How to Pack Motorcycle Gear When Moving
Making a cross-country trip sounds appealing, perhaps even more so when you’re relocating. You can take your time, visit some incredible locations, and probably still beat the movers to your new home. Bikes let you carry more than you think, even during long trips.
And it’s easy to ship your belongings with a licensed carrier, hop on your bike, enjoy the ride, and not worry about the rest of the cargo.
But not everyone has the time to make a long trip, particularly when moving to a different state. That’s why learning how to pack motorcycle gear and your bike is important. You may have to ship it along with everything else you own.
What You Need to Know About Packing and Shipping a Motorcycle
Shipping a motorcycle is a lot like shipping a car. Only bikes are more susceptible to damage during transport. Therefore, they may require additional care during preparation, loading, and unloading procedures.
Three Men and a Truck can help if you don’t want to bother with the specifics. It’s all about working with experienced motorcycle shippers. But if you want to manage your shipping costs, you can do some preparation work and let the movers worry about safely taking your bike from point A to B safely and quickly.
Step No. 1 – Remove Accessories
Motorcycles have tons of gears and tiny accessories that are helpful when going on long rides and camping trips. You probably have a GPS system, aftermarket spoilers, a luggage rack, stereo, tags, saddlebags, etc.
It’s essential to understand that loose gear is most prone to damage during transport. Furthermore, bike gear isn’t considered part of the vehicle. Therefore, damaged and lost equipment and accessories aren’t usually covered by the carrier’s insurance.
The same goes for your riding clothes, helmet, gloves, boots, club apparel, etc. Removing loose gear and packing it separately in shipping boxes is recommended by reputable, experienced movers with motorcycle transportation services.
But it’s also worth noting that you won’t always be able to ship motorcycle gear with your bike. Not all vehicle carriers offer shipping services for personal items, regardless of whether you use them on your bike.
Step No. 2 – Get the Bike Ready
Stripping your bike down to its factory configuration and removing valuables, personal items, and accessories is only one step. It’s also the least important aspect, since not everyone heavily customizes their bikes.
The second step is the most important. Shipping bikes safely requires owners or movers to do four things.
- Inflate the tires
- Reduce the fuel levels
- Check the anchor points and fastening systems
- Inspect the bike’s condition
You want inflated tires to make the bike’s suspension system more effective. Inflated tires act as cushions and minimize vibrations. It’s helpful to do so when shipping a motorcycle across long distances and poor road conditions. It can prevent wear on the bike and stop fasteners from coming loose.
Secondly, you want lower fuel levels to prevent damaging the bike or other vehicles and cargo in a shared container or trailer. Moreover, the law dictates that you can’t ship motorcycles with tanks over a quarter full of gas. When shipping internationally, you can’t even have a single drop in the tank.
Lastly, you should document any additional mechanical problems. Whether your bike has damaged parts or scratched paint, visually documenting its condition is essential for filing claims and getting reimbursed.
Shipping Operational vs. Non-Operational Bikes
A bike that doesn’t run or can’t even be pushed up a ramp and into a truck can be taken apart. Disassembling motorcycles for shipping isn’t uncommon. In fact, it can be a much safer way to transport bikes over long distances. But it won’t always be necessary or cheaper, especially if you require professionals to take it apart and put it back together.
It’s worth noting that working with experienced bike movers is critical when relocating and trusting your bike and other vehicles to carriers. Specialized movers have the proper equipment to load and unload your motorcycle under any circumstances.
But it all comes down to your prep work and mechanical documentation process. Carriers need to know the state of the bike. If it has mechanical problems or damaged parts, they can personalize the equipment list and come prepared to handle your vehicle. This often involves a pulley or harness system that can load and unload your bike as needed.
Choosing a Shipping Method
One of the best ways to ship a motorcycle is in a crate. Crated shipping gives bikes a stable base and a custom anchoring system to ensure maximum stability. For example, transporting a bike in a crate prevents lateral movement and swaying and can keep it safe on the harshest roads.
Naturally, transporting a bike on an open trailer is a decent alternative. It’s a lot cheaper, but it exposes the vehicle to the elements. While shipping cars on open transport carriers is standard, bike owners may prefer a different approach.
There’s more to worry about when shipping a bike than how much the suspension system can handle. The same goes for whether the wheels are correctly locked or the bike has enough anchor points.
Always Spring for Secure and Safe Shipping for Your Bike
Managing a move when you own multiple vehicles like cars and motorcycles is a logistical nightmare. Handling it yourself isn’t always a great idea unless you have something to transport them in safely. But even then, working with a specialized motorcycle carrier can give you peace of mind.
Remember that you support all the costs if something goes wrong during transport. Entrusting an insured, experienced mover can get you off the hook for damages sustained on the road.
If you don’t want to ride your bike across a couple of state lines while relocating, don’t worry. You can easily find a reputable shipper near you. Inspect your bike, get it ready, and remove loose items, gear, and personal accessories to ship them separately.
Covering your bases will lead to a smooth and stress-free moving experience for you and your treasured motorcycle.
Author: Jason Mueller