How to Ship Your Bike


This section contains:

Enter YOUR OWN PREVIOUS shipment, to help other travellers!

Actual Shipments DONE by Travellers

See the Shipping pages for information on air and sea shipments by actual travellers to or from everywhere!

For each shipment, the details include Shipping wooDate, Cost, Shipper Contact details and a Description of the experience, in many cases very detailed and extremely useful information about the requirements for crating or the paperwork involved at the destination location.

This information has been gleaned from various sources, and not all details are available for every route. If you are aware of any more up-to-date information, or you know of any shipping details for locations which aren't listed in the database, please advise us. Thanks to all who have entered shipment details, and please keep it coming!

Air or Sea?

After shipping our own bike many times, and watching and hearing about hundreds more shipments, we have come to the conclusion that overall, the best method to send your bike is via air.

Sea shipping sounds cheaper, but the port fees are much higher, often off-setting any savings, or worse, as we heard recently, costing a traveller more than the entire original shipping fees! And by the time you factor in being without the bike for weeks or even months, it's usually not worth any savings you may get in the end. An important thing to watch for is that sea shipments are extraordinarily unreliable for time. The shipper will often quote for instance 6-8 weeks to ship from Vancouver to Europe by sea. Experience has shown that this is at best an optimistic guess, at worst a flat lie. Yes it can be done in six weeks, but not if the boat is rerouted to Nigeria! Twelve weeks is not unheard of, and then there's the dock strikes...

We know of one traveller who arranged shipping for her bike from England to Ecuador 12 weeks in advance of her planned vacation in South America. On arrival in Ecuador, she went to the shipping company's office looking for her bike. They knew nothing about it. It was still in the UK, awaiting a boat. She didn't enjoy the bus for the next two months. At least with an airplane they can always put it on another flight and it will only be a matter of days before it arrives.

Unfortunately US airlines are paranoid about shipping bikes - they class them as "dangerous goods" - and often refuse to carry them at all. All you can do is call all the airlines freight departments and find out if they will do it. Not the head office etc. - their automatic reaction is NO. If you find one make sure you talk to the guys in the freight department that actually handle it - what they will tell you is often very different from the official story from head office and passenger people. Do a search using the search bar above on "dangerous goods" to find much more about solutions and ways to deal with the problem. MOST shipments aren't done out of the USA anymore, most travellers use Canada instead due to this problem. Air Canada is very familiar with shipping bikes, and it can generally be done by dealing direct with the FREIGHT guys at the airport - not the check-in desk! :) Air Canada also regularly does super deals on shipping, in the range of half or less the usual, during the northern summer. See posts on the HUBB Trip Transport Forum documenting the details.

Lufthansa and other European airlines, as well as South American and Asian airlines will generally take a bike. You may have to work through an agent, but it is usually not too expensive for their services, and they will take care of all the paperwork for you.

For a good description of the crating process, see Chris and Erin Ratay's website. Chris also made this comment on the Air vs Sea question on the HUBB:

"Receiving a bike at the airport in Buenos Aires is much cheaper than at the seaport. ($60 vs $400). I've heard that Uruguay is a bit more expensive.

A friend shipped his bike to Valpariso (near Santiago), Chile, and paid US$7 -- yes, only SEVEN Dollars to reclaim his bike. I was with him, and the whole process was done in one day. The customs offices are walking distance from where the containers get unpacked."

Also, there are numerous more posts on the HUBB on this topic, in the Trip Transport forum.

General Instructions for Shipping

  • You may get told you can't ship the battery with the bike - that is not generally true - you MUST however completely disconnect the battery and tape the terminals securely. Also usually you must drain MOST of the fuel out of the tank, a litre or pint or so left is usually fine, just enough to get you to a fuel station on arrival.

Grant preparing to crate the bike in Cape Town, South Africa

  • We usually leave the front wheel on when shipping as we're lazy - it can be an advantage to be able to just wheel the bike out of the crate and drive away, particularly in places like Nairobi. All I usually do is take off the mirrors and windshield, but it does cost a little more. Sometimes the local warehouse where you pick up the bike will not allow you to dismantle the crate there, insisting you take the crate away on a truck. We've always been able to get around this, but it has taken some persuading in the USA. (and waiting for everyone to go on coffee break)
  • Crates can often be obtained from a dealer. Wood crates are the easiest to deal with but many crates are now metal with a cardboard wrapper. They will work, but are harder to custom size. They are lighter, which can be good, but usually the problem with a bike is not the weight but the volume.
  • Shipping costs are calculated on a weight per volume basis. If the weight is over x / cubic foot then you pay the weight, if under you pay based on volume. Bikes are bulky, and you have to work hard to get the volume down in order to pay the weight price. You will have to really squeeze hard to get down to the weight price.

"Size counts" formula in common use:

Length x Width x Height in cm. divided by 6 = weight in KG.

e.g. 225 x 100 x 115 = 2587.5 cm3 divided by 6 = 431kg

Therefore regardless of the REAL weight of the bike and crate, you will be charged AS IF it weighed 431 KG.

Strapped down on the base of the crate
  • DON'T fully compress the forks. The bike should be tied TIGHT down on its suspension, about half-way or a little more down. Be SURE the straps can't loosen or come unhooked if the bike moves, because it will!
  • It should NOT be resting on centre-stand or side-stand, only on its wheels, and vertical. This will not harm the springs (unless you leave it for a couple of years). If it's on the stand, it will pound up and down in transport, and cause a lot of damage to the stand, the crate, etc., as well as loosen the straps!
  • Use good straps (I like 6) and don't skimp on the crate. You can usually get them for nothing from bike dealers, since they usually throw them away anyway, or even have to pay to get them hauled away. Good straps are often available for free from BMW dealers - they are what BMW uses to ship their bikes, and dealers end up with plenty. They are popular though!
  • IF you really want to squeeze the volume down, take the front wheel off, rest the bike on the forks (with axle installed and clamps tightened but NOT the end nut), and tie securely. I like to have the axle secured to the base of the crate.
  • Book a container and put several bikes in it, and the cost per bike will usually drop significantly.

Strapping boxes on top, getting as much as possible in and as small as possible.

To reduce your shipping costs - from Istvan Szlany:

  • Dismount front tire with fender, handle bar with mirrors, and side+tail bags/boxes to reduce height, length and width and you'll pay the minimum possible by volume.
  • if you can, crate the bike, because then they can put other things on the top of the motorcycle crate. Ask around for scrap wood (*) see note below), nails and hammer - I'm sure they have. In this case you will pay most likely for the weight of the motorcycle.

Almost done.

For a good description of the crating process, see Chris and Erin Ratay's website.

Also, there are numerous posts on the HUBB on this topic, in the Trip Transport forum.

Make that address BIG! And on top, and the other side, and the end too!

Other issues to think about

  • Import regulations
  • Carnet de passage or temporary import permit (esp. OZ)
  • Insurance (transport, bike, health insurance etc.)
  • Quarantine: Be aware of very strict regulations for OZ and NZ.
  • CLEAN - the bike must be SUPER CLEAN or toothbrush clean for some countries, especially Australia.
  • * WOOD - Many countries require that all crates made out of wood be heat treated to reduce the risk of pest infestation. These crates require an approved stamp known as the "bug stamp" or ISPM 15 mark, certifying the crate meets international shipping standards. Do your wood crates pass the test? If they don't, foreign authorities have the right to fumigate or destroy your shipment without notification. NOTE the word "shipment" - that INCLUDES your motorcycle! They can also just send the shipment back, at your expense. More info on ISPM-15 here, and here on Wikipedia.



About to pick up my BMW GSA after shipping from Los Angeles to Auckland with Kiwi Shipping. Drop off to pick up has been 5 weeks. Cost about USD 1000. Roll on roll off so no packing and had the panniers full of riding gears etc. Excellent commications and service. Highly recommended

DLyttle, please be sure to add this shipment to the Shipping database for everyone to be able to find the details!

Hello everybody!

I am planning this summer a motorcycle trip from Greece to Magadan/Russia. We are three guys with three motorcycles. Do you know a way to ship back our motorcycles to Greece or even somewhere in the rest of Europe?

We dont mind if it is by air, ground or sea.

Thanks in advance.

Hi, we are looking to ship two BMW F800s from EITHER western Canada or Western USA to Cape Town, South Af. We can send from either country so whichever is cheaper but mainly I'm curious if anyone has ever shipped over to Europe first, say with Air Canada as it seems cheaper, then flew from EU to South Af. Is there a savings? Which company(ies) did you use and how long did it takes? Cheers!

Generally it will be cheaper from Canada than USA, as USA regs on "hazardous materials" - which bikes are - are much more onerous and therefore expensive. Air Canada has done a special deal to Europe the last few years, in the summer, so that may help.

Shipping via Europe is likely to be more expensive than direct as it's a lot farther, and an extra port's paperwork to deal with.

There's a number of shipments from North America to Africa direct and NA to Europe and Europe to Africa in the shipping database, have a look and see what you think.

Please report in the database what your result is!

Hello everybody.

I'm trying to send 2bikes to Chili, Argentina or Uruguay...
APA (company that transport) says to me that we can't import used bikes in south america....
So I'm trying to find a solution....Any idea's??
I'm planning to travael with my cousin 4 months in SA! Hope we will gett or bikes there!!!

thanks for helping us!


Math, the problem (maybe) is the word "import" - you are NOT "IMPORTING", you are "TEMPORARILY IMPORTING" the bikes. There should be NO issue, it's done all the time. The shipping company don't have any idea what they're talking about. See the Shipments by Travellers to see if you can find another shipping company.
Good luck, and please let us know what happens!

Does anybody know a shipper who would ship my Africa Twin from Dubai via anywhere to Buenos Aires as the prices i have hot locally are in excess of 6,000 Euros !!

Is that by air or sea? Either way it's ridiculous!

Go down to the airport CARGO area, and talk to the guys in the office there and see what they say. Talking to head office will get you ridiculous prices, these guys are the ones that matter.

I´ll be in Sao Paulo around in November 2016 need help to arrange flying my bike from there to Cape Town.
Paul Saunders

Paul, see the Links to Shippers above to contact shipping companies.

hope that helps!

Hello, I would like to ship my bike (suzuki intruder 800) from United Kingdom to Mexico, does anyone know of a company who can do it, if yes, which one and how much can cost?


Mauro, see the Links to Shippers above to contact shipping companies.

hope that helps!

We are shipping our Iveco daily van to Montevideo at the end of September or early October, but it is too tall to fit in a normal container. We have been give a few suggestion by shipping companies, including RoRo, sharing a high cube etc. Any other advice gratefully accepted. Anyone interested in sharing a high cube container?

I want to know how to legally get my 2012 KLR into Chile permanently. I have a shipping company who says that its not a problem but Aduana says no used motorcyles into the country.Any other options? Thanks in advance.

Hi Mattsi

I'm planning to sell my 2010 KLR650 in Chile in January 2017.

I bought it in Vancouver with 5000kms in May this year (it was a garage queen that it's 72 year old owner evidently rarely used).

I then rode up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and am currently in Mexico City on my way down to Ushuaia, Argentina. It's currently at 25,000kms and this weekend I'm doing a major service including new rings and potentially a 685cc rebore as it's been a bit oil thirsty. I'm pulling it apart with a mechanic tomorrow to see what needs to be done.

The recently installed Eagle Mike Doohickey is working like a charm! (no matter how new your KLR is, it's essential to do the doo! The factory spring will fail at some point...)

I understand that shipping and importation costs are quite high. So maybe you could sell your 2012 at home and get the price you want and then (if the dates work for you) buy mine.

As much as I want to, I'm unlikely to ship it back to Australia as shipping and importation costs are exorbitant and will outweigh the value of the bike. If it was a new 1200GS it would be a different story. (Having said that I love this bike like a child and would love it to sit in the garage next to my 650GS at who knows my sentimentality may push me to drop the cash on the freight and importation. I genuinely believe this bike will continue to run forever with continual maintenance)

If the date that I plan to sell happens to work for you and you're interested in buying a loved bike that's 100% reliable let me know.

Regardless...........happy riding in Chile and beyond!!! Highly recommend the Pan American adventure if you're considering it.

All the best.

That's a tough one - generally our concern is more "how to get in and out with your bike" not import permanently.

I'd believe Aduana long before I'd believe the shipping company that wants the work - and will do really well if it has to be shipped back out too.

You should contact the embassy / consul etc and see what you can find out direct from them. Good luck!

Is there any quotation for shipping a Harley Davidson engine from Toronto, Canada to India, Delhi? Time is not a constraint !!!

Around the first of august my bike arrives in Ulaan Bataar. Maybe some one can use the crate from there?

When we send the bike from Sydney to New Zealand we used http:// They were able to clean the bike and crate it within 24 hours. and we had no issues with NZ quarantine. I think they also send cars and motorhomes from Australia. Back to AUS again in September and then to SaoPaulo and then to South Africa. Can any one help with a freight forwarder in Sao Paulo to ship my bike to South Africa?

We are shipping our Toyota Landcruiser to Europe around august. Anyone shipping their bikes or car to Europe then? Perhaps we can share a container. Shipment from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. We are flexible.

Shipment of the car to Australia was taken care of by Bikes Abroad ( Although the company is specialized in shipment of bikes, everything went perfect. The services provided by Ivan was great. Can really recommend him and will probably use his services again on the way back.

Planning a trip up thro Patagonia Nov - Dec 2016 - so looking to ship 2 bikes from UK into Ushuiai then back from Buenos Aires
Anyone have any recommendations on a shipper who could do that

Take your bikes to BA, ride to Ushuaia, Calafate, a bit of Chilean Patagonia, back to BA through Mendoza, Cordoba.
We shipped two Honda C90s with these companies.
Total costs (ea):
£955 airfreight
$170 Airway bill
$250 agent fee (to Dakar Motos)
$300 one day storage at BA airport
$70 insurance for 6 months
weight: 160kg

Check Motofreight and James Cargo, both UK companies that are well regarded.

Hi all,
we are riding our F800GS and G650GS bikes currently from Perth to Sydney over the next 2 months, and then looking to ship our bikes back home to Rotterdam by vessel, somewhere around the 2nd week of April 2016.

We are looking for 1 or 2 other bikers that are planning to do the same shipment so we can share a 20ft container. In this way we would all save costs, the bikes will be more protected as there will not be other stuff in the container that might damage them, and the bikes would not need to be crated what saves time and money as well.

Just let us know if you are interested!

Bjorn & Willie

I am currently in Kyrgyzstan, with my European registered lada niva.
I am planning to ship it by truck to Europe, Germany, Belgium or Holland.
I have absolutely no experience in shipment.
Has anyone done that before?
Is there a company that can be recommended?
What documents should I produce?
How should I prepare the car for the shipment?
What are the do and don't I should be aware of for car shipment?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,


Kygyzstan to Europe would be very unusual, but it's probably possible! We have nothing at all listed in the area.

Company - sorry , we have nothing on local companies in Kyrgyzstan. Do a search in the Shipping database of shipments that have been done before by travellers and it will give you some ideas, and companies that may be international that you can try for a local office. You will have to expand the search area - Asia to Europe will give you lots.

Also see for some tour companies in the area that may be of some help for a small fee.

Preparation: The local shippers should be able to help with the details, but mostly think of security, and fire risk. Not too much fuel for instance, and once it's loaded in a container, disconnect the battery. (Back it in to make it easy)

Hopefully that and a good read through the shipments should help give some ideas. For more questions best to ask in the 4wd forums as there will be more expertise there.

hope that helps!

A bit of an update on Amber Worldwide Peru (and Edwin Pinedo), in spite of a posting here in the Hubb, I decided to go with this company to ship my bike from Lima, Peru back to the US at the end of my journey through the Americas. And I am glad to report no issues whatsoever. Just the opposite. They were rather efficient (I got my bike out of there in 10 days or so, this from given them the bike to the ship leaving port), and always super efficient.

And for completeness, once the bike got to Miami, I contracted Gaston Etchart from SAmericaXplorer (a "regular" on this forum) to help me out with paperwork, customs, et cetera. And I am also glad to report that he was of great help indeed. Cheers

Hiya Guys,


After months of trying to ship my vehicle out of Nigeria have finally found a good shipping agent who will assist in shipping into and out of Nigeria.  If anyone requires details please let me know and I will give you any information that I have, Company name and contact details, plus anything else I can give you in way of assistance with the benefit of hindsight lol.

