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Why DIY Won't Work When Shipping Your Motorcycle

Subscribe April 10, 2014
Motorcycle Shipping

Say you've got a particular motorcycle you fancy. You buy it, ride it around for a few months, then decide to pack it up and head to a local bike show a few states away.

If you want to handle the motorcycle transport yourself, you will need to understand what kind of commitment you're getting yourself into. Of course, at the actual show, you want your bike to be the flashiest, shiniest piece of machinery in the entire venue.

But that's probably not going to happen if you try to handle all the shipping specifics yourself. Here's why.

1. Do you have an acceptable trailer to use?

Not a lot of folks tend to have large trailers parked in their driveways, collecting dust (and tree pollen). Shipping trailers tend to cost upwards of $1,000 if you're buying new, and if you find an discount model at a sale, good luck trusting it to carry your precious cargo.

But to make motorcycle shipping an easier, more DIY-friendly task, you could also just toss your bike into a box van, right? Sure, if you understand how to properly secure your wheels inside the cargo bed. And if you have other means of cushioning in case the straps give out. And if you understand how to ease around the turns while operating the van. And...well, you see where we're going here.

Transporting a motorcycle isn't just loading it up and forgetting about it on the ride. It's a science, and every single variable in the equation must be accounted for.

2. Do you have time to ensure a proper load-in and unloading?

Time is not your ally when it comes to DIY motorcycle transport. Even if you get a few friends to help you with the strapping before and after the trip, you're still looking at frequent stops along the journey to ensure the straps are holding tight.

There's nothing worse than arriving at a bike show with a scratched, dented bike. If you're looking to ship a car or boat, you wouldn't dare tackle the task yourself. You'd say there's too much risk and too many chances that things could go wrong, which is why you'd be better off leaving it in the hands of a professional.

So why would you think motorcycle hauling would be any different? Just because bikes are smaller doesn't make them any less important (or valuable).

3. What's more important, DIY pride or doing it right?

Motorcycles tend to be much more delicate than standard sedans and sports cars, which means motorcycle transport is perhaps the most delicate form of vehicle hauling. As such, you might think it's going to cost you more to opt for a professional shipping service, but really, you're going to have to put everything together yourself when you opt for the DIY treatment. And as we talked about above, transport trucks and vans don't tend to be cheap.

What you're left with is a clear choice: the easy way or the hard way. The easy way -- the route that involves professional services -- is lined with more economical choices and a quicker time frame. The hard (DIY) way is loaded up headaches and unforeseen complications.

Which one do you think is best for your bike?

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