Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Packing a bike for shipping

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Packing a bike for shipping

Old 11-14-21, 07:21 AM
  #1  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,401

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 168 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5452 Post(s)
Liked 2,322 Times in 1,499 Posts
Packing a bike for shipping

I've shipped bikes and recieved them so I have a pretty good idea for how to to this. That said there are people here who are pros at this and know a heck of a lot more than I do. I have a few bikes I'll need to move and so I was hoping I could get some ideas from the collective on where to pick up packing supplies, what sort of packing supplies to people like to use, and any favorite tips/ideas for packing bikes well.

I've always used the material I get from bike shops (cartons and packing material) but I can't always count on that. It's tough to beat a bike shop box though for the price but I tend to like using more packing material than comes with new boxes.

Tips and ideas are welcome.
bikemig is offline  
Old 11-14-21, 07:58 AM
  #2  
bargainguy
Senior Member
 
bargainguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Trekland
Posts: 2,087
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 436 Post(s)
Liked 146 Times in 97 Posts
I've stopped using cardboard boxes. Instead, I have three Colorado Cyclist clamshell boxes made of corrugated plastic.

If I need to ship a bike, I'll ship it in the CC box along with prepaid return tags to ship the box back to me empty (typically around $40 for the empty return trip).

If I need to buy a bike, I'll send the empty CC box to the seller with prepaid return tags (including bike weight) and have them pack in the box for return shipping.

While this may seem like a lot of work, what it does is ensure the bikes arrive whole. I've shipped many bikes this way without incident.
bargainguy is offline  
Likes For bargainguy:
Old 11-14-21, 08:03 AM
  #3  
jdawginsc 
Edumacator
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Goose Creek, SC
Posts: 4,462

Bikes: '87 Crestdale, '87 Basso Gap, '92 Rossin Performance EL-OS, 1990 VanTuyl, 1980s Losa, 1985 Trek 670, 1982 AD SLE, 1987 PX10, etc...

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1420 Post(s)
Liked 1,323 Times in 917 Posts
Noodles from Lowes. Usually about 6 ft for 2.00 or so, though Mad Honk said he uses the dollar store for pool noodles. I have not found any in dollar trees thus far, though. He also has a plywood contraption shape that keeps the BB safe. I do not use zip ties, because I hate the darn things. Duct tape in strips is my go to. And pool noodles around the bottom bracket, and dropouts seem to help.

Incidentally, I just packed a few wheels with slightly smaller noodles on a trip to pastorbobnlnh so I am interested to see how protective they might be. I am trying to figure out a better way to protect axles and hubs though.

I am a novice though and simply used ideas from packages of the past.
__________________
1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1985 Trek 670, 1982 AD SLE, 2003 Pinarello Surprise, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1987 Peugeot Competition, 1987 Nishiki Tri-A, 1981? Faggin, Cannondale M500, etc...Need to do an N -1...



jdawginsc is offline  
Likes For jdawginsc:
Old 11-14-21, 08:18 AM
  #4  
Dylansbob 
2k miles from the midwest
 
Dylansbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,762

Bikes: ~'75 Colin Laing, '80s Schwinn SuperSport 650b, ex-Backroads ti project...

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 429 Post(s)
Liked 700 Times in 342 Posts
My main concern when packing is that the bike can't move. If the box is the right size, you remove the front wheel (and probably the front brake) so that you can turn the fork backwards. This keeps the fork curve protected as well as shortening up the wheelbase. All the frame tubes get wrapped with bubble wrap or something to protect it (worst case scenario, split padded envelopes). Once everything is protected, I try to get the left crankarm forward at a 90 degreet angle. Then you can slide the front wheel onto that crankarm and ziptie it 2 or 3 places firmly, but not super duper tight (you can untrue the wheel if it's too tight) Now the handlebars can also woven either horizontally over the toptube and ziptied down or verticaly through the front wheel and frame. Usually with a quill stem, I'll go over the top. If it's a removeable faceplate, then the bars are easier to weave.
At this point, I'll pickup the whole thing and lift it into the box. The seatpost comes out and a packing plug installed. Once wrapped up, the seatpost gets ziptied horizontally to the top of the rear wheel with the saddle pressed up against the back wall of the box. If the box is the right size, you should be able to pick up the box and swing it without feeling the bike move. Then you put the pedals, front qr, front brake (or I sometimes leave it on the cable and just bubblewrap it before ziptying it against the frame.) and any other accessories into a small box that you can slide in somewhere. I try to find boxes that match width closely so that they can provide additional compression protection in case the shipper puts the box on it's side.

I've probably missed something and it's always harder to write out what you're doing as opposed to doing it. I had done shipping for airborne/flyte during their non-huffy years and this was the technique they wanted used. It's served me well, between those 2 seasons and all of my online sales since I'm sure I've boxed hundreds of bikes.

Just remember, packing materials are cheap compared to shipping damages.
Dylansbob is offline  
Likes For Dylansbob:
Old 11-14-21, 08:42 AM
  #5  
Schreck83 
Full Member
 
Schreck83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: WNY
Posts: 335
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 110 Post(s)
Liked 161 Times in 87 Posts
Pipe insulation is made for 1", 3/4 and 1/2" copper pipes. 5 foot lengths and unlike pool noodles, available 12 months/year.
A piece of 1" rigid foam the width of the box and 12" long to place under the fork. Boxes get tossed,dropped and see lots of jiggling.

__________________
72+76 Super Course, 74 Paramount P10, 84 Raleigh Alyeska, 84 Voyageur SP, 85 Miyata Sport 10 mixte and a queue



Schreck83 is offline  
Likes For Schreck83:
Old 11-14-21, 08:55 AM
  #6  
iab
Senior Member
 
iab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NW Burbs, Chicago
Posts: 11,325
Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2494 Post(s)
Liked 2,198 Times in 916 Posts
No to make a 10-page thread, so I won't mention he who should not be mentioned, I like the Rivendell videos on boxing a frame and a bike. You can get ideas from both videos.
iab is offline  
Likes For iab:
Old 11-14-21, 10:21 AM
  #7  
wrk101
Thrifty Bill
 
wrk101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mountains of Western NC
Posts: 23,145

Bikes: 86 Katakura Silk, 87 Prologue X2, 88 Cimarron LE, 1975 Sekai 4000 Professional, 73 Paramount, plus more

Mentioned: 88 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1091 Post(s)
Liked 602 Times in 429 Posts
Miamijim posted a good tutorial.

#1 Count on cutting and folding a bike shop box to get the postage rate down. Bike shop boxes tend to be too large. Cutting the height of the box is job one, as girth doubles width and height measurements. Cutting the width is to be avoided, as it makes for a really big job.

#2 Bike should not slide forward or back. I bought a bike from a forum member here, box was about 8 inches too long, and front wheel was not fully secured. As a result, the (formerly) pristine paint took a beating....... These bikes are only original once. And a bike that has survived well for 35 years can be ruined by poor packing.

I tend to spend almost as much time on box cutting/folding as I do on wrapping bike.


I use pool noodles, rolled up cardboard, whatever is handy. I find pool noodles end of season, garage sales, or thrift stores. They are not a primary thing I am looking for, but I'll buy them when the price is right. The expense and time spent packing tends to come out of the seller's pocket, as does any damage on shipping. Realize all the insurance in the world will not cover you if the carrier says "it was packed poorly". "Packed poorly" becomes their fallback position, your job is to prove it was packed correctly....
__________________
See my vintage steel bike tribute page on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillsVintageSteelBikes

Last edited by wrk101; 11-14-21 at 10:34 AM.
wrk101 is offline  
Likes For wrk101:
Old 11-14-21, 10:42 AM
  #8  
Cougrrcj 
Over forty victim of Fate
 
Cougrrcj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 3,890

Bikes: A few...

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 368 Times in 255 Posts
This was how I packed at 25" frame bike for shipping to the PacNorWest. I didn't have the correct tool to remove the fork.. Pool noodles and Zip-ties. For both dropouts, I cut some PVC pipe to the correct length and used the wheel's skewers.



I cut down an E-bike double-wall box to the right size, and packed the voids with scrap styrofoam pieces...

