How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Bike? DIY Vs. Other Options

(Last updated on April 14th, 2023)

A few friends recently went on a train trip in the Arizona mountains. They all had to ship their bikes from home to their destination. So, naturally, there was a flurry of discussion over how to ship their bikes, pack them, and where to get a bike box. And, of course, everyone wanted to know, “How much does it cost to ship a bike?”

Shipping a bike will vary between $50 and $1250. It will cost less to ship your bike if it is smaller, lighter, going a short distance, or you pack it yourself. It will cost more if you are shipping it a long distance, with faster shipping, and if you have it professionally packed.

I will share how much it can cost to ship a bike in this article. I’ll talk about what factors affect the cost to ship a bike, how you can pack your bike to save money, where to get bike boxes, and where to ship your bike. Let’s get started.

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You may want to ship your bike for racing, training, or even vacation. Jan Brennenstuhl

Bike Shipping Options

As it turns out, there are many ways to ship your bike. You can even take it on the plane with you (for a fee). The shipping price depends on the bike’s size and weight, the speed of shipping, and how much help you need (such as disassembling and packing the bike).

Unless your bike is oversized, it won’t really matter if it is a gravel bike, mountain bike, or hybrid since the type of bike doesn’t really affect the cost of shipping the bike.

To Ship Your Bike, You Can:

  • Use a Bike shipping service such as ShipBikes, BikeFlights, and Sports Express. These are the most common shipping companies.
  • Send it via FedEx or UPS.
  • UPS and FedEx can also ship your bike for a fee. If you use these companies, you must pack the bike and provide your box.
  • Carry it on an airplane.
  • Some people bring their bikes on the plane as luggage or a carry-on. You’ll want a bike case for this, which will cost an extra fee.
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You can purchase bike boxes for shipping from Amazon, FedEx, and your LBS. Amazon

Boxing Your Bike

If you ship your bike, you’ll need to pack it safely in a box. Shipping boxes cost anywhere from $15 to $40. For example, the price for a FedEx Bike bike box without packaging is $16. It is size 54” by 8” by 28” with a weight limit of 95 pounds. If this is too small, you can purchase a specialty box.

If you want to purchase packing materials, the price jumps to $25.49 for standard packing materials and $31.99 for fragile packing materials.

Sometimes, bike shops will have extra boxes saved for just this purpose. I personally have saved a couple of boxes from my new bikes in case I need one for shipping or transporting later. You can break them down flat to store them (just keep them in a cool, dry place).

You can purchase bike shipping boxes on Amazon, but they come in a pack of 5 for around $120.

You’ll most likely need to partially disassemble the bike to fit it in the box. You may need to remove the handlebars, pedals, and racks/water bottle cages. You’ll need to pack the bike carefully so that it doesn’t shift, rub, or cause damage inside the box. FedEx gives you easy directions on how to do this yourself. 

If you are unsure how to box up your bike, you can have your local bike shop do it. My LBS charges $75 to box up a bike. If you need help reassembling your bike at your destination, you can have it shipped to a bike shop, which will put it back together for another fee, like $85.

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Bubble wrap, zip ties, and baggies are essential packing items. Lynn Greyling

Packing Your  Bike for Shipping

One of the most critical aspects of shipping your bike is packing it well. First of all, you must ensure it is packed according to the guidelines required by your shipper. They may be different depending on who you are shipping your bike to. But doing it yourself will reduce the cost of shipping.

First, find a box that meets the required size and fit dimensions.

Second, you need to pack the bike so it doesn’t get damaged. Any movement inside the box, if the parts aren’t secured well, can lead to damage. Also, if the bike is sticking out of the box or not fitted correctly can lead to damage.

You need to find a sturdy box, as we mentioned before. There are many places to find them: FedEx, Amazon, BikeFlights, or even your local bike shop.

Next, you need to disassemble the bike. Ryan Van Duzer is known for his bikepacking

adventures and has plenty of experience packing his bike.

  • Typically, you’ll need to remove all accessories, such as bike bags, computer mounts, etc.
  • Take off the front wheel and handlebars.
  • Remove the pedals.
  • Wrap everything and secure it with padding, bubble wrap, and zip ties so things can’t shake, bang, or scrape.
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Insure your bike to protect your investment. Lexaware Mountainbike Team

Insure your bike

If you choose to insure your bike, it will cost you extra. For example, you get $900 worth of protection from Bikeflights for $11.20. It’s worth it if you have an expensive bike.

Ship your bike

So how much to ship the bike? Shipping rates vary depending on the size and weight of the package, the distance it is traveling, and the shipping speed.

For example, to ship a 40-pound boxed-up bike from Philadelphia, Pa, to Arizona using Bikeflights, it could cost:

  • $82.95 via UPS Ground shipping
  • $220.95 via UPS air
  • $291.95 for the fastest air service

Thru Bike

Thru will ship your bike for you using FedEx. You’ll need to pack your bike yourself.

For $6, they’ll pick up the bike from your location. To ship the same size and weight bike from Philadelphia to Arizona, it will cost roughly:

  • $80.74 for FedEx ground
  • $425.73 for 2-Day Service
  • $461.23 for Standard Overnight Service

If you were to ship a bike via UPS, you would have to pack the box and drop it off yourself. The costs would be roughly:

  • $169.77 for UPS ground
  • $646.19 for 2nd Day Air
  • $851.13 for Next Day Air

Shipping a Bike Via USPS

If it meets their criteria, you can ship your bike through the United States Postal service. You’ll have to use USPS Ground shipping, which will ship packages up to 70 pounds. The price is based on distance:

For example:

USPS Shipping Charges by Distance

Distance in MilesShipping Cost
150 miles or less$84
151 – 300$106.80
301 – 600$129.60
601- 1000$152.15

To ship a bike from Philadelphia to Arizona via USPS ground service will probably cost about $220.00.

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It may save you money to bring your bike on the plane with you as baggage. MarcusObal

How Much Does it Cost to Fly with Your Bike

If you don’t want to ship your bike through a delivery service, you may be able to bring it on an airplane with you as checked luggage. The policies vary greatly by airline, although some will allow you to use your bike as a piece of checked baggage if you adhere to their policies.

Some airlines will charge an extra fee to bring your bike on the plane, ranging from $40 to $350, depending on the flight.

You’ll also want to ensure your bike is packaged so it won’t get damaged or damage other people’s luggage.

Some airlines will allow you to pack your bike in a cardboard bike box or wrapped in plastic. Other airlines may require a soft or hard bike case.

Cases can cost:

  • Hard cases: $165 to $1190
  • Soft bags: $160 to $900

Reassembling the Bike

Of course, once you reach your destination, you’ll need to reassemble your bike. You’ll need some tools to do this, or you can have a bike shop put your bike back together. My local bike shop charges about $85 to do this.

Bike Shipping Mistakes

Not Packing the Bike Properly

One of the biggest mistakes people make when shipping their bikes is not packing them properly. Remember that any movement inside the box can cause damage, and any parts that don’t fit completely inside the box can cause damage. This will cost you extra money and may make your bike unrideable.

Shipping too Late

The faster you need to ship your bike, the more expensive it will be. So to save money (and stress), plan ahead, so you have plenty of time to ship your bike, receive it, and reassemble it. It would be terrible to miss a race or an event because you didn’t have your bike in time.

Not Insuring Your Bike

On his return trip from Arizona, one of my friend’s bikes was damaged in transit. Thankfully, he had purchased extra insurance for his bike, so the damages were covered. Although it took a little while, he could replace his bike because he purchased the extra insurance.

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Make sure your bike fits in the box correctly. Robert Ashworth

Final Thoughts on How Much it Costs to Ship a Bike

Shipping a bike can be a complicated and expensive process. It must be well packed, shipped by a reputable company, and reassembled at your destination.

The overall cost will be anywhere from $80 for a short distance, where you do all of the packing yourself, to over $1000 if you have to ship your bike overnight a long distance.

Remember that the final cost of bike shipping depends on the cost of the box or case, the distance you need to travel, and the size and weight of your bike. In any case, you’ll want to plan in advance and get plenty of estimates to get the best price for shipping your bike.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bike Shipping

What is the cheapest way to ship my bike?

The cheapest way to ship your bike is probably through UPS Ground. It will cost you around $85 to ship your DIY-boxed bike across the United States.

Can I ship an E-bike?

That really depends. In some cases, e-bikes are too heavy, or the lithium batteries will prevent you from being able to ship them.

What happens if my bike is damaged in transit?

If your bike is damaged, you’ll need to file a claim. You may need to prove that your bike was damaged due to shipping rather than how it was boxed. In addition, you may want to purchase extra insurance to cover your bike, especially if it is very expensive.

What if I need help reassembling my bike?

You can have your bike shipped to a bike shop to be reassembled for you for a small fee. You’ll need to make arrangements with the bike shop in advance to ensure someone can receive the bike and schedule putting it together in time.

What is the cheapest place to buy a bike box?

The cheapest bike boxes are probably from FedEx. However, your local bike shop may give them away if they have too many.

What if I have a new bike shipped to me?

Bikes from online bike retailers typically ship to you for around $150. However, you’ll probably need to assemble the bike yourself or take it to a bike shop for assembly. However, some bike sellers will work with a company such as Kitzuma, which will deliver your bike fully assembled and ready to ride for around $300.

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