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How to Pack a Bike for Shipping? – Only 4 Easy Steps

Writen by Gary Johnson

Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to pack a bike for shipping

If you are traveling outside your country and want to bring a bicycle, carrying it as luggage can be a huge hassle. You need to ship it beforehand to ensure its safety and durability. But how to pack a bike for shipping?

There are important steps you need to follow before your bike can finally fit inside the shipping box. You have to reduce its size by detaching the wheels, seatpost, and handlebars. For a more detailed process, check out the guide below.

Tools Required

The most important thing to learn in shipping your bike is the supply needed for the process. The materials you use should help protect your vehicle from any scratches or form of damage. Prepare the following:

  • Bicycle box for shipping
  • Foam padding
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Pad Spacers
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Additional cardboard for extra layer of protection
  • Wrench or Allen Key

Step-by-step Guide

Step 1: Get a perfectly sized box for your bicycle

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Before anything else, it is crucial that you acquire the correct box measurement for your bicycle. Whether you want to ship a road bike or a large mountain bike, box size is a huge consideration.

It will provide enough space for the vehicle to sit with the correct padding and layering. Moreover, the equipment will not move or shake inside.

You can ask your local bike shop if they have free boxes you can use, purchase a new one from the shop or online, or create a DIY bike shipping box. It is the correct way to pack a bike for a flight.

Step 2: Remove all the bike accessories

pack-a-bicycle-for-shipping

It is crucial to remove all accessories such as water bottles, speedometers, and mudguards when packing a bike for shipping.

You have to put them in a separate plastic container or in a hard case because they have the tendency to be misplaced due to their miniature sizes. Make sure that you label the container “accessories” to avoid accidentally throwing them out.

Step 3: Disassemble the bike properly

box-a-bike-for-shipping

When you disassemble a bike for shipping, you have to narrow it down and reduce its height, so it can perfectly fit your box.

Moreover, the best way to ship a bike is to provide a layer of protection for each of its parts.

Frame and Fork

The frame and fork are some of the biggest components of your bike. You have to protect them from any form of rubbing or direct contact with your shipping box or any other part of the bicycle.

It is important that you properly cushion the bike’s frame and fork. You can use foam, pipe insulation or bubble wrap for this process. Make sure there’s a lot of padding and it is securely attached to your bike frame and fork.

Pedals

Now that you’ve put insulation on the bike frame and fork, you can now proceed to securing the bike pedals.

For this process, you will need to use a wrench or Allen key to take the pedal off.

  • Move the Allen Key slowly until you notice that the pedal is gradually detaching from its attachment.
  • Remove it entirely, and use a bubble wrap to secure the piece. Make sure that you provide enough protection to the pedal by using electric tape or packing tape along the bubble wrap.

Handlebars

The next component you need to remove are the handlebars. Remember, most shipping boxes have narrow dimensions, and leaving the handlebars as they are may not work.

  • You have to take the handlebar off away from the front of the stem, and fully remove it from its attachment with the help of an Allen key. Remember to put the bolts back in place after doing this.
  • Then, attach the handlebar to the top tube with packing tape.
  • By this point, you will see that the stem of the bike is completely bare. Make sure that you put bubble wrap around it, too.

Wheels

Wheels are also large parts of the bicycle, and it is important to disassemble them. You need to remove the front wheel and the rear wheel entirely from the frame, so it can sit nicely into the shipping box.

  • Shift to the smallest gear and chainring. Release the brake by moving its lever or squeezing the calipers.
  • Then, pull the quick release component on the wheel to detach it. Make sure that you place it in a secure container to avoid misplacing it.
  • After removing the wheels, you will notice that the bike chain is hanging around and might get damaged if not taken care of.

It is essential that you also secure the bike chain by slowly appending it in between the bike frame. Moreover, use bubble wrap to protect some parts of the chain.

Seatpost

At this point, you’ve already removed the wheels and pedals, secured the handlebars and the bike chain.

The only thing left on the bike body is the saddle or the seat post. You can either remove the saddle or lower it down to fit inside the shipping box.

If you decide to remove the seatpost or saddle, you still have some essential steps to follow. With the help of a pedal spanner, unscrew it from the bicycle frame.

After detaching, wrap the seat with a bubble or foam for proper cushioning.

Step 4: Placing the bike inside the box

ship-a-road-bike

At this point, you have already disassembled your bike and significantly reduced its size. You also provided the right padding and cushioning to all the bike components. You are now ready to place the equipment inside the box.

To pack a bicycle for shipping, follow the steps below:

  • When you choose to box a bike for shipping, make sure that you have the appropriate measurement and dimension for the container.

Its size will change, depending on whether you want to ship mountain bike or a regular road bike. The box can be as small as 43 x 11 x 32 inches, or as big as 54 x 28 x 8. The latter can accommodate large MTBs.

  • Put a cover on the bottom part of the cardboard bike box using bubble wrap. Make sure that you pad the box generously, so you can lessen the impact of any vibration during transit.
  • Place the frame inside the box first, then the wheels next. The wheels should be put on one side only; do not separate them.
  • Then, proceed with the other parts by putting them as close as possible to the bike frame.
  • Once you’ve inserted all the bike components into the box, fill in the gaps with foam or cushioning. You can also use cardboard for this step.
  • Close the box with tape. In fact, follow the instructions of the courier or parcel service when sealing the shipping box.
  • Print the label from the shipping company.

More Helpful Tips

packing-a-bike-for-shipping

1. Fill in the right information

Whether you want to ship a bike UPS or any other courier, make sure that you provide the right information they requested. Double check the address and contact information. The courier can easily contact you in case there is a mishap during transit.

2. Get insurance

Couriers offer package insurance, especially for fragile items. If you want to get protection for your bike in case of damage, the insurance package is very helpful, especially when shipping your bike internationally.

3. Track your package

In order to have real time monitoring of your shipment, you can track your package using the number provided by the courier.

This way, you will know if your bike has been lost, misplaced, or sent to a wrong address. Plus, you’ll be able to contact customer service quickly regarding any problems.

4. Customs information

If you intend to ship your bike abroad, make sure that you fill in all the right information requested by customs. In this manner, you can avoid any situation where airlines or ports hold your package and cause unnecessary delays.

Conclusion

How to pack a bike for shipping? Shipping a bicycle is almost the same as shipping other items abroad.

However, it will take more effort because you need to disassemble parts of your bicycle, cushion, and secure them.

Good thing we already have this topic covered, so you do not need to worry about losing your bike during a flight. With this guide, your bike will likely stay intact and reach your desired destination.

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