Author Topic: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?  (Read 13721 times)

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Offline awbikes

Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: May 14, 2012, 02:16:42 pm »
 After much research and effort it appeared the best and cheapest way to get my two bikes from Florida to San Francisco for my west coast tour was FedEx. LBS gave me two boxes curiously one much smaller than the other. My wife's bike fit in the larger of the two boxes with only removing ft. Wheel, handlebars and peddles. What a dream. My bike in the smaller if the two boxes required both wheels removed, Rear rack, derailluer, handlebars and of course peddles. It was a difficult and tight fit. Took the boxes to FedEx and send them standarrd 5 day ground delivery. Now came the Shock. Small box total weight 35.8 lbs. shipping cost $85.17 larger box total weight 33.8 lbs. shipping cost 157.43. ALMOST DOUBLE!!! Total cost to get tha bikes toCalifornia. 242.60. Info has it that the  some of the so called rip-off airlines are too pricey. While I'm not complaining about FedEx their pricing seems a bit high, or is it that everybody ships in small boxes and my mistake was the larger box?

If anyone will send me a free set of southern tier maps (I spent my last dime on shipping) I may consider riding home!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 02:38:27 pm »
FedEx and UPS both offer on-line rate calculators. You can do what-if games with sizes and weights to see where the break points are. It's also a good way to see what extras you find worth paying for and which ones you don't (e.g., insurance, home pickup, home delivery). When I shipped my bike, I played around with those rate calculators quite a bit. With FedEx, size seems to matter much more than weight. If you get too big or heavy, you slip from "ground" to "freight" class and the rates quadruple, so you want to make sure you don't do that.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 02:58:53 pm »
Be careful with the box sizes for FedX or UPS it makes a big difference once you go bigger than a particular size.  Personally my preference is to fly with the bike on one of the bike friendly airlines.  SouthWest, AirTran, or Frontier are the way to go if doing that.  On Southwest my only baggage fee is for the bike and that runs $50.  AirTran was recently acquired by Southwest and now apparently are the same.

Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.

On the way home I sometimes don't want to bother boxing my bike in a strange city and just drop it off at a bike shop for them to ship.  Between their packing fee and the shipping it usually runs about $100 ($40-60 for the bike shop and $40-60 for UPS).  They seem to get a better rate than I do and it is nice to have them pack it and deal with the shipping.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 03:55:37 pm »
Info has it that the  some of the so called rip-off airlines are too pricey. While I'm not complaining about FedEx their pricing seems a bit high, or is it that everybody ships in small boxes and my mistake was the larger box?

Out of curriousity, which airline will you be flying, and what is there bike charge? You may have saved money. U.S. Air, for example, charges $200 per bike.  I believe Delta is $175.

As noted, size can matter. Last year we shipped two bikes UPS in two separate boxes from Philly to Missoula. MY GF's bike is 42cm so it can go in a relatively small box. I used my pretty large CrateWorks plastic box because my bike is 60cm and has correspondingly larger things like bars and stem. Also has 700c wheels vs. her 26". Shipped via a LBS. While the shipping bill was not itemized, it was their belief that my bike was more because of the larger box.

Looking forward to flying Southwest to Cycle Oregon in September.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 05:40:37 pm »
Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.
In one month, I'm flying Frontier domestically within the U.S. with my bike. I paid $25 extra for a "Classic" fare. Both my bike and my checked duffle bag will fly along for free.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 06:42:39 pm »
As yopu found out, Fed Ex and UPS charge based on distance, weight AND package size.  Bigger boxes that weigh less are often cost significantly more.  As noted above, both companies have a shipping cost calculators on their web sites.  You enter the origin and destination zip codes, the package weight and it's dimensions.   They then give you a shipping cost.    Two smaller boxes would have saved a bunch. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 07:12:49 pm »
Frontier charges for both bags if you go economy class, but nothing extra for the bike if it is one of the bags.  I think that comes out to $40 or so.
In one month, I'm flying Frontier domestically within the U.S. with my bike. I paid $25 extra for a "Classic" fare. Both my bike and my checked duffle bag will fly along for free.
Sounds like a good deal.  Cheaper than the economy class ticket.

Offline awbikes

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 07:57:40 pm »
As a first time flyer with bikes I apparently did not do my homework. My wife booked with United and I believe their bike fee was $100 per bike. Plus I was concerned with airport hassles. I did check the FedEx on-line calculator before I picked up my boxes from the LBS. Being my first time, I assumed bike boxes were pretty standard and a few inches here and there would make a small difference. In the FedEx on-line calculator I used the measurement that popped up in the "road bike" field and the weight of my bike price was around 70.00. As previously stated by you guys little changes in measurements make a big difference in price. I will be more careful on my return and may even take staehpj1 suggestion and have a LBS handle it all.  My intent with sharing my experience was so I an others could learn from my mistake. Thanks again for the feedback.

Offline reed523

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 08:22:55 am »
Here's another twist in the box size equation.  Fedex will not cover the bike against shipping damages unless there is a couple inches clearance between the bike and the box. 

Offline vmax4power

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2012, 12:52:02 pm »
I've always had good luck with Fed Ex. Usually go to the local bike shop, pick up a bike box for nothing, (they use them for trash after they pull the new bike out). Just shipped a Cannondale T2 to Vegas from Nothern Michigan for $72 with $1100 insurance on it.

Offline BobOnABike

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 05:05:50 pm »
I just rec'd a bike from Nashbar that I ordered last week.  I assume that they know more about shipping bikes than we do.  This bike had free shipping, but a couple of years ago when I ordered a similar bike they charged about US $40 for S&H.

On the outside of the box that my bike came is written, " This carton qualifies for" in small print and in large print, "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G Limits".

I don't know what "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G" is, but I'm guessing that's the key to shipping the bike inexpensively via UPS.  You may want to check into it and get a box that qualifies for "UPS OS-2 130 inch L & G".

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 05:50:13 pm »
The "130-inch L&G" means the box measures no more than 130" "Length and Girth" or 130" is the total of the length plus the distance around the width and height.   A box 50" long by 26" high by 10" deep would have an L&G total of 50+(2*26)+(2*10) = 122" and would be less than the 130" limit. 

Offline Chris Schmidt

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2012, 09:52:38 am »
I found bikeflights.com to be most helpful.  They offer several shipping options.  I chose FedEx ground and it was ~40% less than FedEx.com!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2012, 01:27:51 pm »
Be aware that shippers may not measure your box as optimistically as you do, so don't get too close to the limit. Pay special attention if your box bulges, as the shipper will measure along the fattest part of the bulge.

Offline jimbo

Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2012, 09:13:28 pm »
I shipped Fed Ex via BikeFlight today..NY to OR and the "road-bike" box calculator was $69 but I had a LBS free box that is laid on it's side to be packed and therefore larger in some dimensions and it came to $89 for 50 lbs. Five day ground.