The Original Motorcycle Shippers, riders choice since 1994. Book your motorcycle transport now and let us handle the load.

All posts by Clint Lawrence

27 Hacks that Take the Hassle Out of Moving Your Stuff – Your Motorcycle Included

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

On the spectrum from “best day ever” to “unimaginable frustration,” we all know where moving falls. Maybe that’s why the percent of Americans moving has hit the lowest record since the Census began: just 11% of us moved in 2018. But although many of us avoid changing our abodes at all costs, in some cases, relocating is inevitable. Just as the 5.5 million Americans who did move last year.

If the thought of uprooting your entire existing leaves you feeling overwhelmed, use these moving hacks to stay organized, expedite the process and keep your frustration at a minimum. (And for the riders out there, we’ve included some tips of the trade for making moving your motorcycle a snap.)

At your old place

  • Get rid of what you don’t want: Have a yard sale. Donate to charity. Call friends and family to see if they want anything. Put it on sale Craigslist. Throw it away. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many of us hold on to things we don’t even know why we own in the first place. (Case in point? Just ask Marie Kondo, who has amassed a mountain of revenue simply by inspiring people to declutter.)donation box
  • Cruise the Craigslist “free” section: You can often find boxes and other moving supplies here. Uhaul has a spot at their locations where people can leave their used boxes for others to use for free! Just and ask the store manager if they have boxes available, and please do the same for the next mover. Enter in your zip and city here.
  • Take photos of the back of your electronics: Take a photo of the back of your TV, computer and other electronic devices now to save hours of frustration when it’s time to reattach all those wires. (Want a better way to keep your cords from getting tangled and mangled? Use toilet paper tubes to pack them.)
  • Make rubber bands your friend: Use rubber bands to attach lids to your pots so you can load them up with items like potholders, utensils and the likes to make better use of space.
  • Defrost your fridge in advance: Just trust us on this one. Doing this in advance will save you all kinds of trouble when you’re finally ready to bid adieu to your abode.
  • Stack plates dishwasher style: There’s a reason why dishwashers are designed to hold plates and bowls vertically. Your dishes are a lot less likely to break if you pack them vertically rather than in a horizontal stack. Use kitchen towels or Styrofoam plates between your dishes for extra padding.
  • Leave clothes on the hanger: If you’ve ever moved, you already know how long it takes to unpack all the clothing you stuffed in boxes. Here’s a hint: it also takes a long time to pack clothes into boxes when you’re moving. Cut straight to the finish line by leaving your clothes on their hangers. Simply wrap a garbage bag around your jackets, pants and other clothes as they hang in your closet, rubber band the hanger tops together and pat yourself on the back for saving yourself some serious time.Clothes on hangars wrapped in trash bags
  • Wrap stuff in your stuff: Use towels, blankets and sheets to wrap your breakables. And when it comes time to pack your kitchen knives, reach for an oven mitt instead of bubble wrap. Put the knife blades inside the mitt and then pack the entire bundle into a box. (Closely related to this hack is the art of packing stuff inside your stuff. Wheeled suitcases make it easy to move things that would otherwise be a heavy lift—literally.)
  • Wrap your mattress: Cover both sides of your mattress with fitted sheets before putting it into a moving truck or van. The sheets might get dirty, but your mattress will stay clean—and that’s exactly the point.
  • Wrap your wine with pool floaties: Maybe you don’t have kids’ pool floaties lying around. But if you do, wrap them around your open wine bottles to keep them from spilling during your travels from Point A to Point B.
  • Pack liquids in zip lock bags: Don’t want to toss out that half-used bottle of sauce or shampoo? Temperature and altitude changes can create enough pressure to pop the tops and create a huge mess. Wrap them in gallon-size zip lock bags before moving to keep them from spilling.
  • Label everything: This is another one that might seem obvious. But if you’ve ever been in a rush to move, you know how tempting it is to just throw stuff in a box and get out the door. This will not save you time in the long run. Get some stickers or a Sharpie and label your heart out—on the side of the box, not the top. If you want to go really crazy, you can even color code your boxes so you know where they go in just a quick glance. And as you’re sorting and labeling your boxes, remember to put all your daily essentials in a box together. There’s nothing worse than winding down after a long day of moving and having to search for your toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Preschedule your utility “disconnect” date: Call your utility companies in advance to ensure that your electricity, water and Internet are turned off exactly when you need them to be—not a few days before or after.
  • Keep your important documents with you: Don’t put your Social Security card, birth certificate and other important papers inside a box never to be seen again. Keep them with you just in case.
  • Have snacks ready on the other side: Don’t underestimate how tired and hungry you’ll be after a long day of moving. Keep snacks easily accessible so your energy doesn’t take a nose dive.
  • Re-stickify your tape: Have your masking and painter’s tapes lost their stick? Put them in the microwave for a few seconds to restore them to their former glory.

 At your new place

  • Calculate your moving expenses: Some of them may be tax deductible if you are a member of the armed forces.
  • Measure your door frames: Will that extra-wide couch or California king mattress really make it into the room where it needs to go? Measure doors, hallways and stairways beforehand—not when a heavy piece of furniture is in your hands.
  • Preschedule your utilities: There’s nothing worse than getting to your new place and realizing the Internet—or worse, the electricity—hasn’t kicked on yet.installing internet
  • Change your address with the USPS: Mail forwarding takes seven days to kick in. By getting the process started early, you can skip the lag time and jump straight into action at your new place.
  • Update your insurance: This isn’t the most exciting hack on the list, but it’s a fact of life.
  • Reserve the service elevator: If your place has a service elevator, you’ll likely need to use this to move your stuff rather than the passenger elevator. Reserve it in advance to avoid snags on moving day.
  • Unpack your kitchen first: Between silverware, plates, spices and everything else, your kitchen will undoubtedly take the longest to get set up. Knock this room out first.

For your motorcycle

  • Pack your papers in a place you’ll remember: Keep your title, registration, owner’s manual and other motorcycle documents together in one place—one that you’ll be able to find easily once you get to your new home. Have a forgetful streak? Write the location in a note on your smartphone.
  • Update your insurance: This is especially important if you’re moving to another state. But even if you’re simply moving a few blocks down the street, call your insurance agent to make sure your policy is updated accordingly.
  • Make room in your new garage: It might be tempting to store your boxes of non-essentials in the garage until they’re unpacked. Don’t forget to leave room for your motorcycle; that includes a clear path to lets you get your bike in and out easily.
  • Plan ahead: When your move is approaching, decide whether to move your motorcycle yourself or hire a professional motorcycle shipping service. Before you decide to go it alone, calculate all the costs of moving your motorcycle yourself: gas/fuel, wear and tear, tie-downs and other materials, and your time. Not sure if you need help shipping your ride? Want to make sure your motorcycle arrives safely at your new place? Contact the team at Motorcycle Shippers so that we can provide a no-hassle quote and walk you through our process beginning to end.

 

And when moving day is finally behind you, take your motorcycle out for a ride to celebrate. You earned it—even if you did use these moving hacks to make the process as painless as possible.

8 Unwritten Rules of the Road Every Motorcyclist Should Know

Posted By

Ed Merati

Ed Merati, Director of Logistics at Motorcycle Shippers, lifetime motorcycle enthusiast and garage guru. [email protected]

 

What are the rules for riding a motorcycle?

Just like any sport or hobby, riding a motorcycle comes with two sets of rules—the written and the unwritten, and it’s a lot easier to learn the former than the latter. Unfortunately, there are no classes, guidebooks or seminars on the unwritten laws of riding. Oh, and you definitely won’t be tested on them when you go to get your motorcycle license. Learning the rules of the road and biker culture takes years of cruising and interacting with other two-wheel enthusiasts. But the following list can help you get a glimpse into what you’ll learn when you start to master the road.

  1. Don’t Ask to Ride Someone Else’s Bike

    Referred to as The Natural Law of Motorcycling, this is one of the rules you’re going to want to take seriously if you’re new to the community. Asking to take someone else’s motorcycle for a spin puts them in the position of having to say no, so just don’t do it. No one wants to loan another rider his or her bike because it’s a big liability, and riders have things just the way they like them, not the way a random borrower might. Plus, it’s just bad manners all-around.

  2. Always Alert Fellow Riders of Hazards

    Many of the unwritten laws of riding come down to the same concept: look out for one another. Whenever possible, keep your fellow bikers in the know about what’s ahead—a speed trap, a particularly gnarly pothole, a traffic jam, deer—either via motorcycle Bluetooth communication if you’re cruising with a group of riders you know or through old-school hand signals (see below) to keep strangers in the other lane safely clued in to what’s ahead.

  3. Know Rider-to-Rider Communication

    Even if it’s your first day as a licensed biker, you already know that there’s a secret language that goes on, bike to bike, out on the road. But you may not know that there are both written and unwritten hand signals you need to know. Of course, there are the ones you learned in driver’s ed, such as a straight, extended arm to signal a left turn or a folded-down arm to signal a stop. But then there are the ones you learn through years of communication with fellow bikers, like a tap on the helmet to alert your fellow riders of a cop or speed trap ahead.

  4. Wave at Your Fellow Riders

    Another important hand signal to know? The wave. Legend has it that the bike-to-bike wave started back in 1904 when William Harley and  Arthur Davidson (yes, that Harley and Davidson) passed one another and gave a friendly wave. There are many variations on the biker’s salute, with the most common being two or three fingers pointed downward at a 45-degree angle, but there are tons of unique and regional versions out there. The motorcycle wave is all about showing solidarity and forging a connection among your fellow riders.

  5. See a Rider in Need? Stop

    Many of the unwritten rules of the road for bikers center around helping each other and forging a sense of community. You always want to make sure you stop and assist a fellow biker—or, any motorist, for that matter—in need. If you see someone who may be in distress or if you’re traveling through a dangerous area, such as a steep mountain pass or a rural road where there’s no gas station for miles in either direction, you may want to flash a thumbs up or down to make sure other travelers know you’re okay and vice versa.

  6. Respect the Road and Fellow Motorists

    As bikers, we know we stand out from the typical commuter rocking his grocery getter, but we shouldn’t be at odds with him. Always practice defensive driving and make sure to give other cars and motorcycle riders plenty of room, but don’t hesitate to help them out by letting them in or waving them ahead of you, either. Just remember that drivers may have trouble seeing you or staying out of your lane, so definitely ride defensive and remain visible whenever possible.

  7. Group Riding? Whenever Possible, Stay in Formation

    This is one situation where a biker-to-biker headset really comes in handy. When you’re riding as a group, you need to stay in a safe, roomy formation—ideally, in a staggered line with a two-second distance between you and the rider directly in front of you—in order to keep everyone together without crowding or encroaching on the rest of traffic. It can be difficult to maintain a neat formation when you’re going for longer group rides, but knowing your hand signals or having a reliable Bluetooth system can go a long way in this situation.

  8. Bikers Are Upstanding Members of the Community

    Know that you can rely on your fellow riders, that they’re generally not dangerous gang members and that many motorcycle clubs spend a ton of time and effort raising money for charitable causes in the community. Most importantly, remember that by simply mounting a bike, you become an automatic member of that community, and that comes with a responsibility. Follow laws, be courteous of others and help your fellow rider and you’ll be a welcome addition to any region’s motorcycle community.

