Need to pack your bike ready for shipping? Or need to dismantle it for maintenance? This eight step guide will give you everything you need to do it safely and securely. We’ll even show you how to save up to 70% when booking.
Here is the quick guide for speedy readers. The in-depth guide is located below.
- Remove the handlebar.
- After removing the handlebar, rotate the fork and stem so they are facing backwards.
- Shift the bicycle chain onto the small chain ring and largest rear cog, before attempting to remove the pedals.
- Turn the right pedal counter-clockwise and the left pedal clockwise, to un-thread.
- Loosen and remove the seat post and seat as a unit. Once removed, re-tighten the seat post bolt so the seat does not fall out.
- Secure the wrapped handlebar and other loose parts to the frame using tape and plastic ties.
- Remove racks, drinks bottle holders, bike lights and mudguards.
- Package all items individually and securely using our packaging and labelling guidelines.
In a rush? Just remember this golden rule.
Once you have taken your bike apart then you will need to package and label it properly. Wrap each item in two inches of bubble wrap and secure it tightly with plenty of packaging tape. Make sure that none of your items can move inside of the box or touch the inner walls. They should be all suspended within 12 inches of internal packaging. We offer additional cover for added reassurance – we understand bikes are precious.
The in-depth guide
To bring you the best guide on shipping a bike with a courier, we buddied up with some leading bike specialists and compacted their treasure trove of hot tips and tricks into a concise, easy to navigate guide.
Let’s get started, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before shipping:
- What tools do I need to take my bike apart?
- What packaging materials do I need?
- How do I safely take my bike apart?
- How do I package my bike, ready for shipping?
- How do I get the cheapest quote?
Cycling, especially in cities, has become increasingly popular as people become inspired by the healthy results and pennies saved in avoiding travel expenses. Over 43% of Brits now have a bike, with three million of us cycling three times a week or more. Almost 800,000 people cycle to work every day and over five billion km are cycled in the UK every year. However, many cyclists remain unaware of how to take their bike apart – a great skill to learn not just for shipping, but also for basic maintenance.
What tools do I need?
- Allen keys
- Adjustable spanner
What packaging materials do I need?
- Bubble wrap
- Cable ties
- Foam tubing
- Packaging chips
- Large, triple ply box big enough for the bike frame
Step 1: Find a strong box
Most cycle shops will probably give you one for free or sell you one cheaply, or you can buy a dedicated bike packing box online. Your box needs to be large enough to fit your bike parks into it as well as strong enough to survive the transit process intact. We recommend acquiring a specialist bike box, or a triple ply box.
Shipping internationally? Read these
Step 2: Clear a good workspace
To avoid losing any nuts and bolts that you will absolutely need for reassembling the bike, get a tupperware box or small packing box to keep all the loose items together. Make sure you have enough space to easily navigate the bike parts.
Step 3: Remove any accessories
Start by taking off the bike lights, their mountings, racks, bottle holders, speedometers and mudguards. If you are sending the lights, only send them with their original packaging. Batteries are prohibited items and cannot be shipped with a courier, so be careful if your bike light uses them.
Step 4: Remove the seat post
Unless you have an old bike, this should be a quick process by undoing the quick release bolt. More importantly, once you have removed the seat post, apply some tape to the collar (the seat post housing) to ensure that isn’t damaged in transit. If your bike is older, just unscrew the bolt or nut that is used to keep it in place and lift the seat from the frame.
Tip: If you want to retain the exact height upon reassembly, place a marker with a bit of tape so you have referenced the exact height you prefer.
Step 5: Remove the pedals
Shift the bike chain onto the small chain ring and the largest rear cog before removing the pedals. With your spanner/wrench remove the pedals by turning the right pedal counter-clockwise, and vice versa for the left pedal. This is needed so your bike fits more easily into the box.
Step 6: Remove the handlebar
Depending on the dimensions of your box, you can get away with simply turning the handlebar 90 degrees. (You will be removing the front wheel shortly). If there isn’t enough room then you will need to remove it. You are only detaching the horizontal bar, not the whole unit, so remove the bolts from the headset to detach the handlebar, keep the brake and gear cables as they are and slowly lower the handlebar, turning it vertically so it slides down by your front wheel.
Step 7: Remove the front wheel
This is a simple job, especially if you have quick release bolts. Undo these, slide the wheel through the brake blocks (if you have them) and set the wheel to one side. Turn the handlebar 180 degrees so it is facing inwards. Don’t forget to let some air out of both tyres – particularly important if your bike is travelling by air.
A pre-packing tip
Secure the loose handlebar using cable ties to the bike frame. You will then need to:
- Insulate your pedal cog or ‘bare’ pedals with a plastic bag and wrap the end of your seat post.
- Wrap the main front gear cog in bubblewrap – the sharp edges can scratch or damage other parts of your bike and could also tear through the outer packaging.
- Wrap the foam tubing around the frame and pay particular attention to the front forks.
Important: If your chain is coated in oil you will need to clean and remove it. Oil is a prohibited item as it is flammable.
Step 8: Start packing your box
Make sure you have secured all the joins for your box with strong packing tape before you start putting the bike in.
You will then need too:
- Fill the bottom of your box in two inches of packaging chips or spare bubble wrap. This is to ensure your goods are not touching the inner walls of the box.
- Lift up the frame (with the attached de-assembled handlebar still vertical as illustrated) and place in the box.
- Add the front wheel down the side of the box and remember to put all your bolts, screws and accessories in as well (secured in a separate box or bundled together).
You will then need to secure your box with strong tape designed for shipping. Make sure the joins have enough tape to hold them securely closed, and run tape in three directions across the box and joints. Imagine a Union Jack pattern of tape.
You will then need to label your goods properly.
- Remove all existing labels and cover any old barcodes (you may be using a second hand box)
- Use a single address label with delivery and return information.
- Place a duplicate address label inside the package.