My contact will also assist with letters of recomendation etc etc where he is able.

Happy travels.


I have searched the internet for a shipping company which can haul my vehicle to LA. Finally got the company We Will Transport It. I have chosen this company based on their reviews.

Thanks for the post. I currently have my bike in Abuja Nigeria and would like to ship it to the east coast or even South Africa. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Nototure, UKBlue is unlikely to see your post here, so click his name and write him directly.

That's good news! When the shipment is complete please enter it in the Shipping Database to make it easy for everyone to find.

Thanks, Grant

Basic question...

I have a fair amout of experience riding around the world but have never actually shipped my bike...
Can I just ask, do you guys find, quote and arrange the shipping from home or do you wait until you are at the departure site to start looking for companies and ways to do it?
If that's the case, how do you estimate the costs for doing it?


Safe ride boys!

Marcio, you'll get more responses to your question on the HUBB in the Trip Transport forum, but I'll answer as best I can here :)
IF you're only doing a short trip, sure plan it at home, but when you're on the road for years, you just do it as you go. Prices will change, companies and people come and go, and no one will hold a quote for more than 30 days anyway.

For planning, assume roughly US$2000 per ocean crossing and you'll be happy when it's less! :) And there's always incidental costs, especially if shipping by sea. You might have to build a crate for air and sea - the correct certified wood can be several hundred dollars!

Just be flexible, listen to what others have done, read the info here and check out the "Previous shipments" shipping database for info.

Have a great trip!

Just for reference. We're shipping an FLSTS Harley Brisbane-LA. It's on a steel pallet , steel cardboard support and heavy cardboard. Not dismantled at all (except windscreen), to a total of 3.8 cubic meter. Shipping with a company called Bikes Abroad out of Brisbane Australia to LA. This is a breakup of the quote.

Origin Charges AU$337,

Freight Charges (Ship): AU$570 (that's for the shipping)

Destination charges in the US: AU$1,630 (FOR: Port service charges, Notary, fee, shipping bond, customs clearance DOR processing fee, Importer Security Filing, Transfer fee, Destination Handling Chrages, and about ten more such fees and charges).

For a grand total of AU$2,537. (I think some $130 or so insurance needs to be added too). So doing a deal for a little cheaper Freight charge, wouldn't change much (all none freight charges are more!). Many of the destination and origin charges would still apply if I ship by air, I expect.

Without taking the wheels off, using a perfectly tailored made crate I could get it down to 1.8 cube. It Weighs 330kg empty, then tools and camping gear. Does anyone suggest that air freight could be done for less than say $6,000, included all charges and fees?



Hi Royal
How did you go assessing air vs ship to LA. I want to send my bike later this year and am keen to hear how you went with this? Who did you bring the bike back with?

Hi Ross. When it came to shipping from Brisbane to US-West coast. We just couldn't find an airfreight for less than 8-10,000. We shipped from Brisbane - LA direct with "Bikes Abroad".
Talk to Ivan.
They ship weekly. It had to be crated to go with general cargo (Not many bikes going to US fr Brisbane). Going there was about AU$2,400 including all fees, shipping docs, etc. plus full comprehensive door to door insurance was approx 475AUD ( $237.50 each way) They arrange import and export documents and excemtion (emission laws). They advised that there had been a strike at the docs and suggested I go a week early. I went three weeks early cause I didn't want to take any chances. They didn't charge any storage fees for extra times.
I crated it myself using donated material from Morgan and Wacker (Harley Dealer). The FLSTS springer is a big and heavy bike about 2.55 meter long.
Lowering the crate dimension about 3 inches, saved me a bit. I included camping and some riding gear and the chassi part of my MC trailer. Once in L.A. the shipping agent accepted my discarded crate as I unpacked. The detached fibreglass pod of the trailer I took at no extra cost, just as oversized luggage on the plane! (it weighs less than 10 kg).
Coming back (with the same Co) from LA after 4 months and 40,000 kilometres, cost me about $1,800 from memory. The return trip was uncrated, as it was "containered" with other bikes. I just wrapped it a bit in bubble plastics. They were good to deal with. Hazzle free. If I were to ship again, I'd go with them. Actually we plan to, next year, to Europe, at the same sort of cost $2,4500 crated. Some pack up photos at

I am presently in Ecuador, Banos actually, and need to get my bike back to Calgary Alberta Canada.  I am exploring whatever options I can and I'm wondering if someone out there may have some contact or advice for me.  It's going a little slow at the moment and any tips or help would be very much appreciated.  Please contact me at

Thanks so much!!!!!!