__________________
'75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 52k+ miles and still going!
'84 Univega Gran Tourismo
'84 Univega Viva Sport
'86 Miyata 710
'90 Schwinn Woodlands
Unknown brand MTB of questionable lineage aka 'Mutt Trail Bike'
Plus or minus a few others from time-to-time


Last edited by Cougrrcj; 11-14-21 at 11:26 AM.
Cougrrcj is offline  
Likes For Cougrrcj:
Old 11-15-21, 05:47 AM
  #9  
Prowler 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Near Pottstown, PA: 30 miles NW of Philadelphia
Posts: 1,965

Bikes: 2 Trek Mtn, Cannondale R600 road, 6 vintage road bikes

Mentioned: 77 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 399 Post(s)
Liked 588 Times in 282 Posts
Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
This was how I packed at 25" frame bike for shipping to the PacNorWest. I didn't have the correct tool to remove the fork.. Pool noodles and Zip-ties. For both dropouts, I cut some PVC pipe to the correct length and used the wheel's skewers.



I cut down an E-bike double-wall box to the right size, and packed the voids with scrap styrofoam pieces...

I've not packed a bike for shipment but Cougrrcj suggests a great idea here: take good photos of the bike before it goes in the box and of the box before its given to the shipper. CYA documentation.
Prowler is offline  
Likes For Prowler:
Old 11-15-21, 06:04 AM
  #10  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,037

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2140 Post(s)
Liked 2,161 Times in 1,338 Posts
Full bike packing assistance needed - please help!

​​​​​​The Shipping Thread

​​​​​​Shipping
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 11-15-21, 08:42 AM
  #11  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,401

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 168 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5452 Post(s)
Liked 2,322 Times in 1,499 Posts
Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
snip . . .
I appreciate that but fortunately people are willing to share info on a new thread as well.
bikemig is offline  
Old 11-15-21, 09:18 AM
  #12  
Ex Pres 
Cat 6
 
Ex Pres's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mountain Brook, AL
Posts: 7,468
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked 144 Times in 94 Posts
Full bikes I go the foam wrap + wooden dowel dropout insert route as noted above, but for frame/fork only I've decided to go minimalist.

I did this after receiving several frames from major retailers this way. The frame and fork came secured to stiff cardboard pieces that keeps the frame centered in the box, but with absolutely no additional padding or packing materials.
This wouldn't work if there were additional items in the box that can get tossed around or rub against it. The frames arrive unscathed, as long as the shipper doesn't run over or run a lift arm through them.
Ex Pres is offline  
Likes For Ex Pres:
Old 11-15-21, 09:28 AM
  #13  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,037

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2140 Post(s)
Liked 2,161 Times in 1,338 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I appreciate that but fortunately people are willing to share info on a new thread as well.
Just adding sources of information.

Guys like Randy, Bill, and Jim have shipped (and received) literally hundreds of bikes worldwide so have seen pretty much everything that can go wrong and how to avoid them.
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 11-15-21, 04:09 PM
  #14  
iab
Senior Member
 
iab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NW Burbs, Chicago
Posts: 11,325
Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2494 Post(s)
Liked 2,198 Times in 916 Posts
I don't know if I posted this before, but I made reusable boxes to ship a bike to an event and back home. Used it once prior to covid, hopefully I will use it again. Made from corrugated plastic, a brand is Coroplast, you can get 4'x8' sheets at the Depot.

First, wrap frame with insulation, lay in box.





I then put in bracing into the negative space.





Small parts - saddle, pedals, etc, get wrapped and placed into the negative space.





Since the first pictures, I labeled each piece of insulation. Probably unnecessary, but I had nothing better to do.





Made a separate box for the wheels and Bob's yer uncle.

iab is offline  
Old 11-15-21, 09:43 PM
  #15  
santa fe 2926 
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 163

Bikes: Roberts SLX, Mercian 531, Torpado SLX, Peugeot PSV-10, Charlie Roberts full touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 26 Posts
Been using cardboard tubes, cut to fit the inside of box, all around the frame, to keep box from being squeezed.
l
santa fe 2926 is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.