Bike Box Dimensions: Choose the Right for Your Bike

This article helps you determine bike box dimensions so you can buy the right bicycle box for shipping or travel.
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Last updatedLast updated: April 28, 2022
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Whether you are traveling or planning to ship your bicycle from one place to another, it is important to determine bike box dimensions. It is important to note at this point that you might also be able to get a bike bag that will act as an appropriate shipping or travel container for your bike. What sort of container you choose for the transportation of your bicycle is going to depend on a lot of factors, including how it is being shipped and how far and whether it is by ground, air, or even by boat. 

Note that the bicycle box dimensions for airlines can be very specific, so it is important to research that before you check in your packed bicycle at the airport. There are also a lot of differences between standard bike box dimensions, road bike box dimensions, and mountain bike box dimensions, so don’t purchase the wrong one by mistake.

What is a bike box

A bike box is a box that is the right size to store a bicycle. It is considered specialty packaging, which means that it is a box that can be sold to you to ship a unique item such as a bike. These boxes can also be purchased to ship things like guitars, golf clubs, and other odd-shaped items that won’t normally fit in a square box. People buy them for travel, and they are very useful for shipping a bike that you have sold to someone online.

Cardboard box

Bike Box Dimensions: Choose the Right for Your Bike

It should be at least 43x11x32. This is the base bike box size.

A cardboard bike box is very popular, and most shipping companies have them for around $25.00. In some instances, if you have a foldable bike or a bike that easily separates the frame from the wheels, one with a removable seat or other parts. One tip to save yourself a bit of money is finding out the local bike shop’s garbage day and watching for the appropriately sized box. You can also just phone a bike retailer to see if they have any boxes, they can spare you for free.

Hard Bike Case

Bike Box Dimensions: Choose the Right for Your Bike

Hard-shell cases are more protective, but weigh more, leaving less for packing materials, bikes, and gear.

It is also very important to note that airlines do not want you to ship your bikes in cardboard bikes. Thankfully, you can buy special baggage that will fit a bike and that most airlines will accept as just another piece of luggage. A good example of this type of bicycle bag is the Cycling Deal Air Flights Hard Case Box. This type of bag is made out of a light EVA material and is molded so that it fits the disassembled parts of a 700 c Road bike. 

What is the size of a bike box

Many people buy or sell bikes online then need a box to ship them. One useful hack is to think about the size of the bicycle frame, which ranges from being XX to XXL. As most bicycles are measured for height, you can take the same measure to estimate the size of the required bike box. If you are a person between 4′” and 5″ 3″, then you should get a bike that’s 13 to 15 inches long. If you are 5’7 “, then the bike should be no more than 16 inches. If you are over six feet tall, your bike should be over 17 inches and over 6’4 r than 19″ -21”. Bike boxes are usually an inch or so bigger than those bike frames and can be helpful when describing to a bike seller or a parcel service exactly what size of bicycle box you need.

Probably the smallest full bike box that you can buy is 43 x 11 x 32 inch., which is passable for more international shipping size limits. You can also research the size 54x28x8 to find a larger bike, but make sure that you will not be prohibited from shipping your bike when you upgrade like this. If you are not sure which size of bike box to buy to err one size too large as you can always pad the empty spaces around the bike with foam or paper to prevent it from slipping around

The differences between a mountain bike and a road bike, which are two of the most common recreational models of bikes to be taken away on an airline (especially if you are planning to travel somewhere exotic or rugged like Thailand or Mexico) is that essentially the mountain bike is for muddy, messy, and hilly roads, and the road bike can take you for miles on asphalt.  If you are the kind of person who likes to travel to a foreign country to explore, you might want to consider investing in a gravel bike for under $1000. If you are willing to spend a little more on a sturdy all-terrain type bike, then check out this list of mountain bikes for under 2000

Mountain Bike Box

Mountain bike boxes tend to be quite a bit larger and are considered a specialty box, especially if it is for a recumbent bike. If the bike has larger wheels or other aerodynamic features, or if it is large and there is no way of disassembling it, then you should definitely contact the box seller’s customer service

Road Bike Box

Road bikes tend to have quite thin tires, so the shipping box’s size can easily be based on the size of the bike frame. Road bikes  also often have light aluminum frames, which can save you a bit of money on shipping

Bike Box Dimensions for Airlines

Bike Box Dimensions: Choose the Right for Your Bike

Most airlines limit the size of your bike in a box along two criteria. The box must measure less than 62″ in total measurement of length+height+width of the box.

Transporting a bike by plane can be a bit of a finicky business, so you should always call the airlines ahead of time to find out what is required. If you are traveling to a country with COVID-19 restrictions, there may also be a restriction on shipping big boxes or excess baggage to reduce baggage handling. However, speaking very generally, most airlines don’t permit boxes larger than a combined width, height, and length of 62 inches. The bike’s weight is also an issue with most airlines only shipping bikes that are 50 pounds and under. 

