It was brought up that someone should do a write up on packaging a bike.
When I pack a bike I try to mimic how manufacturers pack them. Manufacturers have professional packaging engineers to design the most optimal method of packaging in regards to efficeincy, cost and safety of the product. what most people dont realize is how little packaging material is actualy used to pack a bike from the factory.
Tube protection is nothing more than very thin cardboard held in place by the smallest amount of tape. wheels are zip tied to the side of the frame and all of the small parts are packaged in a smaller box which is found in the big box. when a bike leaves the factory in may only leave a pallet once or twice.
On a pallet a bike box is bound togehter with dozens of other boxes and the pallets are moved by fork lifts. Depending on the size of a dealers order they may be delivered on a pallet or delivered as an individual unit. Delivery as an individual unit is how most damage will occur. drivers will toss boxes around as needed so they can finish their route as quickly as possible.
As an individual whos into bikes as a hobby I have to be very carefull when packaging. I dont have the funds of a big store behind me to absord the cost of a damaged bike. Therefore, I have to ake extra steps when packaging.
How easy it is to package dpends on the style of bike.
Old road bikes: Theses bike have conventional diamond frames versus frames with sloping top tubes. In general, the highest point of a conventioal diamond frame when packaged is the top of the seat tube.
Sloping top tube bikes: dpending on the size of the frame the highest point could be the front wheel or rear wheel. These are my favorite to package because you can leave the seat and seatpost installed.
Mtn. bikes: Similar to sloping top tube bikes.
Boxes can be no bigger than 130: of combines length and girth. Girth is Width + width + height + height. DO NOT measure the variables individualy!!!. Measure the length and hold your tape measure at that measurement. While holding the tape measure at the previous length measurement wrap it around the box like a string to get your combined length plus girth measurement. this technique, which FedEx and the USPS uses can save you upto 2". While 2" doesnt sound like much thats an extra inch of 'height' which in turns is an extra 1" of protection for a seat tube.
So...here we go. I'm shipping this beautiful Cannondale to California. Cannondales have extended seat tubes which need extra protection. My biggest fear with this bike would be the seat tube extension snapping off or cracking due to an impact. A steel frame, without and extended seat tube, would have reduced the gith measurement by almost 4"!!!!
Bike needs to go in box: