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  1. #1
    outclassed by his bike
    Reputation: qcanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    OT: Bike Shipping Costs

    Sorry for the OT post but you guys know everything. I am shopping for a road bike to help me with race training (and just because it's fun to branch out). I'm looking on eBay (primarily) and I want to understand why shipping costs vary so much. Some sellers are charging a flat rate of $50, $40, or even $30. Other apparently reputable sellers are telling me that it's going to cost $100 or $120. The originating location of the bike seems to make little difference. I had a little exposure to this myself when I sold a bike there a couple of years ago and took a bit of a hit on the shipping - I think it cost me about $60 going through a bike shop. Can anyone explain this? (There is a bike I have my eye on that is being sold by a person who I think is reliable but appears to be inexperienced with shipping bikes. I want to try to give him some advice on shipping tactics with the hope that I can save some money.)

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    ... I guess you won't be
    Reputation: jokermtb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I recently went thru this.....I was setting out to ship my spot frame back to Turner [long unrelated story] for some R+R, and got a free bike box from a local KHS dealer....standard bike box for a hardtail, but my front triangle needed lots of packing to keep it from rolling about....The local post office wanted between 100-129 bucks to ship it via Priority mail or UPS.....yikes! seems that they do this length+width+girth calculation, and if it is under/over a certain number it's classified as "oversized" - which my big bike box qualified for......

    I went home, cut down my box to the bare essentials, and shipped it via fed ex, for 25 bucks......anyway - don't exactly know how the bike manuf's get around the expensive shipping.....

  3. #3
    long standing member
    Reputation: PCinSC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by qcanoe
    Can anyone explain this?
    Someone who works in a shop, or better yet at an e-tailer may have a better answer.

    Part of it may have to do with what shipper they use and how much shipping they do on a regular basis. I have a long saga from when I purchased from and then returned a bike to Ibex for my wife. The short story:

    Ibex charges a flat $35 to ship the bike through UPS. After my wife rode it a few times and compared it to a few other bikes she decided she didn't want to keep it. I go to ship it back to the same place, in the same packaging with all the same parts, UPS wanted to charge me $135. WTF? They said it was because it's "oversized". I told them I just had it shipped to me a week ago for $35. The UPS store people didn't have an answer for that.

    So I checked with Fed EX - still oversized but cheaper at $90.

    Finally I called DHL - they didn't care about the size and it was only ~ $28.

    The dimensions of the box obviously play a big factor. FWIW the bike was completely built except the front wheel, pedals, saddle/post and handlebars were detached. I guess maybe some bike vendors have special deals with shippers or have a high sales volume and spread the cost of shipping out over all their customers.

    I would ask the sellers to check with as many shippers as possible. Although, I wouldn't necessarily vouch for anyone in particular, I just know that the package I sent got there intact.

    Maybe someone else will have more input. Good luck.


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: noosa2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I shipped a frame and fork last week. UPS want $55, USPS wanted $36 and I ended up shipping it FedEx for $15.36. What I'm tryin' to say is the shipping companies prices vary greatly.

  5. #5
    Reputation: aappling72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    OK, something I'm familiar with as some of you know is selling stuff

    Anyway, avg shipping is between $35 - $50. And yes, FedEx, has usually been cheaper. You have to get the frame in a box that is within certain size limits. That may mean cutting it down, but, PLEASE, make sure to pack it carefully.

    Haven't tried the DHL thing, that sounds like a good idea too.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: laurenlex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    It's really a pain to properly pack a bike to ship. Perhaps some folks are taking them to the LBS to have it boxed, so pay to box, pay to ship. $$$$$

  7. #7
    Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
    Reputation: cactuscorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    laurenlex has it right here. most shops charge between $25 and $50 to pack a bike, some even charge $20 or so for a box which i personally think sux. manufacturers, or any business address for that matter, gets a discounted rate from ups. this applies to incomming and outgoing packages. priority vs ground is also a huge factor as is some sellers greed to make up some cash by inflating s&h costs. when i puchase on ebay, i always check acctual shipping costs before bidding.

    thanx for the tips on fed ex and dhl. by the way, usps is a excellent option. im shippin the flux to canada tomorrow and i was very suprised by the low cost they offered for ground service. they normally have the best rates anyway and are far easyer to deal with if shippin privately in my experience.
    No, I'm NOT back!

  8. #8
    Am not, had mine removed.
    Reputation: markz06's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    It does matter where the shipment originates from and is going to, for example ATL to LA may be $35 but LA to ATL may be $100. Most things out of CA are higher. If a shop ships a bike for $35.00 flat they are usually playing the numbers game and hoping that every one is less than that so that they can make a few bucks. Most of the carriers change their rates with fuel costs etc so the prices change daily. Also as far as UPS goes they are changing all the rules as of Jan 2007 (See letter below), which will change everything for all the other carriers. This will be a major change for bikes so cut your box down under three cubic feet (5,184 cubic inches) and you will only pay for the weight.

    Effective January 1, 2007, Oversize charges for large packages shipped via UPS Ground will be replaced with a new, simpler rate calculation based on dimensional weight.

    Dimensional weight rates are applicable only to UPS Ground packages that are or larger. Billable weight will be based on actual package weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater. Packages smaller than three cubic feet will be billed based on actual weight.

    We want to give you advance notice of this change so you can plan for any needed adjustments to your internal processes or information systems that incorporate the UPS Oversize package rate calculation.

    Shipping systems provided by UPS will be updated by January 1, 2007. For packages where dimensional weight applies, simply enter the package weight and dimensions (length, width and height in inches) into your updated shipping system and the correct rate will be calculated automatically.

    If you use UPS CampusShip®, UPS Internet Shipping and/or the UPS OnLine® Shipping Tool, the dimensional weight rate changes for UPS Ground services will be incorporated without any action required on your part.

    If you process packages with UPS WorldShip™, UPS WorldShip 9.0 will contain the dimensional weight upgrade and should be installed as soon as you receive it on CD. Distribution begins in January.

    If you have a shipping system that is not supplied by UPS, you will need to make programming changes or request an update from your shipping system vendor by January 1, 2007.

    The net impact of this change on your shipping costs will vary according to your shipping characteristics and the terms of your agreement with UPS. To learn more about dimensional weight for UPS Ground services, please visit

    We appreciate your business and the opportunity to serve you and your customers.
    You want to ride behind someone who does something that?


  9. #9
    Time is not a road.
    Reputation: chad1433's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I shipped my bike from CO to MI in June...UPS quoted me like $150, one way. I checked out DHL...$35 one way.

    It's all based on the dimensions of the box whether or not it's considered oversized or what. I recently shipped some frames only...same price as my full bike.

    I recommend DHL - they come to your house/business to pick it up, they send you a bill. It's easy and fast.

  10. #10
    Am not, had mine removed.
    Reputation: markz06's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    DHL is cheaper but their service is bad! They "lost" 500 pairs of sunglasses but had an unreadable signature and the manufacturer had to eat them. We insure all DHL now which drives the price back up. Just be cautious!
    You want to ride behind someone who does something that?


  11. #11
    contains quinine
    Reputation: Debaser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Whomever you decide to go with

    Have it shipped directly from that company. i.e. don't go to Kinkos to ship FedEx, find the Fedex stand alone and ship it from there. I made the mistake of shipping my bike from Kinkos, for $70 via Fedex one way, and was able to ship it via FedEx the other way for $25.

    I've had great luck with FedEx ground thusfar, fwiw.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

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