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How to Travel With Your Mountain Bike

How to Travel With Your Mountain Bike

January. 10 2024
Mountain biking to all four corners of the globe is a memorable feat. While traveling with mountain bikes has gotten easier over the years, transporting them safely on trucks, planes, or ships requires extra precaution.

In this post, we’ll talk about how you can travel with your mountain bike. We’ll also give you packing tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Packing and Transport

First, you must know how to pack your bike for transport. Whether you are shipping it or putting it on a plane, learning how to pack your bike properly ensures that it stays in great condition for your adventure.

Disassembling Your Bike

Let’s go through each step of the disassembling process.
1. Start with a clean bike.
Loose dirt or mud can mess up other components while you’re traveling. Make sure there’s zero mud, dirt, and plant matter on your bike. Pay particular attention to tires and make sure they're spotless.
2. Take the pedals off.
Lightly grease the pedal threads so you can remove the pedals easily. Then, store the pedals in the side compartment of your bike case.
3. Remove the handlebars.
Take off the bolts (and any washers) on your bike’s clamp that secures. With the handlebars now hanging by the brake hoses or shifter cables, put back the bolts and clamps but only thread them in halfway. By doing this, you won’t lose the clamp or bolts.
4. Sort out the seatpost.
If you have a fixed seatpost, simply remove it. Make sure to re-tighten the clamp or collar so it stays in position during transport.
If you have a dropper seatpost, drop it to its shortest setting. This usually allows the entire frame to fit into a bike case.
5. Take the wheels off.
Separate the wheels from the fork and frame. Then, let some of the air out. On tubeless mountain bike wheels, completely letting the air out completely will make the tire bead pop off the rim. Instead, leave about 10 to 15 psi inside.
6.Extra removals for extra peace of mind.
Remove the brake rotors to reduce the risk of bending them during transit. Then, thread the bolts or the lock ring back in place. Each rotor should go into its own clean Ziploc bag to prevent contamination from lube and grime.

Putting Your Bike in the Bike Box or Bag

Place the frame in the case. Secure it with internal straps, braces, or protective padding. Protect the handlebars and sections of your top or down tube by wrapping knee or elbow pads around them. Then, place the wheels into separate compartments.
You can also put lightweight items and soft goods into the main compartment for extra protection and cushioning. You can put a towel, spare clothes, or an empty hydration pack there. Finally, put the tools you used to take down your bike in the bike case.

Packing Tips

- Pack only what you need and pick lightweight gear. Trust us, your body will thank you.
- Organize your items. You’ll save a lot of time if you don’t have to dig through four different bags whenever you need something.
- Bring extra gloves and socks if you’re expecting rain. Wet hands and feet are no fun when mountain biking.
- Mountain biking can take you to remote places with no easy way out. Bring zip ties, cords, and duct tape. Make sure your tool kit has everything you need to get back to civilization.

Transportation Options


Most airlines require you to put your bike in a bag or box. This means you’ll need to disassemble your bike, as instructed above.
All airlines have different rules, with some changing them frequently, so you must check them each time you fly. You can usually find the bike policies on the ‘sporting equipment’ or ‘special baggage’ page.
In addition, some airlines will require you to contact them in advance to confirm or reserve your bicycle spot. If this is what your airline says, keep proof of their confirmation.
Most budget airlines will charge extra for taking your bike on their flights. Others will allow you to check in your bike as part of your baggage allowance.
Lastly, make sure your mountain bike is labeled with your name and home & destination addresses.


A bike rack is the most important piece of equipment for safely driving with your mountain bike. If you’re going on a road trip that’s more than an hour or two, investing in a high-quality bike rack is a must.
Unlike flying or shipping your bike, you usually don’t have to disassemble it for driving. All you have to do is mount your bike safely on a bike rack.
To do this, make sure that your bikes don’t touch anything. If your bike is touching another bike or leaning against your vehicle, the vibrations of driving can cause bike damage.
While you can purchase a high-quality roof rack, experienced bikers don't recommend putting your bikes on the roof for a long-distance road trip. Keeping your bikes on the roof makes them susceptible to gunk and other nastiness that your vehicle will pick up as you drive.


Shipping your bike requires the same steps as flying with it. But first, you should pick a shipping method that suits your needs. You can book a door-to-door bike shipping service or take it to the port.
You should also choose your shipping container carefully. Whether it’s a soft shell, cardboard box, or hard shell, your container is your bike's first line of defense.
Then, pack your bike according to the guidelines above and have the courier pick it up from your house or bring it to the port.


You should also consider where you’re going when traveling with your mountain bike. Is your destination remote? How easy is it to fix your bike there in case something happens? Here are the things you should consider:

Bike Rentals

If your bike breaks down and you are mountain biking solo or can’t do a quick fix, having bike rentals around comes in handy. Many popular mountain biking destinations offer bike rentals that range from budget-friendly to high-end mountain bikes. We recommend you book in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Bike Shops and Repairs

Your mountain bike needs some tender, loving care while on the road. So, check if your destination has local bike shops that can handle mountain bike maintenance and repairs. These shops are crucial for unexpected problems or routine tune-ups.

Bike Accessories

Bringing the right accessories when traveling with your mountain bike can make a huge difference. If you plan to ride at night, you need reliable mountain bike lights to guide you and keep you safe. They ensure your visibility at night and prevent accidents that will ruin your trip.


Traveling with your mountain bike requires you to pack it properly, pick a suitable transportation option, and know your destination. Mountain biking is a fantastic experience, so make sure that accidents and weather changes won’t get in your way of accomplishing this magnificent feat. Stay safe!


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