Hiring a company to transport your motorcycle from the UK to Europe is a brilliant way of saving time, money and your sanity. Here are the benefits, how it works, things to look out for and recommended companies.
The benefits of using a motorcycle transport company
Hiring a company to transport your motorcycle from the UK to Europe is a brilliant way of saving time, money and your sanity. Here’s what we mean…
Top of the list is time. If you’re planning a motorcycle tour in Switzerland for example, you’re looking at roughly 550 miles and two days of motorway riding just to get there from Calais, meaning you can’t start actually riding the good stuff until your third day. It’s the same on the way back so that’s four days minimum of just travelling to and from your destination. If you factor in crossing the Strait of Dover and actually getting to the Channel Tunnel or ferry port from your home, it may be longer.
And Switzerland is relatively close, Portugal, Spain, Italy etc are all further away and will soak up even more of your precious time. With a transport company, you can just hop on a cheap flight and be there to meet your bike in a few hours.
Transporting your bike will cost you money, and so will the flight to get there. Here’s where you’ll need to do the math, consider the cost of those extra wasted nights in hotels just getting to your destination, toll roads, fuel and getting the ferry or train to Europe. The price difference is usually negligible.
Going on a bike tour in Europe is brilliant fun – wasting days getting to the good stuff (especially when you’ve only got a week off work) is not. Add in to this that after, say two days of boring motorway riding, you get there, you’ll then be tired for the days you have left to explore the region and ride those awesome mountain roads. There’ll be no rest days either because you’ll need two days to get back home again.
Of course, some people love knocking out hundreds of miles per day and that’s part of the trip for them, if that’s you then great! Enjoy the ride. But if it’s not, transporting your motorcycle from the UK to Europe with a company is a brilliant hassle-free way of spending less time on the motorway and more time riding the roads you want to.
How shipping your motorcycle to Europe works
A motorcycle transport company will take your motorcycle, helmet, bike gear and luggage on a specially kitted out lorry or van overland from the UK to mainland Europe while you put a toothbrush in your back pocket and fly there to meet it.
You can either drop your bike off at your chosen company’s depot or, in some cases, the company will collect the bike from your house or work. It then takes a few days (three on average) to reach their destination, dependent on where you’re going. All you have to do is fly out and meet the bike at either the designated depot or hotel.
To get the bike home it’s the same deal but in reverse. Simple and effective.
Some companies work to a schedule whereby they load their vans with multiple bikes and make the runs on specific days. These tend to be cheaper. But there is the option for customised and personal drop offs and pick-ups.
How much does it cost?
You’re looking at roughly anywhere between £350 – £800 return to somewhere in Europe from the UK. The price is affected by two main criteria: the size and weight of your motorcycle and luggage and where you’re going. The bigger your bike and further afield you’re going – the higher the price.
A higher charge may also mean that company won’t charge any extra for storage, while a low cost may mean that you need to drop off your bike the day before the scheduled departure or there’ll be an extra daily charge for additional storage.
It depends on your plans and trip timeframe. The best thing to do is to get in touch with a company for a personalised quote and ask about their price structure.
Motorcycle security in transport
Transport companies should be fully insured and so your bike should be 100% safe with them. Their insurance should completely cover your motorcycle from the second you drop it off to the moment you pick it up and that includes any time spent at their depot. Check your company is fully insured and up to what value your bike and gear and luggage will be covered for before committing.
Things to look out for when choosing a company
Do your homework on the company. Check their website, Facebook page and reviews. You’ll want to make sure they’re a proper company and not a bloke with a van. Give them a call and have a chat about your requirements.
Check their insurance and what exactly you’re covered for. Ask who their insurance provider is and up to what value your bike and kit is insured for.
Ask about extra charges. If you need to drop your bike off a few days early, how much extra will that be or is there no charge? Same goes for picking it up at the destination and once it arrives back in the UK.
Find out what the scheduled run dates are and make sure they line up with your trip.
If you’re going to drop your bike off at one of their depots, make sure you know where that is first! Companies have depots based all over the UK, but you’ll want to make sure it’s accessible and close to you considering you’ll need to either get yourself home or to the airport after. Some companies will give you a lift to the airport if you’re flying the same day.
Recommended motorcycle transport companies
We found these companies after extensive research, sifting through hundreds of reviews and speaking to the companies themselves. We’ve listed our top, most highly rated UK to Europe motorcycle transport businesses on this dedicated page below.
UK to Europe Motorcycle Transport Companies
International motorcycle shipping
If you want to go further than Europe, take a look at our International Motorcycle Shipping Companies Finder and also have a read of our detailed shipping article here:
Read more on Motorcycle Travel in the UK and Europe
Try these next…
START: Check out this packed Motorcycle Travel Database
BIKE: Get your bike adventure ready with the Motorcycle Preparation Guides
DESTINATIONS: Comprehensive Country Guides for motorcycle travellers
FORUM: Advice, chat and travel info on the Motorcycle Travel Forum.