle-free.
Door-To-Door Service Is Approximate
Most companies offer door-to-door service as a standard option, but the reality depends on how narrow your streets are. If a semi-truck can’t make it to your driveway easily without risking damage, the carrier will ask you to meet in a nearby parking lot instead. The driver will not risk their own reputation and insurance coverage to bring a bike to a downtown apartment location or into a neighborhood with winding streets.
The auto carrier has no wiggle room – literally. If you refuse to meet them a few blocks away to get your bike, the driver will have no choice but to drop your bike off at that location anyway. Be prepared to meet the carrier a few minutes away from your exact location, whether that means having a friend or an Uber driver bring you there.
Having A Good Experience Requires Trust
Motorcycle carriers are independent businesses – not employees of shipping brokers. That means they work on their own schedules and can quit a prospective job if the customer starts harassing them for an exact pickup time or the particulars of how the motorcycle will be strapped down.
Carriers have access to hundreds of vehicles that need to be shipped at any given time. They can always get another job if a certain customer proves to be difficult before pickup. To have a good experience with fast service, it’s best to let the carrier do their job without too much interference.
Expect the carrier to contact you with a pickup timeframe, but you probably won’t get an exact time down to the minute. Carriers have other shipments to make on their routes to you, along with having to face tolls, traffic jams, severe weather, or other obstacles on the road. Because of this, we recommend you don’t commit to other plans on pickup or drop-off days. You can always have a trusted friend meet the carrier if you can’t be there.
Our Customer Satisfaction Survey
In our auto shipping satisfaction survey, we found that 68 percent of customers were satisfied with their experience to some degree. However, about 21 percent were dissatisfied.
Some customers experienced damage during transit while others were disappointed that the price changed after the initial transport quote. To maximize your satisfaction, compare rates early and maintain flexibility during the process.
Our Recommendations For Motorcycle Shipping
We recommend reaching out to Montway Auto Transport and AmeriFreight to start your search for the best motorcycle shipping company for your needs. Both are backed by excellent industry ratings and offer some of the best motorcycle shipping costs in the industry.
Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall
Montway Auto Transport is a popular broker that provides a wide variety of motorcycle shipping services. The company ships motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters in enclosed trailers directly to your location or to one of its shipping distribution centers. Montway also offers add-on services such as guaranteed pickup dates and supplemental insurance coverage for an extra fee.
Montway Auto Transport holds accreditation and an A+ rating from the BBB, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars from customers on the organization’s website. Most customers have a positive experience, and reviews frequently comment on the broker’s timeliness, prompt communication, and affordability. Montway had the highest satisfaction level of 84 percent according to our consumer survey, as well.
Read more: Montway Auto Transport reviews
AmeriFreight: Best Discounts
Established in 2004, AmeriFreight is a motorcycle and auto transport broker with shipping options available nationwide. The broker works with about 10,000 carriers, each vetted based on insurance coverage and customer ratings. AmeriFreight ships motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters door-to-door in open and enclosed trailers.
AmeriFreight reviews are mainly positive. The company holds accreditation and an A+ rating from the BBB with an average customer rating of 4.9 stars. According to our survey, 67 percent of AmeriFreight customers were somewhat or very satisfied with the company.
Read more: AmeriFreight reviews
Motorcycle Shipping Cost: FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions about motorcycle shipping: