Whether you’ve sold your bike online, or need it for an international racing event, shipping your bike can be a stressful process. As someone who hadn’t had to ship my bike until recently, I’ve now spent a lot of time researching the best ways to transport a bike and, much it should cost. I thought I’d make things a little easier for you by clarifying how much shipping a bike actually does cost.
The average cost of shipping a bike domestically is $113, however, the cheapest bike shipping specialist costs as little as $66 to ship a 20lb bike domestically within the USA. When shipping a bike internationally, the average price is $1079 but the cheapest option was a traditional courier costing $937.
So, we now know that the average price of shipping a bike domestically is $113. So, why are some options so much cheaper than this? I take a look at the cheapest methods of shipping a bike, as well as the factors that impact the price of shipping in the rest of the article.
How much does it cost to ship a bike?
The price of shipping a bike will depend on a variety of factors, including which method you use to ship it. Below you can see how much it will cost to ship an average bike with the most common shipment methods used in the US and UK.
These prices are based on a bike weighing 9kg (20lb), being shipped in the average size bike box (43′ x 22′ x 11′). Domestic shipping is estimated as the cost of shipping from New York to Los Angeles and international shipping is estimated as the cost of shipping from New York to London. All options below arrived within 4 days.
|Shipment Method||Cost of US Domestic Shipping||Cost of International Shipping||Disassembly included?||Box included?||Insurance included?||Maximum weight limit?|
|UPS||$153||$937||No||No||Up to $50||150lb|
|FedEx||$158||$1021||No||No||Up to $100||150lb|
|Bikeflights||$75||$1237||No||No||Up to $200||150lb|
As you can see, shipping a bike domestically (from one state to another) costs much less than shipping a bike internationally. If you want to ship a bike domestically it is much cheaper to use a specialist bike shipping service.
On the other hand, when shipping a bike internationally, UPS was the cheapest option.
What factors impact how much shipping a bike costs?
Size of bike
The larger the bike, the more it will cost to ship. Most bikes are shipped in bike boxes. The average size of a box for a typical bike will be 43’x22’x11′ however larger boxes for larger bikes will cost you more.
Weight of bike
The more a bike weighs, the more it will cost to send. The average road bike weighs 9kg (20lb) and the average mountain bike weighs 14kg (31lb). You can use this to work out how much you should be spending on your shipment.
As we’ve seen above, the further you need to send your bike the more expensive it will be. There is a large jump in price if you need to ship your bike internationally.
The faster you need your bike to arrive, the more it will cost to ship your bike. In particular, shipping services arriving in 4 days or more are significantly cheaper.
As well as the basics above, when shipping your bike there will be some optional extras that you may require, these will add to the shipping cost.
First of all, when you ship a bike you will have to disassemble and pack it. If you are unable to do this step yourself, or would simply rather have someone else do it, then this can be done by bike specialist services for an extra cost.
If you want to have your bike covered by insurance while you travel, you will likely need to pay extra for this. Most shipping services will cover you for a set amount, however, this will likely not be sufficient to cover the entire cost of the bike if it is damaged or lost.
The final main additional cost is that of courier collection. The majority of services will charge you an extra fee for the ease of having your bike collected rather than having to drop it off at a specific location yourself.
What are the different methods of shipping a bike?
You can send your bike in the same way you can send any large parcel, through the mail. While it might come as a surprise, companies such as the United States Postal Service (US) or The Royal Mail (UK) are able to ship parcels large enough to fit a bike (provided you pack them correctly).
Some of these services are not available online and will only be available by asking in your local post office, so I would suggest you contact them to see if they can accommodate the size of the parcel you will require.
Traditional couriers such as FedEx or UPS are another option when it comes to shipping a bike. These companies are often cheaper than traditional post methods, however, will still be quite expensive, particularly for domestic shipping.
Specialist bike shipping companies
Some companies have been set up with the specific purpose of shipping bikes. In reality, these companies actually ship bikes through traditional shipping couriers but are able to do so in bulk and ship multiple bikes in one shipment, savings costs.
These companies are also more experienced in shipping bikes and so often shipping a bike with these services comes with more guidance, support and step-by-step packing instructions.
Some cyclists will consider using a freight service to ship their bikes. While this is an option, I would suggest looking at alternatives. Sending a bike on a freight ship can take much longer than other types of bike shipping services, and on top of this, it can still be very expensive.
Most freight shippers will set minimum billable weight limits, as your bike is unlikely to meet this minimum requirement, you will need to pay the minimum price which can be as much as, or even more than other services.
On the other hand, this makes freight shipping a good option if you are shipping your bike along with other items for example when moving house.
Checking your bike into a flight
The final option for shipping your bike is to do it yourself. Most airlines will allow you to check your bike onto your flight for a fee (between $30 and $300 dollars depending on the airline). If you are travelling to the same location as your bike, this can be a much cheaper option and allows you to stay with your bike as you travel.
How to ship a bike on a budget?
Shipping a bike can be costly, here are some of my top tips for reducing the cost of sending your bike with a courier or specialist bike shipping company.
Consider splitting your shipment into separate parts
It may be cheaper to send your cycling gear separately from the bike. If you are looking for more extreme ways to save money, then take a look at how much it costs to send the bike as one large bike box or as two separate shipments. You may find it cheaper to send the wheels and frame separately.
Check-in with your local bike ship
When looking for a bike box to ship your bike in, it is worth checking with your local bike store. They often have boxes they will give you for free as they get new bikes delivered in boxes that they have to then get rid of.
As well as this, your local bike store can be a good option for disassembling and packing your bike, offering this service for far less than your courier or bike specialist may charge you.
Look into getting a re-usable bike box
If you will be shipping your bike frequently, you can get a reusable bike box that is easier to pack, has pre-set dimensions and can save you money in the long run.
As you can see, the price of shipping a bike will vary greatly depending on where you are sending your bike, how much it weighs and how quickly you need it to arrive.
If in doubt, I’d suggest packing the bike yourself into a bike box from your local bike store, this is a great way to save money before sending it via a specialist bike shipping service.