This is an excellent missive Ray.
Another wierd thing is that horribly packed bikes can come through entirely unscathed! They are very strong structures.
In days of yore packing varied considerably.
Packing hall of fame. A Fuji came in a cardboard vault. A Gios Torino in form fitting foam. Peugeots were shrink wrapped.
Hall of shame. I think Jeunet was the worst. A flimsy box with a trussed up bike rattling around. Almost every other Motobecane had a fork bent back (especially those with Vitus 172!). We spent a lot of time checking Moto forks, including having to take em right out of the frame for proper straightening. Had to explain the 2.5 hour "assemblies" to the boss too.
Great Notch, NJ
> A topic near and dear to my heart. I have written on this topic before but
> for a refresher here is my take. I package all bikes for shipment myself.
> I charge a flat fee for shipping and it is up front in every sale I make
> on ebay. It may look high if you live in PA since I am in NJ but often I
> lose money if it is going to the west coast as most of my bikes do. I have
> my local LBS save me boxes (Thanks Steve!) and I get packing materials
> that are discarded at work. When I pack a bike, I pack a bike. The key is
> to make sure that any protrusions on the bike are padded. Then you must
> restrict any parts from moving around inside the box. This includes the
> frame. Protecting the paint on a clean bike is a must. When I am done it
> is practically bomb proof. It takes me over an hour to pack the bike
> properly with the fork inserts and all but it is worth it. I have not had
> one claim of damage ever on shipping a bike. Believe me I have shipped
> plenty. I have however received several bikes damaged in shipping. Each
> time it was because of sloppy packaging and not the carriers fault. Just
> recently I purchased a nice road bike. The fellow I dealt with charged me
> a reasonable fee for shipping. He had it professionally packed by a bike
> shop. He inspected it himself before sealing the box. When I got the bike
> and opened it up, it was packed just like a bike from the factory. I was
> impressed but one thing bothered me. When I first carried the box to where
> I was going to unpack it, I noticed the bike was moving around inside.
> That is always a bad sign. If you think the people who throw boxes for a
> living carry the bike boxes by the handles as you do then you are sadly
> mistaken. I have visited many carrier in my professional career and have
> seen boxes airborn many times. I have seen things done to boxes that would
> make you think twice about shipping with that carrier. Thing is, they all
> do it. You have to pack to expect the worst handling. Now back to the bike
> in the box. When I removed the bike I noticed that it all came out in one
> nice piece, strapped and wrapped carefully, just like the manufacturer
> does. The difference was that it was allowed to move around in the box. As
> soon as I looked up front I saw the cables and housing leading into the
> guides in the head tube were flattened. The ferrules that hold the housing
> were bent inward. A clear sign that the bike box was dropped on the front
> and the movement of the entire bike frame and parts just smashed against
> the nose of the box. A simple piece of foam would have saved the bike. I
> have to laugh when I see that "a professional packed the bike". I don't
> feel guilty about charging what I want for packaging/shipping because I do
> a good job. I wish I could say the same for three of the bikes I have
> received over the last two years. They were all packed professionally by a
> bike shop and they were all damaged do to poor packing. Unless your box is
> run over by a truck, fork lift or pierced by a lift truck fork there is no
> excuse for damage. I don't mind paying for a good pack job if I get one.
> So now the bike goes through the claims process from the carrier. Does
> anyone think these people are stupid. They will see what I saw and deny
> the claim due to poor packaging. Now that brings me back to trying to work
> it out with the bike shop. Does anyone want to guess at my success rate
> for haveing the bike shop make good?
> Disclamer: Not all bike shops are bad at packing a bike. Not all bikes
> shops are good at packing a bike. You pays your money and takes your
> chances. I am just real picky about packaging whenever I bid on a bike. I
> make it a point to tell the shipper what I expect. Still I have problems
> as in this last case. I will have to start a photo essay on how it is
> Yours Cheerfully
> Ray Homiski
> Elizabeth, NJ