You’re thinking about purchasing a bicycle online. You’ve found a great deal and now you want to take advantage of it. There’s just one concern: How much does it cost to ship a bike to your home? And how will it even be shipped?
How Are Most Bicycles Shipped Today?
Most bicycles are shipped in a deconstructed manner. They’ll come in a large, rectangular box with instructions for you to put the bicycle together at home. Most bicycles will also provide you with the tools you’ll need to attach the various components together.
Although it may seem inconvenient, this is how a majority of bicycles are received at retail outlets as well. If you’re looking at a fully assembled bicycle in a store, even a high-end store where the bicycles sell for thousands of dollars, then you’re seeing the work of an assembling genius.
By shipping the bike directly to your home, you can often receive a better price on the bicycle you want because you’re eliminating the assembly cost. The disadvantage here is that you’ll need to spend 30-60 minutes of your time assembling your new bicycle.
What Is the Cost to Ship a Bike?
Most bicycle sellers who offer their preferred makes and models of bikes online will ship them to your home or a non-commercial address for free. Most deliveries must occur to a physical address because a shipping provider like UPS or FedEx will be making the delivery. Only smaller toddler tricycles or bicycles are usually eligible for postal shipping – and even then, it usually won’t be to a PO Box.
You may need to place an order of a specific amount in order to qualify for free shipping. Trek bicycles, which have a reputation as one of the best brands in the business today, offers free shipping on all orders over $50.
A similar program is in place for those who shop on Amazon. Some of the best bikes for sale today qualify for the Amazon Prime program, which offers free 2-day shipping on most items. Prime members may find slightly longer shipping times (3-5 days) for some bicycles, but there is no added shipping cost.
Otherwise the shipping of a bicycle is generally treated as freight. If you do need to pay a shipping charge, it will usually be a minimum of $50 for the service. Then your location will be a direct factor in the final cost. If you live on the other side of the country from the shipper, then your costs will likely be doubled compared to someone who lives within a few miles of the shipper.
Are There Any Other Options?
One of the unique aspects of the cycling industry is the comradery that exists. If you’re purchasing a brand of bike online, but aren’t confident in your ability to put it together, then chances are that there is a bike shop or store near you that will perform that service for you. Some brands even run their own stores and repair outlets and would accept your new bike for assembly as well.
Keep in mind that if you have someone assemble your bike on your behalf, there will likely be an added fee for this service.
If you do have someone do the assembly work for you, make sure that you receive some form of a craftsmanship guarantee in writing. Don’t settle for the smile and a handshake method, no matter how friendly the provider may be. If your wheel falls off while riding, that friendly shop won’t be so friendly any more.
Many discount stores and retail outlets that sell bikes also offer an assembly service on-site. These vary by location and there may be limited models that they will assemble for you.
They Said Free Shipping… But I Got Charged. Why?
Wheels and wire-bead tires for bicycles are typically subjected to a shipping upcharge. This may even apply to free shipping deals and membership programs like Amazon prime. Since your bike has two wheels that come standard, you may find a shipping charge of up to $20 applying to your order even with the promise of free shipping.
Bicycle helmets also typically come with a higher shipping charge because they have to be shipped on their own. If you order a bike and a bike helmet, you may be given one invoice, but it will be treated like two orders.
Certain accessories also have surcharges because of their weight. A bicycle trainer, for example, may have a $25-$50 surcharge added.
For the most part, shipping a bicycle to your home to assemble it yourself is a very rewarding experience. Take your time, take care with each step, and you will likely save money on your bike and be able to take pride in your own craftsmanship.