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Experience with Bike Packing Shipping Damage Costs 2023

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Experience with Bike Packing Shipping Damage Costs 2023

Old 05-19-23, 02:57 PM
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Experience with Bike Packing Shipping Damage Costs 2023

Recently needed to get a bike Not my usual ride across the country and looked into Packing and Shipping. Knew costs had risen and handling of the packages is always questionable, but needed to make this one happen. Started this thread Bike shipping what is the best option in April 2023 to get some current info. I went to both UPS and FedEx websites and entered dimensions and weight and Bikeflights was the cheaper option (who use UPS). Had the option of getting free packing material from shop or paying $60 for them to break down and pack the bike. I choose to have the shop pack the bike for 3 reasons, I was too busy to do it myself, did not have a vehicle to transport packed bike to shop, and was doing this for someone else, with insurance, so figured I would have it all "pro".
So, bike arrives and box is trashed, UPS driver records package as damaged. Ok fine, "pics or it didn't happen"





You can see an axle poking out through the side of the box

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Old 05-19-23, 03:11 PM
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The packing of the bike looked to be well done, the issue seemed to be with the handling




Packing came off the stem with full box failure

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Old 05-19-23, 03:15 PM
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How much did you insure it for? I’m imagining that’s the max value you’ll get back.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:19 PM
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looks to me like something went thru the box in the middle.

I'd almost suspect that was deliberate. Somebody working late just mess up some stuff with the fork lift.

What condition is the bike in ? It looks like it was pretty well packed.

UPS absolutely does not give a S__T

/markp
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Old 05-19-23, 03:21 PM
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Axle protector was popped loose from rim (black plastic piece), which allowed axle to pierce box.


Stem took impact and got dinged/scraped with paint loss
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Old 05-19-23, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
How much did you insure it for? Iím imagining thatís the max value youíll get back.
Insured for full value
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Old 05-19-23, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912
looks to me like something went thru the box in the middle.

I'd almost suspect that was deliberate. Somebody working late just mess up some stuff with the fork lift.

What condition is the bike in ? It looks like it was pretty well packed.

UPS absolutely does not give a S__T

/markp
That was the axle of the rim which was properly strapped to the frame. It had a plastic flat cover over the end of the axle that came off during rough handling. It was not a very big cover/protector and one could imagine that once the integrity of the box was gone and the bike could move it didn't take much to work free. I don't have any reason to say deliberate, but I know "UPS absolutely does not give a S__T" is definitely a thing.

I have worked in the blue chip Art shipping world where it is known we only ship fragile/expensive/irreplaceable objects, we would hand over a crate labelled Fragile in red, in big letters on all sides, arrows and "This End up" labels on all sides and a declared value of $800,000 - we then watch the driver knock the crate over to lay it down on the floor of the truck ignoring all warnings
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Old 05-19-23, 03:32 PM
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Have you removed the bike from the box? It appears as if the actual damage is amazingly light. A new stem?

It seems as if anything I get shipped to me arrives with damage. Sellers that claim to be good at packing... just aren't.

In this case, you had more damage than is reasonable.

If you are frequently shipping your own bike, then hunt down a hard bike case.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:34 PM
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I shipped this bike only because I knew I could live with this (inevitably) happening. I don't think I would ship a bike I care about unless it was in a crate, that I built and packed. To ship in a crate only adds to the package dimensions and weight, making it even more cost prohibitive.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Have you removed the bike from the box? It appears as if the actual damage is amazingly light. A new stem?

It seems as if anything I get shipped to me arrives with damage. Sellers that claim to be good at packing... just aren't.

In this case, you had more damage than is reasonable.

If you are frequently shipping your own bike, then hunt down a hard bike case.
Yes I did get off fairly easy on this one, although so far I have not been able to source this particular stem. There is a small chip on the downtube which is frustrating. Some marks on various places on the frame and crank, none are much individually, but do add up to a step down in the bikes condition. I have not yet tried to deal with any damage.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:54 PM
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My take away is that shipping bikes (of the lower level I play with) is not worth it. Both because of the prohibitive costs and the likelihood of damage (even when packed well). I will follow through with trying to make a claim on this, but expect that since it is not a total loss, the effort to get the payment may well be worth more than what I eventually get?
as I said above I could not imagine shipping a bike, I cared about, without a full crate - I built and packed.

