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Best way to ship a bike I am selling

Old 02-08-24, 04:58 PM
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Best way to ship a bike I am selling

I did a search of all the forums under "how to ship a bike" and nothing popped up so I am posting here. I am about to sell a c.1990 Trek 12-speed bike and would like to get some advice about packaging it up and shipping it. Here are my questions:
1. I assume I would remove both wheels before shipping to make the size of the shipment smaller
2. Is there such a thing as a cardboard bike shipping box? If so, where are can they be purchased?
3. Is there anything special one needs to do to the bike before shipping?
4. Is there a preferred shipping service: USPS, FEDEX, UPS, etc?
Thanks in advance for any help. If I missed responses to these questions somewhere in the forum, kindly direct me to where I might find the answers.
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Old 02-08-24, 05:25 PM
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Check out bikeflights.com. Good shipping service, and they have some helpful info on packing a bike. Watch as many videos on the subject as you can, and you can always pay a bike shop to pack it too. A shop should also be able to provide a box and packing materials too if you are doing it yourself. Generally youíll remove front wheel, pedals, seatpost and handlebar/stem to pack it up.

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Old 02-08-24, 05:39 PM
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Bikes get shipped half way around the world in cardboard boxes.

I suggest having a local shop pack it for you.
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Old 02-08-24, 05:43 PM
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Thank you. Very helpful
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Old 02-08-24, 05:56 PM
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If you want to pack yourself, your local bike shop will likely provide a box for free, or very cheap. Pool Noodles are a helpful item to protect the frame. Make sure nothing can move in the box. Fully insure the bike, at a bit more than you think it is worth, doesn't cost too much and can save you if anything goes wrong. At a certain box size, prices spike, so packing the bike into the smallest safe package is key to price.
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Old 02-08-24, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pgalvani
I did a search of all the forums under "how to ship a bike" and nothing popped up so I am posting here. I am about to sell a c.1990 Trek 12-speed bike and would like to get some advice about packaging it up and shipping it. Here are my questions:
1. I assume I would remove both wheels before shipping to make the size of the shipment smaller
2. Is there such a thing as a cardboard bike shipping box? If so, where are can they be purchased?
3. Is there anything special one needs to do to the bike before shipping?
4. Is there a preferred shipping service: USPS, FEDEX, UPS, etc?
Thanks in advance for any help. If I missed responses to these questions somewhere in the forum, kindly direct me to where I might find the answers.
I've shipped many bikes after selling, go by the bike shop, get a bike box that will fit your bike, buy some pipe insulation to put on the frame tubes and keep them on with painters tape. Get some bubble wrap or other rolled padding to wrap around the rear mech, front wheel, headtube and such. Remove the saddle and seat tube and zip tie the the frame, zip tie the crank so it does not move. You can leave the real wheel on, just position the front wheel tight to the bike and zip tie it to the downtube and top tube. Make sure the hubs or rear mech is not hitting the side of the box. Shredded news paper to fill in the empty areas , really an easy process. Some bike shippers give you the option to supply your own box, some require you to use their box.

Most shops toss their boxes, so they generally will not charge you for them, it good for them as they do not have to break them down and fill their garbage container.
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Old 02-08-24, 06:35 PM
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If the shop doesn't charge for the box, give them a little tip or money for the drinks or lunch fund. It is a nice way to say thanks, that is what one of my old shops did we would collect for lunch or after work beverages for folks. Make someones day and get an expensive box for basically nothing. If you had a to buy a box through BikeFlights or other would cost a decent amount of money 10-20 bucks is a lot cheaper and shows you care.
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Old 02-08-24, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Pgalvani
1. I assume I would remove both wheels before shipping to make the size of the shipment smaller.
Do NOT remove the rear wheel. Hereís how itís done: Get a bike box from the bike shop. Hopefully all the prior packing will still be in it. You can ask for more. Remove the pedals (if shipping them), remove the seat on the seat post, and remove the front wheel. Use the plastic fork brace from the previous bike to keep the blades from getting crushed or out of alignment. Remove the front wheel QR. Wrap all the frame tubes in protective packing. Use zip ties to secure it all. Turn the cranks so the left side facing rearward. Insert the left crank arm through the spokes of the front wheel and interlock them. Loosen the bars and zip tie them to the top tube. Lift everything into the box. Place the pedals (if shipping), the front wheel QR and the seat/seat post in the parts box from the previous bike and tape it shut. Put it in the shipping box, seal it up, address it and ship it.

Or just take it to a shop and have them do it.

Last edited by smd4; 02-09-24 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 02-08-24, 09:37 PM
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Don't trust a shop to pack it well.

Box size matters.cut to fit



Bikeflights
Pirateship



​​​​​​Bike shipping what is the best option in April 2023

​​​​​​Packing a c&v bike for shipping within the US

​​​​​​bikes packed by bike shop for shipping

​​​​​​I'm sure I never want to pack a bike again...
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Old 02-08-24, 09:42 PM
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Pro tip - use google because the site search sucks.

this format important part- site:www.bikeforums.net

​​​​​​shipping bike forums site:www.bikeforums.net
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Old 02-08-24, 10:24 PM
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Note: Big TV boxes can be had at local retail stores if ya let um know you have a need. And don't forget Bed and Mattress stores also have big boxes. FedEx is pretty competitive for deliveries.

At least around here in Central Texas...
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Old 02-09-24, 07:51 AM
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[QUOTE=SoCaled;23151631]If you want to pack yourself, your local bike shop will likely provide a box for free, or very cheap. /QUOTE]

Bike box is $25, boxing including box is $75, Regular customers get a discount, really good customers on the arm.
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Old 02-09-24, 08:37 AM
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Thank you. Great advice
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Old 02-09-24, 08:40 AM
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If you pack the box yourself and don't feel comfortable tossing the entire package 10 feet (3 meters) away from a height of at least five feet (1.5 meters) above the ground, then it's not packed well enough.
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Old 02-09-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
If the shop doesn't charge for the box, give them a little tip or money for the drinks or lunch fund. It is a nice way to say thanks, that is what one of my old shops did we would collect for lunch or after work beverages for folks. Make someones day and get an expensive box for basically nothing. If you had a to buy a box through BikeFlights or other would cost a decent amount of money 10-20 bucks is a lot cheaper and shows you care.
This is great advice on the basic "Golden Rule" level and also a good way to start a good relationship with your local shop - feel foolish for not suggesting it myself
Originally Posted by SoCaled
If you want to pack yourself, your local bike shop will likely provide a box for free, or very cheap.
Originally Posted by wheelreason
Bike box is $25, boxing including box is $75, Regular customers get a discount, really good customers on the arm.
These numbers/philosophy sound reasonable, I was quoted between $60-$90 for "box & packing" by the shops I have asked for estimates. But I have also been offered a free box from 4 shops I have no relationship with, on a cold call "Do you have any leftover bike boxes I could have or buy?"
To be clear $25 is fair/cheap, buying new boxes is expensive and sometimes hard to find or you have to pay to ship or you have to buy multiples - So if they ask for $25 fine, if not pay it forward to the lunch/drink fund.

Last edited by SoCaled; 02-09-24 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 02-09-24, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bboy314
Check out bikeflights.com. Good shipping service, and they have some helpful info on packing a bike. Watch as many videos on the subject as you can, and you can always pay a bike shop to pack it too. A shop should also be able to provide a box and packing materials too if you are doing it yourself. Generally you’ll remove front wheel, pedals, seatpost and handlebar/stem to pack it up.
Having received from, but not shipped by Bikeflights. I'm impressed.

As described, one can drop a bike off at an affiliate shop who will pack it, then Bikeflights picks up and transports. Or, BF can provide the box and pick up directly from you. Tracking is levels more detailed than typical shippers provide, they offer insurance as well.

ETA the shipping effort and costs are why I'd never bother selling a sub-$1k bike out of area. Even if the buyer is willing to pay ship cost, it's a lot of work.
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Old 02-09-24, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
Pro tip - use google because the site search sucks.
The real pro tip is to use this site's Advanced Search on thread title for "ship bike," which results in 100 threads, including this one. You can narrow it down even further by selecting one or more subforums.
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Old 02-09-24, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
This is great advice on the basic "Golden Rule" level and also a good way to start a good relationship with your local shop - feel foolish for not suggesting it myself




These numbers/philosophy sound reasonable, I was quoted between $60-$90 for "box & packing" by the shops I have asked for estimates. But I have also been offered a free box from 4 shops I have no relationship with, on a cold call "Do you have any leftover bike boxes I could have or buy?"
To be clear $25 is fair/cheap, buying new boxes is expensive and sometimes hard to find or you have to pay to ship or you have to buy multiples - So if they ask for $25 fine, if not pay it forward to the lunch/drink fund.
It's ok I think about it often working at the shop as I do appreciate tips and never ask for them. I think tips should be earned and not asked.

