Packing a bike in a bike box

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Anonymous's picture

Hi all,

Colleen and I are getting ready for our European adventure. We are using Performance Bike boxes to take our bikes with us. Tonight I tried the second time to put my bike in the box and succeeded (twice, just to make sure), but I'm a bit concerned about whether I'm doing it right. The fit seems tight, and I was not able to get the bike in and use two things included with the box: the separator to be used between the wheels and the bike and a second big piece of foam to go between the bike and the box.

Here's what I did (as much as I can remember):

Took off the wheels (and skewers off wheels), removed handlebars, pedals, derailler, and seat off bike (packed parts in baggie).

Put wheels in the wheel well at bottom of the box

Put layer of foam over wheels, but folded part toward the rear of the bike back so that the frame rested on the wheels and not the foam (needed to get extra room to close the box)

Placed bike on foam with fork turned maximally backward

Handlebar turned parallel to fork, under foam and tucked into fork

I then had a smaller square of foam that I put between the drive train of my bike and the top of the box for protection

Put top of box on and attached

[did not use second layer of foam or wheel separator]

It fit with some fiddling, but seemed worrisomely difficult to get the box closed (wondered if I was putting pressure on my bike or the box)

Those who know me, know I'm kind of tall and have a large bike, but there did not seem to be a problem with the length and height of the bike. It mainly was an issue of width. And width doesn't generally change with bike size changes. Putting the box together, I had trouble with width in the front (fitting the handlebar and fork combo) and width in the back (dealing with the flare of the rear frame chain and seat stays). As suggested above, I really don't want to crush my bike. The trip isn't worth that.

Lots of you have a lot of experience wih this and I'm interested in suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Anonymous's picture
Basil Ashmore (not verified)
My limited experience

I've packed my bike (tri-bike - different handlebars with aerobars in addition) for precisely one trip so limited experience but it was recent (last month) and I also used a Performance case.

Here's what comes to mind when I read your post:
- I did use the separator (flat plastic with two holes for hubs) between wheels and foam before placing bike frame on foam.
- I removed handlebars from stem(?). It seemed like it gave me more flexibility with their positioning in the box.
- I didn't have a ""smaller square of foam""
- I did NOT remove derailleur (it seemed like there was enough flexibility in it to take some pressure and I didn't want to have to assemble that at destination also if I could avoid it).

Regarding the ""width in the back (dealing with the flare of the rear frame chain and seat stays)"", I was also concerned with this but it seemed to survive OK. However, I did come across a fellow-racer and NYCC member (I was going to a triathlon in St. Croix) who had a fixed ""brace"" which replaced the skewer for the duration of the journey and provided support for the frame there.

I too was somewhat concerned with the degree of pressure I had to put on the box to close it but, at the end of the day, everything survived. However, there were definitely moments where I said ""I'm never packing a bike ever again"".

Enjoy your trip!

Anonymous's picture
An anonymous cow! (Christian Edstrom) (not verified)


Make sure you get or make a brace to support the fork ends and dropouts.

You can get specially made plastic ones at the bike shop (used for packing new bikes), use an old hub and quick-release skewer, or just use two blocks of wood. If you use blocks of wood, you want them to be 112mm wide and 132mm wide, respectively.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
markshelby (not verified)

Photos would help.

I have that same box, and pack the bike with everything. I remove the handlebar, seatpost and pedals (or cranks, whichever is less stuck). I also have to loosen the aerobars on the handlebar. The stays and handlebar press against the top of the box, but everything fits fine.

Do you put the cassette side of your rear wheel up, with the cassette through the hole in the divider?

cycling trips