How to ship a Custom Bike

It is very clear shipping a motorcycle is a much easier task than shipping a car or a 3400 lb truck, it is easier to mount on carrier, strap down, and since usually it is shipped via enclosed carrier, less damages and problems occur during transit. All these points are very valid, however when it comes to custom bikes, different considerations have to be taken in order to ensure its proper transportation.

Shipping a Honda Shadow is not the same as shipping a Honda Shadow with monkey bars and 16 inch saddlebags on each side, the dimensions of the bike change, therefore it needs different security measures. These details are not considered by many people and when it comes time to ship, the hassle starts as they have to take care of last minute accommodations to avoid damages on their vehicles; don’t go through these unnecessary dilemmas, start of your transportation with the right foot, and we’ll tell you how!

How to ship a Custom Bike
How to ship a Custom Bike

It all comes down to the Details.

Details are the most important thing, not only when it comes to transportation but to almost everything in life, that’s why there is so much variety of so many things as each one fits a unique desire or need. It’s not the same to eat a dollar menu hamburger than to ask for the complete meal. Having an original designer purse, although it may cost a fortune is not the same as buying a replica, they may look the same but for the buyer, the detail of being an original or a replica makes the difference. Like these scenarios, there are thousands, that’s why when shipping two bikes, the requirements may not be the same, regardless if their same make and model.

There are some makes and models that require specific transportation needs, not only from carriers but custom requirements that come directly from the manufacturer. Before starting your transportation, check the type of model you have and make sure no extra accommodations are needed, if this is not taken care of prior to pickup, there is a possibility carriers might not even book you as they will not run the risk, or simply cannot take bikes without their required security measures. An example of this are Ducati models, these bikes cannot be transported “as is” as they need special cradles that are required by the manufacturer itself. When customer purchase one of these models and plan to transport them, the dealer has to prepare the bike for transportation on a custom cradle for the bike, only then will a carrier take the bike. This ensures the safety of the bike, and although it may have an extra fee, the vehicle is worth it.

Other bikes such as Harleys also require specific cradles depending on the model; most companies have them available already as part of the transportation, as they are the most common, but it is always important to double check with your booking agent before transporting in case you have to arrange any accommodations before the bike is shipped.

If it can be Removed, Take it off!

“Better safe than sorry”, is a phrase used worldwide and is so true when it comes to preventing headaches. Having the ability to prepare your bike for transportation before it occurs should be considered as a privilege, and should be used wisely, as some customers don’t have this opportunity and sometimes have to deal with surprises when the bike is delivered. Even if the carrier does its best to safeguard the bike, there will be cases where the bike can suffer damages due to little or no preparation. This scenario is very common for custom bikes, customers go all out in remodeling and modifying their bikes to make them unique and stand out within the crowds, there is nothing wrong with that, we promote the uniqueness and design, as a matter of fact we have been amazed with one of kind modifications that have been done to customer’s bikes. What customer’s don’t consider is the transportation, again transporting a bike within a 50-100 mile distance will not be as big of a deal as transporting it cross country, where more things need to be considered.

Custom bikes sometimes are modified to such an extent that they lose the complete original body and are left simply with the engine. Carriers cannot design a cradle for each and every one of the bikes that are transported; therefore these scenarios need to be planned for in advance. Most custom bikes have additions and modifications that can be detached and removed, if this is the case we recommend you do so to avoid any loose items moving around within the carrier, causing damage not only to your motorcycle but to the rest. Some items may not be able to be removed, but if you believe they can be easily damaged or scratched, protect them, cover them with plastic, and ensure their safety. Although carriers offer insurance for the vehicles, dealing with insurance claims is time consuming and a headache no one enjoys, plus the hard time you’ll have when you receive the bike with damages, if you can prevent these dilemmas, we encourage you to do so at all costs.

How to ship a Custom Bike
How to ship a Custom Bike

Shipping custom bikes is not an impossible task, but it does require more attention than regular models, provide as many details as possible to your booking agent, if you have pictures and measurements of the bike, provide them, this will make the preparation easier for you and the carrier. If it has items that can easily become lose along the way make sure you attach them properly or remove them completely to avoid any damages. Lastly check with the manufacturer, as some bikes like a Ducati, as mentioned before, need special cradles to be transported. Don’t be surprised at last minute, a hassle free service is possible; transportation dilemmas are 80% of time caused by the owner’s negligence, don’t let that percentage keep growing, plan ahead!


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How to ship a Custom Bike – By Heritage Motorcycle Shipping