How To Ship An Electric Bike Overseas

How to ship electric bikes internationally

Maybe you’re selling your own electric bike to someone overseas, or perhaps you’re moving to another country and want to take your electric bike with you. There are many different scenarios where you might need to ship an electric bike overseas. The key here is to ship them safely. You need to limit the chances of the electric bike getting damaged in transit. You also need to ensure there’s less chance of theft occurring too.

We’ve already covered how to ship and transport electric bikes domestically, here we’ll like how to ship an electric bike overseas. 

How To Ship An Electric Bike Overseas

You can easily ship an electric bike overseas using a large number of shipping providers. As the bike will probably be worth a lot of money you’re better off using a reputable business with good tracking software so you can keep an eye on what’s happening to your ebike.

In our experience, we always ship with FedEx or UPS. They’re a little more expensive but, electric bikes aren’t something you’re going to want to go missing.

Shipping an electric bike is pretty simple if you follow the rules. In short all you do is:

  • Choose a shipping provider
  • Prepare the electric bike for shipment
  • deliver the electric bike to the freight provider
  • Ensure there’s someone on the other side to receive the electric bike

Here is a list of providers you can check out and price up for shipping an electric bike:

  • XPO
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • DHL
  • uShip
  • USPS
  • Pitt Ohio
  • ABF Freight System

So, let’s have a look how to best wrap an electric bike for overseas shipment.

How To Wrap An Electric Bike For Overseas Shipment

We’ve shipped hundreds of electric bikes overseas so we know exactly how to wrap them to ensure limited damage. The steps below are what we take every time we ship and review an ebike and as yet, we’ve not seen any damaged in transit. 

Procure an oversized Shipping box

This is eminently important. You need a box in which to pack your electric bike. Before we look at the boxes, it’s important to realize that they need to be oversized. An oversized box gives you space to put packaging. If you’re shipping overseas you can assume the box is going to be knocked around quite a lot.

Remove the handlebars

Think about it. You can’t box up the bike as it or it’ll end up taking up too much space. With the bars as normal, the handlebar will be too big and if you turn it so it runs vertical to the frame, then the wheel is going to take up too much space.

So, remove the handlebar and the wheels. This should be pretty simple and only require a screwdriver and a quick read-up of the manufacturers guidelines. 

Properly Pack The Electric Bike For Shipping

First, you need to separate the lithium ion battery which will probably need to be packed and sent separately (see below). 

You should also remove the other electrical components and vulnerable parts of the bike and place them aside.

The corners are quite vulnerable so use corner protectors. They’re the foam or plastic things shaped like a right angle. These will stop the box crushing and damaging the bike. You can get them pretty cheap online. You can also use cardboard edge protectors to protect the rest of the box from any direct impact knocks or people dropping the box.

Next, you wrap the aluminum frames in bubble wrap. Not too much, maybe two or three layers will do the job. This will stop anything that manages to pierce the box from scratching the frame. 

Also wrap the wheels. You don’t want anything scratching the metal or knocking a spoke out of place.

Some like to deflate the tires. It depends how you’re shipping it. If you’re shipping to a customer, they might not like having to inflate their own tires at their end. Whereas if you’re shipping it as you’re moving overseas, the deflated tires will weigh a lot less meaning you pay less for transport and it makes the box easier to handle.

Then, place the electrical components in bubble wrap, but then put them in their own box and place them centrally in the main bike box but so that don’t move around. We like to tape these boxes to the wheel.

Apply Proper Labeling

After all of this, the last thing you want to happen is your bike goes missing because you’ve affixed the wrong labeling to your ebike. Make sure you do it properly and follow your shipping guidelines.

We like to laminate an A4 and use that to supplement the label. It’s hard to scuff a laminated bit of paper. Usual labels can easily be scrapped across the floor and the barcode damaged. On that note, in our experience it’s always easier to attach more than one label to the box too. If one gets damaged, the shipper can read the other one. 

A Note On Lithium Ion Battery Shipment

As you know the majority of electric bikes use a lithium ion battery to power the whole system. A lot of couriers have specific rules around lithium ion battery shipment. Take FedEx for example, here’s what they say regarding electric bike shipping on their website:

“…you’ll need follow our lithium battery guidelines when preparing your shipment. Lithium batteries are considered dangerous goods and can only be shipped via FedEx Express® services.”

Incidentally, their lithium ion shipping guidelines are here.

Remember, each shipping company might have different requirements regarding the shipping of a lithium ion battery and it’ll almost always need to be separated from the main bike frame. It’s nothing to worry about, just think people ship laptops every day. It’s just another small step you’ll need to take in regards to shipping your electric bike overseas. The difference is in size, if it’s over a certain weight it’ll be regarded as class nine, meaning you need to jump through some extra hoops.

So, to safely wrap a lithium ion battery you’ll usually need to:

  • Wrap the battery itself in a blister pack (some sizes don’t allow for this)
  • Cushioning underneath (think bubble wrap)
  • Then non-conductive dividers
  • A large, sturdy outer box with the correct lithium battery labeling

Remember, electric bike lithium ion batteries can be larger than you expect, which means they’ll probably fall under fully regulated class 9 hazardous material meaning you may need pre approval on shipping.

Check Country Specific Guidelines

Depending on where you’re shipping the electric bike, you should probably check country specific guidelines. Some are stricter than others, especially in regards to the lithium ion battery. You can find a useful source on country specific guidelines for postage from the USA here by checking our the calculator. You just need the weight of your bike but remember, you also need to factor in the weight of the box and packaging materials too. 

Consider Insurance While Shipping an Electric Bike Overseas

Items go missing in transit all the time. Some are lost, some damaged, some stolen. An electric bike is an expensive bit of kit ranging from $750 to over $15k so losing one will be a blow, especially if it’s one you’ve used for a while and love. Insuring your electric bike is a great step towards peace of mind. If you take all of the steps above, it’s likely that things are going to be fine. For the more expensive ebikes however it’s certainly worth considering insurance…just make sure they cover the bike for overseas activities as well as domestic. 

If you’ve enjoyed our article on international ebike shipping, check our the other helpful articles on our blog. Or, if you’re thinking of buying a new electric bike read our electric bike reviews here. Anything else? Feel free to contact us.

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