Author Topic: Best way to ship a bicycle?  (Read 822 times)

The 585

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Best way to ship a bicycle?
« on: March 08, 2022, 07:07:35 PM »
I'm moving to Europe soon and was wondering what the best way to self ship a road bicycle would be. Postage would be covered by the employer but I have to use USPS.

Is disassembly and reassembly pretty simple to do myself if I can find the right size box? Or would it be worth it to use a service? Thanks in advance!

FINate

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Re: Best way to ship a bicycle?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2022, 08:17:31 PM »
You need a bike box, something like https://shop.bikeflights.com/boxes

I've never done it myself, but from what I've hear from friends who have, requires minimal disassembly: remove the wheels and seatpost and pack these along with the frame in the box.

Maybe those here with first-hand experience can provide more detail.

fell-like-rain

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Re: Best way to ship a bicycle?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2022, 08:56:40 PM »
You can go to a bike shop and ask them for their leftover boxes, which in my experience they'll be happy to do. Might not be quite as deluxe as those BikeFlights ones, but they clearly are adequate for the task of shipping a bike, and you can't beat the price. As FINate said, then you just take off the wheels and seat, and you're golden.

Instead of shipping, you can also fly with one in your checked bags if you so choose. I think I got charged $50 extra for the oversized bag fee the one time I did that, which may be cheaper than USPS. But I'm sure the fees have gone up over time.

Also, I'd take some care to deflate the tires a bit before packing- this may be paranoia, but I worry about them exploding in an unpressurized airplane hold.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2022, 08:58:11 PM by fell-like-rain »

FLBiker

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Re: Best way to ship a bicycle?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2022, 06:31:22 AM »
I've done this a few times.  One thing that's helpful is to put a spacer in the fork (so it doesn't get bent).  If you get a box at a bikeshop, they might also be able to give you this.  I'd also cover any exposed bolts, so they don't rip through the box.  The last time I did this (moving from Taiwan to Hawaii) I crammed a bunch of clothes in the box and it made it through fine.

After I put it together the first time, I rode it to a bike shop and they gave it a once over.  Turns out,  I had put the front fork on backwards (not an easy mistake to make, but I was jetlagged).  It's pretty straightforward, I'd just pack it well and recognize that you might want to take it for a tune up (if you aren't super comfortable doing that yourself) after you arrive.

Hibernaculum

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Re: Best way to ship a bicycle?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2022, 07:50:07 AM »
As others have said, check out your local bike shops. Timing matters here. Most bike shops spend the weekends with sales and repairs, and then early in the week, they build bikes. So, if you check with them on Thursday or Friday or a weekend, they have probably already tossed/recycled the boxes. You've got a better shot on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Get as much of the associated packing materials as you can, especially the little plastic piece that fits in between the fork blades at the dropout.

I just shipped a bike that I sold. It was pricey, and I was fond of the bike, so I wanted to make sure it made it to the new owner in great condition.

I mostly followed this method:
https://www.rivbike.com/pages/how-we-pack-your-bike

Generally, what you want to do is to wrap everything up so that things are not moving around and banging into things, and also make sure that potential sharp points won't poke through the box. So pay particular attention to the fork ends and where the seatpost goes into the frame. Bikeflights also has some packing hints on their website.

Bike tires won't blow in an airplane hold- the difference in ambient pressure between ground and the cargo hold doesn't come to much in terms of psi.

I would highly recommend bikeflights.com. You don't need to buy the box from them to ship with them, but you will need a few photos to document how you packed the bike (if there happens to be a claim), so I'd suggest this order:
- gather materials (bike box, pipe foam, packing tape, newspaper works pretty well)
-measure box
- set up shipment with bikeflights.com
-pack bike, taking a few photos as you go
-get final weight and then set up a pickup via bikeflights

Hope this helps!

The 585

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Re: Best way to ship a bicycle?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2022, 12:53:33 PM »
Thanks for all the great tips! My initial thought was like you guys said, get a free box from a local bike shop and minor disasembly and pack it myself.

As others have said, check out your local bike shops. Timing matters here. Most bike shops spend the weekends with sales and repairs, and then early in the week, they build bikes. So, if you check with them on Thursday or Friday or a weekend, they have probably already tossed/recycled the boxes. You've got a better shot on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Get as much of the associated packing materials as you can, especially the little plastic piece that fits in between the fork blades at the dropout.

I just shipped a bike that I sold. It was pricey, and I was fond of the bike, so I wanted to make sure it made it to the new owner in great condition.

I mostly followed this method:
https://www.rivbike.com/pages/how-we-pack-your-bike

Generally, what you want to do is to wrap everything up so that things are not moving around and banging into things, and also make sure that potential sharp points won't poke through the box. So pay particular attention to the fork ends and where the seatpost goes into the frame. Bikeflights also has some packing hints on their website.

Bike tires won't blow in an airplane hold- the difference in ambient pressure between ground and the cargo hold doesn't come to much in terms of psi.

I would highly recommend bikeflights.com. You don't need to buy the box from them to ship with them, but you will need a few photos to document how you packed the bike (if there happens to be a claim), so I'd suggest this order:
- gather materials (bike box, pipe foam, packing tape, newspaper works pretty well)
-measure box
- set up shipment with bikeflights.com
-pack bike, taking a few photos as you go
-get final weight and then set up a pickup via bikeflights

Hope this helps!

But I watched that video you provided, and WOW that's way more complex than I had imagined! I'm sure they're being super thorough there, but I was thinking it'd just be removing the pedals, handlebars, seat, front wheel, and let everything else be. Watching this video made me think maybe having a local bike shop do the disasemble and packing for me could be worth the extra cost, and then having a shop on the other end do the reassembly and tune-up just for good measure.

Personally I'm not very handy with bikes aside from minor routine maintenance. Disasembly of brakes and other functional parts makes me a little worried.