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  1. #1
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Best way to ship a bike on plane?

    Planning a trip to So Cal. &
    First time Taking a bike (Sirrus Elite)

    Bike shop says a cardboard bike box is what they use when they travel ?

    Have priced the hard sided travel cases,

    How to prep & pack ?

  2. #2
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    I occasionally see he hardshell cases for sale used, but I wouldn't do it for a full sized bike unless you travel a lot.

    A disposable box also means you don't need to carry the thing with you if aren't arriving and departing at the same place, or don't have a place to store the box.

    I think the box I used was HUGE. I pretty much just needed to take the front wheel off and turn the bars sideways.

    Smaller boxes might require more disassembly of the bike.

    Just be careful of anything that might rub, or poke through the box. Skewers? Cassette? Plumbing insulation is cheap. Clothes also make good packing materials. Frequently people brace the dropouts and fork ends.

  3. #3
    Senior Member camelopardalis's Avatar
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    I looked into this once when I purchased a bike off Craigslist in Vancouver. I wanted to bring the bike to SoCal.

    I ended up asking a bike shop to pack the bike for me. The cost of the packing was Can$50 plus another Can$85 that the airline charged. Remember that you then have to bring the bike back home.

    Depending on how much riding you are planning, it may be more practical just to rent a bike in your destination.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post

    Just be careful of anything that might rub, or poke through the box. Skewers? Cassette? Plumbing insulation is cheap. Clothes also make good packing materials. Frequently people brace the dropouts and fork ends.
    Good points.
    Maybe some thin plywood on the sides, have some le-way on weight, got to be under 50 lbs.

    Figure some of the small removable parts could go in my luggage, seat& post, skewers, pedals

    Bike shop says I can have one of their boxes they receive their bikes in (free is good)

  5. #5
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    If you travel with it often, get a hard case. If not, and you can't borrow one, have a bike shop prepare your bike and put it in the box. A good shop will keep your baby from being damaged, even in a cardboard box.

    BTW ... where are you going to ride in SoCal? It was fab in the South Bay this morning.

    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
    www.photo395.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camelopardalis View Post
    I looked into this once when I purchased a bike off Craigslist in Vancouver. I wanted to bring the bike to SoCal.

    I ended up asking a bike shop to pack the bike for me. The cost of the packing was Can$50 plus another Can$85 that the airline charged. Remember that you then have to bring the bike back home.

    Depending on how much riding you are planning, it may be more practical just to rent a bike in your destination.

    Good idea

    Got a new bike (to me), it fits pretty good.

    Not sure about rentals in the PS area.
    Taking my saddle & seat post , pedals, could always take an adjustable stem to get it adjusted close.
    .....Got me thinking .....

  7. #7
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    You could try some door skins, but I don't think they are necessary.

    Sheet foam would be good. Perhaps ask the LBS to get the box plus a little extra packing materials. You could meet them when they're unboxing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    If you travel with it often, get a hard case. If not, and you can't borrow one, have a bike shop prepare your bike and put it in the box. A good shop will keep your baby from being damaged, even in a cardboard box.

    BTW ... where are you going to ride in SoCal? It was fab in the South Bay this morning.

    Oh Yea
    RUB IT IN !!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Way different than here

    LOL LOL

    Palm Springs area

  9. #9
    Senior Member trekmogul's Avatar
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    For five years in a row now I have shipped a bike from Detroit USA to Colombo Sri Lanka and very very simple. I go to my LBS with the bike and for $65.00 they will pack the bike CORRECTLY in a regular bicycle shipping cardboard box that they come in. The box can be no more thn I think 135 Linear Inches and weigh no more then 70LBs and shipping half way around the world to sri lanka is ONLY 150.00 USD. Not only can you get the bike in there, but lots and lots of your bike stuff too. I am again in 2 weeks time taking another bike with me just like the last 5 previous years..
    Trek Fuel EX9.0 Trek Fuel EX9.5 Trek Equinox 9.9SSL TTX Trek Madone 6.9 Pro Red Project One, Trek Boone 7, Trek Rumblefish Pro, Trek Remedy 9.9, Trek Carbon District

  10. #10
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekmogul View Post
    For five years in a row now I have shipped a bike from Detroit USA to Colombo Sri Lanka and very very simple. I go to my LBS with the bike and for $65.00 they will pack the bike CORRECTLY in a regular bicycle shipping cardboard box that they come in. The box can be no more thn I think 135 Linear Inches and weigh no more then 70LBs and shipping half way around the world to sri lanka is ONLY 150.00 USD. Not only can you get the bike in there, but lots and lots of your bike stuff too. I am again in 2 weeks time taking another bike with me just like the last 5 previous years..
    That is the way I'm leaning.
    Go watch them pack it & learn how to.
    Will need to send it back to Alaska the same way

    Am looking for a hard sided case on CL.
    No luck in Alaska but maybe in PS while I'm there.

    If doing it annually,
    Maybe I need to save up & buy a bike to leave there

  11. #11
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    My wife and I have frequently flown with our bikes. The size of the box depends on the airline's criteria. That is easy to check. Our tours are usually a month or longer, so it pays for us to bring our own bikes. I don't think I'd rent a bike regardless of the tour's duration. Just personal preference.

    If you are OK with working on your bike, it is not a problem. Plan on having to move your box "on end"; it will not fit through most airport doorways if moved in the recommended position. This is not a problem if packed correctly.


