Shipping a motorcycle might seem like an easy, stress-free job. You just order a motorcycle carrier, and you’re done with it. This could not be farther from the truth since it requires a significant amount of thought and preparation beforehand, and there are a few distinct steps that you need to follow.
In the guide below we strive to give you a couple of useful tips on how to prepare your vehicles for shipping in order to minimize the damage that might occur.
The first aspect that you need to decide on is how your vehicle is going to be transported. Be it through the air or across the ocean the critical issue is the time frame required for this process.
If you want to order a vehicle from a different part of the globe due to various reasons (perhaps a lower price, a better offer or just a collection piece that you couldn’t find otherwise), you can opt for one of these two options and balance the pros and cons.
Air travel is a lot more expensive, but it’s quicker and safer because in a shorter time frame less damage is likely to occur. Water travel is slower but more affordable, and it might be a good option if you’re not really in a hurry and you can wait a bit before you hop on your new ride. Either one of these methods you choose, the preparation process is roughly the same and requires similar steps.
Disassemble mobile parts
It’s a known fact that during transportation specific moving components might be damaged due to their precarious position, so in order to avoid a brutal collision that might result in permanently damaged windshields or other parts, make sure you detach them and safely store them separately.
A thorough inspection of the damages that your bike has sustained through time is also recommended. Take pictures, notes or whatever you need to remember every detail before you pack everything up, and compare when your vehicle arrives to see if any new scratches appeared in the process.
You should also take note of any mechanical issue that your bike might have, in order to determine those that might occur as a result of transportation and hold the right people responsible.
Removing the battery as well is sometimes advised, depending on the context. Fixing all fluid leaks is also an important aspect.
Another part that is involved in the preparation process is a thorough cleaning of the motorcycle. Remove all the dirt and the soil deposits, because you’re not sure how long the shipping process will take and in time these factors might inflict irreparable damage upon the materials used to manufacture your motorcycle.
If you’re shipping it while in running condition, make sure you check certain aspects such as tire pressure, fluids or battery life. Also, it’s important to mention that when traveling, your vehicle should only have one-quarter of a gas tank filled up.
Perhaps you did not know this, but certain shipping companies also offer you the possibility of buying an insurance policy for your motorcycle to cover for whatever damage it might sustain during travel.
Sure, it might be a bit more money than you’re prepared to spend on this process, but depending on the shipping method you choose and on the money you’re willing to spend on repairs if anything should happen to your vehicle, we think this is an option that you should carefully consider before dismissing it right away.
If you can’t rely on the shipping company, check your personal insurance before packing, because it might say something about the damage that occurs during transportation. If not, contact an insurance company and find out more details, because you might be sorry afterward.
Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that your vehicle will arrive at its destination in the same condition, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Securing your motorcycle
There are a couple more things that you can do to make sure you minimize the damage that your vehicle might be affected by. These include fastening the wheels, so they can’t be moved during shipping. Otherwise, the bike might slide and crash into other objects.
Using straps might prevent this from happening, but the most efficient method clearly is mounting the vehicle on a stand that is securely fixed on the horizontal surface.
If you resort to using straps, make sure there are at least two, one for the front and one for the back, otherwise certain parts may still move during the trip.
Some service providers have come up with this method that seems to involve fewer risks than other traditional transportation techniques. Shipping crates are individually built for each bike in particular, according to the specific measurements.
The process involves the motorcycle being positioned on a base then both the wheels and the stand are secured in place using chocks. Areas of contact are protected with foam padding, so you don’t need to worry about the damage that strapping might do to your bike.
After this stage is over, the vehicles are braced using timber planks and more foam padding, which will at this point protect the paintwork and the finish layers from being damaged. Afterward, the top of the crate is added, and the entire volume is strapped externally to prevent it from falling apart during travel.
Using this method might be slightly more expensive but in most cases, it’s almost damage-proof, and it can help significantly increase the chances of your bike arriving at its destination unscathed.
Other issues include budget choices, which we’ve also previously discussed under the aspect of shipment methods. As you know already, the most affordable option you have is through water travel, which will take a few weeks at best, so if you’re looking for a fast and efficient method, perhaps you should consider other alternatives.