Saturday, November 1, 2008

Crating the Bikes

It took most of the day, but with the help of our friends Paul and Jon, we got the bike onto a Honda crate that was donated by a local bike shop.

While the crate wasn't made specifically for the KTM, Paul's sawzall and Jon's scientific knowledge made the job seem easy - thanks guys!

Although Erin & I have shipped our bikes in the past, this time it was a little different as we were using a metal pallet instead of wood. It added some challenges that required a bit of thought.

What's the big challenge? Air cargo is based on the weight or volume (space) the crate takes up, whichever is greater. The crated weight is about 235kg, typically the volume is greater. So, while the bike is about 36" wide and 47" high, the crate is only 30"W x 39"H (and 90" long), or about 300kg by volume.

So how did we do it? Well, we were able to get the front down low by removing the front wheel. The back, however, was sticking up a few inches too high. In the past we would use tie-downs to pull the rear end to the wood pallet, however doing the same thing with thin metal would bend the pallet. We contemplated removing the wheel and or shock, then discovered a way to pull the rear rack down to the rear tire, and the clearence was met.

The sides and top were added, along with some additional struts for added support. But first, we had to:

- Remove most of the fuel
- Remove the battery (attached to pallet)
- Remove front wheel
- Remove panniers
- Remove windshield
- Remove mirrors
- Remove rear rack
- Unbolt handlebars (too wide)
- Pack as much as possible into the crate

We'll load the bike onto our, yes, we own a 16' moving truck; and take it down to DIA later this week. Don, Nick, and Jon already volunteered to help load the bike onto the truck. Once at the airport they'll use a fork-lift to bring it to customs for final inspection, then the bike begins its long journey.
After Sept 11, "dangerous goods" by "unkown shippers" can not fly on commercial/passenger planes. Instead, they need to go on cargo planes. My oldest friend, Jens, has worked for Lufthansa cargo for over 20 years and is helping us get a great deal. However, the bike will go to more countries than we will. It will go by truck to Chicago, then fly to Frankfurt (Germany), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and finally to Santiago de Chile.
Believe it or not, this was the cheapest option! :-)