The Most Important Rule? Learn as You Go

 One of the biggest mistakes young and novice riders tend to make is pushing themselves too far beyond their limits too early. This applies to everything from taking hairpin turns at high speeds to learning the best way to convey important information to other riders on the highway. As you enter the world of riding, keep your ears and eyes open so you pick things up as you go and never find yourself in a dangerous, awkward or uncomfortable situation.

 

2019 Motorcycle “Lane Filtering” Law, Explained

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
The State of Utah usually brings to mind Mormons and mountains, but the most recent legislative session has added a third “m” to that list: motorcycles. Since May 14, 2019 motorcyclists in Utah have been given the ability to legally practice “lane filtering,” thanks to a new bill signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert back in March.

At a basic level, “lane filtering” occurs when a rider moves between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic to get to the front of the intersection. The Utah Highway Patrol is being proactive about the new law, launching an awareness campaign to inform motorists a month and a half ahead of the change. The Utah Department of Safety released this video explaining the reasoning behind the law—allowing motorcycles to get out from in between traffic so they can avoid rear-end collisions—and how it should be applied. But despite these efforts, there has been considerable confusion about the new rules of the road. (This viral video sums up a lot of the questions surrounding how exactly riders should lane filter safely.)

Whether you’re living in the Beehive State, getting up to Tahoe sometime soon or want to keep up on the latest laws that affect riders, read this quick rundown on Utah’s lane filtering law to get some clarity.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in the US?

Utah is now only one of two U.S. states that allow motorcycles to bypass slower lanes of traffic. California, the state with the most riders on the road, allows motorcyclists to “lane split” by going between cars while moving at freeway speeds as traffic slows down on the roadway. Utah’s law differs from California’s approach, stating that motorcycles can only “filter” to the front of the intersection when cars are stopped. The confusion over the lane filtering law is understandable.

(Side note: Like Utah’s regulation, the California lane splitting law elicited confusion from the public. In one instance, the California Highway Patrol issued guidelines on safe lane splitting but had to remove them a few weeks later after someone complained that it didn’t have the authority to post the guidelines in the first place. If you’re interested, you can see the CHP’s response here.)

The new Utah law also lays out additional rules that motorcyclists must adhere to when lane filtering. According to the Utah Highway Patrol, motorists:

    1. Can move to the front of a traffic light on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph or less and there are two or more adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel
    2. Can only move to the front when vehicles are stopped
    3. Can’t filter lanes at more than 15 mph

The law also states that maneuvering around lanes has to be done safely, which leaves some ambiguity about what exactly constitutes “safe” lane splitting. In the video mentioned earlier in this article (here’s the link again, just in case), the Utah Department of Public Safety attempts to show what safe lane filtering looks like. UHP Sgt. Nick Streets is optimistic, telling KSL, “I hope they use due diligence and care not to try to do it where they’re really going to be threading the needle to where they have a lane that’s wide enough to accommodate if their bike has saddlebags or longer handlebars. If you take off a car’s mirror, that’s on you. You’re going to have to stop, talk to the police and file an accident report.”

Is lane splitting safe?

According to state statistics, more than 1,200 motorcyclists in Utah were rear-ended between 2011 to 2017. By the beginning of September 2018, there were

motorcycle lane splitting speed chart

Image courtesy of University of California Berkeley study

already more motorcycle deaths in Utah than in all of 2017. The majority of these occurred during the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Rear-end accidents often involve serious injury and, in some cases, even death.

The American Motorcycle Association has long held that lane splitting makes roads safer for riders and relieves traffic congestion, a view based largely on the successful use of the practice in California and a research study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley. Led by the university’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, the UC Berkley study found that lane filtering can be a safe practice if traffic is moving slower than 50 mph and riders aren’t moving more than 15 mph faster than the other vehicles on the road.

What do you think, should more states allow lane splitting? And as a rider, how would you define “safe” lane splitting?

Three Ways to Locate Your Motorcycle Barn Find

Posted By

Danny Reyes

Danny Reyes, Shipping Specialist, rider advocate and Angels fan. [email protected]

It’s every vintage motorcycle enthusiast’s dream: opening an old shed or garage and finding a perfectly preserved classic motorcycle, long forgotten or tucked away by its owner for safe-keeping. As vintage motorcycles command record prices at auctions and more riders gravitate toward the design style of decades past, the allure of the ever-elusive “barn find” is greater than ever. A quick search online will lead you to countless forums where passionate rummagers share their latest motorcycle finds–the good, the bad and, well, the just plain strange.

When you hear the words “barn find,” what comes to mind is likely something out of Indiana Jones or National Treasure. And it’s true that some finds are indeed worthy of the record books. Take, for instance, the French entrepreneur who dreamed of opening a classic car museum in the 1950s—until, that is, his finances didn’t pan out. What did he do with the 200-odd cars he had already collected to put in the museum that never was? After selling 50, he kept the remaining 150 in shacks and garages scattered around his family’s home. When someone found his stash decades later, it was a literal and figurative gold mine. A Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider hidden under piles of old magazines sold at auction for more than $16.3M. In all, the sale broke 10 price records and included many other ultra-rare classic cars.

And you’ve likely heard similar stories about the greatest vintage motorcycle “barn finds.” (Check out this American Pickers video, where the pickers find, among other rides, a 1972 cherry red Triumph in good running condition.)

It’s no secret that vintage motorcycles are a coveted ride. Fully restored vintage and classic bikes can fetch top dollar, driving some people to scour the four corners of the Earth in hopes of finding old and forgotten treasures tucked away in storage somewhere. For others, it might be more about the thrill of the hunt—which, given the rarity of finding a vintage bike in mint condition, is a mindset that will set you up for a lot less frustration. But no matter your reason for hunting down that ever-elusive “barn find,” use these tips to make sure no stone is left unturned.

