Shipping a bike for the first time can be difficult. Bikes are expensive and fragile pieces of gear, and their size makes them hard to pack. They also take up a lot of space, so transporting them safely requires adequate planning.
Luckily, there are a few methods to make this procedure easier. This article will walk you through how to ship your bike, including the packaging materials you’ll need, how to dismantle and box your bike, how much it costs to ship your bike, and how to track your shipment.
How Do I Pack My Bike for Shipping?
1. Gather the necessary packing materials.
The first step in determining how to ship your bike is to obtain the necessary materials you’ll need to adequately box it and protect it from dents and damage.
Here is a checklist of the items you’ll need to prepare your bike for shipping.
- Zip ties
- Bubble wrap
- Pedal wrench
- Shipping tape
- Foam padding
- Utility knife or scissors
- Bike shipping box or travel case
- Extra cardboard for padding
- Pad spacers (for hydraulic disc brakes)
- Plumbing insulation to protect the frame
2. Take apart the bike
The next step in solving the riddle of how to ship a bike is to disassemble it in order to make it smaller and lower its height while still protecting vulnerable elements.
Disassemble the pedals, seat, and Seatpost
Remove the pedals, seat, and Seatpost with a pedal spanner. Set them aside after wrapping them with bubble wrap. The goal is to make your bike as compact and low as possible so that it will not pop through the box.
Remove the handlebars
Insert the Allen key into the front of your handlebars’ screw. To loosen the screw, turn the screwdriver counterclockwise. You should be able to take your handlebars out of their housing once they’re loose. Keep the smaller pieces together in a zip lock bag to find them quickly when reassembling the bike later.
To avoid any contact with the edges of your bike shipment box, ensure the brake levers are facing inwards. Tape or zip tie the top tube of your bike to the handlebars as needed.
Remove the Front Wheel
You don’t have to worry about the rear wheel because most boxes for shipping bikes will contain it. Use a quilted wheel bag or bubble wrap and foam to cushion the wheel. Remove the rotators, thru-axles, and skewers and cover them with foam or bubble wrap. Install end caps on the axle ends on both wheels or wrap them in bubble wrap, then cover the cassette on the back wheel with form or padding.
After you’ve removed the wheels, keep all disc brakes separated. To accomplish this, use a pad spreader. You should also secure the calipers that extend beyond the bike’s back dropout to avoid damaging or punching through the box. Remove them from the frame, pad them, and fix them to the interior.
Partially Deflate Your Bike’s Tires
Deflating your tires will create more space in the box for other parts of the bike. This will also prevent the tubes from bursting in transit. To deflate your bike tire, remove the caps on the tire and gently apply pressure to the needle in the middle of the valve.
Important Tip: You might be able to disassemble your bike yourself if you have the expertise and a set of tools. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up causing more damage to your bicycle than good. In such situations, it is advisable to leave the task to a local bike shop or shipping company.
3. Place the disassembled components in the box
When considering the possible ways to ship your bike, you must choose between shipping assembled and dismantled bicycles. Disassembling your bike lowers the risk of damage and helps decrease the dimensional weight, lowering the shipping cost. You can learn more about dimensional weight in my previous article on How to Ship Large Items.
You may need to check with your shipping company to see if they ship assembled bicycles and what the charges are. Most carriers won’t send your bike assembled, and you might not be able to get a bike shipping crate that fits it.
Follow these steps to pack your bikes efficiently:
Find a suitable box. You should check to see if you can obtain the box for free. If the bike shop doesn’t have any boxes, you can get one for a cheap price online.
Invest in a bike travel case for high-value bikes. Even though they may cost you more than cardboard boxes, the protection they offer is worth the extra dollars. In fact, it can be a more economical container for your expensive bike, if you consider the cost of fixing a damaged bike. You can get a hard travel case from Thule Store on Amazon.
Line the bottoms of the boxes with crumpled paper, packing peanuts, or bubble wrap. This will reduce the effect of shocks and vibration in transit.
Protect your bike frame and other parts with plumbing insulation or bubble wrap. Ensure you wrap and secure the items with tape to prevent any damage.
Place the bike’s frame together with the back wheel in the box before any other items. You may need someone to hold the box if the bike is heavy.
Fill the container with the remaining components. As close to the frame as possible, slide them up. Close the box after you’ve placed all of the parts and double-check that the sides aren’t bulging.
Fill up any gaps in the box with crumpled paper or other padding materials to ensure that no part is moving around.
Seal the box tightly using several coats of tape. It is advisable to shake it gently to confirm that all parts are intact before you
Fill out your shipping information on your courier’s website, print the shipping labels, and attach them to the box.
4. Ship Your Bike
To ensure your bike reaches its destination the way you want it, you need to:
Choose a Courier and Shipping Method
Compare prices from several shipping companies to get the most cost-effective option. For a price, major shipping firms such as FedEx, USPS, and UPS may ship your bike. Other services that specialize in shipping bicycles include Sports Express, Bikeflights, and Shipbikes.com. Calculate the cost of each service by using the measurement package’s dimension.
Print and Attach Shipping Labels
Fill out your shipping information on your courier’s website, print the shipping labels, and attach them to the box. Make sure to cover the face of the label with transparent masking tape to protect it from damage in transit.
Send Your Package
There are several ways to send your bike to your courier. You can choose home pick up, which comes at an extra fee or take the package to the courier’s nearest drop-off location.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Bike?
When it comes to the price of shipping a bike, it is impossible to find a standard price. This is because many factors, like your chosen courier, package weight, and delivery speed, affect the costs. If you want the most affordable option, you need to get quotes or calculate the cost from different couriers.
Here’s an estimate for shipping a 29-pound mountain bike from Brooklyn, New York to Miami, Florida in a 43-by-11-by-32-inch bike shipping box. This doesn’t include the cost of packaging, insurance, or any other costs that may come up when your shipment is handled.
- USPS :$160.55 in 7 days
- UPS Next Day Air Saver: $772.53 in 1 day.
- UPS 2nd Day Air: $620.70 in 2 days.
- UPS 3 Day Select: $373.37 in 3days
- UPS Ground: $101.97 in 3 days
- FedEx 2Day: $616.06 in 4days
- FedEx Express Saver: $433.99 in 5 days
- FedEx Ground: $142.31 in 5 days
DHL has competitive international shipping prices, so if you need to ship a bike overseas, this is the carrier to utilize. Here’s what DHL charges to ship a 29-pound bike from New York to Hong Kong in a similar bike shipment box.
- DHL Express Worldwide: $370.25
How Can I Cut Down on Shipping Costs for My Bike?
Because there’s no one-size-fixes-all price for shipping a bike, there are many factors that you can control to your advantage. These include:
Packing Your Bike in the Smallest Box that Can Contain It.
Most shipping companies calculate your shipping fee based on the dimension of your package instead of the weight. To find the most affordable way to send heavy items and bring down costs, you need to package your items as well as you can to keep their dimensions as compact as possible.
Sending Your Package Early Using Ground Shipping.
This is often the slowest shipping service offered by most couriers, but at the same time, it is typically the cheapest. Because it takes a longer time to deliver, it is vital to plan ahead and ship as early as possible.
Traveling with the Bike on the Plane.
Check out the rules and costs that come with hauling your bike on the plane. Some airlines will transport your bike on board. This reduces the chances of the bike getting lost and can often be less expensive than shipping.