If you want to ship a bike cheaply there is one thing you need to know. That is, how to avoid oversize fees by choosing the right size box. If you avoid oversize fees you should be able to ship any standard size bike from coast to coast for $75 or less (as of Oct 2012) with FedEx. The shorter the physical distance the cheaper. I’ve always found FedEx rates to be lower than UPS. To avoid oversize fees the length + girth (height x 2 + width x 2) of the box must be 130 inches or less. Most bike boxes are 8″ wide, range from 29″ to 31″ tall and 51″ to 54″ long. For a box that measures 54″ x 30″ x 8″ the equation is 54 + (30 x 2) + (8 x 2) = 130″. Once you go over 130 inches, you can expect the cost to double due to oversize fees. So, if you’re going to ship a bike and you’re looking to your local bike shop for a box, make sure to get the measurements. If you don’t know how to pack a bike leave it up to your local bike shop to do so, labor charges vary but figure at least $50. If you want to learn how to pack a bike into a box, this is a good two part video.
At minimum the tools you’ll need to box a bike up are*:
- A set of metric hex wrenches. A multi-tool, hex set or even a 3 way should suffice
- A 15mm open ended wrench or pedal wrench to remove pedals
- Zip ties, many of them!
* less modern bikes may require different tools including such things as small metric wrenches in the 8 – 10mm range.