Starting to look into a travel case for a bicycle for airline travel.
Looking in used market.
Any tips or suggestions on what to look for, what to stay away from, soft case vs hard case, brands, models, features, …
Thank you in advance.
Starting to look into a travel case for a bicycle for airline travel.
Ive borrowed both the Bike box Alan and a Scion Hard case and both of them have served me well. They’ve both got a crush pole and I think that would be my requirement.
I’ve travelled with an Orucase Airport Ninja and, although I managed to avoid Southwest bike fees one way I got pinged on the return journey. It’s also a bit of a pain in the arse taking off the fork to pack the bike in the bag. Definitely seemed very safe once I managed to squeeze my 60cm bike in though.
I went with an scicon hard case and it’s good for road. Gravel tires might have to come off. I was able to do 700x42 pathfinder pros with inserts but it was a struggle. Flared bars need a little more movement aside from just rotating them. TSA always opens it and never puts it back the same.
I like my EVOC bike bag soft sided case. Some airlines have started to eliminate oversized fees for bicycles, so I personally wouldn’t go the Ninja route just because it’s a lot of work (United, for example, got rid of the oversized fee for bikes, but overweight fees still apply).
On the other hand, it’s a real PITA trying to roll a bike bag and a suitcase through an airport and onto the rental car bus, so it would be nice to have the bike in a backpack.
How handy are you? Are you willing to sling hex keys to disassemble and reassemble your bike? What bike?
Keep in mind whatever case you’re looking at, you’ve got to fit it into the rental car at the other end of your trip, then your hotel room. A bike case is 2/3 the size of a twin bed, so it’s now small feat. I always pack an emergency ‘roof rack’ for my rental when I travel. eg https://www.amazon.com/Ho-Stevie-Surfboard-Straps-Scratch/dp/B0861BMBMB/ref=sr_1_8?crid=3JLV9FOBXE8O1&keywords=car+roof+straps&qid=1666817882&qu=eyJxc2MiOiI0LjU4IiwicXNhIjoiMy45NiIsInFzcCI6IjMuNzgifQ%3D%3D&s=sporting-goods&sprefix=car+roof+straps%2Csporting%2C124&sr=1-8
In a lot of cases, it makes sense to ship the bike to yourself via UPS in a cardboard box.
I really like my Premier Tactical case
over my other cases
I have an Evoc Pro bag that I have used several times without issue over several years. From TX to CA just this last week for the Santa Barbara 100. It’s gone all the way to Australia and back a few years ago. I have the base unit that attaches to dropouts. Packing the bike is easy and I use pipe insulation and bubble wrap to protect the carbon frames a little more just in case.
If you are somewhat handy with bike break-down and build-up, I love my Orucase Ninja. The name is ridiculous but it does the job well. I’d love a Bike Box by Alan but they’re pretty pricey
Ha. I actually think the name is great. It was for back when no one knew what they were and you were trying to sneak a bike on the plane.
I have used a Serfas hard case for many, many years and never had any issues with it. Bullet-proof and I could pack / unpack my bike in ~20 mins.
But the strap was never that great for pulling it through the airport…if held at the end of the loop, it banged into the back of your knees. If you held it close to the case, it dug into your hand.
So after ~15 years of service, I just got a Speedhound travel case. Only used it once so far, but so far, so good. The first packing was a learning experience, so probably took longer than it should have…unpacking it was a piece of cake.
Relatively lightweight, a variety of handle options and rolls easily. Only ~$400.
I have 2 of the buxumbox ventoux boxes:
Its basically a bike box that will last a lifetime and I’m pretty sure nothing comes close to the amount of protection for this box. Comes from the UK though so there might be significant shipping costs. I had these sent to South East Asia so I am sure they do worldwide shipping.
Hope this helps
@jfranci3 SO glad I came across this! I’m travelling next weekend with the fam + in laws. Our single rental vehicle (Tesla model Y) seats 6 but will NOT fit my bike bag whilst fully loaded with our 6 family members. I’ve really been wracking my brain as to how I’m going to get this bike from airport to AirBnb.
Any experience using it with a vehicle that doesn’t have a roof rack? I’m still torn about bike flights shipping my SL7 ahead of me but it’s always a hassle to ship a bike in my experience.
I bought a Thule RoundTrip Road case. Love the thought out packing system and that it comes with a portable bike stand.
- soft case + sea sucker (or knockoff)
- ups shipping delivered to bike shop/hotel/walgreens/ airbnb. Toss an AirTag in the box so you know where it’s at.
- strap case to roof of car. Bring straps and pad in bag. Get one of those inflatable surf board kits from Amazon.
- two trips to airport. Drop off bike in the AM before you put the family in the car. Then the bike sitting at the airport for a few hours. Luggage sits at airports all the time. Put an AirTag in there.
- tell your in-laws you chose the bike over them
- get a 2nd car, 6 adults needs a 2nd car
Seriously, this is a shipping scenario hands down. You don’t want to inconvenience 5 other people to the airport, home from the airport, to the airport, home from the airport.
Where’s the source/ destination?
Various airlines have varying rules about flying with your bike. Some airlines do not accept bikes unless they are in a hard case. Other airlines will not accept it if the weight of the bike/box together is too high (favoring a lighter case).
Make sure you are looking at the specific luggage requirements for your most likely airlines before you purchase anything.
