Shipping bikes

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  • 10-22-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Shipping bikes
    So, I am doing the 12 hours in the Papago race with some friends in January and I was looking for ways to ship or bring my bike on Southwest from Denver to Phoenix. Looking at cargo cases and they are too expensive and they all miss the 62 inch limit Southwest has for carriers by a long shot.

    Then I stumbled on Shipbikes.com. I did a quick search for them here, but the info was a bit dated. So, has anyone used them lately or on a regular basis? Have you used their AirCaddy or eBike Shipper methods. Also, do they have special rates worked out with FedEx as opposed to just getting a bike box from a LBS and FedEx'ing it myself? When I calculated my shipping cost on their site from zip code to zip code, it was only $50, which I thought was more than reasonable. Of course the cost of their boxes and shipping was not a part of that cost.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  • 10-23-2012
    lpranger467
    I found UPS was cheapest when I sold my bike, I'm an REI member so in the past I just box up my items myself (so I can re-use the box) then ship them to the local REI store.
  • 10-23-2012
    edubfromktown
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    I found UPS was cheapest when I sold my bike, I'm an REI member so in the past I just box up my items myself (so I can re-use the box) then ship them to the local REI store.

    Never thought of shipping to local REI store :thumbsup:

    I just shipped a 29er frame, boxed it was 14 lbs. via FedEx ground for $72. UPS was $81.41...
  • 10-23-2012
    AZ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    So, I am doing the 12 hours in the Papago race with some friends in January and I was looking for ways to ship or bring my bike on Southwest from Denver to Phoenix. Looking at cargo cases and they are too expensive and they all miss the 62 inch limit Southwest has for carriers by a long shot.

    Then I stumbled on Shipbikes.com. I did a quick search for them here, but the info was a bit dated. So, has anyone used them lately or on a regular basis? Have you used their AirCaddy or eBike Shipper methods. Also, do they have special rates worked out with FedEx as opposed to just getting a bike box from a LBS and FedEx'ing it myself? When I calculated my shipping cost on their site from zip code to zip code, it was only $50, which I thought was more than reasonable. Of course the cost of their boxes and shipping was not a part of that cost.

    Thanks in advance for any help!




    They are proxying their Fed Ex account and using their own container (much different dimensions than the usual bike box) to get an advantageous rate, if you shop around I think you'll find it very hard to beat their rate for shipping a complete bike.
  • 10-23-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    They are proxying their Fed Ex account and using their own container (much different dimensions than the usual bike box) to get an advantageous rate, if you shop around I think you'll find it very hard to beat their rate for shipping a complete bike.

    Thanks, I have been shopping and you are correct, I haven't found anything cheaper. Even Greyhound is still more expensive. I used Greyhound back in the 90s they were super cheap then, not now.
  • 10-23-2012
    burtronix
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    I found UPS was cheapest when I sold my bike, I'm an REI member so in the past I just box up my items myself (so I can re-use the box) then ship them to the local REI store.

    A couple years ago, UPS damaged a bike I bought on ebay. Took 2 months to get a check from the insurance claim & just covered the cost of a new frame. When the new frame arrived at the LBS, it too was damaged by UPS. Finally on the 3rd try, UPS delivered an un-damaged frame. UPS also damaged some stereo components my son bought. I will never willingly use UPS for large high-value items. My son says "Isn't that pronounced oops?":madman:
  • 10-23-2012
    minnesotam7
    I've used ship bikes.com a few times. I don't use they're container though. I have a trico hard case. Going thru them is cheaper than using Fedex even though Fedex is shipping it. Not quite sure how that works. :confused:

    I'm using them right now to ship my cross bike to Idaho. Cost was $58 with $4000 worth of insurance
  • 10-23-2012
    mtbmatty
    Quote:


    I just shipped a 29er frame, boxed it was 14 lbs. via FedEx ground for $72. UPS was $81.41...
    Holy SH$T !!! That seems awfully high....

    Keep in mind, dimensions are everything. Cut the box down if necessary. You can ship a complete bike for those prices
  • 10-23-2012
    customfab
    In the last 15 years in and out of the bike industry I've seen way less things damaged by fedex than UPS. I've shipped 100 packages in the last two weeks and all of the domestic ones have gone FedEx, good service and competitive rates
  • 10-23-2012
    iareconfuse
    Shipbikes.com is good. Used that service all the time for mail orders at the last bike shop I worked at. Hard to beat their price. They're basically passing on the corporate bulk shipping discount savings on to their customers. The boxes are sturdy, reusable, and flatten nicely for storage as well, but you do have to pay for the box which is around $60 I believe. Shipping for a complete bike can vary from around $115 - $150. The shipbikes.com box is made at the maximum dimension that FedEx will allow for ground shipment without an overweight/size charge.
  • 10-24-2012
    steiny
    I've never used shipbikes.com so I can't comment on them. However, I have shipped a number of bikes myself in the past. Maybe some of this info will help you out if you decided to "do it yourself".

    The info below is from this thread. I'm just copy/pasting it here for convenience. Summary - keep size below 130 inches, weight below 70lbs., print your own shipping label, drop off at customer counter, and ship to a business address (rather than residential address).

    ------------------------------------------------
    There is no standard cardboard bike box size. I've picked up several and no two were the same size. The critical measurement is L + 2*W + 2*H < 130 inches. If you are 130 inches or over, your price will double. I've picked up boxes that were just over (about 131") and "resized" the box by lowering the box by one inch without losing the handle holes near the top (bringing it down to 129").

    As an example, truth-rider posted his box dimensions as 52"L x 8" W x 29"H. Plugging that in the formula, that is 52 + 2*8 + 2*29 = 126". So his box could go one more inch in the height or width which would make it 128". I have a Trico hard case that is 47 x 11 x 30 and that is 129".

    Weight must be kept under 70lbs to avoid going over-weight. Go over 70lbs and your price doubles. That shouldn't be a problem with a cardboard box and a bike.

    To save the most money on shipping, drop the package off at a customer counter (versus pickup), use a FedEx account to print a shipping label (versus filling out forms at the customer counter), and send to a business address (versus residential address). You can sign up for a FedEx account as a regular person and that will give you the ability to get price quotes, print shipping labels, tracking shipments, and pay your invoices with a credit card.

    I shipped a [cardboard] boxed road bike from eastern PA to central TX about 2 months ago for about $50 using FedEx Home Delivery (residential address). FedEx Ground (to a business address) is going to be about 10-15% cheaper to the same street.

    In August, I shipped the Trico case (about 68 lbs.) from eastern PA to central OR (2600+ miles) for about $67 one-way using FedEx Ground (sent it to a bike shop).
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Before I moved, a local bike shop would rent out Trico Iron cases on a per day basis. I don't remember the rate, but if you need it for more than a week, the cost started to add up. You could always check into that with your LBS.

    Also, most any LBS will give you a cardboard bike box for free. Don't be afraid to show up with your tape measure and refuse one if it's way over the 130" total measurement or looks a bit beat up. Get one that is below 130 or one that is close enough and can be easily resized.

    If you use FedEx, you can drop off your bike box at any Kinko's since they are part of FedEx now. That really expands the locations and hours you can drop things off - some are even open on Saturdays and Sundays (though FedEx ground pickup won't happen until sometime Monday). For UPS, you have those UPS stores that function much like the Kinko's - more locations and usually expanded hours.

    Find a bike shop near your destination (google is your friend) and contact them and see if they will receive your bike box. Most will be willing to do so with no problems and no charge. That gives you a business address to ship to. For the return trip, if you can ship the box to your place of work (assuming you don't work from home) that gives you a business address to get it home. Otherwise, ship it to your LBS at home.
  • 10-24-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by steiny View Post
    I've never used shipbikes.com so I can't comment on them. However, I have shipped a number of bikes myself in the past. Maybe some of this info will help you out if you decided to "do it yourself".

    The info below is from this thread. I'm just copy/pasting it here for convenience. Summary - keep size below 130 inches, weight below 70lbs., print your own shipping label, drop off at customer counter, and ship to a business address (rather than residential address).

    ------------------------------------------------
    There is no standard cardboard bike box size. I've picked up several and no two were the same size. The critical measurement is L + 2*W + 2*H < 130 inches. If you are 130 inches or over, your price will double. I've picked up boxes that were just over (about 131") and "resized" the box by lowering the box by one inch without losing the handle holes near the top (bringing it down to 129").

    As an example, truth-rider posted his box dimensions as 52"L x 8" W x 29"H. Plugging that in the formula, that is 52 + 2*8 + 2*29 = 126". So his box could go one more inch in the height or width which would make it 128". I have a Trico hard case that is 47 x 11 x 30 and that is 129".

    Weight must be kept under 70lbs to avoid going over-weight. Go over 70lbs and your price doubles. That shouldn't be a problem with a cardboard box and a bike.

    To save the most money on shipping, drop the package off at a customer counter (versus pickup), use a FedEx account to print a shipping label (versus filling out forms at the customer counter), and send to a business address (versus residential address). You can sign up for a FedEx account as a regular person and that will give you the ability to get price quotes, print shipping labels, tracking shipments, and pay your invoices with a credit card.

    I shipped a [cardboard] boxed road bike from eastern PA to central TX about 2 months ago for about $50 using FedEx Home Delivery (residential address). FedEx Ground (to a business address) is going to be about 10-15% cheaper to the same street.

    In August, I shipped the Trico case (about 68 lbs.) from eastern PA to central OR (2600+ miles) for about $67 one-way using FedEx Ground (sent it to a bike shop).
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Before I moved, a local bike shop would rent out Trico Iron cases on a per day basis. I don't remember the rate, but if you need it for more than a week, the cost started to add up. You could always check into that with your LBS.

    Also, most any LBS will give you a cardboard bike box for free. Don't be afraid to show up with your tape measure and refuse one if it's way over the 130" total measurement or looks a bit beat up. Get one that is below 130 or one that is close enough and can be easily resized.

    If you use FedEx, you can drop off your bike box at any Kinko's since they are part of FedEx now. That really expands the locations and hours you can drop things off - some are even open on Saturdays and Sundays (though FedEx ground pickup won't happen until sometime Monday). For UPS, you have those UPS stores that function much like the Kinko's - more locations and usually expanded hours.

    Find a bike shop near your destination (google is your friend) and contact them and see if they will receive your bike box. Most will be willing to do so with no problems and no charge. That gives you a business address to ship to. For the return trip, if you can ship the box to your place of work (assuming you don't work from home) that gives you a business address to get it home. Otherwise, ship it to your LBS at home.

    Wow, all great info! I really appreciate it!! I have no problem getting a bike box from a LBS and packing myself. Sound like the most economical way!
  • 10-24-2012
    wschruba
    If you throw a few bucks their way, I'm sure they'll even give you the various foam/cardboard protectors that came with the box.
  • 11-06-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Well I got a free box from my LBS and am going to try Southwest when I travel during Thanksgiving. Their $50 oversized baggage charge seems like the most reasonable. I will wrap and pad my bike as best as I can. I like the idea of my bike traveling with me instead of shipping another way.

    Has anyone had good or bad experiences with Southwest and bikes as baggage?
  • 11-06-2012
    Cujodo
    If you fly Frontier they'll take a bike for $20.00 as long as it's under 50lbs. They waive the oversize fee. I just flew to Michigan for the Iceman Cometh race and thought $40.00 round trip was pretty reasonable. I used a corrugated bike box I picked up at my LBS.
  • 11-06-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    ^ Nice...I'll check them out next time. I already booked my ticket on Southwest. If the flights is not more expensive then it would be worth it.
  • 11-06-2012
    steiny
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    Has anyone had good or bad experiences with Southwest and bikes as baggage?

    A friend of mine had a bad experience at the airport. It's called the TSA. They opened his bike box for inspection and didn't put everything back the way it was packed. Lots of scratched up parts and things just loosely moving around inside. In this case, my friend was using a Trico Iron case (hard shell case). Also, since the locks he used on his case were not TSA "accessible" locks, they had to cut them off to get inside. That was the last time any of our group took any bikes on an airplane. Again, it wasn't the airline - it was the TSA.

    Assuming you check the baggage and don't carry-on everything, TSA inspection is always a risk. At least with a cardboard box, you won't have to worry about having locks cut off. They would probably cut the box open, dump everything out, shovel it back in, and then just fold the flaps over. Or you may get lucky and they won't be bothered to go through with the effort.

    The question you need to ask yourself is, are you feeling lucky?
  • 11-07-2012
    Cujodo
    TSA did open the box both going and returning, but it appeared they did not remove anything either time. Everything arrived without a problem.
  • 11-07-2012
    Joules
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    ^ Nice...I'll check them out next time. I already booked my ticket on Southwest. If the flights is not more expensive then it would be worth it.


    I've flown with my bike on southwest dozens of times without incident. Baggage fee is $50 for a bike, which is less than any shipping option I've found. Southwest has never hassled me about the weight of it either - the only other airline I've been on recently with a bike - Iceland Air, made me take some stuff out to get the case under their 30kg limit.


    TSA is going to open it. If you give them a chance, they will probably damage something - that's their job.

