Shipping a bike overseas? Any cheap way?

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
225
96
48
120
Kobe
Hi All,

Quick question....

A friend is looking for a relatively affordable way to ship some bikes back to Canada. The bikes are midrange 105/Ultegra level CX and road bikes that he would prefer to ship back vs. sell here.

Is there any cost efficient way to send a bike? Sea Shipping via JP Post?
Does not need to be time efficient. 2-3 months is no problem.

-David
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,880
1,989
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
If it's several bikes and time is no object, a freight agency handling sea freight may be an option, e.g.

When I moved to Japan I had many cardboard boxes with household effects and paid a freight agency (Schenker) to load them onto a palette on a truck, take them to the nearest port, load them into a shared container and ship it to Tokyo, where I did my own customs clearance. It was much cheaper than other options, given the weight. Email them and get some quotes, based on size of standard bike boxes.

If it was a single bike, I would recommend taking it as an extra piece of luggage on a personal flight. With the right airline and depending on the ticket class that can also be quite affordable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kiwisimon

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,326
1,389
133
Japan
How many bikes? Like Joe said a shipping agency is an option however they charge by volume and bike boxes are bulky and mostly fill of air. Each stage of the process incurs fees both sides of the Pacific. The shipping is likely to cost more than they could be sold for in Japan and replaced in Canada. Used bikes sell higher here than in Canada so he likely is not going to save anything.
TBH, if they are mid-range what is the point in investing more money into them?
If it's the frames he's emotionally attracted to, put them in a cut down bike box and pay the extra $80 for an addition case when he flies home. Airlines charge by weight and frames are very light.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,880
1,989
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
For checked-in luggage on commercial flights it's not just by weight: It's usually by item, with both a size (linear inches = height + depth + width) and weight limit for each item.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,372
1,096
143
43
Agreed, that’s the way to go. I have done that plenty of times. They usually either count as an extra piece of luggage, but as a sports item don’t have to conform to size restrictions for suitcases. They count as oversized baggage. Sometimes adding sports luggage is cheaper than adding a suitcase. You should book this in advance, though. I’d put in plenty of clothes for both, additional padding to protect your bike and because you can make use of the space that you have.

I have always used one or two old bike boxes from bike shops and reinforced the heck out of them. Another tip: check your insurance policy when it comes to damages. Baggage handlers do not always have a delicate touch.
 
Last edited: