How to Ship a bike
1. Go to a bike shop and get a bike box. They normally
throw the boxes out, so it should be free.
2. Remove these parts from the bike :
Handlebars; You may possibly loosen them and turn them
Also remove and wrap any rare or fragile parts like
shifters, lights, reflectors, or carriers.
3. Wrap the loose parts in bubble wrap.
4. Put the frame and rear wheel in the box.
5. Put the other parts in the box. Everything should
fit snugly enough so nothing can move around. If
something can move, put more bubble wrap in the box so
it won't move.
6. If the parts won't fit in the bike box, get another
box for the front wheel and whatever else won't fit.
7. Ship the box by UPS Ground transport. The cost
should be somewhere between $22-$40.
There is a crazy formula that UPS uses to jack the price up of bigger boxes.
If the total measurement is too big, the cost of shipping a bike goes from about $30 to $100.
For both UPS and FedEx, there's a huge cost difference if length + twice the width + twice the height is greater than 130 inches (between 108 and 130 is Oversize 2). Weight for Oversize 2 can be up to 70lbs and doesn't affect the rate. The bike boxes I use are typically 52" x 8" x 30" or 128 total inches. I also have a FedEx account (anyone can get one with a credit card) and take care of all the arrangements online, print the mailing label, and drop the box off at my local FedEx/Kinkos. I've been told (I don't know this for sure) that no one is going around measuring to make sure my bike box is the dimensions I've reported online.
Here is the info straight from UPS -
"Calculating Dimensional Weight for Domestic Shipments
Determine the Actual Weight: Use any standard scale and round up any fraction of a pound to the next full pound.
Determine Dimensional Weight:
* For UPS Ground Shipments: If the cubic size of the package is 5,184 or larger, divide the cubic size by 194 to determine dimensional weight in pounds. If the cubic size is less than 5,184, use the actual weight of the package.
* For UPS Air Shipments: Divide the cubic size by 194 to determine dimensional weight in pounds. Round up any fraction of a pound to the next full pound.
Determine Billable Weight: Compare each package's actual weight to its dimensional weight. The larger of the two weights is the billable weight and should be used to calculate the rate.
If you have a multiple-package shipment, add the cubic sizes for all of the packages together. The total is the cubic size of your shipment.
Large Package Conditions
Your UPS domestic or UPS Standard to Canada package is considered a Large Package when its length, combined with twice the width plus twice the height, exceeds 130 inches and is equal to or less than 165 inches.
* Large Packages are subject to a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds.
* To determine the rate for single-package shipments with a dimensional weight of 150 pounds or more, multiply the package weight by the price per pound multiplier.
Large Package Surcharge
A Large Package Surcharge of US$40 will be applied to all UPS domestic packages, including Hundredweight and Standard to Canada packages, when the size of the package exceeds 130 inches (330 cm) in length and girth combined."
So, for a normal bike box , which is probably 50 or more inches long, 8-10 inches wide, and 25 to 27 inches high, dimensional weight will almost always come into play, since that size box will have 10,000 or more cubic inches (LXWXH). And, if it is really big, (when its length, combined with twice the width plus twice the height, exceeds 130 inches and is equal to or less than 165 inches), then there is a $40 surcharge plus an increased dimensional weight charge. Whew! Keep it small!!!