Posted On 08 May 2024
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This entry is part 17 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#30


A Bikes Only semi, out on the Darwin run.

We try to be like the Marines, here at MOTORCYCLIST, and leave no rider or bike behind. But it doesn’t always work out. A couple of times in my long moto journo life, test bikes have ‘failed to proceed’ and have had to be left behind. One was at Nullarbor Station, predictably enough in the middle of the Nullarbor Plain; the other was in Queenstown, Tasmania, down in the far south-west. In both cases, the distributors who had provided the bikes had to use non-specialist transport companies to get their bikes back. I’ve never seen bikes, other than ones that had been totalled in a crash, with so much damage.

Admittedly I didn’t see one other, almost legendary, pickup disaster: the Gold wing that had been dropped by a magazine I once edited (not when I was there), and had had its left side wiped out. When a flattop truck was sent to collect it, its crane broke and the bike hit the edge of the truck with its right side… spectacular was hardly the word for it.

So it pays to get experts to shift your much-loved machine.

Lift platforms are fitted to all Just Bikes vehicles.

Fortunately, these days there are quite a few to choose from for local, interstate or international shipping.

We’ve divided the shipping tasks into four: Local will probably mean picking you up from the roadside after you’ve suffered some kind of mishap,or perhaps dropping your bike off at a workshop for maintenance or whatever.

Interstate would include things like getting your bike taken somewhere for a holiday (yours, not the bike’s) or having it sent home from somewhere to save time, or delivering a bike you’ve bought or sold from or to somewhere too far away to ride. International is essentially the holiday market, where you send your bike to New Zealand or Britain and follow by aircraft. Finally, buying internationally is just what it says – you’ve bought a bike and need it brought home, and perhaps compliance and so on.

We’ve given you examples of companies who do each of these jobs.

A Sydney Motorbike Network van.


This is actually probably the most difficult of all transport tasks to arrange.

Not that it takes any more than a phone call when it’s needed; but selecting whom you’re going to call is not so easy.

Why is that? Well, the operators who specialise in this kind of work are usually small, sometimes with only one van or even just a trailer. That doesn’t make them bad; if they’ve got their territory worked out and they can offer convenient and well-priced service, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use them.

Bike strapped securely into a Bikes Only vehicle.

Well, almost no reason.

There is a danger of encountering cowboys. That means primarily someone without adequate insurance and also covers people without appropriate experience and equipment or the inclination to take the kind of care of your bike that you know it deserves.

I’m not saying that there are a lot of these people, and by their nature they come and go.

Obviously then what you want is someone who has adequate insurance, experience, equipment and attitude. We looked at Sydney Motorbike Network as an example of what you should look for when you’re getting your bike moved locally. Partly because Terri, our sales manager, has personal experience.

“When I needed to transport my precious MV Agusta back to Sydney from Gosford, I was a bag of nerves,” she says.

“I asked around, and Surf side Motorcycle Garage in Brookvale, which has to transport dozens of unique motorcycles, recommended Mark Travers at Sydney Motorbike Network. Mark went out of his way to make an unscheduled trip for me.

“Mark was a motorcycle courier and he loves bikes and is a motorcycle mechanic.

He can arrange transport from practically anywhere to everywhere at very reasonable rates, including interstate.

He also has an office in the Riverina that services the Western Plains, Broken Hill and the ACT.

“Mark can arrange rescue and recovery if you’ve broken down, and has been authorised to attend motorcycle accident scenes so your bike won’t end up being dragged on its side onto the back of a truck (see Goldwing story above). “

We suggest that you keep SMN’s numbers in your wallet or pre programmed into your phone – just in case of emergency. They are 1300 36 35 33 or 0414 509 323. You can also check SMN’s website for a quote (www.

No, we don’t think they move guitars…


It’s not all that easy to pick an interstate transport company either, but once again we have personal experience. This time it’s me: I had to get our project Sportster from Iron Head Customs in Hoppers Crossing near Melbourne to Motorcyclist HQ in Sydney.

Like Terri, I asked around and the name that came up most often was Bikes Only.

I took a quick look at their website and then called them; they were able to give me a specifi c pickup and delivery date, which they kept scrupulously. I got a call on the day before they were due to deliver the bike to confirm arrangements.

Although I wasn’t able to be home when the bike was due, it arrived on schedule and in perfect condition, and they left it exactly where I’d asked for it to go.

Ray Callen, the National Operations Manager of Bikes Only, says “We have about $7 million’s worth of trucks, rigids and vans on the road. All of our vehicles have tailgate lifters, so there is never any danger of damage to bikes being collected or delivered. Transit insurance is included in freight costs.

“You can get a quick quote from our website, and you can also pay on the website. Alternatively,you can ring 1300 735 468.

“We have set routes all across Australia.

Our trucks run on schedule; we do not consolidate, which makes a big difference because it means we are always punctual. Apart from the main capitals we ship to places like Cairns, Darwin, Perth and Hobart, as well as operating a regional network, and our depots in all States are fully secured. We’re also now the company of choice for Australia’s biggest internet sales operators, Bikesales and Bike Point.”

A very useful association Just Bikes has is with an escrow company, which ensures that you get paid when you sell a bike and send it to the new owner.


Once again, while there are several companies shipping bikes overseas for holiday and, I suppose, other purposes, the one that comes up most frequently is Get Routed. And of coursed the destination that’s by far the most common is New Zealand. But geez, I don’t know – is Get Routed New Zealand really going to win any friends across the Tasman?

Where Australians are concerned, Kiwis notoriously lose their sense of humour.

Well, never mind. Clive McFadden

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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