Cycling is a lot of fun and having a bike is great for your fitness, social circles and excellent for your mental health. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to owning a bike. A task that is challenging for many is shipping a bike. It’s much more complicated compared to a standard large parcel and can be very costly.
Shipping can be done in a few different ways, at different costs, and there’s a fair amount to consider when doing it. In this article, we’ll tell you how much it costs to ship your bike in the US and the UK and what you need to consider when doing it. Unfortunately, shipping a bike requires a lot of preparation for it to be safe.
Who Ships Bikes?
Regarding shipping bikes, the only people that will entertain it are courier companies such as UPS, FED Ex, and specialist bike shipping companies. We highly recommend a bike shipping company over a general courier because it will be transported with typically a higher level of care due to the driver knowing what’s in the box and when it’s all bikes, they are stacked correctly. No matter what company you’re using, generally, they ask for the bike to be prepared, and this has to be done in a certain way.
Bike Shipping Prep
The first thing you need to think about is preparation. Shipping a bike is not a simple task, and it has to be packed correctly, not just for it to be safe but for a courier company to accept it and deliver it with the least chance of it getting damaged. You can either do this yourself or pay a bike shop to do this for you.
Step One: Find a Correct Box
The first thing you need to do is get a bike box that is going to fit your bike. It doesn’t have to be a plastic or cloth box. We recommend a cardboard box. The easiest way to obtain one of these is to order one online, or the best way is to go to a bike shop and ask if they have an old one. Most bike shops will give you them for free as they are hard to get rid of for them, though some do charge $20 or £15.
Step Two: Pedals and Bars
Once you have your box, you need to get the bike in. The easy way to do this is to remove the front wheel, remove the bolts at the stem so the handlebars can be free, deflate the tires, then take your pedals off. This will help the bike to fit into small spaces, and it will also help protect it when it’s traveling.
Step Three: Padding and Sealing
Once the bike is ready to go in the box, drop it in without the front wheel in. Cover the bike in padding and then place the front wheel, so it sits around the inside of the frame. Then add more padding after. Add the pedals and any bolts, then seal the box up.
There are a few different ways to ship a bike, and some do cost more than others. Next, we’ll speak about all the different options you have when shipping a bike and how much it will cost you to do it in the US or the UK. We will give a rough estimate as there are so many factors such as locations, weight and box sizes, etc.
Method One (Best Value for Money): Let the Shop handle it
Most bike shops actually offer a shipping service. This is where you take the bike to them. They will pack it professionally and then send it to where it needs to go. This is by far the easiest way to do it, especially when it comes to saving you time.
- It gets done properly
- More chance of it arriving safely
- It saves you a huge amount of time
- Cost isn’t the cheapest
- Still need to go to the shop
- US $125 – $200
- UK £80 – £130
Method Two (Cheapest): General Courier
If you want to save a little bit of money and use a general courier, you will first have to obtain a box which we will account for in cost. You then will need to prepare and pack it, then organize a collection or a drop off at one of the company’s depots.
- More chance of damages
- You need to source a box
- Packing it yourself
- Time Consuming
- US $50 -$75 + $20 Box
- UK £30 – £50 + £15 Box
Method Three (Easiest): Bike Delivery Service
The final way is using a bike delivery service, which isn’t an option for everyone as it depends on your location. The most popular is Kitzuma in the US. It’s a white collar service where you don’t need to do anything to prepare. They literally turn up at your house, collect the bike fully built, and then deliver in 3-6 days. They guarantee safety and only ship bikes, nothing else.
- Safest Way
- Completely trouble-free
- Comes right to your door
- Cost is expensive
- US $200+
- UK No Service
A question we are often asked is about international shipping. This isn’t as expensive as most people might think, and you could be looking at around $100 to $150 after packed. Expect your bike to be thrown around a bit because they cross so many hands they can get lost easily. We do not recommend international shipping unless you have to.
Shipping a bike isn’t easy. They are bulky items that are very fragile, and you do have to abide by the regulations of a courier. We recommend only shipping if you have to, and the best option is to organize it with a bike shop unless you feel completely confident you are able to pack it yourself.