RIDE

One of the easiest ways to stumble across “barn finds” is to do what you got a motorcycle for in the first place: ride. Hit the open road and keep your eyes open; you never know what you may find. Motorcycles with “For Sale” signs. Signs for farm auctions. Even an open garage filled with some old bikes in a residential area. For the serious barnstormer, these are all opportunities worth investigating.

As you’re riding, don’t forget to explore areas outside of your typical route. As many deal hunters will tell you, it’s often down quiet country roads or off the beaten path where you spot the best finds.

What happens if you do, in fact, strike gold as you ride along those country roads? Make sure to take photos of what you find, which can act as a reference if you need to do some research to negotiate a possible purchase price.

Using the “get out and ride” strategy won’t deliver a “barn find” every time. But if you keep your eyes open and aren’t afraid to pull over when you spot a lead, you’ll almost always come back with a story—or, at very least, a great ride.

TALK

Barnfinds.com outlines two rules for motorcycle barn finding (which, if you think about it, is really just one rule): talk about old motorcycles with everyone and anyone you come across. Any person you meet could be a potential lead. This may sound more like a business networking pitch than a “barn find” strategy, but the beauty of the “barn find” is that you never know when or where they’ll come up. Mark Bryan, whose profession is to scour the globe for vintage motorcycles for H&H Classic Auctions, echoes this advice. He says part of his luck is “being in the right place at the right time.” But there’s also another part of the equation, he says: “Getting out to as many bike nights and weekends as my family will allow.”

In the world of “barn finds,” one man’s trash literally is another man’s treasure, and you’ll never know who might have an old motorcycle stored away somewhere until you ask. Talk to the person who comes to repair something at your home. Chat about your new hobby with your coworkers at the office. Beyond local riders and riding groups, connect with shop owners and other people who know your area well. The more people they know, the more likely they are to connect you with a solid lead on your next “barn find.”

SURF

If you’re reading this blog, you already know that the Internet can drastically open the range of your search from the comfort of home. There are a number places to start: Craigslist, The Greensheet, Facebook marketplace, eBay and a growing number of resell apps like LetGo and OfferUp. There’s also NextDoor, which gives you the bonus of scouring listings from people you know—and posting a message telling people in your neighborhood about your hunt for motorcycle “barn finds.”

But don’t let the wide scope of the World Wide Web trick you into overlooking the power of good old-fashioned newspapers. Some people do still read newspapers, and placing a classified ad in print and also online makes sure your bases are covered. The website 50states.com has links to more than 3,300 local newspapers in the U.S. (If you want to expand your search internationally, start by seeking out foreign auctions and global websites like barnfinds.com, which has an international user base.)

What happens if you uncover your first “barn find” in another state? Motorcycle Shippers is here to get your motorcycle from Point A to Point B safely, in less time and with less hassle. And whether or not you need to ship your “barn find,” share a photo and your story with our rider community on social media.

Are Rockets the Solution to a Crashing a Motorcycle? | 2019 Report

Posted By

Ed Merati

Ed Merati, Director of Logistics, lifetime motorcycle enthusiast and garage guru. [email protected]

 

Drivers distracted by their cellphones. Wildlife. Loose gravel. A quick search online will pull up countless surveys, all asking riders some form of the same question: “What’s your biggest safety concern when you’re on your motorcycle?”

When Bosch conducted its own survey, the answer was clear: hitting a slippery patch. So the German brand decided to do something about it. Enter “jet thrusters,” which have been making headlines ever since Bosch rolled them out last year on the motorcycle tradeshow circuit.

The rundown on “lowsider” crashes

If you’ve never experienced a lowsider crash while taking a turn, you’ve definitely seen a video of one online. It goes something like this: you accelerate or brake too much, or run into slippery road conditions, and it causes your bike to lean to one side when you’re cornering. The result? Either your front or back wheel slides out from under you, and you skid across the pavement.

Compared with a “high side” crash—the kind where you’re thrown from your bike—“low sides” are generally less dangerous. Still, the result of a low-grip lowsider isn’t pretty: gravel rash, impact injuries and potential damage to your bike. (Note that you’ll be a lot better off in this scenario if you’re wearing protective clothing.)

A lowsider is one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents, and even experienced riders can’t always avoid a low side accident. But what if your bike had a way to gauge wheel slip and right itself before an actual crash occurs? That’s the idea behind Bosch’s jet thruster and other sliding mitigation technologies popping up in motorcycle R&D labs around the nation.

How Bosch’s jet thrusters work

When Bosch debuted its jet thrusters, industry reviews were positive, but a bit tentative. That’s not surprising. Given the “new age” aspect of having jets attached to your motorcycle and the description of the technology as an “invisible hand” that prevents lowsider accidents, it’s natural to be a bit skeptical.

And at first glance, the concept does beg the question: Will rockets on your bike actually make riding safer?

But when you take a closer look at how Bosch’s jet thrusters actually work, they’re not as outlandish as they sound. More than that, they actually make a lot of sense. As Bosch explains it, the technology uses a sensor built into the motorcycle to detect sideways wheel slip. If that slip hits a certain level, it triggers the release of gas—a lot like the kind you find in a car’s passenger airbags. That gas moves into the tank adapter, where it’s vented out through a nozzle in the direction needed to keep the motorcycle upright. (That’s a fancy way of saying that the gas jets out from the “high” side of your bike.)

Bosch’s jet thrusters are getting a lot of attention, but unfortunately for riders, the technology is still in development. No production launch is planned as of yet. And based on the system’s single-use design and complexity, it’s likely that the first bikes to get the “invisible hand” treatment will be high-end models.

