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Shipping a bike (within Canada or to the US)

Nov. 7, 2019, 9:27 a.m.
Posts: 1080
Joined: May 4, 2006

I'm trying to sell my bike, and though I'd prefer to do cash only/local pickup transaction, I'm also considering shipping.

So what options exist? It's a huge XXL 29er so even getting a suitable old cardboard bike box might be a challenge and the bike itself weighs ~31lb.

Also, what's the safest method to avoid any scams? And how do I protect myself from dubious buyers?

How can I factor in import duty/taxes if sending to US or can I just pass on the risk/cost to the buyer?

Anything else I need to know about? 

Tell me your horror stories! 😥😳👿

Nov. 8, 2019, 6:37 a.m.
Posts: 253
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

I've sold and shipped numerous bikes from Canada to other Canadian addresses and to the US. I've never had a problem. I used Paypal for the US transactions and Interac through my bank [TD] for Canadian transactions.

For shipping in Canada I'll use Canada Post for a frame since I can get the size of the box down to legal dimensions...won't work for a full bike. For a whole bike in Canada Greyhound has been good for lower costs.

To the US I'll use Canada Post/USPS for frames and if I need to ship a complete bike UPS/FEDEX. Taxes and duties are the buyer's responsibility on the receiving end. There is no practical way to deal with that in advance. I have received bikes from the US via DHL, but never shipped that way. My work gets 25%+ off FEDEX shipments due to our volume and they don't mind if I use the company account for personal stuff and just pay them back.

Most LBS will give you free bike boxes. When I have had to ship oddball sizes like recumbents [don't judge!] or really large frames like touring bikes I just got two normal sized boxes and cut up the second one to act as an extender for the first one. The box size will directly impact shipping costs so the more you can take the bike apart and pack in a smaller volume the better. Each shipper will have a maximum size they'll ship so check on that and plan out how big your box can be in advance.

I like pipe insulation for packing a bike. It's low cost, effective and fits bike tubes/forks well. Most companies are drowning in packing materials so check with your work shipping dept for excess packing material. I go nuts packing the bike. Keep in mind you or the buyer are unlikely to ever get shipping damage covered by the carrier. So when you are thinking about paying for insurance read the fine print carefully as they'll happily sell you coverage for a $6K bike and then deny the claim because "packaging was not appropriate". Personally I have never had a bike damaged in shipping, but it is a risk. If they lose the bike you'll get paid out without a problem so there is that. I tend to not get any insurance and self-insure I figure with all the money I've saved over the years not insuring stuff when I do suffer a loss/damage eventually I'll still be ahead.

Nov. 8, 2019, 8:21 a.m.
Posts: 1080
Joined: May 4, 2006

Thanks Vik

Did you sell through eBay or someother method? Eg Pinkbike?

Ever had any hassle from buyers changing their mind or complaining it's not as described?

Nov. 8, 2019, 9:27 a.m.
Posts: 253
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

I've sold bikes via PB, various forums and my blog. I have not used EBay.

I have had a couple people who decided whatever they bought wasn't suitable for them or not what they wanted. My take on that was as long as my ad was accurate it's not my problem. Ultimately all I would do is resell the bike/part so they can do the same at their end and save the shipping back to me. The vast majority of sales I've done ended with both parties happy. I tend to sell things at a "firm" price. That reduces the number of potential buyers, but seems to get rid of the bottom feeders who I suspect are more likely to be a PITA to deal with.

I would save a copy of your ad and a copy of any correspondence in case there is a dispute.

There is always a risk something will go wrong with a remote sale. That will for sure be a hassle and could cost you depending how it all goes down. If losing time and money is not something you can handle stick to a local sale. It may take longer or you might get a bit less, but you'll eliminate some of the potential risks.

FWIW - I tried to sell a nice carbon FS frame on PB, but due to the rapid change in geo preferences since I bought it I was getting a ton of PITA buyers wanting to low ball me. Including a couple that wasted my time with meet ups for in person sales. After a month I decided to just give the frame away to a buddy who could use it, but didn't have money for a frame upgrade. I figured I'd rather see someone I liked ride it for free than waste more time dealing with idiots on PB and end up with not a ton of $$ for my troubles.


 Last edited by: Vikb on Nov. 9, 2019, 8:44 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Nov. 9, 2019, 9:38 a.m.
Posts: 1092
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Posted by: SixZeroSixOne

So what options exist? It's a huge XXL 29er...

Remove rear triangle before shipping? Time consuming for buyer to reassemble but reduces your frame size to infinitesimal.

I used to do this when I'd bring my back back and forth frequently to Vancouver, could fit frame in a standard suitcase.

Nov. 13, 2019, 9:43 a.m.
Posts: 488
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: Hepcat

Posted by: SixZeroSixOne

So what options exist? It's a huge XXL 29er...

Remove rear triangle before shipping? Time consuming for buyer to reassemble but reduces your frame size to infinitesimal.

I used to do this when I'd bring my back back and forth frequently to Vancouver, could fit frame in a standard suitcase.

As an owner of a very large 29er I agree: start by taking the fork off - this Is mandatory - the frame with fork Installed probably won't fit In the box. If that doesn't fit then try removing the rear shock and compressing the rear triangle. If that fits then wrap everything up nice and off you go.

Nov. 13, 2019, noon
Posts: 1080
Joined: May 4, 2006

Luckily for me, I sold my bike locally! 

But some good tips about breaking down the bike as I'm looking at flying out to Europe next year...

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