For many people, a bike is a bike, the cranks and the wheels spin and there’s a load of bolts in various places that hold it all together. So when the time comes to go on a holiday, move house, or sell(LInK) your bike the question of how to safely break that bike down into a more postable size creates many issues for people.
Over the years we’ve pretty much nailed the art of packing up a bike into a cardboard box and shipping it safely. There’s a certain art to it for sure, but ultimately there are some very simple steps to success that you can follow in order to guarantee your bike gets there in one piece.
Remove the front wheel
Wrap the downtube and top tube in foam or bubble wrap.
Remove the handlebars from the stem and cable tie them to the fork (see photos)
Add some bubble wrap to the non-driveside crank arm.
Slide the front wheel over the crank and use cable ties to secure it to the bike.
Make sure nothing is loose or moving - We’ve found that the key to avoiding any unwanted damage or scratches during transit is to make sure that nothing can move when inside the box. In this respect, use zip ties liberally to strap down and secure things such as the handlebar, the front wheel, and even the fork. If you can completely minimise any movement your bike stands a much better chance of surviving the journey.
Have padding or bubble wrap at any and every contact point - It’s quite obvious to say, but scratches, dents, and paint chips all happen due to the contact of two surfaces. One way to avoid this is to make sure that at every point where you can see two different points might touch, make sure there is sufficient protection between the two.
Make sure the box is strong - No matter how secure and well packed your bike is within the box, the choice of box itself is going to go a long way to protect what’s inside. Unfortunately, once handed off to the courier company you are relying on them to look after that box and your belongings, which can’t always be guaranteed. A strong and sturdy box is the best way to avoid this and set your mind at ease. We are fortunate enough to have our own custom made boxes that we believe in and trust. We offer a service whereby we can send you a ready made box and materials for £50 including packing materials, box and courier charge. You can often find something similar just by popping to your LBS who will probably have one from a delivery they’ve received going spare. So also a great way to recycle materials.
Pad the box out - Bikes are not rectangular - that much is for certain - so there is always going to be empty space around the bike inside whatever box you use. We highly recommend looking to fill this space with extra padding materials. At CE we use custom made inserts that help strengthen the box whilst taking care of that space, but you can also simply use bubble wrap or thick packing paper to help pad that space out. By removing the empty space you create less chance of your bike moving around inside the box and potentially getting damaged.
Take your time - Most mistakes are going to happen from rushing and a well packed bike is definitely worth the extra 5 minutes to make sure.
Make sure everything is in the box before sealing - We do it every single week; spend twenty minutes getting the bike all carefully packed up only to look back at the desk and realise we forgot to put something in there. It’s not the most disastrous of mistakes to make, but it sure is annoying. Whether it be a quick release skewer, di2 charger, important document, or pack of grommets, there are often bits that need to go in there that get forgotten. So double check it’s all in there before sealing the box up.
If you’re thinking of selling or part-exchanging your bike to us then we understand that having to go out and source your own packing materials for your bike can be quite a pain and put you off the process altogether.
To help you get around this we have set up our Self-Pack & Send Service. For £50 we can send you a ready-made box including all the packing materials you will need. This cost covers the courier fee as well as the cost of the materials.
These materials are the exact same ones that we use in store ourselves so you can be sure that they are trustworthy enough to safely transport your bike, wheels or frame to us!