How to Move a Motorcycle Across Country: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of moving your beloved motorcycle across the country. Whether it’s for a new job, a cross-country road trip, or simply relocating, transporting your bike safely and securely can be quite an undertaking. But don’t fret – we’ve got you covered! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to move your motorcycle across the country with minimal hassle and maximum peace of mind. Grab your helmet (or maybe just a cup of coffee) and let’s dive in!

Preparing Your Motorcycle for the Journey

Before embarking on any long-distance move, it’s essential that you prepare your motorcycle properly. This will help ensure its safety during transport and reduce the likelihood of any issues along the way.

1. Perform a Thorough Inspection

Begin by giving your bike a thorough inspection – after all, knowing its current condition will help you assess whether it arrives at its destination unscathed.

  • Check for any pre-existing damage such as scratches or dents.
  • Ensure that all lights are functioning correctly.
  • Examine tires for wear or damage.
  • Test brakes and clutch functionality.
  • Make sure there are no fluid leaks from the engine or other components.

Document any pre-existing issues with photos for reference purposes in case of insurance claims upon arrival.

2. Clean Your Bike

Next up is giving your motorcycle a good scrub down. Not only will this make it look nice before its journey but also helps reveal any hidden damage that might have gone unnoticed during the initial inspection.

3. Secure Loose Parts

Make sure all loose parts are securely fastened or removed entirely:

  • Saddlebags should be empty and secured.
  • Mirrors may need to be folded in or removed depending on their design.
  • Aftermarket accessories like GPS units or phone mounts should be detached.

4. Check Fluid Levels and Tire Pressure

Ensure that all fluid levels (oil, coolant, brake fluid) are topped off and your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. This will help prevent any potential complications during transport.

5. Disconnect the Battery

If your motorcycle is being transported via a shipping company, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery to prevent any accidental activation of electrical components during transit.

Choosing Your Transportation Method

Now that your motorcycle is prepped and ready for its journey, it’s time to decide how you’re going to get it across the country. There are several methods available, each with its own set of pros and cons:

Option 1: Ride It Yourself

The most obvious method for getting your bike from point A to point B is simply riding it there yourself! If you have the time and resources available for a cross-country road trip, this can be an enjoyable way to explore new places while simultaneously relocating your motorcycle.


  • An unforgettable experience that allows you to see more of the country.
  • No need for additional transportation costs or services.


  • Time-consuming – not ideal if you have a tight schedule.
  • Adds significant wear and tear on your bike.
  • Weather conditions could make riding long distances uncomfortable or even dangerous in some cases.

Option 2: Hire a Professional Shipping Company

One of the most popular options for moving a motorcycle long-distance is hiring a professional shipping company. These companies specialize in safely transporting motorcycles across the country using specialized equipment like enclosed trailers or pallets.


  • Ensures safe transportation with minimal risk of damage.
  • Allows you to focus on other aspects of relocation without worrying about your bike’s safety.
  • Can often provide insurance coverage in case anything does go wrong during transport.


  • Can be expensive depending on distance and shipping options.
  • May require additional planning and communication with the shipping company.

Option 3: Rent a Trailer or Truck

If you prefer to handle your motorcycle’s transportation personally, renting a trailer or truck is another option. This method allows you to securely transport your bike in an enclosed space while still maintaining control over its journey.


  • More control over the transportation process.
  • Can be more cost-effective than hiring a professional shipping company, depending on rental prices and distance.


  • Requires access to a suitable tow vehicle for trailers.
  • Time-consuming – must handle loading, unloading, and driving yourself.

Securing Your Motorcycle for Transport

No matter which transportation method you choose, properly securing your motorcycle during transit is crucial. Here are some essential tips for keeping your bike safe:

Use High-Quality Tie-down Straps

Invest in good quality tie-down straps specifically designed for motorcycles. These will help ensure that your bike remains secure throughout the journey.

Utilize Soft Loops or Handlebar Harnesses

Soft loops or handlebar harnesses can prevent damage caused by straps rubbing against sensitive parts of your motorcycle. They’re especially useful when tying down sport bikes with clip-on handlebars or bikes with delicate fairings.

Load Your Bike onto the Trailer/Truck Correctly

Follow these steps when loading your motorcycle onto a trailer or truck:

  1. Roll the bike up onto the ramp slowly and carefully.
  2. Position it perpendicular to the direction of travel (with front wheel facing forward).
  3. Ensure that both tires are touching the floor of the trailer/truck bed evenly.
  4. Apply both front and rear brakes before strapping it down.

Strap It Down Securely

When strapping down your motorcycle, aim for at least four points of contact:

  1. Two straps pulling forward from each side of the handlebars/front forks (using soft loops or handlebar harnesses).
  2. Two straps pulling rearward from each side of the frame or rear wheel.
  3. Ensure that all straps are tightened evenly to prevent shifting during transport.

Final Thoughts

Moving a motorcycle across the country can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation, the right transportation method, and secure strapping techniques, you’ll ensure your bike arrives at its destination safe and sound. Just remember to take your time when preparing your motorcycle for its journey and always double-check everything before hitting the road!