If you’re a cyclist or triathlete, or work in the biking industry, mailing a bike is something that you’ll have to do often, whether it’s for sporting events that you will be attending, or for shipping orders to customers who purchase bikes from you. Here are some instructions on how to properly pack and ship a bike, to get it to its intended destination safely and undamaged.
You’ll need a box that is large enough and study enough to carry your bicycle. Bicycle shipping boxes will usually measure around 54 x 8 x 28 inches, and cost around $7.00 each. You can also ask a local bike shop for a freebie. Bike shops usually discard boxes after receiving products from their vendors, so your local bike shop will more than likely have a couple lying around.
Some materials you may need:
1. Allen wrenches to dismount the bike handles
2. Pedal wrench
3. Crank wrench and puller
4. Pipe insulation
5. Zip ties
6. Bubble wrap
You can start off by removing the seat. Before you do, you should mark the height position so after you have put the bike back together and are on the road again, you will have the same exact position and ride that you have become accustomed to. No stopping every five minutes to adjust. You can mark the position by simply wrapping a strip of packing tape around the seat post where it meets the frame. You can also take a nail or box cutter and scratch the paint off, if you don’t mind that small blemish.
Next, take the pedals off using a pedal wrench, like the one shown below. To break your bike down even further, and make your package more compact, remove the cranks with a crank wrench.
Then, loosen the brakes and skewers to remove the tires. To protect your brakes, set a piece of cardboard between the brake pads. To ensure the frame doesn’t get damaged due to compression while in transit, place a spacer or hub in between the fork where you removed the tire skewer.
With an allen wrench, loosen the handle bar where it meets the tube head. DO NOT de-attach the cables in anyway. Be as careful as possible not to loosen them as well. Secure The handle bar assembly and any loose wires to the frame with zip ties.
To further protect your frame, you can cover it with pipe insulation like this:
Wrap loose parts such as the seat, seat post, skewers, cranks and pedals in bubble wrap. Smaller parts can be taped or zip tied to the frame.
Put bolts, such as the crank and handlebar bolts, back in the frame where they belong minus the attached component. This will reduce the number of loose parts that can get lost, and help you figure out where everything goes on the bike when you reassemble it.
Place the frame into you shipping box first. Then, slide the tires in carefully, one on each side of the frame. Next, slide the seat and post in a secure spot inside.
Fill empty spaces with bubble wrap, to minimize movement. Try to make the box as “quiet” as possible.
Secure the box closed with strong packing tape.
For safer and faster handling, we always recommend using a major courier other than the US Mail. Furthermore, some packages are simply not eligible to ship US Mail, so you may not have a choice. FedEx and UPS are the obvious biggies.
That said, the average cost for shipping a bike via Fedex or UPS within the continental United States is $60 – $80, assuming the typical 35 pound shipping weight for a bicycle (using a cardboard mailer). You may have to pay an additional 35 or more dollars if you are using a plastic bicycle shipping case.
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