Too many accidents, too much technology or both?

Technologies like Bosch’s jet thrusters are part of a bigger push to minimize—if not eliminate—motorcycle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows motorcycle accidents up 5.1% between 2015 and 2016, with riders accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities.

Images courtesy of Bosch

Safety is an undeniable consideration for every rider, and I think we’d all agree that the fewer accidents, the better. And with Bosch’s jet thrusters still in the testing phase, it’s safe to say that we’ve got some time before slipping mitigation technology is a feature of all new motorcycle models. But the shift toward more tech-heavy bikes is fueling a debate in rider communities that’s much bigger than a single sensor or system:

Does technology really enhance our riding, or does it take the joy out of it? And on a much more literal note, what happens if the jet thrusters go off at the wrong time?

Legal Aspects of Selling Your Motorcycle

Posted By

Stewart Dunlop

Stewart Dunlop, content manager working with LegalZoom. In his free time, he likes to play football and read Stephen King’s novels.

 

Legal Aspects To Pay Attention To When Selling Your Motorcycle

Selling your motorcycle is, admittedly, a moment of sadness and happiness. Sad because you’re finally letting go of one of your most prized possessions. And happy since you now get the chance to get rid of an old bike, then perhaps upgrade to a much better one in the near future.

Whichever side you lean towards, the end result depends on not only the condition and price of the motorcycle, but also how you handle the entire sale process.

Thankfully, selling a motorcycle isn’t difficult at all. It’s a pretty straightforward process. But, it could go sideways if you fail to apply the law accordingly.

You might, for instance, get swindled and end up losing the motorcycle without any form of payment. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there are more than 40,000 new motorcycle theft cases each year. And to make matters worse, the corresponding recovery rate is alarmingly low. Only about 39% of them are ultimately found and repossessed.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Following the due process doesn’t only protect you against such risks, but also helps you sell much faster as the buyer will know that you are a legitimate seller.

To help you, here are the top legal aspects to pay attention to while selling your motorcycle:

Image Source: Pixabay

Get the Paperwork Right

You might consider skipping the cumbersome selling process and instead, trade-in your motorcycle with a seasoned dealership. Not a bad idea, but when you come to think of it, such a deal may not result in the highest sales price possible.

To get the best out of your motorcycle, you need to sell it yourself. And that requires a couple of legal documents.

For starters, you need the motorcycle’s title. Titles are the single most important proof of ownership when it comes to vehicles in the US. Without one, you won’t be able to transfer ownership of the motorcycle to its buyer. And that would, of course, mean dropping the whole deal altogether.

The second most critical document is the Bill of Sale. You can think of it as the sale agreement since it outlines all the purchase details. More specifically, it identifies all the parties involved as well as the accompanying ownership conditions. You can easily get yourself one from this online form.

Way before you finalize the sale of the motorcycle, however, you might consider accepting an initial deposit payment. It’s a clever way of forcing the buyer to commit to the sale in advance. And to formalize it, you need what we call a Motorcycle Sale Holding Agreement.

The other thing that may possibly come up is a test drive request. Of course, you’d prefer leaving it out of the sale negotiation. No one would want to have multiple strangers taking rides with their precious motorcycle. But, a test drive is inevitable if you need to convince prospective buyers about the motorcycle’s condition.

So, you might also want to throw in a Motorcycle Test Drive Agreement into your paperwork. It should protect you if things go wrong during the test session.

Confirm Your Motorcycle’s Registration Details

Each state has a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) handling, among other things, registration of vehicles. In Florida, for instance, motorcycles and other vehicles are registered by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department.

Consider conducting a vehicle information check from your state’s DMV. You just need the title number plus the corresponding VIN, and the system will automatically generate your motorcycle’s registration details.

From that alone, you should be able to track information about the motorcycle’s previous owners, any unsettled lien on the bike, as well as your personal details. Scan the whole document for possible errors, before saving it for scrutiny by prospective buyers.

But, if it turns out that there are errors on the document, you can proceed to raise the issue with the DMV, and have it resolved as soon as possible.

Verify Credentials Before Test Rides

The test ride agreement is just one aspect of a motorcycle test ride. For the whole exercise to be considered legal, you need to first verify your prospective buyer’s credentials.

Do they have a motorcycle license or endorsement? Are they wearing a proper DOT-approved motorcycle helmet? Is it accompanied by the right safety gear?

In short, simply ensure anyone who attempts to test ride your motorcycle is adequately experienced and, follows the standard motorcycle safety laws in your state. Remember, if the prospective buyer were to be stopped by the police during the test ride, and they were not properly licensed, your motorcycle could be impounded and towed.

Finalize the Sale Accordingly

If you have all the documents ready and you’ve come to a mutual understanding on the price, you can proceed to finalize the sale of the motorcycle.

Don’t make the mistake of rushing the process through. Conduct the transaction diligently as you verify every single detail involved. Be honest with your potential buyer, especially if that person has never owned a motorcycle before. Share important information about motorcycle maintenance, discuss post-sale hidden costs a new buyer may not anticipate.

When it comes to payment, for instance, establish if the mode used is genuine before eventually transferring ownership of the motorcycle. Money orders and cashier’s checks are some of the safest cashless payment models you could use, but you should still have that form of payment verified by the bank before you release your bike to the new owner. Otherwise, you could also settle for PayPal or by far the most safest of all, the bank wire transfer.

And as you sign the corresponding sale documents, ensure you retain a copy of every single one of them for future reference. Many states require that complete a vehicle release of liability form and remit such to their motor vehicle department. This step is crucial as  unless you have proof that the motorcycle has been transferred to a new owner, you may still be liable for citations, fines and or accidents that occur.