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Old 05-19-23, 03:55 PM
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The bike was moving within the box, that is a bad sign although I don't think, that the paint came off because it was rubbing against the cardboard, plus the box obviously got a slap from outside.
Well played with full insurance.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lattz
The bike was moving within the box, that is a bad sign although I don't think, that the paint came off because it was rubbing against the cardboard, plus the box obviously got a slap from outside.
Well played with full insurance.
I think they got the "hard part" of the packing right and then didn't add a bit more on the ends (easy part) to keep it from moving. But also hard to tell, once the box was blown out.

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Old 05-19-23, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
I think the got the "hard part" of the packing right and then didn't add a bit more on the ends (easy part) to keep it from moving. But also hard to tell, once the box was blown out.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't blame you, just an observation (I also spent some time in transportation, so your horror story example brought back heartfelt memories ) Plus then you also know that (it does not matter what I think, observe whatever but) only what the insurance companies' employee observes or assumes matter. Generally I don't think they would eff around a damage on a bicycle, they are happy that the forwarder didn't wreck your one off Lambo...

Here's an example of what one of the sellers made to protect my SOMEC (was pretty nice from him, given that I paid a song, and the bike was not in a good shape at all, and he still did it).
He cut square blocks of wood and screwed them from outside the box, then tied the bike to these. cheap but pro solution.
Again, not for you, rather for future refs for anybody....


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Old 05-19-23, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
The packing of the bike looked to be well done, the issue seemed to be with the handling
uhhhhhh the frame was wrapped, but where is the rest of the packing material in the box??? i'd call that packing job mediocre, at best.

edit to mention that with those pics, i doubt the shipping company will honor a claim, due to insufficient packing materials/poorly packed item, etc.

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Old 05-19-23, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by hazetguy
uhhhhhh the frame was wrapped, but where is the rest of the packing material in the box??? i'd call that packing job mediocre, at best.

edit to mention that with those pics, i doubt the shipping company will honor a claim, due to insufficient packing materials/poorly packed item, etc.
Originally Posted by SoCaled
I think they got the "hard part" of the packing right and then didn't add a bit more on the ends (easy part) to keep it from moving. But also hard to tell, once the box was blown out.
I hear ya, and generally agree. The bigger issue to me is still the handling. Art companies use art handlers for exactly that reason, they treat the shipments differently (prohibitively expensive) but different, ie careful. I know I could have packed that bike better than what I got for paying to have it packed, but I don't know if it would have come out unscathed as a result. As to the second part, you may well be right, part of my reasoning for having the shop pack was, packing was on them, shipping was on UPS. If UPS denies the claim due to bad packing that should be on the shop? As I said above, timing and various other realities mean I probably won't get that far, but we will see.
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Old 05-19-23, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
That was the axle of the rim which was properly strapped to the frame. It had a plastic flat cover over the end of the axle that came off during rough handling. It was not a very big cover/protector and one could imagine that once the integrity of the box was gone and the bike could move it didn't take much to work free. I don't have any reason to say deliberate, but I know "UPS absolutely does not give a S__T" is definitely a thing.

I have worked in the blue chip Art shipping world where it is known we only ship fragile/expensive/irreplaceable objects, we would hand over a crate labelled Fragile in red, in big letters on all sides, arrows and "This End up" labels on all sides and a declared value of $800,000 - we then watch the driver knock the crate over to lay it down on the floor of the truck ignoring all warnings
i drop boxes off at a local hardware store for ups pick up because they can accept oversized packages and up to the 150 lb limit. store employees told me not to write FRAGILE any the like on any packages, it just incentives the ups monkeys to extra-abuse that item. i don't write on the boxes anymore, don't want to draw attention to them.
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Old 05-19-23, 08:16 PM
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Retired recently from 42 years at UPS. I often see these posts and try to educate people. Yes workers can be careless, but the biggest problem is the whole system. Most of it is automated to eliminate costly worker handling. Odd sized packages like a bike box or tv box or buckets or tires or any other “irregulars” don’t travel on the belts as it wouldn’t work. These odd packages are hand moved more, but move around buildings on articulated train cars. They also travel this way with other odd things. Many of these irregulars are metal items.

The stuff falls against each other. The bike box falls off the train and gets jammed against a building support post while the train is still moving. Perhaps a leaf spring falls on it etc, etc. Realistically the system is not designed for these type of boxes and that is why the cost are such. Fork lifts are not used to move anything except empty pallets in the building I was at. It is the equipment and the system that causes 95% of the damage. I have a bike for sale here but won’t ship, as I know what kind of packaging is needed for the best odds of making it. The packaging for the op was not up to par. 75% of the time that would be good enough I would guess but not good enough for me.

