In many ways the bike industry is stuck.
Stuck in a business and distribution model developed, literally, in the early 1800’s when the first German “draisines” were sold from small shops to end users. Despite progress in distribution to end users with every other consumer product category, from electronics to automobiles, bicycles are still sold largely from the corner store. This distribution model makes many brands difficult to buy for consumers who live a long distance from an authorized dealer.
One obstacle for end-user bike distribution has been shipping and assembly. Customers may not want to, or be able to, assemble a bike from a standard industry bike shipping box when they receive it. Our industry needed a box and shipping modality to move an almost entirely assembled, consumer ready bicycle from retailer to end user. TriSports.com’s new “EB2” or “Easy Bike Box” is that resource.
The EB2 is a custom designed and fabricated reusuable bike carton designed by TriSports.com. The new EB2 box acheives several design agendas:
The bicycle requires either little or almost no dis-assembly of the bike for packing in the carton, meaning little or no reassembly by the end user at the receiving end.
The TriSports EB2 provides a higher level of shipping protection for the bike since the inner walls of box sit farther from the bike creating a safety “crush zone” not present in conventional shipping boxes.
UPS and Fedex can process the TriSports.com EB2 on their existing freight handling equipment. USPS cannot ship this box according to TriSports.com’s Bob Broyles.
Other bike boxes sell for as much as $99.95 online plus $25 shipping for the empty box. The EB2 is free with a bike purchase from TriSports.com.
Triathlon bikes with an aerobar cockpit can be shipped in the TriSports.com EB2 with cables attached and the aerobar cockpit rotated downward to facilitate their extra length. On some bikes the front plate of the stem must be removed and the aero cockpit dropped down with all cables still adjusted and attached. All the customer has to do is bolt the bars in place on the stem.
Even with most triathlon bikes the rear wheels remains in place so there are no derailleur adjustments and the customer never has to touch the chain or rear wheel. It is already installed with all gears adjusted. The front wheel is removed on most bikes to allow room for the cockpit/handlebars, and easy installation using the front quick release on the wheel.
While the TriSports.com EB2 container minimizes the reassembly to almost nothing a few basic items are required for every cyclist to maintain and make adjustments on their bike. Since most fasteners on a bike have a torque specification a graduated torque wrench is a must have item. The EB2 does allow for the bike to be shipped with pedals installed so customers who buy pedals from TriSports.com with a new bike don’t need a pedal wrench or experience with installing or removing pedals.
TriSports.com designed a custom fork mount from packing foam using a wing nut transport axle with polymer protection washers to hold the front of the bike securely inside the box. The front wheel block is attached to the floor of the EB2 using Velcro and is entirely reusable. The wheel block also holds the entire bike in place inside the EB2, preventing movement and maintaining the space between the bike and the inside surface of the box for added security and protection.
As seen in the video above the Easy Bike Box process makes receiving a new bike from TriSports.com genuinely easy for the customer.
While the EB2 Easy Bike Box is easy for consumers to use, the design means shippers have to handle it without placing it on its side. Since the sides of the EB2 are angled it is more difficult for freight handlers to stack boxes on top of it. The size of the box means it is nearly impossible to throw, meaning it will pass through freight terminals with more gentle handling.
The dimensions of the EB2 Easy Bike Box allow UPS and other domestic freight carriers to carry it using “dimensional weight” standards. Dimensional weight is a combination of actual weight and the dimensions of the box. In the case of the EB2 the dimensional weight is 125.5 pounds while the actual shipping weight with a bicycle inside is about 35 pounds depending on the size and model of the bike.
Shipping rates on loaded EB2’s using current (12/21/2011) UPS ground dimensional weight rates are $113.96 to the 03901 zip code in Maine, about the farthest point in the lower 48 states from TriSports.com with 5-7 business days transit time. To a West Coast zip code such as 91301 (Los Angeles, California) from TriSports.com headquarters in Tucson, Arizona the current UPS rate is $90.03. These rates do not include insurance which is $10 for every $1000 of package value. The complete shipping cost for most bikes leaving TriSports.com for lower 48 state delivery addresses is between $120 and $150 including insurance based on current (12/11) UPS ground shipping rates. These rates from UPS change frequently so be sure to get a quote from our customer service department at (888) 293-3934.
Bob Broyles of TriSports.com did caution about international shipping rates, saying, “While this box can be shipped anywhere on the planet, international shipping costs can be very prohibitive.” Customs and duty/import/export charges also apply to international shipments and are the responsibility of the customer to know before ordering.
While the TriSports.com EB2 is not a replacement for a hard shell bike box such as the TRI ALL 3 SPORTS Velo Safe hard flight cases it is a viable option for infrequent domestic bike packing on airlines, especially if the flight has no changeovers or additional handling. With care the box may last occasional bike box users up to two years depending on how the airline handles to box and the care with which it is packed.
The TriSports.com EB2 Easy Bike Box is a new chapter in how customers buy bikes from TriSports.com. It makes the buying experience easier and more convenient and helps protect your new bike all the way to your doorstep. Developed and tested exclusively by TriSports.com it is one more way we make it easy to Swim, Bike, Run and Shop with TriSports.com.