Tutorial: Bike Shipping Pro-Tips

A few weeks ago I made the decision to sell my 2015 Cannondale Caadx (SRAM Rival). I was sad to see it go, but becoming more and more road oriented, I wanted to make the leap into the carbon road scene. I posted the bike on eBay and within an hour, someone messaged me stating that he had been scouring the site for over a year looking for this exact bike. He asked me some pertinent questions and then bought the bike and promptly paid for it via PayPal. I was going to write up this post earlier in the week, but I needed to make sure that the bike shipping went smoothly, and that the buyer was fully pleased with the bike. I can happily say that he is greatly enjoying the bike! So, without further adieu, here’s my rundown of how I packed up the bike for shipping.

 

Pro-Tip: If you don’t have a dedicated bike box, stop by your local bike shop and ask them if they have any leftover bike boxes. Chances are they’re going to be throwing the excess boxes away, so they’ll be more than happy to let you walk out with one at no charge.

A Cannondale box for my Cannondale, how fitting.

 

So, aside from the box itself, there are a few core items that you’re going to need:

  1.  Bubble Wrap 
  2.  Packing / Scotch Tape
  3.  One or Two Pool Noodles 
  4. Varying size Allen wrenches 
  5. Ziplock Bags / Sharpie Marker 
  6. A smaller box (approximately the size of a typical (shoe box). 

 

Where to start? Well, I began with removing my seat post (leaving seat attached) followed by my pedals, wheels, handlebars, rear derailleur, and then the wrapping began. Now, I could describe each step in written detail, but I’m going to link the videos that I watched (and followed step-by-step).

I actually used a few different videos to form a consensus in my mind of the best practices. For example, the Canyon video didn’t work entirely for me because I had to remove the rear wheel (and subsequently unscrew the rear derailleur from the hanger) in order for the bike to properly fit in the box. The second video (Global Cycling Network – GCN – had great insight on how to properly position the rear derailleur safely within the rear triangle of the frame.

 

 

You’re going to want to ensure that essentially the whole bike is securely wrapped up. In spite of the best packing possible, you just never know how the mail delivery services are going to handle your package. You hope for the best, but always better to be safe than sorry. While I didn’t explicitly time my packing, but since it was my first time shipping a bike, I easily spent over 6 hours on it. I’m positive the next time I do this, it’ll take 2-3 hours max.

 

In terms of pieces to separate and place in Ziploc bags (with proper labels):

 

  1. Front and Rear Skewers in two small Ziplocs
  2. If you have disc brakes, I highly recommend removing the front and rear rotors and placing them (with the respective bolts) in bags. Once you remove the discs, be sure to place a plastic (small cardboard, if you’re in a pinch) shims in the calipers. This is to ensure that the brake levers don’t accidentally get pressed in shipment. If they do and you don’t have a shim there, the disc brakes will seize up.

 

I mentioned earlier in the post that you will want to have a smaller box (approximately the size of a typical shoebox). This is where you’re going to put the Ziploc bags with the above parts, as well as your pedals, and water bottle cages. I wrapped up my pedals and cages in bubble wrap for added protection and nothing was moving around in there (be sure to tape the smaller box shut).

 

(With a dog toy)

 

Almost ready to be shipped off. The white box there is the one I used for the smaller parts (pedals, skewers, rotors, and water cages).

 

In terms of getting the bike in the box itself, I noticed that there were some reinforced sections within the Cannondale Box – presumably to prevent a wheel cassette from ripping through the side of the box. I may have overdone it when it came to taping up the box, but wanted to be extra sure it was going to arrive properly to its destination.

 

 

Fits like a glove!

 

 

When I was printing out my shipping label, I put the declared value as $1,000. As a result, I wasn’t able to drop the bike off at a regular UPS store. I had to go to the shipment facility out in Maspeth, NY and speak to a specific customer care representative. After 5 days, the bike arrived and the eBay buyer was very pleased! He re-assembled it, took it for a test run, and had no complaints.

 

Pro-Tip: I will also say, it’s important to have documentation – take pictures of your bike before shipping it, take pictures of your bike wrapped up, even pictures of the box at the UPS center. On the off chance that something happens to it in transit, you want to have proof that it was in good condition before it left your hands.

All in all, it was a very successful transaction. I am using the funds from this to pick up a 2016 Cannondale Synapse Ultegra (Carbon). I found a phenomenal deal on one, which I reserved with a deposit, for 35% off MSRP. While I liked the matte finish on the Caadx, I am looking forward to a glossy black/white frame. On the test run, the carbon frame + the SAVE geometry smoothed out road chatter. I can’t wait to take it out on 9W when I pick it up!

2 thoughts on “Tutorial: Bike Shipping Pro-Tips

  1. Nestor Shorter Reply

    Thanks for the step by step explanation for packing the bike. My brother who has stepped into the biking world recently wanted to ship his bike for a bike trip with his friends to another place. He didn’t want to rely on packing staff to pack his bike which is too dear to him. He was constantly searching information on how to pack the bike. I started reading your post recently and saw this one. A true saviour though. I asked my brother to have a look at this page. He felt contended after reading this article and packed the bike according to the instructions given here. At last he transported his bike through http://www.wewilltransportit.com as that was feasible according to his trip. Thanks once again for providing a report on your experience.

    • cyclehaven9w Post authorReply

      So glad to hear your brother benefited from this post! Thank you for the kind words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *