How To Pack Your Bike For Air Travel

There are many options available for travelling on airline with your bike. The most common options are:

Standard cardboard bike boxes are available from your local bike shop. These are a cheap and effective way to transport your bike. A Cannondale box is shorter than your standard bike box and saves space, but can be more time consuming to pack.

Bike Bags are manufactured by several companies to keep you bike in good condition. Often these come with wheel compartments and some with frames to mount your bike to.

Hard Bike Cases are available whilst expensive and heavier and generally not as easy to handle.

Whichever method you choose the preparation is similar. We recommend you follow the following steps to minimise your risk of damage in transit:

  • Release most (but not all) air from tires
  • Remove rear derailleur from derailleur hanger
  • Remove handle bars from head stem
  • Remove your seat along with the seat post still attached
  • Remove wheels for extra insurance you can remove your disc brake rotors as well if fitted
  • Remove quick release skewers
  • Remove pedals
  • Remove any projecting accessories such as mirrors, lights, fenders or training wheels
  • Fit fork and frame spacers – these are available from your local bike shop
  • If you have disc brakes, fit disc brake calliper spacers between the brake pads as they do not get accidentally compressed.

Cardboard tubing can be placed around the frame to minimise the risk of scratches whilst packing to give extra peace of mind.

Tape the rear derailleur to the rear triangle out of harms way and tape the handle bars to the top tube being careful not to crimp your cables and hoses.

Place the frame in the box, bag or case and carefully place your wheels along side the frame with the cassette in towards the frame.

Don’t forget to pack your pedals, skewers and other loose items including tools to reassemble your bike on arrival.

Often you can pack your helmet, shoes and other items in the loose space and use this as additional protection for your bike.

Make sure you clearly label your luggage with name, destination and contact details. Adding an up arrow and ‘Handle with Care’ or ‘Fragile’ can sometimes help.

NOTE: Hard cases can incur transportation fees while not in use due to their size, whilst cardboard boxes can be flattened or disposed of and replaced easily at your end destination.