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How to Ship A Bike: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover our best tips for shipping a bike including how to calculate costs, best shipping services to use, how to pack a bike, & more!

Discover our best tips for shipping a bike including how to calculate costs, best shipping services to use, how to pack a bike, & more!

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Looking for tips on how to ship a bike? Whether you’re an avid cyclist selling your old bike, a dedicated athlete training for a triathlon across the country, or you’re simply moving and want to take your two-wheeled companion with you, knowing how to ship a bike properly can save you a lot of trouble and money.

But how do you do it?

Shipping a bike doesn’t have to be a headache or cost a fortune. I’ve shipped bikes and wheels numerous times and if you do it right, it’s actually quite an easy process and in this post.

It may sound intimidating at first, but this post with guide you step-by-step through choosing the right carrier, how to disassemble your bike, tips for packing it, and more. My aim is to ensure that your bike arrives safely at its destination in the same condition it left, ready for your next adventure.

Let’s dive in!

FAQs about how to ship a bike

Shipping a bicycle may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about shipping a bike:

Different bikes may require different steps for disassembly, but generally, you’ll need to remove the pedals, wheels, and possibly the handlebars and seat.

All also want to use protective materials such as bubble wrap, foam padding, or cardboard to protect the bike parts from damage.

See detailed instructions for disassembling your bike for shipping below.

Bike shops often have bike boxes they’re willing to give away. Make sure the box is sturdy and large enough to fit your disassembled bike and has room for protective packing material.

If you’re receiving your bike on the other end (i.e. not selling it), you can use a bike travel bag to ship your bike.

Yes. It’s a good idea to add extra insurance to your bike, especially if it’s valuable. Insurance provides coverage in case your bike is lost or damaged during shipping.

Depending on the carrier, some insurance will most likely be included, but you can typically add more for an extra fee.

Cost to ship a bike varies depending on the size and weight of the box, the distance it’s being shipped, and the carrier you choose.

As a general estimate, shipping within the U.S. can range from $50 to $200+.

If you choose to ship with BikeFlights, they have a helpful calculator to let you see exactly how much it will cost to ship your bike.

If you’ve insured your bike, contact the shipping carrier immediately to report the damage and file a claim.

It’s important to inspect your bike as soon as it arrives to identify any possible damage. I also like to take photos of my bike before I send it off so I have proof that it was packed correctly.

Yes, many carriers offer international shipping services. However, shipping internationally will most likely be very expensive, and your bike may be subject to customs duties or import taxes.

If you’re heading overseas, I highly recommend flying with your bike instead of shipping it.

Many carriers will ship e-bikes, but because they are heavier and have to be classified differently due to the lithium batteries, it will be more expensive to ship an electric bike.

Bike shipping services

Shipping your bike, whether it’s a cherished classic or a high-tech racing machine, can be intimidating.

The process of disassembling, packing, and ensuring your bike’s safe arrival at its destination might seem overwhelming.

Thankfully, several dedicated bike shipping services can simplify this process, offering specialized care for your two-wheeled companion.

Here are the top bike shipping services available:


BikeFlights is my top choice – and a popular option among many other cyclists – for shipping bicycles and bike parts like wheels.

They offer both domestic and international shipping and they provide a wide array of services, including bike box supplies, door-to-door pickup and delivery, and insurance coverage.

What sets BikeFlights apart is their “Best Way Guarantee,” which promises to provide the best rates, delivery times, and customer service.

Screenshot of BikeFlights homepage with photo of cyclists on oceanside road
I’ve used BikeFilghts on several occasions and have had great experiences with their service


ShipBikes is another bike-shipping service that offers an easy and affordable way to ship your bike across the U.S. and internationally.

They provide custom bike boxes and packing materials, ensuring your bike remains safe during transit. The downside is that you must use one of their Ship Bike containers.

I also find that the user experience on Ship Bike’s website is far inferior to BikeFlights.


FedEx and UPS may not be bike-specific services, but they offer reliable shipping options for bikes. Both offer a variety of shipping speeds, from ground to express delivery, and provide detailed tracking information.

Be sure to check their guidelines for packing and shipping bikes and consider insuring your bike for its full value.

Luggage Forward

Luggage Forward is a boutique luggage shipping service that accepts bicycles. Their service offers a seamless, door-to-door delivery experience.

They offer a unique “on-time guarantee,” promising a double-your-money-back guarantee if your bike doesn’t arrive on time.

They also handle all customs documentation for international shipping, reducing hassle for you.

TriBike Transport

For those attending triathlons, Ironman’s, and other bike events, TriBike Transport offers a premium service where they disassemble, pack, and ship your bike for you and even reassemble your bike at the event location.

They cater specifically to athletes, ensuring your bike is ready when you need it.

The downside is that they only cover specific events, so browse their listings to see if your event is on there.

Tip: When choosing a shipping service, consider factors like cost, shipping time, the convenience of pickup and delivery, and additional services such as provided packing materials or insurance. The safety and timely arrival of your bike is paramount, so choose a service that you trust will handle your bike with care!

Dakine bike bag in front of open garage door

Fees for Shipping a Bike

The cost to ship a bike will vary depending on the shipping service you use as well as a few other factors including:

  • Weight: The heavier your bike and shipping container, the more expensive it will be to ship.
  • Dimensions: The larger your packed bike is, the more expensive it will be to ship.
  • Distance shipped: Shipping your bike closer to home will be less expensive than shipping it all the way across the country.
  • Shipping Internationally: Shipping overseas does get expensive. You will probably be better off checking your bike as luggage on the airplane.
  • Shipping an e-bike: E-bikes are more expensive to ship because they are heavier and have to be classified differently due to the lithium batteries.
  • Added insurance: Most shipping services will offer basic insurance, but you’ll probably want to add more insurance depending on how expensive or valuable your bike is.


According to BikeFlights, you will get the best shipping rates when your shipment length does not exceed 48 inches, height does not exceed 30 inches, and total shipment size is less than or equal to 130 inches (total shipment size = Length + 2x Width + 2x Height)

You’ll also get the best rate when your shipment package is under 50 pounds.

Choosing a shipping container

Bikes can be shipped in a cardboard bike box, a soft bike travel bag, or a hardshell case.

Cardboard bike box

Cardboard bike boxes are often the most economical choice and can be sourced for free or a small fee from local bike shops. They are surprisingly durable, and with proper internal packing, they provide good protection for your bike. They’ll be the cheapest to ship since they are lightweight and have the smallest dimensions.

Bike boxes are a great option if you’re selling your bike or doing a one-way trip where you can pick up another bike box at the end.

Bike box with Canyon written on it and road bike on bike stand in back
Most bike shops have bike boxes they will give you to ship your bike in

Soft bike bags

Soft bike bags offer a mid-range option between cardboard boxes and hardshell cases.

They’re lighter and more compact than hardshell cases, making them easier to transport, but they also provide more protection than a cardboard box.

Mountain bike propped up next to Dakine Bike Bag in garage
My Dakine bike bag has been a lot of places! I’ve used it to fly my bikes as well as ship them across the country

Hardshell cases

Hardshell cases offer the highest level of protection. They are more expensive (both to buy and ship due to their weight), but if you plan to ship your bike frequently or it’s a high-value item, this could be a worthwhile investment.

Hardshell cases are designed to withstand harsh handling and protect your bike from impact damage.

How to pack a bike for shipping

Packing your bike well is super important if you want your bike to arrive at its destination damage-free. You can take your bike to a local bike shop and they will pack it up for you for a fee, or you can do it yourself.

Here’s a simple guide to packing a bike for shipping:

1. Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin the process of disassembling and preparing your bike for shipping, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and packing materials.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hex wrench set for disassembling your bike (other tools may be needed depending on your bike)
  • Small cardboard pieces or disc brake spacers
  • Your shipping box or container (see above)
  • Bubble wrap, foam padding, or other protective materials
  • Zip ties or straps to secure loose parts
  • Packing tape
  • A marker for labeling the box

2. Clean Your Bike

A clean bike is easier to work with and less likely to cause problems during shipping or reassembly. Plus, taking the time to clean your bike can give you an opportunity to inspect it for any damage or necessary maintenance before it’s shipped.

Shop Muc-Off 8-in-1 Cleaning Kit at:

3. Disassemble Your Bike

To safely fit your bike into its shipping box or container and minimize the risk of damage, you’ll need to disassemble certain parts.

The specific steps may vary depending on the type of bike, but generally, you’ll need to:

  • Remove the pedals
  • Take off both wheels
  • Lower or remove the seat post
  • Remove or turn the handlebars sideways
  • Deflate the tires

4. Add protection

To prevent scratches, dings, or more severe damage during transit, you’ll want to add padding to protect the bike parts.

Use bubble wrap, foam, or other protective materials to wrap the frame and parts, focusing particularly on protruding parts and sensitive areas like derailleurs.

I like to use the foam frame noodles that come on most new bikes. You can get these at any bike shop.

How to ship a bike | Mountain bike padded and packed into Dakine Bike bag
I like to add foam protection around my bike frame, derailleur, cranks, and other protruding parts

5. Take photos

It’s always a good idea to take photos of your bike after packing it up so you have proof that your bike was packed properly in case it gets damaged during transit.

6. Label your box or bag

Once the bike is packed, seal the box or bag securely with tape or zip ties on the zippers. Write “Fragile” and “This Side Up” on the outside of the box to alert handlers to the need for careful handling.

I also like to include my address and the recipient’s address on a luggage tag.

7. Ship it!

Once your bike is all packed up, it’s time to send it on its way! Depending on what carrier you choose, you may need to bring it to a shop or shipping facility or most carriers will pick it up right from your doorstep.

Final thoughts

Shipping a bike may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not that hard or scary. With good preparation and the right knowledge, it can be a smooth, worry-free process.

Just be sure to choose a good shipping container and properly disassemble and pad your bike to avoid damage. Also, get the extra insurance!

Happy riding!


Looking for more tips and resources on how to transport your bike? Check out these related blog posts:

What questions do you still have about shipping a bike? Have you used BikeFlights before? What additional tips do you have? Leave your comment or advice below!

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  1. Before anything else, it is crucial that you acquire the correct box measurement for your bicycle. Whether you want to ship a road bike or a large mountain bike, box size is a huge consideration.

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