How to Make a Shipping Crate for My Motorcycle

by Andrea MarinoUpdated September 26, 2017
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If you are in need of a motorcycle shipping crate, containers can often be quite pricey. An alternative solution is to build your own. Building a shipping crate is a project that takes about half a day and is possible for anyone who has basic knowledge of using tools such as drills, saws, hammers and nails. As long as approved materials are used, your homemade shipping crate can even be used for international shipping.

Measure your motorcycle and write down all dimensions. Your shipping crate will be based on the weight and measurements of your bike. Designate a work area (a garage works best) to begin your construction. Make sure your work area is well lit and properly ventilated. Wear safety goggles while using equipment.

Obtain an oversized pallet. The pallet can be new or used and will become the base of your shipping crate. Lay the pallet flat on the ground and make sure the length and width of pallet exceed the length and width of your bike. The pallet should be able to support the weight of your bike and should have slits on each side so it can be lifted by a forklift.

Lay a piece of plywood flat over the pallet. Drill holes in each on the four corners using a electric drill and fasten securely with screws. Place motorcycle upright on top of the plywood covered pallet.

Using a saw, cut the lumber into eight short pieces and four long pieces (matching the edges of the plywood sheets). Build a frame using the short pieces of the 2x4 lumber by placing one piece in each of the four corners in an upright position. Line the base of the container with lumber also. Fasten by drilling holes and screwing each of the corners tightly.

Build walls of shipping crate by using plywood sheets and attaching to the frame. Fasten plywood by drilling a hole approximately every three feet and securing with a screw. For the vertical pegs, use carriage bolts and wing nuts, making sure that the wing nuts are on the inside.

Secure motorcycle inside shipping crate using fastening belts. Attach the belts to each of the four inner walls. Line the top of each wall with a 2x4, creating a frame and attach using hammer and nails. Complete the shipping crate by taking the last piece of plywood and sliding it over the top of the container. Drill holes and secure the cover using screws. If desired, secure any loose edges of the container using hammer and nails.

Items you will need

  • Over-sized pallet

  • 6 pieces of plywood

  • 2x4 lumber

  • Carriage bolts

  • Wing nuts

  • Screws

  • Hammer

  • Nails

  • Table saw

  • Drill

  • Safety goggles

  • Fastening belts


If your motorcycle is being shipped internationally, all wood (including pallet) must be heat treated and stamped. Untreated wood crates will be confiscated or returned to origin by customs.

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