When everything’s done, you should return the license plate to the DMV. They’ll, in turn, issue you a receipt, which you should keep for the long haul.

Ship Your Motorcycle to a New Buyer

If you need to deliver your motorcycle to a new place, you might consider motorcycle shipping services. You won’t be thinking about the best way to deliver or give your motorcycle, the company relieves you from this headache and all you have to do is focus on a nice and smooth sale process.

 

 

 

Harley Drops Again, But There is Good News

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

Can Harley Stop Its Sales Skid?

The numbers are in, and they won’t come as a shock to anyone who follows the motorcycle industry: Harley-Davidson just posted yet another quarter of falling sales. The drop was sharper than expected in the U.S. market, fanning the flame for skeptics who say the brand’s days as a major motorcycle manufacturer are numbered.

 What does this latest financial report mean for the most iconic motorcycle brand in America? Here’s the bad news, the good news and the “Hail Mary” that could help accelerate Harley’s sputtering sales.

The bad news

Riders already know that the U.S. motorcycle industry has been suffering since the recession. Motorcycle sales peaked at more than 1.1 million in 2005. But new sales have plummeted by 50% since 2008, with fewer bikes owned in every age bracket under 40. With more Baby Boomers retiring their motorcycles, there aren’t enough Millennial riders to offset the gap.

In a recent study, Millennials said they do consider purchasing motorcycles—for “ease of transportation.” This is a much different reason than cited by the older rider demographic, which chooses to own bikes as a “hobby” or because “motorcycles are cool.” (In case you’re wondering, the average Harley rider is now 50 years old with a household income of $90K.) With practicality becoming an increasingly important purchasing decision, Harley has some work to do. Otherwise, as one market researcher predicts, it could become the latest brand “killed” by Millennials.

Declining sales. Millennial disinterest. Tariffs galore. What does that mean for the U.S. motorcycle market? More than a decade since the recession, the industry is still struggling to recover—and Harley has been far from immune to the turbulence.

In Harley’s just-released earnings report, its U.S. sales dropped 8% in the second quarter, which is significantly more steep than the expected 6% decrease. This marks the company’s 10th consecutive quarter of declining sales. But more concerning is its international motorcycle sales, which have dropped 8.9% since this time last year. In Europe, which makes up 47% of Harley’s international sales, motorcycle purchases have decreased 14%. Even China’s interest in motorcycles isn’t enough to offset that unexpected downturn.

And that’s just the half of it.

Once lauded by the president as an “American Icon,” Harley has also found itself caught in the political quagmire. After the federal tax cut last year, the brand spent $700 million on stock buybacks and closed its Kansas City plant—wiping out 260 jobs and angering both sides of the political aisle. With the Trump trade war heating up, Harley shifted some production overseas and began the process of opening up a plant in Thailand. Depending on who you ask, Harley’s (mis)use of the tax cut and its turn away from U.S. manufacturing have left a sour taste in the public’s mouth.

The good news

Harley’s Made in the U.S. motorcycles face a stiff 31% tariff when entering the European Union. However, the EU recently provided a silver lining to the brand’s woes: Harleys coming from Thailand will only face a 6% tariff. The brand is betting that Europeans will recognize that its operations in Thailand are simply a result of the tariffs and not cutting corners on quality.

But even this positive comes with a dose of reality. Because the EU delayed its decision, Harley had to push back its shipment of bikes from Thailand to Europe until mid-2020. It shifted down its shipment forecast accordingly, putting the number of Harleys shipped globally in 2019 at about the same level as 2010—the thick of the recession.

Are EVs the “Hail Mary?”

Harley is betting big on technology to accelerate its sales. The brand opened up a Silicon Valley office last year to support its vision for a full line of electric motorcycles and scooters. This comes hot on the heels of its much-anticipated LiveWire launch, which is slated for next month.

The battery-powered LiveWire, which generated major buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, can go from zero to 60mph in three seconds, topping out at 110mph. Its charge time is one-hour flat for a city range of 146 miles; that’s 95 miles for a combination of city/highway riding. To sweeten the deal for consumers, Harley has partnered with Electrify America to give LiveWire riders 500kWh of free charging time over two years—the equivalent of about 32 fill-ups. Riders will be able to locate these charging stations, roughly 70 miles apart, using a new Harley-Davidson app.

Will electric motorcycles be Harley’s saving grace? Could a new line of EVs satisfy Millennial hunger for a more practical ride? It’s too soon to tell. But one thing is undeniable: the mix of tariffs, declining Millennial interest and politics has already dealt a heavy blow to a motorcycle brand once seen as invincible.

Science Just Validated What Motorcyclists Have Always Known

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
If you ask 100 motorcycle riders how riding makes them feel, I’d be willing to bet that a majority of them describe a “pick me up” or peace of mind they can’t get anywhere else.

Reddit has an entire thread devoted to how riding makes people feel. Brian Steuber, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, describes the rush this way: “My medical prescription is 800-plus pounds of American-made metal and chrome. No drug can compare; no feeling is better. That’s why I ride.” And then there’s Dan Aykroyd, who once said, “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!”

Maybe it’s the surge of adrenaline or that sheer feeling of freedom. It could be the thrill of hitting the road with your riding buddies—or, if you prefer going it lone wolf, the moments of solitude away from the rest of the world. But no matter how riding makes you feel, the impact of a good ride is unmistakable.motorcyclist riding on a two lane highway

Riders instinctively know that the best cure for a tough day is two wheels and an open road. Still, research about the mental benefits of riding a motorcycle has been surprisingly spotty at best. That is, until earlier this year, when Harley-Davidson America funded a study to explore how riding affects our brains.

