Bike Box Size/Dimensions Chart (For Flying, Shipping, & Travel)

Bike Box Dimensions For Flying, Shipping, & Traveling

Bike boxes or travel bike bags are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. They can be made of plastic, nylon, aluminum, or cardboard. The standard size of a cardboard bike box for shipping or carrying on a plane as a luggage is 43″ x 11″ x 32″ (L x W x H). However, there are bigger sizes as well, like the FedEx biking box which has a dimension of 54″ x 8″ x 28″ (137 × 20 × 64cm).

Most bikes will fit in the standard size box, but for larger bicycles like 29er mountain bikes, or if you don’t like to remove the rear wheel or handlebar and stem while packing, you’ll be needing a bigger sized box, such as the 56″ x 21″ x 32″ one.

Since you are here, you might be shipping or taking your bicycle on a plane, right? In that case, I’ll first look into the bicycle policies of the courier and the airline. They do have their own regulations and also their own maximum box size and weight you can take.

Anyways, below is the common bike box dimensions as per bike types and courier companies.

Bike box dimensions/size chart

Bike box size

Here are the common bike box sizes you’ll find. I recommend you not to go beyond the FedEx bike box dimensions. Otherwise, you will be charged extra fees or many not be accepted by the carriers. Also, note that a cardboard bike box can weigh around 9 to 20 pounds (4-9kg). So, the total shipping weight will be – cardboard weight + packing materials + bike weight.

FedEx Size – fits most bikes54″ x 8″ x 28″137 × 20 × 64cm
Standard Size (L) – fits most bikes43″ x 11″ x 32″110 x 28 x 82cm
Kids Bike/BMX/Framesets (S)43″ x 10″ x 24″109 x 25 x 61cm
Gravel/Road/Small MTBs (M)42″ x 12″ x 30″114 x 31 x 76cm
Bikes with rear wheel on (XL)62″ x 13″ x 33″158 x 33 x 84cm
Bikes with handlebar/stem on (XL)56″ x 21″ x 32″142 x 53 x 81cm
Last four are recommended sizes by BikeFlights (BB)

Maximum bike box size and weight limit for airlines

Airlines have their own rules and requirements for carrying a bicycle on their plane. Most of them will ask you to dismantle and pack the bicycle parts in a proper bag or box following their maximum linear size/dimensions (length + width + height) and weight capacity policy. Below is the biking box size and weight limit for major airlines around the world.

American Airlines126 inch/320cm70lbs/45kg
Delta115 inch/292cm (doesn’t accept above this)50lbs/23kg
British Airways138 inch/350cm50lbs/23kg (extra charge above this)
Air Canada115 inch/292cm70lbs/32kg
Air France118 inch/300cm70lbs/32kg
Emirates118 inch/300cm77lbs/35kg (may vary according to class)
Lufthansa110 inch/280cm50lbs/23kg
EasyJetNot mentioned70lbs/32kg
JetBlue80 inch/157cm50lbs/23kg (no fee below this weight)
Virgin AtlanticNot mentioned50lbs/23kg
Qantas99 inch/250cm70lbs/32kg
RyanairNot mentioned66lbs/30kg
Southwest62 inch/15cm50bs/23kg (excess weight/size fees may apply)
EVA Air109 inch/109cm50bs/23kg (overweight charge may apply)
Singapore Airlines139 inch/355cm70lbs/32kg (overweight may be considered as cargo)

Variety of bike boxes

Bags for travel (varieties)

Usually, there are three bicycle box varieties – soft-shelled bag, hard case, and cardboard box. All three are made of different materials and have their own pros and cons. If you are someone who regularly travels or flies with a bike, it’s worth shelling out a few dollars for a dedicated bicycle case. Otherwise, a humble carboard box should be an ideal choice for others.

Light, cheap, and easy to findHeavy, but the lighter ones are expensiveSoft-shelled bicycle bags are lighter and much cheaper
Available for free at airports, local bicycle shopsSturdy, protective, easy to pack and carryHas lots of space and can fold and store it when not in use
Recyclable – can dispose it after useLong lasting and can fit most bike sizes and genresNot ideal for shipping purpose
Not really protective as hard bike caseCan carry around in your car as wellCan easily load into a car, trucks, and provides great protection while travelling by train or plane

Packing bike in a box – tips and airline policies

If you would like to ship or fly your bike to your travel destination without getting damaged, it should be properly packed in a bicycle box. Depending on the bike bag/case you’ll be using, you need to disassemble the bicycle accordingly. For a cardboard box, removing only a few parts like pedals, rear wheel, handlebar, etc. will suffice.

Following are some bike packing tips from cycling gurus and airlines:

  • Remove the derailleur, wrap it in a cloth and put it in a safer area.
  • Remove the skewers out of the wheels.
  • Deflate the tires.
  • Remove paddles, racks, fenders, front wheel, and the handlebar.
  • Wrap the frame using rag, foam, or anything you like.
  • Detach the seat or lower the saddle.
  • You can remove the front wheel disc or protect it using a rug/cardboard.
  • To avoid scratches from rubbing and bouncing, tape everything as one unit using duct or electrical tape.
  • Fill all the remaining spaces in the box using foam peanuts or bubble wraps.
  • Finally, make sure there is no rubbing between the parts.

PRO TIPS from my side: carry an extra packing tape because the airline may ask you to open it for inspection. And if you are carrying a really expensive bike, I won’t mind pasting a photo of TV in the box. The airline staff will think it’s fragile and they will handle it with extra care. :-)

Bicycle box packing tips
Genius idea by VanMoof

In conclusion

43″ x 11″ x 32″ would be considered a standard size (Large) for a bicycle cardboard box. It can house most types of bicycles and wheel sizes, and is accepted by many shipping companies and airlines. That being said, you should always check out the guidelines of the carriers beforehand. Some may not allow to go above 115″ dimensions or linear size, like the Delta Airlines.

If you frequently travel by car or fly with your bike, consider getting a dedicated bicycle box. For shipping, a simple bicycle cardboard box from a local bike store is conveniently enough to protect your bike from getting damaged.

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