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The Cheapest Way to Ship Anything

The Cheapest Way to Ship A Bicycle

Calculating shipping costs and choosing the most economical shipping method can be confusing. Our Cheapest Way to Ship Anything guides make it easy to compare shipping costs and choose the right method for your cargo, whether you're shipping common items like boxes or difficult-to-transport goods like antiques or artwork.

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1. How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Bicycle?

We've calculated shipping costs for three common shipping methods: USPS, parcel shipping, and consolidated freight.

i. USPS shipping costs

ii. Parcel shipping costs (eg. UPS or FedEx)

iii. Consolidated freight

iv. Specialty bike shippers

2. Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about shipping a bicycle.


Shipping a bicycle may seem complicated, but it’s simpler than you might expect. There are many reasons why one might need to ship a bicycle:

  • You’re relocating to another state or across the country. Shipping your bicycle to your new home makes sense for high-value, racing cycles, or specialty bikes, but for older, less-valuable bikes, your best bet is often to sell it and start fresh in your new hometown.
  • You’re an individual or a business selling and shipping a bike to someone in another state.
  • You’re shipping your bike to another location for a race or vacation. Often, this means there are time constraints and other factors to consider. For example, shippers also need to feel secure that their high-value or specialty bikes will be safe from damage in transit.

There are some special considerations to keep in mind when shipping a bicycle:

  • Bike value: Shipping your bike makes the most sense for relocating custom, specialty or high-value bikes, or if you’re participating in a race. If you’re moving, older, cheaper bikes are often best sold and replaced in your new hometown.
  • Box size: All bicycles need to be boxed for shipment. Bikes are typically not heavy compared to other cargo, so the size of your package may have a more significant impact on your shipping costs than its weight, especially if your carrier considers it an oversized package. Most bike boxes are around 43” x 32” x 11”, which meets domestic size requirements for parcel shippers like UPS and FedEx. Larger boxes are also available.
  • Weight: Most bikes are fairly light, ranging from 17-80 lbs depending on the style of bike, and are not likely to result in heavy package charges. The average bike weighs about 25 lbs, so we’ll use this for our shipping estimates below (plus a 10 lb buffer for packaging, for a total of 35 lbs.
  • Insurance: Shipping companies will provide the minimum level of federally mandated insurance, but this won’t cover the full cost of your bike if it gets lost or damaged in transit. Purchasing additional insurance to cover your bicycle is always recommended.
  • Packing: Proper packing is essential to keeping your bike safe in transit. Specialty soft-shelled or hard-shelled bike cases are available, but these are typically ideal for transporting racing bikes that are shipped frequently. For a one-time shipment as part of a relocation, a well-packed, strong corrugated cardboard box is sufficient.

How much does it cost to ship a bicycle?

The cost of shipping a bicycle depends on how large the box is, how much it weighs, and how quickly you need it to arrive. Bicycles are not eligible for flat rate shipping, and must be shipped using variable pricing services or by specialty bike shippers.

Compare rates for shipping a bicycle using some for the most common methods:

  • USPS
  • Parcel shipping (such as FedEx or UPS)
  • Consolidated freight
  • Specialty bicycle shippers

USPS

The United States Postal Service can transport properly packaged bikes that weigh under 70 lbs. Because of their size, bicycles do not qualify for flat rate shipping and can only be transported using USPS Retail Ground services.

With delivery in 2-8 business days, USPS Retail Ground is ideal for shipping less urgent deliveries and oversized packages.

Box size & weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego

43” x 11” x 32”
35lbs

$144.90 $210 $144.90 $210

Parcel shipping (UPS or FedEx)

Parcel shippers like FedEx and UPS are capable of shipping bicycles with faster delivery timelines than USPS, with multiple delivery options available. The cost of shipping your bike will depend on the size and weight of the shipment, as well as the speed and distance of travel.

FedEx has a maximum weight for shipping a bicycle and cannot ship bikes weighing over 95 lbs.

Box size & weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego

43” x 11” x 32”
35lbs

UPS:
$123.18-$687.07

FedEx: $139.08-$855.20
UPS:
$167.41-$834.55

FedEx:
$180.39-$1,078.71
UPS:
$121.03-$682.98

FedEx: $139.08-$855.20
UPS:
$165.26-$830.46

FedEx:
$180.39-$1,078.71

*Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.

Consolidated freight (TSI)

Consolidated freight shippers like TSI specialize in transporting large, heavy, and difficult-to-ship cargo such as household goods and furniture. These carriers are capable of shipping bikes, but they may not be the most ideal shipping method unless you are transporting your bike as part of a larger household move.

Most consolidated freight shippers will set minimum billable weight limits—at TSI, for example, our minimum billable weight is 120 lbs. That means all bikes will be priced as though they weigh 120 lbs, even if they weigh less. If you’re transporting your bicycle along with boxes of household goods or furniture as part of a household move, consolidated freight may be the most cost-effective shipping option. The cost of your shipment will depend on the combined total weight of your shipment, as well as distance of travel.

