Motorcycle Shipping 101
Whether you recently purchased a new or used dirt bike, or you need to ship a motorcycle to a race ahead of yourself, the motorcycle shipping options we've gathered for you below go beyond what UShip offers and are sure to please with services and freight rates from shipping companies you're familiar with from FedEx Freight to UPS Freight with R & L Carriers as a lesser expensive shipping option.
If you've never shipped a motorcycle anywhere in the past, and don't know what preparations are necessary to ensure your, or your buyers motorcycle safely arrives at it's destination unscathed, we'll go over preliminary steps of how to ship a bike and points to address before placing the motorcycle in a crate or on a pallett or skid for shipping.
How to Ship A Motorcycle
Although this article is primarly tailored towards those shipping dirt bikes and off-road motorcycles, the following steps can be implemented to assure safe transport of any motorcycle whether shipping a mini bike or a full size motorcycle.
Drain the Fuel
Remember, Gasoline is Extremely Flasmmable So Use Extreme Caution When Working Around Fuel
Draining the fuel from a motorcycle's fuel tank and carbeuretor(s) (if applicable) is necessary for safe transport of the motorcycle being shipped, as well as the remaining cargo and the transporter's equipment, and for this reason we'll show you how to get every last drop of gas out of the motorcycle.
Although some motorcycle's have vacuum operated fuel petcocks whereas even after disconnecting the fuel line with the petcock in the "On" position you will find little to no fuel will exit the fuel line, on these type of fuel delivery systems, it is necessary to employ a handheld vacuum pump to apply a vacuum to the fuel petcock allowing the fuel to drain from the fuel tank, however, vacuum fuel petcocks are not common on most dirt bikes and operation of the petcock on these is beyond the scope of this article.
Begin by ensuring the fuel petcock is in the "Off" position, then relieve any clamps which may be securing the fuel line then while firmly grasping the fuel line, begin by twisting the rubber hose while pulling outward as doing so will enable removal of the fuel line from the carbeuretor's fuel inlet or "Tee" junction if the motorcycle has multiple carb's while directing the fuel line into a suitable container to catch the gas as it drains from the fuel tank.
Once the flow has lessened, it's advisable to lean the motorcycle towards the direction of the fuel petcock so as doing so will enable most or all the fuel in the tank to exit.
Fuel Injected Bikes
Removing the fuel from a fuel injected motorcycle reguires a little bit more ingenuity than with a carbeureted bike, as the fuel line is generally inaccessible without disassembly of the motorcycle and furthermore, the fuel lines on a FI motorcycle are secured via purpose built locking mechanisms which require special techniques to disassemble so as to prevent damage to fragile fuel connections.
Generally, the best method for removing the fuel from a fuel injected motorcycle is to either ride it out, however, if riding the gas out of it isn't feasible, siphoning of the gas, or removal of the gas tank to facilitate emptying are the next best alternatives.
Siphoning: When siphoning gas from any motorcycle, it is advised that you do not siphon the gas by mouth and instead, use a pump that is designed and suitable for use with gasoline or other combustible materials, and with a hose attached pump / siphon / transfer the gas from the motorcyle's fuel tank into a suitable container.
Fuel Tank Removal: Removal of the fuel tank is not difficult on most dirt bikes and off-road motorcycles and although is not as sano as pumping the gas out, removing the fuel tank is an effective way of removing gas from the gas tank in preparation of shipping a motorcycle.
A majority of off-road motorcycle fuel tanks are fairly straight forward and most fuel tanks are easily removable by removing the seat, followed by removal of any attachment bolts, elastics or retaining cable, fuel line and vacuum line(s) and electrical connectors (If equipped) which will enable the gas tank's removal.
NOTE: If working on a fuel injected motorcycle, use extreme care when working with the high pressure fuel line, using extreme care to not kink the fuel line, nor to damage the locking mechanism and equally important is to ensure the connection is secure and locked upon reassembly
Once the motorcycle is prepared for transport, the following steps will show you how to secure it to prevent shifting or movement during transport which could lead to damage to the motorcycle and an unhappy customer at the other end.
How to Ship A Motorcycle On A Pallet
Shipping a motorcycle on a pallet or skid is easier than crating a motorcycle
How to Ship A Motorcycle In A Crate
Wondering If We Cover More of Your Dirt Bike Interests?
Find Out Right Now.