If you want to purchase a bike, you have two options. The first is that you have the bike built for you, so it’s ready to ride the moment you take it home. The second option is that it comes in a box and requires assembly before taking it for a spin.
So, how large are bike boxes? You’ll need to know the dimensions if you plan on selling a bike online. Like most things, bike boxes can come in a variety of sizes, but if you don’t have the 5 minutes it takes to read this article, allow me to sum it up for you.
Most bike box dimensions are 43 × 32 × 11 inches (107 × 81 × 28 centimeters). However, the size of the box will depend on how large or small the bike is.
What I Mean by Bike Box
Please note that in this article, I am not talking about road bike boxes—the painted boxes on roads where cyclists can safely wait during red lights.
For those that are new to the bike selling game, you have to familiarize yourself with bike boxes quickly.
Simply put, a bike box is a box that’s large enough to store a bike. From its looks, it can be hard to distinguish a bike box from a box for TVs and framed artwork. What separates a bike box from other boxes is its dimensions.
So, what are a bike box’s dimensions? Ultimately, the ideal bike box size will depend on the size of the bike you wish to ship.
Bike Box Dimensions
Most bikes fall into the L size category. These bikes will typically fit into a box that measures 43 inches in length, 32 inches in height, and 11 inches wide (107 × 81 × 28 centimeters). This type of bike box is known as a base bike box size, which is within the international shipping size limit.
Bike box dimensions can be marginally larger. For instance, FedEx sells specialty bike boxes that measure 54 × 25 × 8 inches (137 × 64 × 20 centimeters). The air delivery service company describes its specialty box as fitting most flat or narrow items. If you want to ship a bike by air, it’s a good idea not to exceed this size limit as the shipping company may deny your request.
Factors That Affect the Box’s Size
The main reason why there are different box dimensions for bikes is that not all bikes are built the same.
Bike frames range from XS to XXL. The smallest bike has 13 to 14-inch (33 to 36-centimeter) frames, whereas an XXL bike’s frame measures from 23 to 24 inches (58 to 61 centimeters). So, it’s abundantly clear that not one box size fits all.
Without knowing the actual size of the bike, the best way you can determine the ideal bike size is by referencing your height. You can check out comprehensive bike sizing charts here.
After knowing how large the bike is, you will need to choose a bike box that perfectly fits the bike’s size. Getting a box that’s too large means you will have to purchase extra padding to ensure the bike doesn’t wiggle around during transport.
On the other hand, if you get a box that’s too small, then you won’t be able to fit everything inside the box.
If you’re in doubt, it’s safer to get a bigger box. The risk is that you might end up having to pay more for cushioning materials. However, it will at least make it possible for the entire bike and all of its accessories will fit inside the box.
Packing a Bike in a Box
The next thing you should know is how to pack your bike in preparation for shipping. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Prepare all of the supplies and equipment to ship the bike. This includes the bike box, cushioning material (foam peanuts, bubble wrap, foam spacers, etc.), zip ties, an accessory bag, and wheel bags.
Detach the pedals from the bike and place them in the accessory bag.
Remove the wheels and place them in wheel bags, and place the wheel bags inside the bike box. Use foam spacers to keep the metallic components from rubbing against each other. Use zip ties to keep the spacers in place.
Remove every attachment—i.e., fenders, GPS unit—and place them in the bike box.
If possible, disconnect the handlebar and carefully place it in the box, using foam spacers to prevent scratching. Use zip ties to keep the spacers in place.
Detach the seat and place it inside the accessory bag. Place the accessory bag inside the bike box.
Remove the derailer (gear system) and place it in the bike box. Cover the entire derailer with foam peanuts or bubble wrap.
Insert the rest of the bike inside the bike box, using foam spacers to prevent scratching. Use zip ties again to make sure any exposed metal and paint doesn’t rub against the other components.
Fill the remaining space inside the bike box with foam peanuts. Try giving the box a little jiggle. If the bike can move, you need to insert more foam peanuts inside the box.
Please note that many air shipping companies will not accept international parcels that weigh over 50 pounds. So, weigh the entire bike box and its contents to make sure that it doesn’t exceed the maximum weight.
As you can see, bike boxes vary in size, depending on the size of the bike. However, most bikes weighing up to 19 pounds will fit into a box that measures 43 × 32 × 11 inches (107 × 81 × 28 centimeters). The safest thing you can do is choose a box based on the weight of the bike.
If anyone you know is selling a bike online, make sure you share this article with them so that they choose the correct box. Or if you have experience selling bikes online, we’d love to hear your thoughts on sizing boxes for bikes.