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  • J.J. Truver

After Packing Bikes Many Times For Shipping, Here is the Best Way I have Found to Pack Bikes Safely

How to Pack a Bike for Shipping

Whether you are going on a bike trip, or race, or selling your bike online, packing your bike the right way will help ensure that your bike shows up without ANY damage. Bikes are expensive, and this is a great way to protect your investment.

If you are traveling with your bike shipping it ahead is a great way to :

Avoid the baggage claim

● Rental cars that are too small

● The hassle of renting gear that isn't quite right.

● There’s nothing like riding your own equipment.

If you are selling your bike:

● This will help ensure that your bike shows up the way you described it

Bike Box- You can use a cardboard bike box or a hard bike case

● Reach out to your local bike shop well in advance of your trip and ask for a bike box. Be sure to let them know the size and type of bike you are shipping. This will ensure that they have one that can fit your bike since Mountain, Road, and BMX boxes are different sizes.

Packing Material- The goal is to pack the bike to avoid any parts getting scratched or damaging any delicate parts. The more packing Material, the better to avoid the bike shifting in the box.

Anything loose, that could rub against the frame, components, or box, will cause damage in shipping.


● Foam

● Heavy Bubble Wrap

● Extra Cardboard Pieces

● Towels or Rags Work Well

● High-quality Clear Packing Tape to Secure Packing Materials to Bike

● Permanent Marker

● Zip Ties

● Ziploc Bags (To keep bolts and spare parts)

● Bike stand

● Optional (Brake Spacer) or piece of cardboard

● Optional (Axle Support)

● Optional (Plastic End Cap - Axle Protector)

● Optional (Cable crimp if shipping for travel)


● Allen Wrenches

● Torx Driver

● Pedal Wrench (If your pedals can’t be removed with Allen wrenches)

● Cassette Tool

● Brake Pad Spacer (Cardboard)

● Bike Repair Stand

Step 1- Start with a clean bike. It is worth taking the extra time to work on clean equipment, and it can help avoid unnecessary damage to delicate bike parts.

Step 2- Remove Pedals & Rear Derailleur

● Remove Pedals

● Drop the derailleur to the smallest cog in the rear.

● Turn the crank arms so that the non-drive side (LEFT SIDE) crank arm is facing forward

● Wrap the Derailleur in foam/Bubble Wrap and Zip Tie to the Inner Side of the rear Triangle or rear axle to keep it safe while shipping.

Step 3- Remove the Front Wheel.

● Reinstall the front axle without the wheel.

● Install axle support or wrap the axle with heavy cardboard to protect the fork from moving.

Step 4- Tightly Secure the Entire Frame, Fork, Crank Arms, and Rear Triangle with Foam, Bubble Wrap, or Cardboard. (This step is critical to prevent scratching)

Step 5- Remove the front brake disc

● Reinstall Bolts to Hub

● Protect the Disk With Cardboard and Place it In a Ziploc Bag

Step 6- Install brake spacer or piece of cardboard in the front brake


● Attach the front wheel to the frame. Slide it through the non-chain side crank arm and secure it with zip ties. (SEE STEP 9)

● Check your front hub to make sure that it is not going to contact your frame or cut through the box. Make sure it is securely fastened.

Step 7- Remove handlebars by removing the front stem plate.

● Reinstall the front stem plate without bars

● Protect bars with foam or bubble wrap.

● Depending on if you need to take the rear wheel off, attach bars to the frame with zipties to the frame, on the opposite side of the bike of the wheel, or on the top tube, away from the wheels, so that they do not damage each other in transit.

Step 8- Test Fit

● Check to see that your bike fits in the box with the rear wheel installed.

● Ensure that the left crank arm is pointing forward and parallel to the bottom of the bike box

● Ensure that the box will close with the seat in its lowest position.

● If the seat will not fit, drop the seat by loosening the seat collar held by an Allen bolt.

● Otherwise remove the seatpost and zip tie to the rear wheel once the bike is secured in the box after Step 9.

If you have a dropper post, see if removing the seat will give you sufficient space rather than removing the dropper post.

Step 8A- If the bike fits with the rear wheel installed:

● Find a location on the chain side or top tube to zip-tie handlebars to the bike where the brake levers won’t be pressed by other items.

Step 8B- If the bike does not fit in the box, remove the bike from the box and

Remove the rear wheel

Install brake spacer in the rear brake


Reinstall the rear axle

● Remove the cassette from the rear wheel

● Wrap in bubble wrap or cardboard. Secure in the box so that it won't damage the bike or other parts after the bike is packed in the box.

Step 9- Place the front wheel on the non-chain side of the bike’s front triangle with the wheel hub safely away from contacting any part of the bike and place it the in box with the bike.

● It is often a good idea to place a large piece of cardboard in between the frame and the wheel. ( Or get Plastic Endcaps that come with new bikes. Ask Your Bike Shop about these )

● Place an additional piece of cardboard in between the hub and the box to avoid the hub punching a hole in the box.

● If there is not enough room between the bike box and the Frame of the bike, r remove the bike, and carefully place the non-drive side crank arm through the largest part of the spokes so that the crank arm is sitting below the hub. Zip-tie the wheel to the frame.

Step 9A- Find the location on the drive side of the bike to secure the rear wheel if you removed it in Step 8B.

● Placing wheels in the box can be tricky, but try to find a location where the sharp parts of the wheel won’t damage the bike or the box. When in doubt, use cardboard as a shield between the hub and the bike and box.

Step 10- Ensure the bike is securely packed in the box so that it will not move and that all bike parts will not be scratched or damaged by other parts of the bike.

● Ensure that no sharp pieces of the bike are at risk of making contact with the box in a way that could cause them to be damaged or tear through the cardboard during transportation.

● Add additional packing material to ensure that the frame will not move within the box while in transport.

● When in doubt, add more packing material.

● Ensure all small parts are in a Ziploc bag or some type of container and placed in a secure location(Usually the rear triangle or in between the fork and front triangle) inside the box where they won’t move around too much.

● If you are shipping your bike for travel, you can also add some of your riding gear to the box for additional padding.

Step 11- If everything fits, it’s time to tape the box shut.

TAKE A LOOK- Anywhere your bike is contacting the inside of the box is a good place to add extra padding.

● Add packing material to keep your bike from moving around inside the box

● Close the top of the box and tightly secure it with strips of packing tape placed perpendicular across the top closure of the box. Tape pieces should be about 18 inches running from 1 side of the box to the other.

● Print your label and Secure it to the top of the box, cover it completely with smooth pieces of tape so that it cannot be torn.

● Ensure that the tape over the label is smooth so that the barcodes on the label can be scanned.

Step 12- Arrange Transportation

Nice Work! You have packed your bike!

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