Motorcycle Shipping Cost: A Comprehensive Guide

Motorcycle Shipping Cost: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are in the midst of relocating, temporarily residing in a new area, or intending to sell your motorcycles, you might be uncertain regarding the expenses and arrangements involved in shipping your bikes. This lack of knowledge can make the prospect of motorcycle shipping seem daunting and overwhelming. 

The uncertainty around motorcycle shipping costs can make the whole process seem even more challenging and overwhelming.

You’re not alone in this. Many individuals have faced the same challenges and uncertainties when it comes to shipping their motorcycles.

Understanding the costs associated with shipping a motorcycle is crucial for budgeting and making informed decisions. By getting a clear understanding of the elements that determine the pricing, you can enhance your financial preparation and guarantee that you are receiving a fair arrangement.

In this blog, we will talk about everything that contributes to the cost of shipping a motorcycle.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Shipping a Motorcycle?

When you’re looking to estimate the cost to ship motorcycle, it’s important to consider several factors that play a role in determining the overall quote you’ll receive. Let’s delve into each of these factors to give you a better understanding:

Transport Type

Factors Affect the Cost of Shipping a Motorcycle

The type of transport you choose plays a significant role. In car shipping, you get the option of choosing either enclosed shipping or open car shipping. However, when it comes to motorcycle shipping, there are two options.

One option is open transport, which involves using a truck without walls or a roof to transport your motorcycle. It is usually the more affordable option compared to enclosed transport. However, choosing open transport means exposing your bike to various elements during the journey.

On the other hand, there is fully enclosed car shipping, which provides complete protection for your motorcycle during transit. These trucks have walls and a roof, ensuring that your bike is shielded from external elements such as sun exposure, dirt, and rain. This option is generally considered the safer and more secure choice, particularly if you have a valuable or delicate motorcycle.

Motorcycle Size and Weight

Unlike other vehicles where sizes can vary significantly, including shipping a car across the country, motorcycles generally don’t have as much variation in size. However, it’s still important to keep an eye on this factor as it can impact the overall cost of shipping.

For example, let’s say you have a heavy-duty Suzuki M1800, which is a larger and more powerful motorcycle. Since it takes up more space on the truck, it’s likely to incur a higher shipping cost compared to a lightweight Kawasaki Ninja 400, which is smaller and more compact.

The reason for this pricing difference is quite simple. Shipping companies charge based on the space your motorcycle occupies on their transport vehicles. The more space your bike takes up, the less room there is for other motorcycles or vehicles, so they adjust the price accordingly.

While it may seem obvious that larger and heavier bikes would cost more to ship, it’s still worth being aware of this as you compare prices and plan your budget.


Just like when you’re planning a road trip, the farther you travel, the more expenses you typically incur. The same principle applies when determining shipping motorcycle costs.

If you’re looking to transport your motorcycle just a couple of hundred miles, perhaps within your state or to a neighboring state, you can expect the cost to be relatively affordable. 

It’s not uncommon to find shipping options in the ballpark of $500 for such shorter distances. This cost takes into account factors like fuel, labor, and other operational expenses involved in transporting your bike.

However, if you’re planning a cross-country trip for your motorcycle, where the distance covered is significantly greater, you should anticipate a higher price tag. Shipping a bike across the entire country is a more complex and time-consuming process. It involves coordination with multiple carriers, potential transfers between different transport trucks or carriers, and longer overall transit times.


When it comes to shipping your motorcycle, the cost is not solely determined by the straight-line distance between the pickup and delivery locations on a map. Instead, it’s based on the actual distance and time the carrier needs to drive to transport your bike to its destination.

While it may appear to be just 800 miles on a map, various factors can affect the actual distance and time it takes for your motorcycle to reach its destination. Road closures, traffic jams, and ongoing construction are all common occurrences that can add extra miles and time to the transport process.

Traffic jams or congested areas can significantly increase the time it takes for the carrier to reach the destination, even if the distance on the map remains the same. These delays can result in additional costs, as the carrier has to spend more time on the road than initially estimated.

Advanced Reservations

Planning ahead can make a significant difference in the cost you’ll pay. The bidding process is a key element in this regard. By placing your reservation about two weeks in advance, you give the truck drivers ample time to conduct their research and find ways to cut costs as much as possible.

When you book your motorcycle shipment well in advance, it allows the carriers to optimize their routes and consolidate shipments efficiently. They can plan their schedules, coordinate with other customers who may be shipping their vehicles in the same direction, and find the most cost-effective solutions for everyone involved.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a situation where you need your motorcycle picked up on short notice, you may end up paying significantly more. Calling a shipping company today and requesting a pickup tomorrow doesn’t leave much time for the carriers to make necessary arrangements or find the most efficient route. 

The last-minute nature of the request can result in higher costs, as the shipping company may need to make special arrangements or prioritize your shipment over others.

Number of Motorcycles

Shipping multiple motorcycles at the same time can often lead to discounts and cost savings. So for instance, if you and your friends are planning to ship your motorcycles to the same destination, it’s worth considering shipping your bikes together with the same shipping company. Not only does this offer convenience, but it can also result in significant savings in your motorcycle shipping cost.

Many motorcycle shipping companies offer discounts or reduced rates for shipping multiple bikes simultaneously. By combining the shipments, the company can optimize their resources and reduce operational costs, which they are often happy to pass on to their customers.

When considering this option, it’s important to communicate with the shipping company and inquire about any discounts or special rates they offer for shipping multiple motorcycles. They can provide you with specific information regarding their pricing structure and help you understand the potential savings you can expect.


Auto transport operates on the principles of supply and demand, which means that the prices you encounter can vary based on the season and the overall demand for transportation services.

During slower periods, such as the winter months, when fewer people tend to ship their vehicles, you can often find better deals. With lower demand, auto transport companies may have more available carrier space and are more likely to offer competitive rates to attract customers. So, if you’re flexible with your timing and can plan your vehicle shipment during the off-peak season, you might be able to secure more favorable pricing.

On the flip side, when the demand for auto transport is high, typically during the summer months or peak travel times, prices tend to increase. This is because more people are relocating, going on vacations, or participating in events, leading to a greater need for vehicle transport services.

When trucks are mostly full, and the demand outweighs the available carrier capacity, the cost of shipping a motorcycle goes higher due to the increased competition for limited spots.

Now that we know the top factors that contribute to motorcycle shipping cost, let us discuss how you can reduce some extra bucks.

10 Ways to Reduce Your Motorcycle Shipping Costs

Ways to Reduce Your Motorcycle Shipping Costs

Whether you’re moving to a new city, selling your bike to a buyer in a different state, or simply needing to transport your motorcycle for a special event, these cost-saving strategies will come in handy.

So, let’s discuss how to ship your motorcycle without breaking the bank. 

Shop Around for Quotes

Start by conducting an online search and making a list of potential brokers as well as owner-operators.
shipping providers. Visit their websites to gather information about their services, coverage areas, and pricing structures.

Once you have a list of potential companies, reach out to them and request quotes for your specific shipping needs. Most companies have online forms or dedicated customer service lines to assist you in obtaining accurate quotes. 

Start by conducting an online search and making a list of potential shipping providers. Visit their websites to gather information about their services, coverage areas, and pricing structures. Once you have a list of potential companies, reach out to them and request quotes for your specific shipping needs. Most companies have online forms or dedicated customer service lines to assist you in obtaining accurate quotes. 

Choose Open Carrier Shipping

One of the main advantages of open carrier shipping is that it allows for the transportation of multiple motorcycles simultaneously, sharing the cost among different owners. This shared cost contributes to the overall affordability of the service. Moreover, open carriers are readily available and widely used by motorcycle shipping companies, which can lead to more competitive pricing. 

Consolidate Shipments

Consolidating shipments is a smart strategy to reduce your motorcycle shipping costs. If you know someone else who also needs to ship a motorcycle or if you have additional items to transport, combining your shipments can lead to significant savings. By sharing the shipping costs with others, each individual can enjoy reduced expenses. 

Plan Ahead and Be Flexible

Booking your motorcycle shipment in advance is a wise move that can help you secure better deals. By allowing yourself ample time, you can research multiple shipping companies, compare prices, and take advantage of any ongoing promotions. Moreover, being flexible with your pickup and delivery dates can lead to cost savings. Shipping companies often offer discounted rates during off-peak periods when demand is lower.

Opt for Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping

Instead of door-to-door service, you can choose terminal-to-terminal shipping. This option requires you to drop off and pick up your motorcycle at designated terminals, but it can be cheaper as it eliminates the need for additional stops along the route.

Check for Discounts and Special Offers

Always stay vigilant for discounts and special offers provided by shipping companies. Throughout the year, these companies may run promotions or offer discounts on specific routes. By keeping an eye out for these opportunities, you can take advantage of reduced rates and potentially save a significant amount on your motorcycle shipping cost

Remove Non-essential Accessories

It’s advisable to remove non-essential accessories like saddlebags, windshields, or aftermarket parts. By doing so, you reduce both the dimensions and weight of your bike, which can potentially result in lower shipping costs. Shipping companies often consider the size and weight of the motorcycle when calculating prices, so minimizing these factors can help you save money on your shipment.

Ensure Proper Packaging

To ensure the safe transportation of your motorcycle and avoid additional costs, always package it properly. Adhere to the guidelines provided by the shipping company regarding packaging requirements. This includes securely fastening loose parts, protecting delicate areas, and adequately cushioning the bike. By following these guidelines, you minimize the risk of damage during transportation, preventing the need for repackaging or potential damage claims that could incur extra charges.

Consider Terminal-to-Door Shipping

If terminal-to-terminal shipping doesn’t align with your preferences, an alternative is terminal-to-door shipping. With this option, you bring your motorcycle to a terminal, and it will be transported to your desired destination. This can be a more cost-effective choice compared to door-to-door service since you’re responsible for the drop-off and pick-up at the respective terminals. 

Bundle Insurance with Shipping

When shipping your motorcycle, the shipping company often provides the option to purchase insurance coverage at an extra cost. Rather than obtaining separate insurance, opting for the bundled coverage offered by the shipping company can be a cost-saving solution. By combining insurance with the shipping service, you can save money and have the peace of mind of knowing your motorcycle is protected during transit.

Now that you know how to save extra bucks, you can get your motorcycle ready to hit the road! But which shipping company can you rely on? Let’s find out.

Our Recommendations for Motorcycle Shipping

When it comes to motorcycle shipping, RCG Logistics can be your go-to shipping partner. With a strong reputation in the industry, RCG offers top-notch services at competitive rates. 

RCG Logistics understands the importance of taking utmost care of your motorcycle during the shipping process. With a team of experienced professionals, RCG specializes in handling motorcycles and ensuring safe transportation. Whether you own a sportbike, cruiser, or vintage motorcycle, you can trust that RCG Logistics will treat it with the utmost respect and attention to detail.

RCG Logistics offers comprehensive options to ensure that your motorcycle is protected throughout the shipping journey. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding and finding ways to reduce motorcycle shipping costs can be advantageous for motorcycle owners and enthusiasts. By implementing the tips discussed in this blog, you can effectively lower your expenses while ensuring the safe transportation of your motorcycle.

Always stay informed about discounts, special offers, and reputable shipping companies to secure the best deals. The global motorcycle shipping market is projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2027.

This growth is driven by the increasing popularity of motorcycles in developing countries and the rising demand for used motorcycles in developed countries. With such significant market expansion on the horizon, it becomes crucial to seek out cost-effective shipping solutions for motorcycles.

By finding affordable shipping options, individuals can ensure that their motorcycle transportation needs are met while optimizing their financial resources

With RCG’s expertise, commitment to customer satisfaction, flexible shipping options, and comprehensive insurance coverage, you can rest assured that your motorcycle will be in safe hands. So go ahead and contact RCG Logistics for your motorcycle shipping needs.


How motorcycles are shipped?

Motorcycles are typically shipped using specialized motorcycle shipping companies or auto transport companies that offer motorcycle shipping services. These companies use various methods, such as open or enclosed trailers, crate shipping, or palletized shipping, to transport motorcycles. The specific method may depend on the distance, destination, and customer’s preferences.

How much does it cost to ship a motorcycle in the United States?

The cost to ship a motorcycle in the United States can vary depending on several factors, including the distance, transport method, motorcycle size, weight, and any additional services or insurance chosen.

How much does it cost to ship a dirt bike?

The cost to ship a dirt bike is generally similar to shipping a regular motorcycle. The factors influencing the cost include the distance, transport method, size, weight, and any additional services or insurance selected. 

What is the average cost to ship a motorcycle?

Although the final price can be higher or lower depending on various factors, it’s important to note that actual costs can vary based on the specific details of the shipment.

How do you get a motorcycle shipped to you?

To get a motorcycle shipped to you, follow these general steps:

1. Choose a reputable motorcycle shipping company

2. Contact the company and provide them with your details 

3. Request a quote from the shipping company

4. Book your shipment

5. Prepare your motorcycle for shipping

6. Load your motorcycle onto the transport vehicle 

7. Track the progress of your shipment 

About the Author: Brad Marinov

Brad serves as the Consumer Logistics Operations Director at RCG Logistics, boasting a rich tenure of over a decade in the field. His profound knowledge extends across all facets of car transportation, underscoring his expertise in the domain. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, Brad prioritizes the delivery of exceptional customer service. This commitment is underscored by his adeptness in offering valuable industry insights, coordinating operations, and employing efficient management practices. As a result, he consistently delivers a seamless car transportation experience for each valued client.


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Brad Marinov
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