After decades of relative radio silence, science is now confirming what riders have known all along: getting on a motorcycle is good for your mood.

A quick rundown of the UCLA-Harley motorcycle study

In the recent University of California, Los Angeles study funded by Harley, researchers recorded the brain activity and hormone levels of more than 50 riders. The scientists tracked brain activity before motorcycles hit the road, mid-ride and afterward—plus while they were driving a car and relaxing. The ride was 22 miles, in normal weather conditions, and all participants rode their own motorcycles.Motorcycles Parked in Front of an Old General Store

Here’s what the researchers found: A motorcycle ride decreased the participants’ stress biomarkers by almost 30%. Riding for 20 minutes boosted their heart rates by more than 10% and adrenaline by 27%—similar to the effect of getting light exercise. (Check out this article we wrote on the health benefits of riding a motorcycle, from a stronger core to better stability.)

Meanwhile, the EEG detecting the riders’ brain activity found that the ride did more good than just getting their cortisol under control—though that’s pretty significant to begin with. Changes in brain activity showed that the riders were more alert and less likely to be distracted, similar to what happens when you drink a cup of coffee.

It might feel like a bummer that Harley is planning to use the study to sell more motorcycles.

But if that news gets you down, at least there’s a science-backed remedy for easing your worried mind: going out for a ride.

Motorcycles are Taking Over Golf Courses Near You

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
When you picture motorcycles on a golf course, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like this video: a rider ripping up the green, wreaking more than a bit of havoc. But in the near future, golfers might be seeing a lot more two-wheeled vehicles on the links.

At the PGA Demo Show Day earlier this year, a number of motorized single-rider scooters made their big debut, gaining a lot of traction for their potential to infuse some much-needed speed and sense of adventure into a historically slow-moving sport. Here’s a quick primer on the rise of scooters and motorbike-style rides in the world of golf.

Two-wheelers hitting the links

Golf carts are typically designed to zip around the course at between 12 and 14 mph maximum speed. The slow speed and overall inefficiency of “hole to hole” transport has been holding back the golfing community for ages, leading to plenty of complaints on the green—and even more “DIY” approaches for making existing golf carts go faster, legally. (Why legally? Because every state has a different law for just how golf carts can be modified, and how fast they can go.)

Simply put, sharing a ride with another golfer, and potentially having to zig-zag around the course because of it, is pretty inefficient. It’s even led some to claim that the golf carts of the past will soon go the way of the dinosaur. Why? Because electric scooters and motorcycles are delivering more speed, more efficiency and a better pace-of-play overall.

One of the most talked-about electric golf cart alternatives is the FinnCycle, the brainchild of Sun Mountain Sports, the same company that brought the golf world built-in legs on golf bags. The FinnCycle electric scooter claims to shave an hour off a round of golf by getting players from one hole to the next faster. Although it tops out at 15 mph, the scooter allows for much more agile maneuvering than four-wheeled golf carts, with the major advantage of each golfer going solo to his or her ball. And where do the clubs go? They attach right to the front of the scooter.

For golfers who have never operated a scooter before, let alone a motorcycle, the creators have lessened the learning curve. Golfers can control the pedal-free scooter with a thumb throttle and hand brakes. At 80 pounds, the ride uses low-pressure tires—the back tires have turf tread—to deliver the desired traction without damaging the green.

Although the FinnCycle might make golf course transportation look and feel easy, Sun Mountain Sports’ CEO said creating it was anything but. They started out with a three-wheel tilt scooter but couldn’t get the suspension quite right. After building out a complete prototype for a four-wheel standup scooter, they realized two wheels was the way to go.

Meanwhile, the Phat Scooter—named for its fat, cruiser-style tires—is also hitting the green. But unlike the FinnCycle, this ride is actually street-ready (if you stick to the bike lane). Topping out at 20 mph, the Phat Scooter rides like a bike-scooter hybrid. Complete with a USB charger, a built-in cooler, a place in the back for your golf bag and a spot especially for keeping balls, tees and scorecards, the Phat Scooter is designed to meet the unique needs of golfers.

But does all that make for a comfortable ride? Just ask PGA Pro Pat Perez, who says using the Phat Scooter is “like riding a couch.”

Over in Sweden, Eduard Gray has launched the Ellwee, a four-wheel ATV-inspired golf course vehicle with specialized features like a downhill brake. It claims to increase the speed of completing a round by 25% while delivering the lowest rate of wear and tear.

But are they really ‘motorcycle-style?’

As these golf cart alternatives appear more frequently on the green, there’s been talk of them delivering “fairway freedom.” One article even said the FinnCycle “lets you channel your inner Steve McQueen,” pairing the headline with an image of someone from Sun Motor Sports ‘popping a wheelie’ on the scooter. But although riders can relate to the thrill of the open road, it’s impossible to compare these golf course scooters to motorcycles themselves. (And as some forums share, these rides also remove the barrier between golfer and the elements, which might be an undesirable reality of riding that many golfers aren’t quite ready to embrace just yet.)

Will there soon come a day when the icon Caddyshack-style golf carts disappear from greens altogether? And will these golf cart alternatives continue to evolve from their current scooter-esque functionality and get closer to delivering the experience we know so well as riders?

7 Things to Know When You’re Moving a Motorcycle Yourself

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

You’ve searched far and wide for the motorcycle of your dreams. And then, after countless hours of researching models and even more hours scouring sale listings, the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’ve finally found your perfect bike.

The catch? It’s sitting pretty three states away.

As more of us choose to purchase motorcycles online, we’re faced with a choice: ship the motorcycle or move it ourselves. There are definite advantages to making the drive, strapping down the bike in your pickup truck and driving it home yourself. There’s nothing like seeing the motorcycle in person and being able to hand the seller cash when you confirm you love what you see. And what rider would pass up an opportunity to try out their new motorcycle on a nice long ride? Or maybe you’re planning to make a mini-road trip out of it, flying to pick up the motorcycle and then riding it home.

No matter your reason for moving your motorcycle yourself, keep these logistics issues in mind to ensure you’re making the choice best for your bike (and your wallet). 

  1. Choose the correct tie-downs

How you tie down your bike can mean the difference between a safe arrival and a damaged motorcycle—and the damaged ego that comes along with it. Use high-quality tie-downs with ratchet or cam buckles .

Which model of tie downs you choose may vary, but one thing is for sure: don’t trust the $10 4-pack of tie-downs from Home Depot when your motorcycle’s safety is at stake. Now Home Depot is a fine establishment, but they certainly aren’t in the business of transporting motorcycles.

Check your tie-downs for a manufacturer’s rating that matches the needs of your motorcycle. Many tie-down brands boast about the “web rating” of their product. This is simply the amount of weight that can be applied to the strap portion before it breaks. Don’t be fooled by the web rating alone as usually the assembly or the hooks are the first to fail. Look for a strap with an assembly rating of at least 800 lbs, and a hook rating of 1000 lbs. Higher quality tie-downs are expensive, but their cost pales in comparison to your motorcycle’s value or the cost of repairs from a motorcycle transport gone wrong.

Your straps should have a soft, nylon portion in which to connect to your bike. Avoid attaching the metal hooks directly as they may cause damage. The best strap is one that has a built in soft loop. Or you might simply use a simple soft tye attachment with your metal hook.

  1. Make sure your truck is properly equipped for the job

Having a truck is a good start. Having high-quality tie-downs is even better. But once you’ve got these basic elements in place, it’s time to consider all the logistics of getting your motorcycle securely strapped down, loaded and unloaded.

You’ll want four ties for a street bike—at the front and on both sides—and as many as six for a larger motorcycle, situated at the front and back. Make sure your truck has strong hooks capable of holding down your new ride. These points should be part of your vehicle’s structural body. Factory installed hooks are the best, don’t rely on Tie down points in the back of a pickup truckaftermarket clamp-on style hooks. Don’t make the mistake of attaching a strap to the sheet metal of your fender, or worse yet, your removable bed liner. The best location is low in the bed. You want to achieve a 45-degree angle as shown in the diagram if possible.

Next, you’ll also need a proper ramp to load your motorcycle in and out of your truck bed. You may think it’s easy enough to get a motorcycle into your truck, but we can tell you from experience that it’s simply not. Just for fun, type “motorcycle loading fails” into YouTube and you will see a few examples of this.

One of the most important things to remember about your ramp, is that it is secured to your truck so that it doesn’t slide off when loading. This can be accomplished with just about any ramp if you run straps from the ramp to secure points on your truck. Here is a ramp that will get the job done for you. Spring for the ramp; your back (and bike) will thank you.

  1. Position your vehicle properly

Common sense will tell you to find a level place to park your truck, but here are two more tips to consider that are even more helpful. First, it’s always better to load on concrete or asphalt instead of dirt. This will make the base for the ramp more stable and give you and anyone helping you much better footing. Next, try to find a low spot in which to place the rear wheels of your truck. Sometimes the best is to simply back your truck into a driveway and leave the rear wheels in the gutter or next to a curb.Silver truck backed into a driveway

Set your parking brake. Whether you’re driving an automatic, or a stick shift, the last thing you want is your truck to move even a couple of inches while you in the middle of loading your new bike.

  1. Get people to help

You may be more of a “lone wolf” rider, but when it comes to moving your motorcycle, don’t go it alone. We have seen people who successfully load their motorcycle, using the engine to drive bike up the ramp, but this is not the preferred method. It’s best to have at least one person on each side of the ramp to assist with balance, and one person at the back of the bike. You should have people ready to help you at both ends of your journey: loading the motorcycle onto your truck and unloading once you’ve made it home.

  1. Tie your bike properly

One person should steady the bike while another starts the process of strapping the bike in the front. Make sure the kickstand is up during this process. The most important part here is to choose the correct location and method of connecting the strap to the bike. As mentioned previously, it is best to start with a soft tye, but always look for a structurally solid place to wrap the tye. My favorite is the lower triple clamp or fork assembly.Overhead diagram of proper motorcycle strapping locations Just be sure that you wrap the strap around the clamp or fork and avoid pinching any wires, cables or brake lines. You sometimes need to really work the nylon strap into the right position to avoid any damage.After you have the strap connected, extend the other end to your connection point inside the truck bed. Make sure the strap does not put any pressure on bodywork, fenders, light bars etc. If so, choose another strapping location or connection point.

Repeat this procedure on the other side and add straps to the back of the bike as well for a minimum total of four.Motorcycle strapped in the back of a pickup truck

  1. Check your vehicle pre-trip

When you’re riding high on the thrill of your new motorcycle, the last thing you want is car troubles. Check your tires, brake pads, fluids and other essentials before you embark upon your road trip. Also keep in mind that moving a motorcycle will put wear and tear on your vehicle (in addition to racking up miles, depending on how far away your motorcycle is located).

  1. Factor in your true trip costs

When you’re finally going to pick up your new motorcycle, it’s easy to overlook the true costs of moving it yourself. But be sure to factor in gas/fuel, wear and tear, materials like tie-downs—and the value of your time—when budgeting for your road trip.

With spring weather here and summer right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to buy your dream motorcycle and have some fun. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, safe way to get your bike from Point A to Point B, Motorcycle Shippers can help as well. Get a free quote today to see if we can save you some time and money when buying that new bike.