Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

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Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby lcfc » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:06 am

Hi All,

I'm looking for some advice on the best way to pack a bike in a bike box?

I've got a 29er MTB and a box from a local shop. I've seen some options from removing the handlebars by taking the face plate off or removing the stem and lifting it all off together? Any issues with the headset here? The other question is about removing the rear rack before packing? Pedals is an obvious one to come off and I guess the RD.

Any advice/experience? I'm going to have a dry run soon.

Thanks.
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by BNA » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:28 am

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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby m@ » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:28 am

I've become somewhat practiced at this of late... plenty of how-tos out there, but I've found the following tricks especially helpful for fitting a 29er dually into a standard-sized box. First time took hours for a fairly ugly result, but this now takes me less than 30 minutes, including cleaning grease/carbon assembly paste off everything and about 45 minutes to reassemble.

On the box - it's a very good idea to reinforce the handles/access ports of the box with gaffa tape and then wrap the box in a couple of layers of packing tape, with extra layers on the bottom to weatherproof and keep it intact when it's slid around... If you use clear tape, you can add your name/contact details on a sheet of paper underneath. When packing, make sure you pack the bike to be as narrow and short as possible, so it's not squashing the box out of shape or pressing against the box too much. Don't fully deflate the tyres as they need some air to protect the rims (and to keep the tubeless sealant in); however the correct answer when asked at check-in is that you have deflated them ;)

After removing the pedals and front wheel, angle the cranks more-or-less horizontal with the non-drive-side crank facing forwards. With practice, it will slide between the spokes of the front wheel, allowing the wheel to tuck in between the NDS fork leg and seat stays and keeping the whole package as narrow as possible. You could remove the front brake disk if you were paranoid as it will be pressed against the side of the box; I usually travel with a spare, so just pad it with some cardboard & bubblewrap and have never had it bent... I then pop some foam sheet/bubblewrap/rags between/around everything that's in contact, and use old cotton work socks to tie the wheel in place. Same goes with the handlebar, which tucks in along the rear of the DS fork leg. Wrap with some foam sheeting/bubblewrap, particularly the brake lever housings, and watch the angle & stress placed on the hoses. It might be necessary to loosen or remove the brake levers depending on how short the hoses are. I also wrap some foam sheeting around the fork stanchions, just in case something moves around and scratches them.

Make sure you place some decent padding under the fork - I have a nice piece of closed-cell foam about 2" thick. I remove the bars by taking off the faceplate as I find it difficult to maneuver them into place with the stem attached, but also swivel the stem 180*... this buys me just enough length to avoid deforming the box with the rear tyre partially deflated. If you're uncomfortable about adjusting the headset when you arrive, you might get away without doing this depending on your frame size and chainstay length.

I also remove the seatpost and chain, and unbolt the RD from the hanger, wrap with cardboard and tuck it inside the chainstay. Don't forget to chuck a spacer between the front brake pads.

If you have a big plastic bag it's a good idea to pop the bike and anything else you're packing into that; otherwise, I pack tools, pedals etc into my backpack, wrap in a plastic bag or three then clip its harness to the downtube - then it's ready to go into the box!

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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby lcfc » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:03 pm

Thank you m@ that's exactly the information I was looking for, a nice little reference piece when performing the task. Hopefully it will save me a few frustrating hours. The Pic helped too, hopefully I can keep the rear wheel on which will help.

Thanks
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby RonK » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:59 pm

lcfc wrote:I've got a 29er MTB and a box from a local shop.

When you collect the box, ask if they also have the plastic fork spacer that protects a new bike from crush damage.
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby lcfc » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:38 pm

ah good point RonK, one more thing to add to my ever growing list of things I need to buy/get! ;)
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby RonK » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:09 pm

lcfc wrote:ah good point RonK, one more thing to add to my ever growing list of things I need to buy/get! ;)
If you can't get one a simple alternative is to cut a strip of cardboard to the correct width, roll it up, and tape it in place between the fork tips.
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby m@ » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:41 pm

Good point RonK; must admit I've always just popped the thru-axle in place and thought nothing more of it, but now that I think about it, without a hub or spacer that won't actually prevent the drive-side fork leg from moving inwards... will bodgey something up in time for the next trip.

Definitely keep the rear wheel on if you can; that's how they ship from the factory and with it off becomes a real struggle to close the box... If seriously bulging the box mightn't be able to be stacked, and will go up on top where it can move/fall around more (this is the reason I've been given by experienced travelers for preferring a cardboard box over a bag or even a hardcase - though for touring the choice is very easy ;) ).
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby lcfc » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:13 pm

Just an update, followed m@'s advice and just managed to get it in the box with the wheel on, was a little frustrating to start with. The rear pannier racks slightly push the side of the box but it all closes pretty flush. The front wheel is a little snug down the side so hoping it gets treated fairly nicely. Also thanks to RonK I have a plastic spacer in the fork. I'll be happier when I've unpacked and put it back together at the other end.
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Re: Bike packing advice......in a cardboard box

Postby ericbosloor » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:04 pm

I would definitely suggest some good packing paper or bubble wrap. There's only so much you can take apart to make sure that it fits well into storage. But if all else fails, get a professional to help you pack the box up and take care of things while you're moving around, OR look at getting a temporary bike at your new location so that you don't have to worry about reassembling either.
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