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How to Pack a Bike (and why it matters)

Whether you are heading off to your first ironman, moving to a new location, or even ordering your first pro bike online to learn how to best protect your bike for shipping. Shipping can feel risky and the higher end the item, the riskier it feels. Let’s not forget the infamous “United Breaks Guitars” incident, one so dramatic that it actually affected stock prices for United. How you pack your high end racing or mountain bike is critical then to having it arrive ready to assemble and ride on arrival.

What You'll Need: Packing Materials
A well packed bike is only as good as the materials you pack it with. To that end, when we pack a bike, regardless of the value, we use over $30.00 in materials from bubble wrap, to foam for critical areas. The goal is to have nothing be able to bend, snap, or break under typical shipping conditions. The bubble wrap acts as a barrier as well to prevent nicks and scratches. While this may seem just an aesthetic concern, carbon fiber frames need to avoid deep gashes to stay safe for riding.

For structural integrity, we make sure each bike is packed in a brand new box and so should you. This helps it endure the wear and tear of shipping without collapsing. It's your first line of defense and it should be strong enough to withstand both normal and abnormal shipping conditions.

The Racery's 15 Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Put the bike in the work stand (not really a step)

Step 2: Put a fork spacer in dropouts

Step 3: Wrap frame in protective wrap. We use bubble wrap, but foam works too. 

Step 4: Zip-Tie chain to outer chainring. This keeps chain in place, as well as protecting chainring. 

 Step 5: Remove front brake caliper and wrap it up. 

Step 6: Remove rear derailleur, wrap it and zip-tie it in place. 

Step 7: Another level of Protection; we wrap the main tubes with cardboard to protect it from the front wheel or anything else. 

Step 8: Remove front QR skewer and put in axle cap.  

Step 9: Remove handlebars and dry fit in the box to make sure it will fit.   

Step 10: Once you know it will fit in the box, affix all the pieces together and make sure nothing moves. 

Step 11: Remember to include all the small parts. 

Step 12: Add small parts and finalize the fit in the box. 

Step 13: Remove saddle and include it in box. 

Step 14: Add filler, to make sure bike, wheel and parts do not move. Any movement during transit could be catastrophic, so make sure everything is secure. 

Step 15: Ready to go. Again, this really isn't a step here either, so maybe I should've titled this "How to box a bike in 13 steps".

No matter if you’re shipping your bike across town or across the country, investing time and money into packing it correctly is important. Although shipping can seem risky, especially considering the price points of some of today’s top of the line bikes, employing proper packing practices will ensure your bike stays in great shape for your next ride at your destination.

Pro Tip: Make sure you use insured shipping to cover the costs of damages or losses during shipping.

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