I have written these kind of posts previously more as an educational exercise and not as an excuse. The workers see thousands of packages a day, and usually wouldn’t take the extra energy to go out of the way to destroy something. What kind of joy would it be, and it would get boring pretty quickly. Search here to see the packaging some members have done. Look at how big screen TVs are packed. I have always said that the best insurance is good packaging. That being said, I don’t ship bikes.
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Old 05-19-23, 08:57 PM
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I received a bike damaged and the UPS inspector reviewed the bike and contents, I had only opened the box, not removing the contents.
the first tact was to claim the problem was a Used box was employed. Ok, but a UPS store did the packing. Oh.
interesting note on a box re-use.
the basic standoff was, close the box, we will pick it up and refund the price paid and shipping.
a used vintage bike, not a just order another situation.
they ended up refunding the shipping.
hassle factor was far beyond compensation.

that written, a few bikes have been totally loaded in a box with essentially no protection, arriving unscathed.
Luck, darn luck.

I have shipped a few frames and employed rigorous protection, been lucky, and the boxes are smaller.
the economics of shipping have evolved, I have not referenced the cost on a box that could hold say a 56 cm frame.
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Old 05-19-23, 09:23 PM
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I've shipped many computers and old CRT monitors in the past. As far as I know, no significant damage, ever.

The basic rule is 2" of packing on all sides. And nothing moves in the box.

The problem with bicycles is people try to stuff too much into too small of a box with insufficient padding and protection. I just recently got a frame with smashed chainstays , although I'm not sure it could even fit into the box without smashing them. A tight fit to say the least with no protection.

Wheels rubbing against the frame are frequently a major problem.

I refuse to blame the shipping company when it was obviously improperly packed.

If I ever have to ship a $10,000 bicycle, it will go in at least 2 or 3 separate boxes, and will be stripped down to every component. Probably even a plastic bike box or two or three.
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Old 05-20-23, 12:39 AM
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So this is where I will say that if I have to pack a bike it gets done like this so it has less chance of damage even if it goes wrong.

I started shrink wrapping slit tennis balls on the top of the seat tube, top and bottom of the head tube, plenty of pipe insulation, tape, zip ties, packing, extra cardboard, etc, etc.

Heavy, time consuming, spendy, worth it.



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Old 05-20-23, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
I shipped this bike only because I knew I could live with this (inevitably) happening. I don't think I would ship a bike I care about unless it was in a crate, that I built and packed. To ship in a crate only adds to the package dimensions and weight, making it even more cost prohibitive.
(This has been posted elsewhere)

The frame is bolted to axles mounted on those brackets-on-blocks and with everything else packed around it it's pretty secure.
I have sent it via post, bus, and air no trouble.
It was pretty easy and cheap to build, if you cannot braze there are other ways to mount the axles.
I built it small enough to go as a regular parcel, but it's a small frame and it only just is under.
The top attaches with barrel-bolts - the nuts are glued into holes in the lid edge.
You do have to be able to put it together when you get there.

And there's space for extra stuff.


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Old 05-20-23, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac

I started shrink wrapping slit tennis balls on the top of the seat tube, top and bottom of the head tube
Nice idea. I just keep the pipe insulation "long" off the top tube & stays. You have 3 layers of it for the top of the seat tube. And I just use a continuous piece on the top tube, around the head tube, down the down tube, up the seat tube. No cutting, saves time.
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Old 05-20-23, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by iab
Nice idea. I just keep the pipe insulation "long" off the top tube & stays. You have 3 layers of it for the top of the seat tube. And I just use a continuous piece on the top tube, around the head tube, down the down tube, up the seat tube. No cutting, saves time.
This method works really well and gives a spot to strap any extra insulation onto it. Also a good place to tape a 90 degree bracket of cardboard for extra peace of mind.

-Kurt
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Old 05-20-23, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912
looks to me like something went thru the box in the middle.

I'd almost suspect that was deliberate. Somebody working late just mess up some stuff with the fork lift.

What condition is the bike in ? It looks like it was pretty well packed.

UPS absolutely does not give a S__T

/markp
I'm pretty sure that happened to a bike I bought several years ago. There was a puncture in the side of the box, a fender stay was bent, and the eyelet was broken off the rear dropout. I did not want those fenders, but I certainly expected to be using fenders on the bike. I still have it as I got it, but have always been pretty disappointed in all of it. In hindsight, I wish I just returned it to The Pros Closet.

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