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  1. #1
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    Disassembling/assembling bike for travel

    Can anyone refer me to a video/article/book that can show me how to dissassemble a bike to pack. I have a tri bike and taking it to italy for a race. I have checked you tube and either they are not very specific or hard to understand.

    I am most concerned with derailler and handle bar dissassebly and reassembly...other stuff seems self explanatory...also I guess I need some new tools......I just have this feeling that I will be able to break it down someway but when I get there I will have a hardtime putting it back together withouit it falling apart on my ride

    thanks for any input

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    1. Go to your local bike shop and ask to look at a bike in the factory box. Pay attention to all of the little details - the brace for the fork, the little plastic mushrooms for the axles, the box for the quick releases and small parts. Every one is necessary or it wouldn't be there so replicate all of that. Even the cog that the chain is on matters. When I owned my own shop, I received over 1,000 factory packed bikes via UPS with zero damage claims. Zero. I can't say the same for bikes that weren't factory packed.

    2. Generally the only tools you will need to disassemble and pack a bike for shipping are metric allen wrenches. When I was working at bike shops I never charged for shipping cartons and the related packing materials. Be aware, however, that just like bikes, bike boxes come in sizes. Road bikes generally take a taller box than mountain bikes. If you're asking for a free box it pays to plan early.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 02-21-11 at 07:19 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    1. Go to your local bike shop and ask to look at a bike in the factory box. Pay attention to all of the little details - the brace for the fork, the little plastic mushrooms for the axles, the box for the quick releases and small parts. Every one is necessary or it wouldn't be there so replicate all of that. Even the cog that the chain is on matters. When I owned my own shop, I received over 1,000 factory packed bikes via UPS with zero damage claims. Zero. I can't say the same for bikes that weren't factory packed.

    2. Generally the only tools you will need to disassemble and pack a bike for shipping are metric allen wrenches. When I was working at bike shops I never charged for shipping cartons and the related packing materials. Be aware, however, that just like bikes, bike boxes come in sizes. Road bikes generally take a taller box than mountain bikes. If you're asking for a free box it pays to plan early.

    thanks for input..i will start with the LBS and get some stuff....I may already know the answer to this but is a torque wrench necessary? I have a carbon felt B16 and have the printout for the recommended torque. or is that more a recommendation but not necessary.

  4. #4
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    The torque wrench is a very good idea if you have to reinstall the stem on a carbon steerer, carbon handlebars in the stem, your tribars on a carbon base bar and a carbon seatpost. If you have a good "feel" for the necessary torque you can get away without one but for the inexperienced it's an excellent idea.

    As RG noted the tools you will need are pretty much limited to a set of metric allen wrenches and maybe allen bits to fit the torque wrench if you take one.

    If this is a one-time trip a box from your LBS will do fine if you pack properly. If you plan to travel routinely, a dedicated bike shipping container like the Trico "Ironcase" is a somewhat expensive but worthwhile investment.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinalrx View Post
    thanks for input..i will start with the LBS and get some stuff....I may already know the answer to this but is a torque wrench necessary? I have a carbon felt B16 and have the printout for the recommended torque. or is that more a recommendation but not necessary.
    Since you asked, get yourself a 1/4" drive torque wrench and the right size allen bit to fit your stem. I assume that you have a high dollar stem and it's easy to over torque them if you'r not aware of what you're doing. They don't require very much torque, that's why I recommend a 1/4" drive.

    The only other part on a bike that I use a torque wrench is cranks and bottom brackets. They take a lot more torque so you'd need a 3/8" drive for them. You don't generally remove them for shipping, however, so you should be OK.

    You'll also need a pedal wrench - I forgot to mention that in my earlier post.

  6. #6
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Yes, a pedal wrench is really important. If the pedals have been on for a while they can be quite difficult to get loose. A 6mm Allen wrench into the back side of the crank is OK for quickly spinning the pedal on or off but won't deliver the necessary torque for starting or finishing. Don't forget the left pedal is left-hand threaded. Pedal wrenches are heavy -- pack it in your regular suitcase, not in the bike box, so it doesn't bash against the bike when "turbulence during flight may have caused some heavy objects to shift." That or turbulent baggage handlers.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  7. #7
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Ask this question in the touring forum and the triathlon forum. Those riders pack up their bikes for travel regularly.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  8. #8
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    What nobody mentioned is the importance of practice. Packing a bike is mostly common sense, but you still need to learn some of the pitfalls, and tricks. It's assembly where most people get into trouble. You could learn and know, but run into a surprise or forget a step at the other end.

    I do race support and pre-race checks at a number of events, and there are always lots of folks who have assembly issues, running form the simple twisted cables (four cables, lots of room for a snafu), sloppy headsets, omitted HS spacers (lost in box, and not noticed on assembly) bent gear hangers, and so on.

    Have a good mechanic walk you through both dis-assembly & packing, and unpacking, assembly & adjustment. Make sure you know all basic gear, brake and headset adjustments, plus a bit of touch up wheel alignment.

    Then practice it all, over and over until it automatic. Just as a soldier needs to know how to fieldstrip and assemble his *****, you want to be able to reassemble and adjust your bike blindfolded (almost) . Plus have some extra knowledge for surprises.

    A few tips.

    1- disassemble and pack your bike in a clean room setting. Remove all clutter, especially any other bike stuff. Then dis-assemble and pack your bike being sure that every single thing found goes into the box. (I've known folks to forget a front wheel because they put it out of their way on the other side of the room).

    2- check your inventory of bike stuff and other stuff before packing and move it to the packing area. There's nothing worse than having everything packed and not remembering if some widget was packed.

    3- be methodical. years ago when I was taught to set up production machinery, learned these words to live by "do the same job the same way every time". Working systematically gives you the ability to trust your own work because you didn't have to think about it.

    4- pack a bunch of save-the-bike parts, including spare hardware, headset spacers, a set of headset bearings, or balls if loose bearings, a few spokes, and any other small stuff that's easy to break or lose.

    5-and probably most important, Plan your trip to arrive at least 1 full day (not Sunday) before your event. Also if using a connecting flight, book your first leg for the flight before the last one that makes the connection, or use earlier flights so there's a later connection. Things happen, from canceled flights to delayed luggage, or missing, lost, or damaged parts, so you want a margin for error and recovery. The last thing you want to have happen is to travel 4,000 miles and be screwed because something happened and there wasn't time to deal with it.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 02-21-11 at 03:20 PM.
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