Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know some of you regularly ship bikes you sell, etc. What is the safest and most cost effective way to ship? USPS, Fed Ex, UPS, etc? I used to sell a few bikes on Ebay (3 - 5 years ago) and could ship a complete bike for $40 - $50 if I remember correctly. Everything is packed in a standard cardboard bike box from a local shop. I just tried to ship my son an inexpensive older fixed gear across the country for college and USPS wants to charge $100. Is this the reality today? I might try to sell a few on Ebay again and don't want to undercharge and lose my butt on shipping. I also don't want to overcharge and piss people off. Any insight would be appreciated.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
36,051 Posts
Yeah, $100 is a pretty good rate for shipping a bike across the country. “Bike flights” wanted $150 one way from anchorage to lower 48 and $250 the other way. Houses and cars cost around 2x as much too. If you get an account with some of the commercial shippers you can sometimes do a bit better.
 

·
No Clue Crew
Joined
·
7,256 Posts
I have a Fedex account and Bikeflights was still cheaper when it was routed through Fedex. Looks like BF switched to UPS and prices are much higher now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,742 Posts
It's been a couple of years now but last time I shipped some bikes I found it was pretty sensitive to box dimensions. So called "dimensional weight" or the max dimension can come into play and there are thresholds above/below which the price can be a lot different. As I recall, it wasn't straightforward to figure out and I plugged different numbers into the UPS and Fedex websites to see how the price changed.

Cardboard bike box sizes can vary quite a bit depending on the type and size of bike that came in them. The LBS had 4 different sizes so I chose the smallest I could fit the bike into.
 

·
always licking the glass
Joined
·
3,037 Posts
Anyone know anything about shipbikes.com? Heard they’re cheaper than bike flights.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
36,051 Posts
I have a Fedex account and Bikeflights was still cheaper when it was routed through Fedex. Looks like BF switched to UPS and prices are much higher now.
I don’t mean a fedex or UPS account, there are shipping brokers and ground companies that can often do it cheaper, but the cheaper it is the sketchier it may get.

In general, fedex and ups are more expensive, but usps size restrictions are usually the driving factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,458 Posts
I'd use Bikeflights and be careful with box measurements and pack it in the smallest box it can reasonably fit in. 1 extra inch wide or tall might cost you another $50, which is the case regardless of who you ship with ime.

$100 shipping on ebay seems pretty standard and I don't think many buyers would balk at that. $100 will cover shipping just about anywhere domestically and leave you with enough change to cover at least some of the time and hassle of boxing it up and sending it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
as others have mentioned get a quote on bike flights, select drop off at UPS location and just print the label.

Last time I wanted to ship wheels UPS wanted to charge me almost 100$ plus i needed the box and materials so they added another 25$.., they said that's the cheapest they can do.. I left, got a quote from bike flights for 35$, bought a box that fit at FedEx for 10$, they even helped me tape it up, printed the label and then went back to UPS and handed the box to the same guy showing him it cost me 45$ all in instead of the 125$ he was quoting me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK. Good info so far. Thanks everyone! I intend to pack things myself. That part is no problem and I certainly understand the smaller the box the better. It did seem like an extra inch or so on the box to ship my sons bike added a bunch to the cost. However, I was just trying to get it to him ASAP and wasn't that concerned about a couple extra bucks for his bike. However, if I start selling bikes, frames, wheels, etc on Ebay again I want to ship everything as quickly, simply, easily and cost effectively as possible without having to jump through a bunch of hoops. This isn't my business, but might become a fun side hobby again. Maybe I'm lazy, but I just want to sell, pack and take to UPS, USPS, Fed Ex or whatever and ship.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
OK. Good info so far. Thanks everyone! I intend to pack things myself. That part is no problem and I certainly understand the smaller the box the better. It did seem like an extra inch or so on the box to ship my sons bike added a bunch to the cost. However, I was just trying to get it to him ASAP and wasn't that concerned about a couple extra bucks for his bike. However, if I start selling bikes, frames, wheels, etc on Ebay again I want to ship everything as quickly, simply, easily and cost effectively as possible without having to jump through a bunch of hoops. This isn't my business, but might become a fun side hobby again. Maybe I'm lazy, but I just want to sell, pack and take to UPS, USPS, Fed Ex or whatever and ship.
Experience has taught me that no matter the carrier, when my bike leaves my hands nobody will treat it with care until it gets to its' destination.

I'd rather spend more on packing and shipping than miss vacation riding time or have to return a purchase/sale with a shipping induced issue.
 

