Perhaps you’ve just got a great deal by winning a motorbike off eBay or through Autotrader, the only downside being that it is located on the other side of the country. Or perhaps the motorbike is a non-runner and you need to get it from A-B ready for repairs or scrap? Whatever your reasons, getting your motorcycle delivered by a motorbike transporter is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are still a number of considerations you should take in account to help minimize the risk to your pride and joy.
There are a few different service options available when looking to move a motorcycle.
a) Motorcycle transported inside commercial vehicles on specially built brackets
b) Motorcycle transported on open trailer
c) Motorcycle transported in enclosed trailer
Quite often, the cheapest option will be for your motorcycle to be transported as a part-load with other goods in a commercial vehicle (van or HGV). However, be sure that the transport provider has experience with moving motorcycles and that they are using industry standard brackets/securing mechanisms to help prevent damage in transit.
Custom-built motorcycle trailers do tend to result in a slightly higher cost, however this will help ensure that your motorcycle is clear of other goods deliveries. Open trailers are more susceptible to damage and theft as the bike is clearly visible (in particular when parked). Enclosed trailers on the other hand offer a more secure solution and do not carry the risk of stone chips or damage from debris on the road.
Getting Quotes / Prices
Just like any service, you wouldn’t just accept the first price you receive. It pays to shop around, so aim to get at least 5 quotes.
Without a doubt the most important thing when choosing a motorcycle transporter is to check their insurance documentation. If they are not adequately insured, you run the risk of not only not being able to file a claim in the event of damage but even losing your motorcycle altogether if their transporter is impounded by the police.
Policies do vary from company to company, but the key areas you will want to check are the value of the level of cover and cover for both theft and damage.
Your own motorcycle insurance policy may provide some cover for “vehicles in transit”, so it is worth checking this for extra peace of mind.
Establishing the trustworthiness of motorcycle transport companies
Right, you’re happy with the insurance document and you like the price, but how can you be sure that they are reliable & have the necessary experience to take care of your motorbike? First off, you should do some background checks on the company. A simple search of the company name on Google should bring up some impartial reviews. The company themselves should also be able to offer you testimonials and references. It is up to them to prove to you that they are trustworthy. If they find it hard to do that, then they probably aren’t worth the risk.
General practice is that the motorbike delivery company will take a deposit (definitely no more than 25%) upon booking their services, with the rest payable on delivery. Usually cash or check is accepted but it is advised to use credit card where possible as you will be able to dispute these charges later should a problem occur.
Go through contract
Verbal promises mean nothing, insist upon a written contract for the services to be carried out. If you are uncertain about any clauses, ask the firm and get them to re-draft it if necessary. There should be a clause whereby you are compensated if they fail to deliver within the specified timeframe.
Preparing the motorcycle for transport
Now that you have agreed dates and signed on the dotted line, you will need to ensure that you spend adequate time preparing your motorcycle for transit. 99% of problems on delivery are down to poor preparation. So, don’t leave this to the last minute. The transport firm will no doubt offer you tips as well, but be sure to do the following:
1) Wash the motorcycle thoroughly
2) Make a written note of any pre-existing damage (chips, dents etc)
3) Take photos of the bike from several angles and close-ups of any pre-existing damage
4) Date the photos and written record
5) If your motorbike is being moved as freight along with other goods, be sure that you remove the battery and drain all fluids and fuel.
Remove any accessories and loose items from your bike, the transporter is not responsible for these items if they go missing or are damaged.
If the motorcycle is being trailered, although not always necessary, it is helpful if the bike is in working order in the case that it needs to be driven a short distance between transporters.
So, you should:
1) Inflate tyres
2) Charge battery
3) Fill petrol tank to ¼ – ½ full
4) Check and fix any fluid leaks
What to expect from the motorcycle transport company on pickup / delivery
Before you release your motorbike to the transporter, be sure to record the current mileage, although you bike may be ridden a very short distance to get on/off trailers there should be no major increases in mileage between pickup and delivery.
Make sure that you have the driver’s contact details and that they have yours.
Upon delivery, you need to inspect your motorbike thoroughly. Do not rush this step or sign anything until this is complete. Check for any new damage or increase in mileage. Only once you are happy should you sign any documents, there is generally no come-back once the papers are signed.
In the unlikely event that new damage has been caused in transit, you should file a claim with the transport company and follow their usual procedures. You should also file a claim with your own insurance company within 24 hours.