How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Motorcycle?

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated June 15, 2022
A woman with her motorcycle
Photo: Brooke Schaal Photography / Moment / Getty Images

Highlights

  • It costs an average of $500 to ship a motorcycle, but you may pay anywhere from $200 to $2,000.

  • You can choose between shipping it via truck, train, plane, or boat.

  • Train is the most economical shipping option, while boat is the most expensive.

  • You can cut costs by shipping via train or using open instead of enclosed shipping.

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If you're a dedicated motorcyclist, your motorcycle is likely one of your most important possessions, if not the most important. So if you're planning a move, the first thing to think about is how to get your motorcycle from one place to another.

Luckily, you have a variety of options when it comes to shipping a motorcycle. You can expect to pay an average of $500 for shipping, depending on the method you choose. You may pay as low as $200 or as much as $2,000, so you should contact a moving company near you for a quote.

Minimum CostNational Average CostMaximum Cost
$200$500$2,000

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Motorcycle by Method of Transportation?

A retro motorcycle parked at a warehouse
Photo: Hirkophoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Shipping a motorcycle is different from the process of moving your car across the country. You have a few options for shipping your motorcycle, and each has a different cost range.

Motorcycle Shipping MethodCost
Truck$500 – $1,250
Plane$400 – $800
Train$200
Boat$1,000 – $2,000

Truck

To ship a motorcycle by truck, you will pay about $0.50 per mile for long-distance trips. That means you'll pay about $500 for a trip of 1,000 miles, and about $1,250 for a coast-to-coast trip.

Plane

Planes are more economical for shipping a motorcycle than a truck, and therefore slightly less expensive. As a result, you can fly a motorcycle across the country for $400 to $800.

Train

Trains are the most inexpensive way to ship a motorcycle, and you may pay as low as $200 for this transportation method. Keep in mind that this option is best for transporting motorcycles between major cities.

Boat

The cost of shipping a motorcycle by boat depends on the pick-up and drop-off location. You'll probably pay between $1,000 to $2,000 for shipping via ship. This transportation method is usually the best option for shipping internationally.

Motorcycle Shipping Cost Factors

Aside from type of transportation, there are several other factors to consider when calculating the cost of shipping a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Size

In most cases, the bigger and heavier the bike, the higher the cost of shipping. Some moving companies base their shipping costs on weight, meaning heavier models, like Harley Davidsons, will cost more than less heavy models. A typical moving service insurance rate is  $0.50 per pound.

Open vs. Enclosed Shipping

If you want your motorcycle protected from the outdoor elements during transit, you’ll pay more for enclosed shipping. An enclosed carrier typically costs about $150 more than an open carrier, but it provides additional safety and peace of mind.

Pickup and Drop-Off Location

Do you plan to pay for a door-to-door shipping service or at a local transit terminal? The answer will impact your shipping costs. The most inexpensive option is to pick up and drop off your bike at a centrally located transit terminal, and door-to-door shipping will cost extra.

Express Shipment

Like any delivery service, you can expect to pay additional fees for expedited shipping. That’s why it pays off to reserve your shipping date and method in advance to avoid extra costs.

Moving Insurance

Moving insurance is an additional expense, but it will ensure that you’ll get a reimbursement if your motorcycle is damaged or lost during transit. The cost of moving insurance varies by policy, but you can expect to pay more for full-value protection than released-value protection.

Cost to Ship a Motorcycle Yourself

You have the option to rent a trailer and tow the motorcycle yourself. However, there isn’t a significant price difference between DIY shipping and shipping services. Renting a trailer large enough to haul a motorcycle cross-country costs about $400 to $500 on average. Plus, DIY shipping requires travel costs, such as hotel stays, food, gas, and rental trailer fees.

However, moving your motorcycle yourself ensures it will be transported with care, with less risk of damage along the way.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Shipping a Motorcycle

There are a few things you can do to cut the cost of shipping a motorcycle if you’re on a tight budget.

1. Ship via Train

Trains are the most economical way to ship a motorcycle out of all the options listed. Keep in mind that doing it this way can be somewhat challenging, as railway companies often provide space to commercial clients first, so you may have to call around for a train that has space.

2. Tow It Yourself for Local Trips

If you're not taking the motorcycle far, renting a trailer for your motorcycle and driving it yourself may make more sense. You’ll only have to pay for the rental cost, plus gas and travel expenses.

3. Drive the Motorcycle to Your Destination

Why not go on a road trip? You won't have to pay any shipping costs if you ride the motorcycle yourself to your destination. However, this option is only viable if you’re moving a short distance and not transporting your household belongings on your own.

4. Choose Open Over Enclosed Shipping

You can save money by choosing open instead of enclosed shipping for your motorcycle. In an open carrier, the motorcycle is exposed to the outside elements during the trip. As a result, don't favor this option if you have a valuable motorcycle or are worried about damage.

Questions and Answers About Motorcycle Shipping

How does shipping a motorcycle work?

You can ship motorcycles via train, truck, plane, or boat. For trucks, they can be carried on either an open or enclosed trailer. In all cases, the motorcycle will be held down with straps to keep it securely in place.

Can you ship a motorcycle using FedEx, USPS, or UPS?

No, a motorcycle exceeds the maximum weight allowed by consumer shipping companies or the post office. However, you can ship motorcycle parts via this method.

Will a motorcycle fit in a short-bed truck?

Not usually. Most bikes are at least 6 feet long while a short-bed truck is often shorter than that. Plus, you'd need to ensure your truck can handle the weight of your motorcycle. Finally, you'd need to figure out how to strap it down and protect it from damage.

Can you transport a motorcycle on its side?

No, it is vital to transport a motorcycle upright because of its battery. These batteries are typically not sealed to avoid overpressurization, so the motorcycle could leak battery acid if it lays on its side. Plus, laying it on its side for a long period of time may cause hydrolock, which is when oil leaks into the combustion chamber, making your spark plug unable to ignite the gas due to lack of air.

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