One thing that you need to know about both bike-specific soft or hard cases is that if your bike is oversized, which is commonly an issue with road bikes, then the airlines may charge you an oversize bike that is often in a range between $75-$200.

You could also forget about shipping a road or mountain bike and instead opt to bring a folding bike on the airlines. Aophire makes a bag for a 26-inch bicycle that has more of a duffle bag. The plus of using these is that most airlines will allow you to carry this type of bag onboard, thus saving you the hassle of retrieving the bike in the airport baggage area. 

Preparing a Bike for Shipping 

Here are the steps to wrapping up your bike securely for shipping.

Step 1

Assemble everything that you will need to assemble the bike for shipping. First of all, you will need a bike box. Pack the bicycle in the bike box using packing peanuts, foam spacers, and bubble wrap. It is a good idea to have wheel bags for each wheel bag and an accessory bag to hold the Allen keys and Torque wrenches that you will be using to disassemble and then reassemble your bikes. Spacers are important to keep the disc brake and axles stable during travel. Zip ties and packing tape are also useful for securing the bicycle with foam guards inside the box.

Step 2

Remove the bike pedals using a wrench. Spin the right pedal counter-clockwise to remove it, and then move the left pedal clockwise to do the same. Put both pedals in the accessory bag.

Step 3

Remove your bike wheel and the brace bike clinchers and brake pad with foam spacers

Step 4

Remove the disc rotors by taking them off the wheel. Put them in the accessory bag. If your bike does not have disc rotors because your bike does not have disc brakes, then disregard this step.

Step 5

Remove all attachments such as the fenders, carriers, GPS unit, frame bags, and fenders and place them in the box.

Step 6

If they are removable, remove the handlebars. Mark the height of where they were on the handlebars to remind you where they fit when you reassemble the bicycle. Be careful not to remove the stem that the handlebars fix to when you remove them.

Step 7 

Mark the ideal position of the saddle on the seat post so you can remember the ideal saddle height. Then remove the seat off the post and put it into the accessory bag.

Step 8

Use a wrench to remove the derailleur. The derailer is the gearing system that contains multiple sprockets of different sizes. You find more in-depth information about your bike’s derailleur; and how it works Trusted Source Derailleur - Wikipedia derailleur is a variable-ratio bicycle gearing system consisting of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another. en.wikipedia.org in this article. 

Step 9

Attach the fork and frame with foam tubing, using zip ties to keep the foam in place. Do the same for the other components of your bike, such a gear shifts, brake levers, and the seat post.

Step 10

Use plastic or foam spacers wherever necessary to stabilize the bike. Stick them to the front and rear forks of the BMW. Also, you can make your own custom foam packing Trusted Source Custom Foam Packing Insert : 6 Steps - Instructables This is a method for creating a foam packing insert for an irregularly-shaped object. www.instructables.com inserts.

Now that your entire bike has been taken apart, you need to arrange them in the bike box, being sure to wrap everything in bubble wrap. You can also place more foam where you think parts of the bike might run up against each other or the side of the box. You can test everything by picking up the bike box and giving it a bit of a shake. If you hear anything rattling inside, then try packing everything up a bit tighter.

Why is a Bike Box Size Important

Bike Box Dimensions: Choose the Right for Your Bike

It is essential to take a proper bike box not to damage your bike during transportation.

Perhaps your biggest challenge when it comes to packing your bike is to make sure that it is just snug enough to fit all of your bike parts, as this minimizes damage. Even if you are buying an EVOC bike bag or a hard case, size matters as many airlines and even trains do not accept too heavy packages. The cardboard box that you choose also needs to be the right size because it can cost to ship a bike. In general, the larger the bike box is, the more it is going to weigh, and the higher your bike shipping costs are going to be.

Final thoughts 

When it comes to bike size boxes, size really does matter, with a miscalculation leading to extra shipping charges or overweight baggage charges at the airport. Other than shipping a bike to where you are going, there is also the option of checking a hard bike bag as extra baggage. If you happen to own a fold-up bike then it can be carried onto the plane in a soft bike bag. However, keep in mind that neither UPS nor Fed Ex will ship a hard or soft bicycle bag unless it is inside one of their boxes or an equivalent card box. In either case, bag or cardboard box, it is crucial to buy the one that is closest to your bicycle frame size to avoid extra costs and to make sure that you get your bike dimensions as close as possible so that when you are packing the box or bag parts are not damaged by movement.

References

1.
Derailleur - Wikipedia
derailleur is a variable-ratio bicycle gearing system consisting of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another.
2.
Custom Foam Packing Insert : 6 Steps - Instructables
This is a method for creating a foam packing insert for an irregularly-shaped object.
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