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How to pack your bike for shipping

By Spencer Powlison

Published

So you sold your bike to The Pro's Closet. Wonderful! Now it is time to get it packed up and shipped off. If you've never boxed up a bike before, don't worry. This video will help you through the basic steps of the process. We're demonstrating with a mountain bike, but note that the same directions apply to practically any other bike — road, gravel, cyclocross, and more. Also, we've included further tips and suggestions below. 

IMPORTANT: Nothing should be loose in the box. When in doubt, add more padding!

More tips to box up your bike

Separate your accessories 

If you're shipping a bike to The Pro's Closet, remove the accessories included in your bike offer and put them in a separate box or bag. Tape this to the inside of your box so it doesn't cause any damage to your bike during shipping. If you have electronic shifting this will include the charger and batteries. If you are selling an e-bike this will include your e-bike charger, keys, and all other parts necessary for the bike to function.

Frame and fork

Protect your bike frame from any rubbing or direct contact with the box, front wheel, or handlebars. Chances are, your frame is carbon fiber, and we'd hate to see it damaged in transit. Use foam padding liberally and make sure it's securely attached to your frame.

Drivetrain

Shift into the easiest gear combination front and rear before you begin prepping your bike for shipping. This moves the derailleurs out of harm's way. It's usually best to remove the rear derailleur, pad it thoroughly, and secure it to your frame with plenty of padding separating derailleur from frame. This protects both your derailleur and derailleur hanger from impacts.

Front wheel

You must remove the front wheel to fit your bike in the box. It is crucial to make sure the front wheel is secured to the frame with padding at every contact point to protect the frame. Damage in shipping often occurs when the front wheel's hub contacts the frame. Position your wheel with the hub away from your frame's down tube. Use a plastic end cap on your hub to prevent it from breaking though the side of the box.

Handlebars

As is the case with your front wheel, your handlebars must be secured to the frame with ample padding. Try a few different orientations to keep the shifters and brake levers away from the side of the box. You might need to add padding to protect them.

Seatpost

All seatposts must be removed and secured to the rear wheel for shipping. If you have a cable-actuated dropper seatpost, you may need to remove its lever from your bars to give the cable more slack. If you cannot untether the dropper post cable, you might have to secure the post at the top of your rear wheel.

Keep it tight!

Above all, you don't want any part of your bike to be loose or rattling. This will lead to damage. Use zip ties and padding to secure everything.


32 comments


  • Do you have a video on packaging the wheels or any suggestions because it’s what I’m sending only

    Alejandro Villegas on

  • I haven’t received specific instructions yet but wondering about shipping my wheel set to you guys. Do I have to get wheel boxes from a bike shop or will FedEx have them? Will I get two shipping labels?

    Jim Humenik on

  • Will have the bike shop pack the bike !!

    John Burch on

  • Please send me a shipping label. Thank you

    JohnSchaberg on

  • when will you send the shipping label

    Gary Spellman on

  • If I live in fort Lauderdale, Florida, after packing my bike do I just drop it of at fed ex and leave it or what

    Mary on

  • Hi Eugene,

    We only provide the label to cover shipping. Sellers will need to box the bike themselves.

    Bruce Lin on

  • i only receive the label, will be there a box packaging or not ?

    Eugene on

  • Hi Dennis,

    TPC no longer has a Boulder location as our headquarters have moved to Louisville. We don’t currently accept drop-offs but if you are local you can contact our Ride Guides (rideguides@theproscloset.com or 1-866-401-9636) to organize a pick up through a courier service.

    Bruce Lin on

  • Can I just drop my bike off at Pro’s Closet in Boulder instead of packing and shipping?

    Dennis Coombs on

  • Hi Chris,

    Provided shipping labels do NOT include a FedEx pickup. The sender must drop the bike at a FedEx location or arrange for a pickup on their own.

    Bruce Lin on

  • Ok, the bike is packed up and the shipping label is affixed to the box. What’s next? How does the bike get from my home to the shipping company?

    Chris Wescoe on

  • i only receive the label, will be there a box packaging or not ?

    mauricio on

  • I just called my local bike shop and they were willing to let me have a used bike box for free! :)

    Patrick on

  • If looking for a bike box to ship your bike, don’t bother asking REI—they will charge you $25-$30 for an empty cardboard bike box. Go to your LSB. They usually have to pay to have their empties taken away and will gladly give you one for free (with all the padding included)!
    Marcellus Brown on

  • Hey Ron,
    Ideally, wheelsets should be shipped in a wheel box or other appropriately sized box so there’s no extra space for them to move around. Our standard wheel box is roughly 32″ × 26″ × 7″.Place cardboard, packing material, or an old towel between the wheels so the hubs can’t scratch the spokes. Install hub protectors (a lot of bike shops have these sitting around) to the outside facing hub endcaps. If no hub protectors are available, you can cut up additional pieces of cardboard and tape them where the hubs touch the box so that the box is double or triple walled. The most common issue we see is hub endcaps without extra protection poking through the box and getting damaged. 
    Hope that helps!

    Bruce Lin on

  • Shipping wheels only instructions? Suggestions?

    Ron Penne on

  • Thanks for the question Lawrence,
    It’s best to leave the rear wheel on, but for some bikes, especially seat mast bikes, it can be too tall. If you can get a box that fits that’d be ideal. 
    If you do have to remove the rear wheel, make sure to also remove the derailleur and/or hanger so they don’t get damaged in an impact. These need to be carefully wrapped up and secured to the frame so they don’t rub anything.  Then wheels should have some sort of hub protector, and it’s critical that they’re adequately packed so they can’t rub or impact the frame. If the wheel(s) move around in shipping and contact the frame, something will get damaged. Hope that helps.

    Bruce Lin on

  • My box is not tall enough to leave the rear wheel on my road bike. Should I get another box thats taller?

    Lawrence Cohen on

  • Any tips on shipping a fat bike specifically?

    Perry Goutsos on

  • Once my bike is packed, is there a best place to affix my FedEx label? Is it best to drop it off at a FedEx store? Or can I schedule FedEx to pick it up? Thanks.

    Kevin Schroth on

  • Thanks for reaching out, Oscar! Please give our Ride Guides a call at 866-401-9636 to get assistance with sending your bike in.

    Bruce Lin on

  • What’s the process now that your offer is accepter??
    How do I ship the bike when it’s packed???

    Oscar Remus on

  • Hi Joon, unfortunately, we do not currently provide boxes for Sell // Trade. It’s likely your local bike shop will have an unwanted bike box you could use.

    Spencer Powlison on

  • Hey David, in fact we offer a courier service for customers in the Denver/Boulder area. Here’s more info on that: https://www.theproscloset.com/blogs/news/courier-service-makes-sell-trade-easy

    Spencer Powlison on


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