* Philippe Buchmann 23.04.2023
How can I ship a road bike?
In this article you will find out everything about shipping bicycles. We will be the first to explain to you which transport companies are suitable for private shipping.
We will then explain to you which road bike box and materials you need and how much the packaging materials and shipping cost.
Finally, you will find instructions for packing a road bike.
Which companies offer transport services for shipping road bikes?
There are currently four major logistics companies that handle the shipping of road bikes: FedEx, UPS, DHL and DHL-Express. It is important to note that DHL-Express is not a special service from DHL, but rather two independently operating transport companies. Which of the companies mentioned offers the cheapest service for shipping a road bike? This depends on various factors:
- Size of the box
- delivery time
- Additional functions (insurance, punctual delivery, etc.)
What type of box do I need to pack my road bike?
When shipping a road bike, the weight plays a lesser role than the dimensions of the box and its volumetric weight. The dimensions are calculated from the length + 2 x width + 2 x height of the box. The prices are based primarily on the volumetric weight (= length x width x height / 5,000). Of course, a smaller road bike also requires a smaller box. However, if you want to ship your road bike in a small package, you will have to disassemble many parts.
The dimensions of a bicycle box
We recommend a box that is 160 cm long, 80 cm high and 20 cm wide. This results in a total belt size of 360 cm. The box is large enough to only remove the front wheel and saddle and turn the handlebars on a single road bike. On the other hand, the box is small enough not to exceed the maximum permitted bulky goods size for DHL (360 cm). But be careful: If the box bulges due to improper packaging of the road bike, the girth size can quickly be exceeded and this will result in a significant increase in transport costs.
How much does it cost to ship a road bike?
If you want to ship your road bike within Germany, DHL offers the cheapest solution at around €50 including transport insurance up to a value of €2,500. The shipping time is up to three working days. If you want to go faster and have the bike box delivered within one working day, DHL Express is the best option. With DHL Express, the collection and delivery times are also set more precisely. However, the costs here are over €140 per shipment. UPS and FedEx cost more than €150 for shipping within Germany and are therefore less suitable for private use.
Shipping to other European countries is a little more complicated. If you would like to send your bicycle box with a belt size of 360 cm to Italy, this is no longer possible with DHL, as they only accept a maximum bulky goods size of 300 cm. You could disassemble your road bike so that it fits into a smaller box (with a maximum belt size of 300 cm) and then have it shipped via DHL for just over €110. However, the buyer would have to put the road bike back together himself when assembling it - just like you did before! Packing a road bike in a box with a maximum size of just 300 cm in girth is more for advanced users. However, if you want to keep a larger format, it will cost you over €220 via UPS. The cheaper option would be DHL Express at around €480 and FedEx is even more expensive.
The prices for shipping a road bike worldwide increase significantly and are also country-specific. For example, shipping to the USA via DHL Express costs €560, which is the cheapest price of all four logistics companies. If a bicycle box with a goods value of more than 1,000 euros is sent to the USA, an export declaration is also required. The buyer (recipient) must declare the road bike himself if the goods are worth more than 2,000 US dollars.
What packaging material do you need for safe shipping of your road bike?
Bicycle boxes can be ordered online and cost between €15 and €20. You can also ask a local bike shop as they often have boxes left over from their deliveries. However, make sure that the used box is not damaged and is the right size. It is also important that the box has a sufficiently thick wall to ensure stability.
The road bike should under no circumstances simply be placed in the box, otherwise there is a risk that it will be damaged during transport. Foam tubes should be used to protect the frame and fork. The gears and sprockets should be covered with bubble wrap. To ensure that nothing bends during transport, it is essential to use a fork spacer. This ensures stability as the front wheel has been removed. If this spacer is missing, there is a risk that the fork leg will bend during transport and holes will appear in the box or that the cardboard will even tear.
How do I pack my road bike safely?
Even if your road bike is insured, it is very annoying if it is damaged during transport. And road bikes can quickly become damaged when traveling. Unprotected fork ends can quickly bend without the front wheel. Individual parts of the bike can scratch the frame if it is not adequately protected. Sensitive rear derailleurs must also be protected from damage, otherwise they will warp more quickly.
With all this protection, however, it is important to remember that the road bike must not exceed the dimensions of the box. A standard width of 20 cm in particular poses a challenge. The rear gear shift should therefore always be set to a large gear.
To pack the road bike safely, the following steps are required. Here are the instructions for packing a road bike:
1. Protect the front wheel
The front wheel must be removed and the quick release removed. The quick release should be wrapped in bubble wrap. Protective caps should be placed on each side of the hub to protect the front wheel.
2. Protect fork
A spacer must be inserted between the fork ends to prevent the fork from bending during transport. Otherwise, the pointed fork ends can damage the cardboard.
3. Pack the saddle and pedals
The pedals and saddle together with the seat post must be removed and each individually wrapped in bubble wrap.
4. Screw in the handlebars and stem
The stem must be loosened and then turned 90° to the side. The handlebars must then be loosened and turned downwards by 90°. Finally, both screws must be tightened again so that the handlebar stays in its position. Depending on the shape and size of the handlebars, sometimes the handlebars need to be taken down completely. The handlebars should then be attached to the frame, preferably with cable ties.
5. Protect your road bike
The frame, fork and handlebars must be completely protected with foam tubes. The rear derailleurs with the sprockets are covered with bubble wrap.
6. Pack the bike box
Finally, everything is packed into the bike box. This must be tightly closed with packaging tape. It is important to ensure that the bicycle box does not bulge. Curvatures can increase shipping costs.
To ship a road bike safely, you need to get the right bike box (around €20) and packaging materials (around €5) so that the bike can be safely packed into the box. The material costs are around €25. In addition, there are the transport costs within Germany (50 €, DHL), within the EU (around 220 €, UPS) or worldwide (500 - 700 €, DHL Express). To ensure that the bike survives transport undamaged, the road bike must be packed securely.