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|How to pack a bike
Packing a bike for shipping in a bike box made of corrugated cardboard that you can get a local bike shop easier today than ever. Bicycle manufactures spend a lot of time and money each year designing their boxes to fit the current season of bicycles with minimal dis-assembly and heighten levels of protection.
What you need:
- A bicycle
- A re-used high quality bike box
- Tubes protectors
- Plastic fork block
- Plastic seat tube protector
- Plastic Wheel axle protectors
- Small seal-able plastic bag
- 3,4,5,6,8 mm Allen wrenches
- Pedal wrench 15mm
How long it will take:
- 60 minutes or more the first time
- 30 minutes after you have done it a few times
Step 1: Get bike packing supplies
The easiest source for the majority of your bike packing supplies listed above is your local bike shop. We recommend calling a few days ahead of when you need bike packing supplies so the shop can carefully unpack a new build from its box and as they build the new bike, just toss all the extra protector bits back into the box for you. Generally, the more expensive the bike that came in the box, the better quality the box. You are looking for a better quality bike box in new looking condition, no torn flaps or holes and with good sturdy hand holds. And the nice part about this, is that most shops will gather and give you the bike packing supplies at little or no cost.
Step 2: Clean your bike
Packing a bike is hands on, so if your bike is not already clean, take 2 minutes and wipe down the frame and drive train with a soft rag and mild cleaner or polish. It will save you 20 minutes trying to get all the stuff of your hands and clothes afterward.
Step 3: Remove pedals
Remove your pedals with a pedal wrench and place immediately into plastic bag so not to lose.
Step 4: Remove front wheel
Remove the front wheel from the bike. Unthread the quick release nut and spring, pull the skewer from wheel, re-attach spring and nut to skewer a few turns, place immediately into plastic bag.
Step 5: Remove stem and handlebar
Remove the stem and handle bar as one unit by loosing the bolts at the steerer tube connection. Most modern stem bolts use 4 or 5 mm Allen bolts that attach the stem to the steerer.
Step 6: Remove seatpost and saddle
Remove the seatpost and saddle as one unit by loosing the bolts at the seat tube clamp connection. Most modern seat clamps will use 4 or 5 mm Allen bolts to secure the seatpost.
Step 7: Remove rear derailleur
Remove the rear derailleur using a 5mm Allen key and let it and the chain hang downward. You will soon secure it to the frame.
Step 8: Remove some air pressure from tires
Remove some air pressure from the tires so that the bike will fit better in the box and so the tires are not at maximum pressure during shipping.
Step 9: Attach packing supplies to bike
Place the plastic protectors in the front wheel axle, fork legs and seat tube. Wrap all the tubes with the self adhesive cardboard tubing or foam that you got from the bike shop. If they did not have any, you can make your own using regular cardboard and some tape. Then tie the stem and bar to the front of the frame. Wrap the rear derailleur and chain in a rag and secure to the chain stay with zip ties. You are trying to prevent scratching where surfaces meet and to secure any the contact points with zip ties to limit moving back and forth during shipping.
Step 10: Pack bike in box
Carefully place the bike into the box, making sure everything is secure and that the box flaps will close without bulging. Tape up the box with packing tape and apply your shipping label. You are all set.
Note: The steps above of how to pack a bike are general enough to pack a mountain bike or road bike.