Have you ever wondered how to pack a bike for shipping between states or cities? Packing a bike for the very first time could be challenging as bikes have delicate parts that could suffer severe damage if they are not properly packaged. This is why you need to understand how to pack your bike in the right way, to ensure that safely reaches its destination. Keep reading to learn how best to package a bike and prepare it for shipping.
What you will need to pack a bicycle
In order to appropriately do this, you will need a few supplies
- Bicycle box. You could purchase a bicycle box from your local bike store. It could be a plastic or cardboard box. Some bike shops may supply you with free used boxes. If they don’t, you can buy a new one at a low cost.
Some other materials you will need are:
- Cardboard pieces
- Insulation for pipes
- Bubble wrap for appropriate padding
- Rope or ties for attaching packing materials
- Hex wrench, pedal wrench or horn wrench (if your bicycle possesses has axles with nuts).
To pack your bike for moving, you would have to disassemble your bike into parts and the materials stated above would ensure that your bike reaches its stop in one piece.
Bicycle disassembly process
First, you need to let the air out of the tires. They do not need to be completely flat, but just let out enough air for them to be soft. This avoids possible damage from air pressure changes in case you plan to ship your bike by an airplane. Pay attention while doing this as you do not want to damage your tires.
It must however be noted that deflating bike tires depends on the bike’s type of valve. There are three main types of bike valves, and they require different processes of deflation. The three most common types of valves are Presta, Schrader, and Woods.
How to release bike tire pressure based on its valve type
Presta Valve: Deflate a tire with a Presta valve by undoing a ring on the valve top, then press it down. The pressure you apply on the valve will deflate the tires and you should be able hear the sound of air going out.
Schrader Valve: Schrader valve is most common in mountain bike tires. So, if you’re looking for how to pack a mountain bike for shipping, pay close attention to this method. A Schrader valve has a needle-like pin in the middle, also known as the ‘valve core’. To let air out of a tire with a schrader valve, you need to press down on this valve core. If you’re finding it hard to get to the pin with your finger, you can use the end of something pointy.
Woods/Dunlop Valve: Woods Valve is created specifically for bicycles. It consists of a two-part valve structure. To let air out, loosen the cap of the valve by turning it a few times and pull its tip out.
Removing the Pedals
After letting air out of the tires of your bike, you can begin to remove the pedals. This task may seem easy at a first glance but if you pay close attention to the pedal details, you will realize that it is quite technical. You can employ the use of a pedal wrench to do this.
The first thing you could do, even before loosening the pedals is to add or apply grease. This step isn’t compulsory but you could try it just to be on the safe side. The next thing to do would be to unscrew the pedals by loosening them from your bike’s crank arms. Turn the left pedals clockwise and the right pedals counter-clockwise to remove them.
Removing the Brakes
For those confused about how to pack bicycle wheels for shipping, this area may be a bit overwhelming, but with the right steps to guide you, you should be successful. If you have caliper brakes, make sure to detach your front brake cable and take out the front wheel. To remove the front wheel of your bike:
- Use a wrench (preferably a 15 mm wrench) on the axle nuts and begin to turn it counterclockwise.
- Pinch and then let the caliper loose to remove pressure from the rim;
- Lift the front wheel upward to disconnect the spacers
Don’t forget to check if the wheels of your bike have quick release axles release connected to the axle of the wheel. Modern-day road bikes tend to have this and it facilitates a more efficient removal of the wheel without the use of a tool. If you’re looking for how to pack a road bike for shipping, go ahead to remove the quick release skewer, and join the end back on in order to keep it together. Push the axle protectors inside the sides of the front axle. Then, move the fork protector up to go in the fork drop-outs.
Removing the Saddle
All you need to do for this is to take your seat post from the frame. Loosen the bolt attached to the tube of the seat to do this, then pull the seat post out of the frame. You can leave the saddle connected to your bike’s seat post.
Now that your bike is in parts, begin to wrap and pad its components. Pad the handlebars with bubble wraps or whatever padding material you have. Generally, bubble wraps are acceptable. Use them to wrap the whole bike frame, crank and the edges of the axle.
Organize the parts so that the front wheel of your bike is facing its opposite direction and gently place the crank in-between the spokes/rods of the front wheel. After the crank has slid into the wheel, fasten the wheel to the frame with your zip ties and try to make them closely tied. But also ensure that metals do not rub on each other. Put small parts in a small plastic bag or cardboard to prevent them from falling out.
Don’t forget to loosen the faceplate using a three-way wrench. You can then unscrew the pinch the bolts on the steer tube. Once this done, you should be able to loosen the top cap, remove it and detach the stem from the forks steerer tube. Ensure that you hold down the fork so that the headset remains in its position. Then bind a zip tie about the steerer tube, above the headset. Fix the top cap back and carefully fasten it to stabilize it.
Packing the Box
Now that everything is in order, you can start to pack your bike into the box. Place the bike into the box. And take note of areas where the bike might be in contact with the box. Nothing should be pointing out as this is to avoid puncturing the box and damaging it.
After your bike has been put in the box, make sure there is space for it to move. This is because if it moves, there could be damage done to it. To stop this from happening, add a protective material like bubble wrap, cardboard or rags.
And you’re done! Close the box with a clear or transparent packing tape. You can also add tape on the box’s handle so that it doesn’t tear. Don’t forget to tape the box’s bottom too.
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