I’ve laid out the same options that you’ve listed as possibilities, minus the inflatable surfboard kit - I hadn’t seen them before. (Including telling my in-laws the bike outranks them, since they dropped in on us for 2 months, visiting from Scotland, thus necessitating including them on this already planned trip - my wife was less enthusiastic about this plan. In reality, THEY are the inconvenience on this trip)
Bike flights doesn’t recommend shipping my bike case - an Evoc pro, with and built-in bike frame holder. Sooo it would necessitate a bike box, disassembly, reassembly, yadda yadda… that’s a huge hassle for just a long weekend trip. However, the bike is the focal point of the trip, as I’m shooting some footage with my coach for our organization, Ride4IBD. www.ride4ibd.com
(Yes, I looked at renting a bike there - the only viable option was Rapha and their stock is limited with no guarantees of a bike available for the weekend. Plus, I’ll be a lot more comfortable and familiar with my setup when we climb/descend those canyon roads)
Going from Ohio to Los Angeles - an airport that is notoriously tricky to do pick ups/drop offs. I’m looking at these roof attachment systems as the most viable option for transport in LA. I had not seen these before and they’re looking very attractive for this limited use.
I’ll report back after this adventure as to the viability of using the straps for this purpose.
Yeah, how do you deal with the bike case?
If I am to travel with my bike case it would usually be international in that I am in Canada and I would likely most frequently travel to US with bike. As such I suspect shipping is not a practical option.
The Seasucker thrown into bike bag is a good idea.
However, what is the best way to deal with getting bike case/box to and from airports?
The surfboard straps seem like a potential solution and then make the seasucker a moot point I guess.
2 vehicles (if traveling with family) may be required (1 own or rental, taxi/uber for 2nd) I guess?
Yeah, don’t ship the EVOC case.
Flying to LAX; staying in Santa Monica area? I’d make two trips to the airport on both sides.
On the SL7, you should be able to take the bars or stem off enough for them to go sideways or down.
A bike shop can box it up for you, you can put it in this Bike Shipping Box - Bicycle Shipping Boxes - Bike Box Large - BikeFlights.com , or fedex has a bike box https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/how-to-ship-a-bike.html
For LA, just ship the case to a random hotel or make a reservation at the hotel and then cancel it. They’ll receive the box and hold it for you no questions asked; the pickup will be fast and efficient. BIke shop would be 2nd choice.; they’ll unpack it for about $40 usually.
On the roof idea, let me give some specifics- this should add about 2lb to your bag. I just leave these in my case.
- Roof protection - cut a pool noodle in 2 or 3 sections or use your EVOC toptube/downtube pads; Ikea cardboard triangles Cardboard Ikea roof rack. | Keith Hopkin | Flickr (free) ; kitchen drawer lining pad or https://www.amazon.com/FieryRed-Protective-Universal-Rooftop-Warranty/dp/B07Y1WLG34/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2K30L9UDRYZM1&keywords=car+roof+pad&qid=1666882504&qu=eyJxc2MiOiI0LjE1IiwicXNhIjoiMy44MCIsInFzcCI6IjMuMzQifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=car+roof+pad%2Caps%2C126&sr=8-3
- Window / Door anchors - https://www.amazon.com/Action-Transport-Accessories-Vehicle-Lashing/dp/B08CVS2J7H/ref=sr_1_6?crid=161IEDHBNQ4M2&keywords=car+roof+window+anchors+strap&qid=1666882464&sprefix=car+roof+window+anchors+strap%2Caps%2C137&sr=8-6
- Ratchet Straps - you probably already have these or a neighbor has them. https://www.amazon.com/Cartman-Lashing-Straps-600lbs-Color/dp/B01F8HI2E0/ref=sr_1_29?crid=PI82EATI9L29&keywords=ratchet%2Bstrap%2Blight%2B10ft&qid=1666882834&refinements=p_36%3A1253528011&rnid=1243644011&s=hi&sprefix=ratchet%2Bstrap%2Blight%2B10ft%2Caps%2C143&sr=1-29&th=1
Another idea - https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-S4001-Capacity-Heavy-Suction/dp/B07C9KGJPQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1KXTL0UU97WTZ&keywords=STANLEY+S4004+Black+Heavy-Duty+Vacuum+Suction+Cup&qid=1666884583&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjAwIiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=stanley+s4004+black+heavy-duty+vacuum+suction+cup%2Caps%2C115&sr=8-3
- Setup with everyone watching you…
- pull out kit conveniently stashed in backpack or bikebag in it’s own bright bag (helmet bag or helmet works too). Pull pads out of bike bag.
- Toss pads and the bike bag (laid down) on roof. Everyone gets in car. Passenger side - put anchors in front and rear door jams, close door.
- Hook strap on each, put other end of strap on bike bag while you walk around. Anchor rear drive side door, attach strap and tighten (this will be the main tension tie down).
- Now for the drivers door - you’ve got a few options here. 1) run the front strap taught, but not super tight. Put the anchor in the front door jam. 2) run both anchors out of the rear door, running both straps to one door. 3) Run the strap into the drivers window and manually tensioning it once you’re in. ALT) run all the anchors on the rear hatch.
I think you can do all of this pretty quickly if you practice the strap tensioning at home. Should only take 30seconds after they get settled in the car.
This roof idea should be pinned! It’s a great solution - and very similar to what I was planning after you’d brought up the surfboard transport systems!
Appreciate the product recommendations too - I was in process of devising my own system for transport.
I guess the in-laws get to come after all