Even something small always bring a smile and gets a couple sports type drinks or something similar for a couple people on the crew. Really generally all I ask for is a good review on google or yelp or one of those platforms whatever we might be using. It is just nice to be appreciated in some way or another.
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Old 02-18-24, 03:39 PM
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Have the buyer arrange, and reimburse him. Then if the carrier backs a forklift over the carefully packed bike, it is not your problem.
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Old 02-18-24, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
Don't trust a shop to pack it well.
Maybe you need to find better shops.

Returned shipping after a tour. All the protections you see were provided by the shop that shipped it out to the start.

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Old 02-18-24, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Maybe you need to find better shops.
Exactly. Shop personnel see how bikes are packed from the factory 10 times a day. They know exactly how to properly protect and pack them, and have all excess packing material they need.
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Old 02-18-24, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Maybe you need to find better shops.

Returned shipping after a tour. All the protections you see were provided by the shop that shipped it out to the start.

And that's not a free used bike box, nor will it meet the cheapest shipping dimensions. I've only packed bikes I've shipped myself. Way more pool noodles, dropout spacers and masonite along the sides where needed.
I've read enough horror stories on BF of inadequate shop packing...
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Old 02-18-24, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pgalvani
I did a search of all the forums under "how to ship a bike" and nothing popped up ....
The internet is a wonderful thing, and.... a video is worth 10,000 words.

pack a bike for shipping - YouTube

Last edited by Camilo; 02-18-24 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 02-18-24, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
And that's not a free used bike box, nor will it meet the cheapest shipping dimensions. I've only packed bikes I've shipped myself. Way more pool noodles, dropout spacers and masonite along the sides where needed.
I've read enough horror stories on BF of inadequate shop packing...
The box isnít the issue. The quality of the pack job is. And that bike has been shipped in that box several times via Bikeflights with no problems. Six round trips to Missoula and one to Rapid City, SD.

Last time was in 2019, when the photo was taken. With extra insurance, it was around $76 each way from Philly to Missoula, MT and back. In addition to the $400 in racks you see, there was a $180 stove and empty fuel bottle. Everything was cinched down tightly. There were spacers, I removed them before I thought to take the photo. More frame protection? 😂 After thousands of miles of loaded touring alone, any cosmetic issues are non-issues. The decals wore off a long time ago from locking the bike to poles and racks during commuting and errands.

Based on my experiences, I have every reason to trust the shop I use for packing.

What sucked was when Bikeflights switched from FedEx to UPS. Transit time went up. And there is a FedEx/Kinkoís around the corner from the shop I use. They used to walk the box around the corner free of charge. After the switch to UPS, I had to pay Bikeflights an additional $10 for pickup.

The stories you claim to have heard must be related to poor packing jobs. Hell. I packed my IF road bike in that same box myself for three round trip flights to Portland, OR and one to Venice, Italy with no issues. Please tell me what Iíve been doing wrong?

Last edited by indyfabz; 02-18-24 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 02-19-24, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
The stories you claim to have heard must be related to poor packing jobs. Hell. I packed my IF road bike in that same box myself for three round trip flights to Portland, OR and one to Venice, Italy with no issues. Please tell me what Iíve been doing wrong?
As always on BF YMMV.
I get it. You're regularly shipping your own bike to yourself in a dedicated box for a tour where cost matters, but is part of the cost of your endeavor. Someone shipping a bike they sold in a one off transaction who has no experience with local or distant shops and is shooting in the dark is another horse. In those cases the quality of the packing and cost to pack, ship, and insure as well as the Xcountry hassles of things going wrong make a difference in who/how you want to go about it. A quick search shows a local here wants $120 just to pack without shipping cost! Those kind of prices will certainly eat into any profit you hope for or prevent a sale.
Don't get me wrong, I get a shop can and will do a good job just as they will do a crap job. The reality of shipping is even the best job can get damaged and the worst can be fine. My personal opinion and experience has been to do it myself and know what I sent and maximizing my chances of it making it in the same condition it left in. If someone has a shop they know/trust/came recommended to do the job at a price they can afford, by all means do so. Just saying that the LBS doesn't always live up to the expectations and faith people put in them.


bikes packed by bike shop for shipping

https://www.wheelandsprocket.com/abo...-ship-pg74.htm
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