Packing your Bike For Travel

A few steps to follow to get your pride and joy into a box and safely to the New Zealand trails.

What you'll need:

Cardboard Box - Normally free from a bikeshop, but worth dropping by a couple of weeks in advance and asking them to save one for you.

Torx Key/Cassette/BB Tool - To remove rotor bolts (or a cassette/BB if you have centrelock.)

Allen Keys - (4mm and 5mm) to remove your rear derailleur, handle bar and seat post.

Pedal Spanner - To remove your pedals (sometimes a 6mm or 8mm Allen key.)

Packing Tape - To seal box.

Large Zip Ties - To secure the handlebars and front wheel to the bike.

Protective Foam - As comes in the box with many new bikes, and therefore available from your local bike shop. Pipe lagging from a DIY shop also work.

Disc brake/fork spacer - Not essential but recommended. Available from bike shops.

Clean your bike

Really clean it - New Zealand employs some decent fines for bringing foreign soil samples into the country. So clean it up, give it a treat, its going on holiday after all! For more details on New Zealand's conditions for bike entry, please see this page.

Remove the pedals, bars and seat post

Take off anything that makes the bike bigger/wider/taller than it needs to be. The aim of the game here is to put your bike in the smallest box possible. This will make life easier on the way to the airport, in transit and travelling wherever else. Pedals can be stored in a small padded bag or an old pair of socks, whilst the seat post and bars will fit down the side of the bike when in the box.

Remove rotors

As on the trail, rotors and mechs are the first things that will bend. Take off at least your front rotor and put it inside the spokes with a couple of zip ties.

Insert brake spacers

A must if you don’t fancy getting your brakes bled before you start your holiday. Pop them in with a rubber band over the calliper and spacers to ensure it stays there.

Deflate both tyres and take the air out of your suspension.

Not only will this make it easier to pack, but some airlines insist on this. Tyres can provide a bit of rubber stopping between the rims and frame, so leave them on. If you have travel adjust on the forks, reduce it for the ease of packing.

Remove the rear mech

Remove the chain, unscrew the rear mech and hanger, wrap and thread them through the back wheel. They will sit nicely on the hub with a ziptie or two in essentially a premade cage. Put the chain in a bag and secure to the inside of the box with some tape.

Alternatively if you don’t want to take your chain off, remove the rear mech, pull a little cable through and attach the rear mech to the chain stay separated by some pip lagging. Zip tie this in place, but make sure it’s not protruding out further than the chainstay from birds eye view

Protect everything

Place pipe lagging secured with a ziptie or some tape around brake levers, stanchions, fork lowers, shock, rear mech, all the main tubes of the bike and the seatpost for a little extra protection.

Put it in the box

Put the non drive side crank forward, and thread the wheel over the crank. Now you can zip tie the wheel to the frame, with the bars between to create a little package. A bit of padding(old tshirt or foam padding) under the fork lowers can be zip tied round the front axle and helps to protect them should there be any impacts here.

Also be sure to consider packing first aid supplies for all of your mountain biking adventures, such as first aid bandages, first aid plasters and medical tape.