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I just bought two bikes in Australia and I'm wondering the best way to pack them and ship them to my country. They're sitting at a relatives house right now.

I'll probably send by ship due to cost so volume is important. Unfortunately my relative is not great with tools and doesn't know anything about bikes and has never even ridden one, so I'm trying to work out something simple and easy.

My idea at the moment is to remove the front wheels and lower and turn the handle bars. Lower the seat as far as it will go, remove the outside facing pedal, and put the bikes side by side facing different ways.

Is there a better way? How should I go about protecting the wheels/spokes during the packing?

Cost, volume, and ease are my main concerns, these are cheap mountain bikes and my guy isn't mechanically inclined to the extent he'd probably have to borrow a spanner rather than own one. Already shipping will probably cost more than the bikes did.

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    Why not hte original cardboard box the bikes came in? Any bike shop will have them on hand and will likely sell you them for some nominal fee. – Batman Jun 21 '16 at 15:53
  • @Batman second hand bikes, they came assembled. Any idea what a bike shop would charge to pack a bike in Australia? I didn't think of that. Might solve the problem though if it's cheap. – Kilisi Jun 21 '16 at 15:54
  • I'd also rather not have to reassemble it from scratch, so derailleur and brakes I'd prefer left on. My preference would be to catch a bus, assemble them at the wharf and then a two hour ride home with one of my kids. I've never seen a bike packed so unsure how much assembly they normally need. – Kilisi Jun 21 '16 at 16:08
  • No idea how much it is in Australia, but in the US it is probably the cheapest way. I think its probably 40 dollars for the box+packing in this area for packing. – Batman Jun 21 '16 at 19:26
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    I just got a bike shipped between islands in New Zealand. Quotes varied from $80 to $240 (which would have been enough to fly 2 legs each way to collect the bike!) So shop around. – Criggie Jun 21 '16 at 19:44
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I'd suggest using a bike box (there are reusable ones sold and cardboard ones similar to the type of cardboard box that a new bike comes in). A bike shop should be willing to part with a box that a bike they're selling came in (and maybe pack it themselves) for some small fee.

This video shows how to pack a bike in a cardboard bike box:

Essentially, the steps are some variation of the follwoing:

  • Take off the pedals
  • Take off the wheels
  • Take off the handlebars (this can be done by pulling out a quill stem or removing the face of the stem) and put them parallel to the top tube; Do not disconnect the cables
  • Take out the seat post
  • Put a spacer in the dropouts for the fork
  • Put the bike in the box with some padding

The bike sans wheels will fit in the box, and the wheels will fit on the sides. The seat post and pedals can be shimmed around the bike.

When you get out, all you should need to reassemble the bike is a small crescent wrench and a few hex keys (take everything out of the box, put the wheels back on, put the handlebar back on, put the pedals back on -- no faffing with derailleurs or brakes if they were properly set before packing).

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    Note that the boxes from the manufacturers are likely as good as you're going to get on space; they also want to minimize volume and materials to save on transportation costs (without making labor of assembly too much). – Batman Jun 21 '16 at 19:27
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    If your relative is as unmechanically inclined as you say, I'd definitely recommend spending a few AUD each to have a local shop repack them for you. They'll also have lots of left over packing material - foam blocks, cardboard spacers, etc. that they can throw back in the boxes to keep the parts from rattling around. The biggest issue you may run into is where to dispose of all the packing material when you reassemble them! – FreeMan Jun 21 '16 at 19:33
  • Cheers, will see how it goes today, I should have thought of getting a bike shop to do it. I'm too used to doing these sorts of things myself. – Kilisi Jun 21 '16 at 21:58
  • As an add-on to @Batmans excellent answer I would also apply a light coating of WD-40 (spray a rag and wipe it on) or the local equivalent to any chromed or bare steel components. If it is exposed to salty air for an extended period while unprotected rust may form. – mikes Jun 22 '16 at 20:29

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