Shipping from Argentina or Chile to Portugal or Spain

Would like to know if someone has more info about potentaly doing this or even better if someone has done this? Not sure what my first step shoud be here? I've looked little bit online without much luck. I'm in Colombia right now and plan to be down in Argentina or Chile in 3-4 months, but would like to sort this out soon. Thanks all.

Unlikely to be a recent shipment entry for that exact shipment, but similar is entirely possible in the shipping database here. Have you checked into it? There's loads of good information on good companies to ship with in there. Dakar Motos in BA are good.

Hi Folks,

I have a 2010  Kawasaki GTR 1400 in South East London, however I am in Auckland.

I am half way through my 1 year work visa, with a good chance of making it permanent.  I would like to bring my bike over asap, as it will be Summer here soon, and Damn! I really miss riding!

I have a number of questions,  and any/all advice/suggesti8ns welcomed.

Air or Sea shipping? Anyone else thinking of bringing a machine, or two over anytime soon, share the costs etc. How much of a p.i.t.a. can NZ Customs be, and what's a good/bad idea, such as a timber crate might not be good, I.e. possible bio-hazard.

Anyone know of people that can pick the bike up and pack/crate it for me in the UK, as I'm not able to go back and do it myself!

Thanks again,


Hi guys

I am planning a trip through Easter Africa, starting in Cape Town, I am living in Copenhagen and so far have not found an option to ship my bike from there to Cape Town, however I have received an option from Hamburg to Cape Town, however I have to get a hold on a Crate for my bike in Hamburg, and i have no idea where to start to look for one, any suggestions who might sell such neccesety :)

Kind regards


Best bet is to visit local motorcycle dealers and see what they have, they often throw them away! Otherwise you have to make one, but be careful about the country you're shipping to and the requirement for treated wood!

Hi All,

New to the site and looking for some advice/info on shipping from the Uk to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Anyone with any experience/stories relating to shiping to Canada??


Hi, I don't know if you can do roll-on, roll-off ("roro") with bikes, but if you can, there is a shipping line in Southampton that does roro - I used to live in Halifax and shipped a couple of London taxis over there (the Dartmouth Autoport on the other side of the harbour)through them - a lot cheaper than crating as other shippers wanted to do the crating to "beef up" the costs...

There are no great issues UK to Canada, there should be a number of them in the shipping listings, (link on this page for shipments by travellers) and on the links pages are a number of shippers.

Three companies we deal with are James Cargo and MotoFreight out of the UK and Motorcycle Express in the US all do that route regularly.

Hope that helps!


Hi Guys,


I am looking for any help in advice or suggestions in trying to ship my bike from Italy to lebanon. I have tried contacting numerous vendors but it seems when the say international it only means from the UK or USA to the rest of the world. Any links or advice appreciated.

That's a tough one, it's rare to ship out of Italy. There must be shipping companies that can do it, so I think you have to jsut look around. Sea or Air freight, either one. Perhaps google is your friend here :)

If you do find somehting please enter it in the shipping system so we have a record for others who may follow you from Italy.

Good luck! Grant

Hi guys

I have trying to get a quote for 2 bike to be shipped to Europe. Absolutely forget Airfreight unless you have tons of Money. Qantas quoted me $5500 and were not happy. The thing is that bikes are clasified as dangerouse goods even if you drain all petrol and clean the tank dry. Take all oil out and so on. Just not worth it.

Yes shipping will take up to 50 days unfortunately but price per bike by Paccon in Sydney was $250 per bike plus port charges, which you have to pay for airfreight as well.

Freigt fromn Hamburg to Sydney, on the way back was only slightly dearer.

Company is Paccon in Sydney and the best contact is David Miller 02 8836 0900

customer service is amazing.



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