The estimated pricing information below is based on a minimum billable weight of 120 lbs.

Number of boxes and box weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego
120 lbs $462.89 $681.29 $436.48 $486.42

NOTE: Box size does not factor into freight pricing.

COVID-19 Precautions

TSI is carefully monitoring all of our shipments nationwide. We have seen minimal delays thus far, and are in constant contact with transportation industry leaders in order to be as proactive as possible. All members of the logistics chain are using the safety precautieons recommended by the C.D.C.:

  • Clean your hands often (washing for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surface

Specialty bike shippers

Bike shipping companies like BikeFlights.com or ShipBikes.com specialize in transporting bicycles long distance. These shippers will likely ship your bike through parcel shippers like UPS or FedEx, but are typically able to offer volume discounts thanks to the number of bikes they ship through these carriers. You simply need to pack your bike, book your shipment, and schedule a pickup or drop off. You can even arrange to drop your bike off at a bike shop for proper reassembly.

These providers will guide you through the bike shipping process step-by-step, often including shipping you the correctly sized box for your bike. They may also guarantee on-time delivery or offer a refund for late delivery, making these shippers ideal for those who are shipping their bikes to participate in a race. Additional charges may apply for residential pickup or drop off.

Box size & weight Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego

43” x 11” x 32”
35lbs

$63.95 for ground transport

$324.95 for air transport

$81.95 for ground transport

$306.95-$402.95 for air transport

$63.95 for ground transport

$324.95 for air transport

$81.95 for ground transport

$306.95-$402.95 for air transport

NOTE: Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the cheapest way to ship a bike interstate or across the country?

The cheapest way to ship a bike interstate or across the country is by using ground transport offered by specialty bike shippers. These shippers are able to pass along volume discounts and get you lower rates, and they also have the most specialized knowledge and can provide guarantees and other services tailored to shipping a bike.

The cost to ship your bike using ground transport from a specialty bike shipper ranges between $63.95 and $81.95. Costs may be lower for shorter distances.

How much does it cost to ship a bicycle?

The cost of shipping a bicycle depends on how large the box is, how much it weighs, and how quickly you need it to arrive. Bicycles are not eligible for flat rate shipping, and must be shipped using variable pricing services or by specialty bike shippers.

Here’s a rough idea how much you can expect it to cost to ship a bicycle across the country using some of the most popular shipping methods in 2021:

  • USPS: $144.90-$210 depending on distance of travel.
  • Parcel shipping: $123.18-$1,078.71 depending on speed and distance of travel.
  • Consolidated freight: $436.48-$681.29. Costs may be lower for shorter distances.  
  • Specialty bike shippers: $63.95-$402.95. Costs may be lower for shorter distances. 

How much does it cost to ship a bike with USPS?

It costs approximately $144.90-$210 to ship a bike with USPS, depending on the distance of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances.

How much does it cost to ship a mountain bike?

The cost to ship a mountain bike depends on the weight of the bike and the shipping method you choose. Mountain bikes typically weigh about 25 lbs. With an additional 10 lb factored in for packaging, here’s how much you can expect a bike to cost at each of the major shipping providers:

  • USPS: $144.90-$210 or less for shorter distances
  • Parcel shippers: $123.18-$1,078.71 or less for shorter distances
  • Specialty bike shippers: $63.95-$402.95 or less for shorter distances

Where can I buy a bike shipping box?

You can buy a bike shipping box at a local bike shop or online. Some moving companies sell bike boxes, and most specialty bike shippers like BikeFlights.com or ShipBikes.com will sell bike boxes online.

How do I pack a bike for shipping?

When you’re packing a bike for shipping, follow these steps:

  1. Assemble the box and fill the bottom with bubble wrap to add extra cushioning against knocks and bumps.
  2. Remove the pedals and rear derailleur and wrap them separately in bubble wrap. Leaving the pedals on will make your bike too wide and may tear the box, leaving them exposed to damage.
  3. Remove the seat and front wheel and wrap them securely in bubble wrap.
  4. Loosen and rotate the handlebars so they align with the bike frame. If the handlebars are left in their usual position, they could easily get caught on something during shipping...and you’ll need a much bigger box!
  5. Wrap the rear wheel axle in bubble wrap to prevent them from poking through the box, exposing your bike to greater risk of damage.
  6. Protect the bike frame by wrapping it in foam pipe insulation to prevent scratches and add extra cushioning.
  7. Deflate the tires slightly. Leaving them partially inflated will protect the rim from scratches while reducing the risk of tire damage.
  8. Keep the chain on the ring to protect the teeth from getting bent.
  9. Slide your disassembled bike into the box, along with any disassembled components, and fill any empty spaces with bubble wrap to prevent your bike from shifting in transit.
  10. Seal and label the box according to your shipping company’s instructions.

Moving across the country?

TSI specializes in small moves and specialty shipments.

Learn more

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