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best way to ship a bike?(11 posts)

best way to ship a bike?Veloce
Apr 23, 2001 9:54 AM
Need to ship 2 bikes from west coast to east coast for a tour. What is the best way to get 'em there? UPS or take on the plane with us? What are the costs? Thanks.
Fedex!rollo tommassi
Apr 23, 2001 10:48 AM
I've had best experiences with Fedex; they are a little more expensive, but they actually care about your box. Three-day Fedex is about $40, but Express Saver freight could be cheaper. You can do a rate check on their website very easily.

UPS is very unforgiving and I've had damage, missing parts, etc. and they won't take responsibility.

Definitely avoid using a third party shipper (like Mailboxes Etc.); if there is damage, they will blame each other and not take responsibility.

Box-wise, I've heard good things about those "Gorilla" boxes, pre-fab heavy duty bike boxes (look in the back of Velonews for ad). I must say that I noticed that my Saturn dealer uses these fabulous boxes for shipping windshields: they are about a foot wide, 40" wide and about 5.5feet long, with the seams folded and stapled. I've not had to ship a bike for a while, but I've always thought they'd be ideal!
Apr 23, 2001 6:29 PM
You probably had a bad experience with UPS because your insurance level was too low. When UPS handles highly insured boxes, they are very careful.

I've used UPS over a dozen times without any problems. I've also taken my bike on planes a half dozen times with good sucess as well.

As for FEDEX, they are quite a bit more expensive than UPS because their system isn't designed to handle large boxes.
had good experience with UPSHaiku d'état
Apr 23, 2001 10:56 AM
but their prices just went from about $30 (tennessee to washington state) to $50+ (ground), so watchout.

shipping bikes i've sold on ebay and such, i've used cardboard bike boxes scrounged from the LBS, and never had a damage problem. UPS takes between 3 and 6 days to deliver ground, and can be tracked online. just received a bike from GVHBikes (Oregon) via UPS and the box was immaculate (not even a dented corner). bike has to be partially disassembled, including:

remove stem & handlebars
disconnect front brake cable (sometimes)
remove wheels
remove seatpost & saddle
remove QRs
remove pedals
pack small stuff in enclosed small box
stuff with newspaper/packing fodder liberally

i've not shipped fedex, so i can't advise there. good luck.

not sure if i'd bite the bullet (considering $50 for UPS these days) and have the bike fly with me.

good luck.
re: best way to ship a bike?LI Biker
Apr 23, 2001 11:32 AM
I will never ship UPS again! They lost my bike twice. It was found but too late to be of use one of the times.
I never had a problem taking it with me on a plane, but it does cost more and must be transported from the airport. I use a Performance Cargo Case and rent an SUV and put it on the roof rack (Performance has a kit for that) or a wagon.
If you do chose to use UPS, their authorized shippers charge much more (read almost double) than taking it or having it picked up by UPS.
Good luck.
UPS bought me a new bike...Brian B.
Apr 23, 2001 2:35 PM
Check out my pics in the Photo Gallery "other" section for what a joy UPS can be.

Go for it, but insure the hell out of it.

-Brian B.
re: best way to ship a bike?Steve Bailey
Apr 23, 2001 2:44 PM
I've shipped assorted bikes upwards of 30 times over 10 years between Long Island, NY and Santa Fe, NM all via UPS.

I've had very good luck with them, only once having a bike mis-placed, but only then a day late.

I got very good at packing (double walls), and never suffered damage. I alway's insured for double replacement value, and was told that a bike at $2500 gets handled differently due to the cost (they don't want to deal with the insurance claims).

That said, I would probably get my ticket via Professional Travel in Boulder, using my LAB membership to get free coupons for the bike(s). Call the agent to find out what airlines are currently members.

Apr 24, 2001 8:57 AM
My new Airborne was shipped by DHL and arrived when promised, without a scratch on the (cardboard) box. Worthy of consideration. Don't know the cost, though.
Anyone sneak one onto a plane?nuke
Apr 24, 2001 2:41 PM
OK...I'm curious....I've heard that airlines charge you extra $45 to $75 one way, to ship a bike. However, if the same sized box was something else...they don't charge you a dime. I was told that if I wrapped my plastic bike box in cardboard and wrote "Fragile: Art" then I could get it on there without any additional cost.

OK...aside from the obvious ethical concerns...would this really work? Do they x-ray 'em? I can still insure it to whatever value I wish. And in a way...a bike is art! :-)
Anyone sneak one onto a plane?Steve Bailey
Apr 24, 2001 5:05 PM
They'll still charge as it's an oversized box. That's what I ran into once with Continental. It didn't matter so much what was in it, as the size, which was over the limit. The cost for oversized was the same for a bike ($45 one way).

Anyone sneak one onto a plane?uwgrl
Apr 25, 2001 1:07 AM
I took a bike to Thailand, stowed it as luggage and didn't get charged a dime extra..