    What's worked for me is pad everything, and after packing the bike, zip tie everything in place: fork (if you have to remove it) to the frame, bar to frame, seatpost to frame, put ties through the pedal holes in the crank to the frame, tie the chain to the stays. Wheels to each other. If you have quick releases on either end, put a dummy axle in place so the dropouts can't get pinched. The idea is make the bike one unit that can only go in the box one way.
    Don't put any locks on the case. They don't do anything, and as previously mentioned, TSA will remove them. When I've used TSA locks, they've disappeared anyway.
  • 11-07-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    I've flown with my bike on southwest dozens of times without incident. Baggage fee is $50 for a bike, which is less than any shipping option I've found. Southwest has never hassled me about the weight of it either - the only other airline I've been on recently with a bike - Iceland Air, made me take some stuff out to get the case under their 30kg limit.


    TSA is going to open it. If you give them a chance, they will probably damage something - that's their job.

    What's worked for me is pad everything, and after packing the bike, zip tie everything in place: fork (if you have to remove it) to the frame, bar to frame, seatpost to frame, put ties through the pedal holes in the crank to the frame, tie the chain to the stays. Wheels to each other. If you have quick releases on either end, put a dummy axle in place so the dropouts can't get pinched. The idea is make the bike one unit that can only go in the box one way.
    Don't put any locks on the case. They don't do anything, and as previously mentioned, TSA will remove them. When I've used TSA locks, they've disappeared anyway.

    Great advice! Thanks! I planned on wrapping everything, but zip tying everything to make it one item makes sense.
  • 11-07-2012
    scooterseg
    I use my friends company who uses FedEx Smart post and they quoted $120 from Florida to California.
  • 11-07-2012
    steiny
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    I've flown with my bike on southwest dozens of times without incident. Baggage fee is $50 for a bike, which is less than any shipping option I've found. Southwest has never hassled me about the weight of it either - the only other airline I've been on recently with a bike - Iceland Air, made me take some stuff out to get the case under their 30kg limit.


    TSA is going to open it. If you give them a chance, they will probably damage something - that's their job.

    What's worked for me is pad everything, and after packing the bike, zip tie everything in place: fork (if you have to remove it) to the frame, bar to frame, seatpost to frame, put ties through the pedal holes in the crank to the frame, tie the chain to the stays. Wheels to each other. If you have quick releases on either end, put a dummy axle in place so the dropouts can't get pinched. The idea is make the bike one unit that can only go in the box one way.
    Don't put any locks on the case. They don't do anything, and as previously mentioned, TSA will remove them. When I've used TSA locks, they've disappeared anyway.

    Good advice here.
  • 11-21-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    Update: So I boxed my bike in a box I got free from my LBS and checked it as baggage from Denver to Phoenix on Southwest yesterday. They charged me $50 oversized baggage fee and that was it. Once I arrived in Phoenix the Southwest baggage office paged me to let me know I could pick up my baggage. Once in the office I did a quick check of the box and noticed that it had not been opened by TSA and seemed to be handled with some degree of care. There were no holes, tears or rips in the box at all and once I was able to open it, I noticed that it was just the way I packed it. So, this was a painless, easy way of traveling and I will do this again in the future.
  • 11-21-2012
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    Update: So I boxed my bike in a box I got free from my LBS and checked it as baggage from Denver to Phoenix on Southwest yesterday. They charged me $50 oversized baggage fee and that was it. Once I arrived in Phoenix the Southwest baggage office paged me to let me know I could pick up my baggage. Once in the office I did a quick check of the box and noticed that it had not been opened by TSA and seemed to be handled with some degree of care. There were no holes, tears or rips in the box at all and once I was able to open it, I noticed that it was just the way I packed it. So, this was a painless, easy way of traveling and I will do this again in the future.

    Yup I did it to Kona Hawaii....I used a Serfas bike box, and 4 little TSA approved locks no one touched anything...

    Since we have to clear customs in Vancouver there was about a 1 km hike through the terminal in a secure hallway...the little wheels on the commercial bike box were a godsend.
  • 11-21-2012
    HitmenOnlyInc
    @Jeffscott- If I find that I am traveling with my bike more I will invest in a hard shell carrier. Which Serfas case do you have are there more than one? I see one that's about $300 but weighs 31 lbs. My bike weighs just shy of 30lbs add that to the carrier and that puts me way north of the 50 lb limit. I think Southwest charges extra for overweight baggage on top of oversized.