how to pack a bike

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

If you need to transport your bike from one place to another, you must take the necessary precautions to ensure that your bicycle isn’t spoilt in transit.

To ensure that your bike will arrive safely at its destination, you just need to box it and pack it properly.

With a few packing supplies and some small hand tools, you cannot only ship your bike effectively but also safely.

Read this comprehensive guide on how to pack a bike for shipping. 


Things You Will Need

There are many materials you can use to pack your bike. But if you opt for cardboard, here are the things you are going to need:

A Box

get a bike box

Find out from your bike shop a few days before the trip if they have a box for packing your bike. It is advisable o always choose the biggest box available especially if yours is a touring bike and not a mountain or a road bike.

This is because touring bikes often have longer wheelbases that may complicate its packing. When it comes to packing boxes, never take anything for granted because even 2 inches can make a massive difference.

Also, check if you can get plastic spacers for putting into empty forks to help in preventing them from being bent and hence are knocked over. 

Packing Materials

It helps to be sufficiently stocked in packing materials on hand to securely close your box and also protect your bike. These include things like strings, foam, bubble wrap, newspaper. 

How to pack a bike in a Box

Packing your bike in a box will take slightly longer than if you had to use a bike bag. This is because a bike box doesn’t have premade straps or protective packaging.

When packing, make sure everything is packed tightly to ensure no loose items lingering about. Use the following tips:

1. Remove Components

Start by removing the bike components like the pedals, handlebars, and derailleur.

2. Protection

Using a box means that your bike is less protected, which is why you need to take extra precautions to protect parts and frames. A bubble wrap comes in handy for this.

If you don’t have it, you may want to use similar protective materials on your handlebars, forks, derailleur, and frame.

3. Fasten loose parts

Have your handlebars tied to one end of the fork and tie your derailleur to the bike’s rear triangle. Ensure that the place you are putting them is protected, as this is important in preventing rubbing.

4. Wheels

In case your box is big enough to allow it, only remove the front wheel of the bike while leaving the back wheel intact. This allows for protection and stability.

The front-wheel should be placed at one end of the frame.

Next, put bubble wrap and protective cardboard between the frame and the wheel and ensure it is tight. Tie the wheel to the frame tightly. 

In case the bike box is too small for the height of the bike, you can lower it by allowing the air to escape out of the shock.

5. Tape the bike

Compared to a bike bag, your box is considerably less strong. It’s the reason you want to harden its weak spots. 

Take the entire bottom, tape it, and do the same to the corners.

The areas around the handle need to be reinforced using extra tape to avoid them easily ripping. Do this to the inner part of the bike where you are going to put the front wheel.

6. Put your bicycle in

At this time, your bike is in the form of a single package. Also, the bike box is now strong enough.

The only thing remaining is taking the bike, inserting it into the box, and then taping it.

7. Write your details

It helps to indicate your contact details on the box so that in case something happens and it gets lost, reaching you won’t be a difficult task.

Packing your Bike in a Bag

Packing your bike in a bike bag takes a shorter time as the bag has been already readied for you. It has protection for wheels, forks, and derailleur.

, there is Velcro for fastening it safely. Use the following simple steps to pack your bike in a bike bag.

1. Remove the pedals and safely place them in a case or a bag

Next up, remove both the wheels of the bicycle and insert them into their respective slots. After that, put brake blocks or a cardboard piece between the rear and front brake pads.

This is to ensure that nothing happens even if your brake levers should get pushed in accidentally during its transportation. If you want to take extra caution, also remove the brake discs from the wheels.

2. Take the derailleur off and have it zip-tied to your bicycle’s rear triangle to protect it

Remove the handlebars and then turn these to one side. This can be achieved by either removing the entire handlebar and the stem combination or merely unscrewing the front plate of your bike’s stem.

This plate usually holds the handlebars.

3. Put it in the bag

This involves simply putting your bike in the bag and then strapping it securely by using straps to ensure that it stays in place. You can get a protector for the frame separately, which usually holds the handlebars securely.


Packing a bike is important to ensure that it will arrive at its destination without being damaged. Fortunately, you can do this by yourself by just following a few simple tips and having the right materials. 

You can use a bike bag or even a cardboard box. A bike bag gives you an easier time because most things are already taken care of.

However, you need to know that it is usually a bit more expensive.

Irrespective of the option you go for, start early, and plan everything to avoid last-minute problems. Contact your bike shop in advance to be sure they can get the box you want for your bike.

Harold Whitford

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About the Author

My name is Harold Whitford, a husband, father, and avid cyclist with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Delaware. Having been in the industry for more than 15 years, I have a number of the road race and national time trial championships in my bag.

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