Getting Your Motorcycle to the Bike Show: Ride or Tow?


Summer is right around the corner, and bike shows will be popping up from coast to coast. From the smallest grocery store parking lot to the largest arena, there’s a good chance you already have your eyes on a handful of events where you can show off your bike to motorcycle aficionados. How will your bike get there: Will you ride or tow it? It seems like a simple question, but both options have benefits. How do you choose the right travel option for you and your bike? Start by examining the pros and cons of each option: riding and towing.

Benefits of Riding

Riding your bike to a show can be as much fun as the show itself. After all, you didn’t buy a motorcycle just to tow it around. You got the bike to ride it. Here are some of the benefits of traveling to a bike show on your motorcycle.

Enjoy the Open Road

There may be lots of rewarding sights to see on your trip. Along the way, the wind whips through your hair and, as the miles roll by, you’re rewarded with unfettered access to the world around you. Your bike offers a first class ticket to one of the best views imaginable: rolling hills, waving fields of wheat, and pristine waterways, to name a few. You don’t find the same level of connection with these sights when riding in a car, truck, or SUV.

Fun With Riding Buddies

Sure, you can fit a friend or two in a vehicle that tows your bike, but you can’t fit 20. Riding your motorcycle to a show surrounded by biker friends is a great chance to bond as a group. Whether you’re rumbling down the road or enjoying a travel stop at a local restaurant, riding with the pack is always a fun time.

Test Your Bike for the Show

You may have put lots of time and money into upgrading your bike. You changed it from a stock motorcycle to an absolute road beast. There’s no better way to test your motorcycle performance upgrades than on the open road, on the way to the big show. Whether you’ve added a new fairing or a performance exhaust, testing it out before you roll into the show is a great chance to ensure that everything is working correctly. Plus, you have the added enjoyment of taking in unique sites on the trip.

Benefits of Towing

While it may not be as much fun as riding, there are benefits to towing your bike to a show. If you have a practical nature, this could be the choice for you, When done safely, towing a bike is a great way to keep your motorcycle safe. After all, the most important part of showing your bike is to show it off in pristine condition, right?

Less Wear on Your Bike

Motorcycle components only last so long. Sure, you can always replace them, but that can get expensive quick. When you’ve invested a lot of money in aftermarket parts and accessories, the smart decision may be to tow your bike to the show, thus saving your performance gear from unnecessary wear and tear.

Ideal for Vintage Models

Some bikes aren’t meant to be used daily. This is especially true of classics. If you have a vintage motorcycle with historical value, the last thing you want is to expose it to unnecessary wear. Towing the bike can help protect it from road wear and keep it in fine condition for the motorcycle show. It’s a great way to keep a piece of bygone Americana from the bike world safe as you travel.

Inclement Weather Forecast

There’s nothing good about the feeling of damp leather clinging your skin or the rank odor of wet socks when you peel them off after a ride through heavy rain. If spending an hour under an overpass, sheltering from a bad storm, isn’t your idea of a fun road trip, then towing is your friend. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to arrive at the show dry, in a comfortably air-conditioned vehicle.

Motorcycle Shipping Service

If a long ride through the countryside is not for you, or just not a practical option then you have another decision to make. Towing yourself or choosing to use a motorcycle shipping service. For most people, this decision is usually based on resources and time.

Tow Rig

If you already have a trailer and tow vehicle and are dreaming of the open road then towing yourself makes a lot of sense. For those of us that are not already set up for a long distance tow, shipping will likely be cheaper than purchasing a trailer and hitch.

Event Time or Tow Time

More often than not, the deciding factor for this decision is the time investment. Towing long-distance to a motorcycle show or event can be quite a time drain. For most of us today it’s hard enough to arrange for the couple days or week spent actually enjoying the event. Adding several days drive time to and from the show is either a deal breaker or cuts into the time your at the event.


By examining the benefits of riding or towing your motorcycle to a bike show, you can decide on the right transport plan for you and your bike. Both options offer distinct advantages. If the weather looks bad, get out the trailer and take it easy. If you need some fun in the sun, take your two-wheeler for a ride with your club or on your own. The choice is yours. One of the most important parts of making the decision is remembering that the trip should be enjoyable. It’s your chance to show off your prized bike and meet other motorcycle enthusiasts from the next town over or around the world. Decide which travel option suits you best, then hit the road to create another motorcycle experience that you’ll remember for life.

Meet the Author

Earl Baldwin is a long time car enthusiast with a fledgling collection of classics (‘48 Plymouth, ‘49 Pontiac, ‘55 Chrysler). He also has a passion for writing about exotic cars, motorcycles, aftermarket modifications, and improving car performance. When he’s not writing, he’s cruising around town in one of his classics.

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