·
CEO Product Failure
Joined
·
1,739 Posts
Bikeflights for sure!

If you're selling a bike, this may not be applicable--if I use BikeFlights to ship my bike for me to ride at some mtb destination, the bike is shipped to a LBS at the remote location and includes a care package for the mechanic at the remote location's LBS. This can vary from homemade cookies, beef jerky, candy, other snacks, and even a t-shirt from my local shop. I try to fill a 2 gal ziplock bag with goodies.

The recipients of the care package, whom I've never met LOVE this! They greet me like one of their regulars when I come in. My perception is they've given my bike a little more love than usual. They're always are very appreciative of the gestures.
 

·
Candlestick Maker
Joined
·
3,109 Posts
I take a yearly vacation to Canada to visit my relatives and have repeatedly looked at the costs of getting a bike there. It has never made economic sense for me. I end up just borrowing a bike every year. Some year when I have a direct flight (I usually have 2 or 3 legs each way), I may just box up an older bike to leave it there permanently.

I just checked again out of curiosity and bikeflights.com will ship it there for about $150. So, double that for 7 ish days of riding. I've never been able to justify it and just make do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
I've used bikeflights 3 times; the first time my hard case was so badly damaged it could not be used for the return trip. The second time my mtb was damaged and unrideable while the shops were closed over X-mas. This year my bike arrived two days late and I missed two out my 7 days to ride.

I won't use bikeflights again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,458 Posts
I've used bikeflights 3 times; the first time my hard case was so badly damaged it could not be used for the return trip. The second time my mtb was damaged and unrideable while the shops were closed over X-mas. This year my bike arrived two days late and I missed two out my 7 days to ride.

I won't use bikeflights again.


Which carrier will you use then? Bikeflights doesn't transport packages.
 

·
West Chester, PA
Joined
·
4,968 Posts
as others have mentioned get a quote on bike flights, select drop off at UPS location and just print the label.

Last time I wanted to ship wheels UPS wanted to charge me almost 100$ plus i needed the box and materials so they added another 25$.., they said that's the cheapest they can do.. I left, got a quote from bike flights for 35$, bought a box that fit at FedEx for 10$, they even helped me tape it up, printed the label and then went back to UPS and handed the box to the same guy showing him it cost me 45$ all in instead of the 125$ he was quoting me.
A "ups store" is not UPS. They are independent franchise businesses that keep the lights on by charging people outrageous prices to pack things for them. Generally the elderly. One of their gimmicks is to tell people they have to use massively oversized boxes so the items will be adequately protected per UPS package insurance guidelines. The stores pocket the difference between the wholesale rates and the retail rates they charge customers. The bigger and heavier they can make the package, the more they make. Oversize box surcharges are much much lower for the wholesale account vs. an individual. That's why a company like Bikes Direct can ship me a complete bike for (roughly) $75. But if I had to ship it back to them in the same box it would cost me about $150.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
36,051 Posts
A "ups store" is not UPS. They are independent franchise businesses that keep the lights on by charging people outrageous prices to pack things for them. Generally the elderly. One of their gimmicks is to tell people they have to use massively oversized boxes so the items will be adequately protected per UPS package insurance guidelines. The stores pocket the difference between the wholesale rates and the retail rates they charge customers. The bigger and heavier they can make the package, the more they make. Oversize box surcharges are much much lower for the wholesale account vs. an individual. That's why a company like Bikes Direct can ship me a complete bike for (roughly) $75. But if I had to ship it back to them in the same box it would cost me about $150.
This x1000. The "actual" UPS and FedEx shipping centers can often be found at their distribution centers or the airport if they have a hub there. Significantly cheaper.
 

·
West Chester, PA
Joined
·
4,968 Posts
You do understand that bikeflights doesn't actually do the shipping or handling, right?
Exactly. They are just a company that has a wholesale rate account with UPS and FedEx. They pass on *some* of their rate reduction to their customers. As their volume increases their rate discounts get better and they become more profitable. Technically UPS frowns upon a third party using the rate spread as a business. A friend that has been with UPS over 25 years suspects that they are letting it slide because they are losing a lot of volume to amazon (with more volume loss coming rapidly as soon as Amazon opens up their service to third parties). Or it's possible no one has even noticed yet because their amazon issues are literally consuming every management man hour at the Atlanta HQ. But if this was pre-amazon logistics days, UPS would have cut off bike flights.
It's very likely that Bike Flights will eventually move their volume to Amazon logistics. Take it to the bank.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top