    Pipe insulation is handy. Also go to a bike shop and get some of the spacers that manufacturers use to ship their bikes. They usually toss them, and will give them to you.

    Last edited by Doug64; 01-10-16 at 11:44 PM.
    "I knew I had a 50/50 chance of failing; but if I didn't climb on that bike and take the first pedal stroke, I had a 100% chance of failure." Nancy Sathre-Vogel

  12. #12
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    Plan on having to move your box "on end"; it will not fit through most airport doorways if moved in the recommended position. This is not a problem if packed correctly.


    Pipe insulation is handy. Also go to a bike shop and get some of the spacers that manufacturers use to ship their bikes. They usually toss them, and will give them to you.

    Thanks !!!!!
    Great picture
    How the front wheel go in ?
    How you protect the rear derailleur ?

  13. #13
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    I just rent bikes. I search and narrow the shop down. Then I call and work out the details. It doesn't cost much more thn just shipping the bike itself and is more on didn't, safer on your bike, and worry free.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    If you're planning on frequent travel, then why not look for an S&S coupled bike, a folding bike, or other collapasable/packable bike. They make take some work to pack and unpack, but no shop charges, or airline surcharges (assuming you have the proper number of bags), and everything is reusable. With a trailer option, you can even assemble and pedal out of the airport.

    Of course, there is the initial expense of the bike.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    I just rent bikes. I search and narrow the shop down. Then I call and work out the details. It doesn't cost much more thn just shipping the bike itself and is more on didn't, safer on your bike, and worry free.

    You take you own saddle?
    Do the bike shops take time to get it adjusted to fit you ?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogydave View Post
    Thanks !!!!!
    Great picture
    How the front wheel go in ?
    How you protect the rear derailleur ?
    A little cruder than the previous pictures. This is my bike. The blue bike is my wife's bike on a later trip.


    For the rear derailleur I use a plastic extender I salvage from my lbs. Pedals go in the water bottle cage, usually in a zip lock bag, then zip tied to the cage.
    "I knew I had a 50/50 chance of failing; but if I didn't climb on that bike and take the first pedal stroke, I had a 100% chance of failure." Nancy Sathre-Vogel

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogydave View Post
    You take you own saddle?
    Do the bike shops take time to get it adjusted to fit you ?
    I don't take a saddle but ask in advance what the bike comes with. If the rental is more than a day, all the places did full adjustments including changing the stem once.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  18. #18
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    Great pictures Doug. Thanks. I need to get a couple of bikes back from SE Asia soon and debating methods. Multiple hops and airlines required unfortunately. Probably buy the Serfas hardcase and bring a bike each time I go back. Eventually sell on CL when I get back.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    A little cruder than the previous pictures. This is my bike. The blue bike is my wife's bike on a later trip.


    For the rear derailleur I use a plastic extender I salvage from my lbs. Pedals go in the water bottle cage, usually in a zip lock bag, then zip tied to the cage.
    That's Great help ! THANKS !
    Off to the bike store soon.
    Info & Scrounge run .

  20. #20
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    We've used boxes from Aircaddy with great success.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    You guys have me convinced
    Ship on plane in a cardboard box.

    Looked up Ak Airlines oversize baggage fees.
    $75 for over size, (bike in box is oversize) & $75 for over 51 lbs.
    Total could be $150 if I put lots of stuff in the box.
    Pretty sure I can keep it under 51.
    Those hard cases, empty are over 20 lbs.

    Will keep looking for a good deal on a hard sided case,
    but keeping it under 51 lbs saves $75

  22. #22
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    Had good success with this soft bag from Pika Packworks. Several friends also have them and no issues (or payments) for multiple trips. They end up being quite a bit lighter than a hardcase.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnroads View Post
    Great pictures Doug. Thanks. I need to get a couple of bikes back from SE Asia soon and debating methods. Multiple hops and airlines required unfortunately. Probably buy the Serfas hardcase and bring a bike each time I go back. Eventually sell on CL when I get back.
    Our method has worked reasonably well. We have had minor damage on 3 occasions, usually on the way home.

    We had one trip with 4 different flights to get to Lisbon, Portugal; 3 international and 1 regional carriers. Packing is easier leaving home because it is more convenient to get boxes and packing material. That is one of the reasons we have ended two long tours at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. They are really bike friendly with boxes at the terminal, and a place to work on packing.

    Make it easy for the TSA folks to open the box and look inside. At PDX I usually BS with them as the check the bike box. They have never pulled out the bike, and they do a good job of retaping.

    Regardless of container, put name, home address, and phone number on box. This was the 4 flight box. It took a little bit of a beating, but bike was OK.


    We've also used Fedex and UPS for domestic shipping.
    Last edited by Doug64; 12-09-15 at 06:18 PM.
    "I knew I had a 50/50 chance of failing; but if I didn't climb on that bike and take the first pedal stroke, I had a 100% chance of failure." Nancy Sathre-Vogel

  24. #24
    Senior Member bogydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Had good success with this soft bag from Pika Packworks. Several friends also have them and no issues (or payments) for multiple trips. They end up being quite a bit lighter than a hardcase.
    An option I hadn't looked into.
    How much they cost ?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogydave View Post
    An option I hadn't looked into.
    How much they cost ?
    I think around $400. I picked up one off Slowtwitch for about $300CAD.

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