How to pack a motorcycle for a courier?

Contrary to what you might expect, it is not as difficult as it may seem. Especially when you are shipping a new motorcycle as there are no liquids in it which may leak out. However, even in the case of a used one, and additionally also large and heavy motorcycles, you will easily find a company to ship it. The most crucial thing is to pack the vehicle properly. We will give you some tips on how to prepare a motorcycle for shipment by courier so it reaches its destination without the slightest damage.

You should start not with packaging, but with finding the right courier. Ideally, one which specialises in motorcycle shipments.

Choose an experienced courier

Couriers have their own standards and priorities. If you cannot find on their website that they offer the possibility of transporting a motorcycle, it’s a waste of time calling them. You’d be better off using the service of a courier, who will willingly ship your vehicle, has experience and can guarantee that your shipment will reach its destination safely.

You may also benefit from such an experienced company if you need  to consult them on packaging, or simply to use the most convenient option, i.e. a delivery service with packaging. You just submit your address and start looking forward to greeting the courier who will also carry out the packaging.

Or – as often in smaller carriers – your vehicle will be placed straight into a delivery truck and fastened with belts in the cargo space which means no tedious packing.

Most courier companies provide a standard parcel shipment of a scooter or a small motorcycle. For example, DHL offers a fast and relatively cheap shipment service of a packed vehicle whose size does not exceed 2 m in length, 1.5 m in width and 0.8 m in height and which weighs not more than 400 kg. This means you may even send two small scooters on one pallet significantly reducing the unit delivery cost.

Of course, you can also ship larger motorcycles, however – as in the case of all other goods – if your package exceeds the standard parcel size or weight, it will be subject to custom pricing, which may significantly differ from that of a standard package.

A pallet and tension straps are the basics

The stability of the motorcycle is the most crucial thing during its shipment. In the case of a courier parcel, you must use a pallet for this purpose – otherwise the courier will not accept the parcel.

The pallet should be slightly longer than the motorcycle, so that you can lock the front wheel, for example with a wooden block, or use a special rack with a handle designed for transporting motorcycles (it costs about PLN 200). You can also support the rear wheel, although it is not necessary.

To keep the motorcycle in an upright position, you shouldn’t use a stand or other supports – the best means to stabilise a vehicle are tension straps. They do not have to be very wide but it’s crucial to attach them in the right places. It should be the handlebars or forks, depending on the model of the motorcycle or scooter. You should use at least two straps and their latches should be attached to the pallet on both sides of the handlebars at some distance from the front wheel. The straps shouldn’t be too close to the wheel, because it will not provide proper stabilisation for the vehicle. For additional protection you may use a strap running through the saddle and/or the trunk.

Unlike bicycles, motorcycles and scooters cannot be dismantled much to reduce their dimensions. The only thing you need to do is to unscrew the protruding and fragile elements, such as mirrors, windscreens, fairings or widely spaced indicators. However, before you begin to dismantle anything, you should consider whether packaging of the fragile elements in place is not easier. On delivery, the customer would rather see a ready-to-use vehicle than a “self-assembly model”.

Foam, bubbles, and finally stretch

Having stabilised the motorcycle, you should proceed to securing the parts which are protruding or particularly prone to damage (mainly paint scratches).

As with other products, the ideal cover material will be bubble wrap. However, you can also use corrugated board. In both cases you should attach the covers with wide packing tape. To protect fragile parts you may wrap them with foam sheets or even use expanding foam spray and special bags to create perfectly matching covers.

As a final step, you should wrap the entire pallet and load using stretch film. It provides not only cheap and effective protection against weather conditions, but also an additional, very reliable securing of the motorcycle to the palette.

Scooters and motorcycles are in most cases of considerable value that had better be insured. Especially, because insurance costs are disproportionally lower than the price of a popular “market” scooter, not to mention that of a branded motorcycle.