You can read this in the article but basically, I flew this spring and the airline broke the bike. I expected that I would work with the airline and eventually get it worked out but it turns out there’s a lot of fine print. I spent a lot of time figuring it all out and putting it together so other people know. Here you go: The fine print you need to know about when flying with a bike in the United States | Cyclingnews
Those Topeak bags are freaking heavy. The one big enough for my XC bike would be overweight with JUST the bike & wheels in it.
It’s true. I can do a road bike and stay under weight but not a gravel bike. Not all airlines charge for overweight when it’s a bike though. It’s all part of the challenge! Also, I’d be willing to pay the overweight fee and know my bike is safe. I don’t have the perfect solution yet though. I’m going to continue to work on that part.
I have zero issues with my Ti bikes in the Evoc. I will have issues with my Carbon XC bike though. I’d rather pay overweight fee than have to find a new bike and all the totally necessary anodized hardware I’ve put on it…
Amazing to see such a deep dive into this, thanks!
Unbelievable that an airline can accept your luggage, charging you a fee for doing so, but reject any liability for it in random small print. I have no idea if that’s the case outside the US but that really surprises me.
Honestly, that’s the part I found most frustrating and the reason that reached out to the DOT to see if that was even legal. For any parents out there, they do this with car seats too. If they accept a piece of luggage, they should be liable for it.
My solution has been to go overboard in precaution. I only pack the frame and wheels in the box. I use a bikeboxalan and it has been great. What’s nice is this makes the whole thing so light that people who handle it are pleasantly surprised that they don’t have to break their backs carrying it (pretty much get that comment every time I travel from someone handling it)
I disassemble all bolt on parts. Saddle, levers, derailleurs etc… stuff that can break. I leave cranks on.
I carry all the parts in my backpack and on flight.
Haven’t found even a scratch on my stuff so far.
Mind you when I travel with my bike, it’s for a few months at the destination. I do realize it would be a PITA if you don’t wanna spend 3 hours of a 2 day getaway assembling bikes. Especially if you have to bleed brakes or take out disc brake cables or anything of that sort.
As far as going overboard with caution, check out this one: Ventoux Road Bike Box Case | Fly your bike | Buxumbox
Otherwise, yeah I agree. It’s good to go way overboard but there are a lot of situations that won’t work. More and more of the bikes I might travel with have one piece bar and stem setups with the hydraulic lines running through them and no extra length to even put the controls alongside the frame. It’s pretty challenging.
What I’m curious about, how about hydraulic disconnects? How come that isn’t a thing for bikes? It’s definitely a thing in other application.
Take the actual brake off the frame and this should give you enough slack to pull off the handlebars.
My God man, that’s genius! Can’t believe I didn’t think about it. Thank you.
We have two ToPeak PakGo X in the household, and they have held up like 30 flights each now, not a single sign of wear or tear. SUPER happy with them.
Since they are semi rigid, they protect the bike but don’t crack. Got built in stand etc as well.
Sure, it might be heavy with an XC bike, but only bike packed in ours is 19.5kgs, so still got 3.5kgs left for clothes, tools etc when we pack our road bikes.
I can also add that we only fly within EU, and at every airport we’re travelled at, they have big scanners for the bikes & strollers etc, and never ever open the bag.
Yup, US is different. They will always open the bag. For the Topeak, they never put the stand back in the hinge like it’s supposed to go. It’s fine but still annoying.
Topeak says that a 29’er MTB won’t fit. Is that your experience too?
Just tried with a heavy gravel bike and that was on the limit
I fly with my Trek checkpoint quite a bit using a Orucase airport ninja. In Ireland at the moment and TSA was in the bag, no issues though. This bag you must remove the fork and break down the bike a bit more than others. But being a pretty solid mechanic its a non issue for me. With that said the only thing I pack in the bag is the bike, assembly tools, and wheels. The bike is completely velcroed solid, nothing loose. The frame, bars, fork, seatpost, everything can be pulled out in one piece with the wheels tucked into their side compartments, rotors removed.
I would like to get a rim brake travel bike that can clear 32s. The checkpoint while a good bike I don’t want to faff with removing rotors and the wider frame and hub spacing makes everything fit kinda tight.
I fly with an Orucase B2 bag with a Trek Checkpoint 56. Works well. I have a Ti rim brake bike with s&S couplers and I just put it in the Orucase now instead of the smaller s&S hard shell case. The rim brake bike is a lot easier to pack than the checkpoint. I can’t imagine packing a hydraulic bike with integrated cables at the headset.
After getting a down tube cracked in a bike box Alan on Easyjet and no compensation I decided enough is enough and just fly and hire when I travel to Lanzarote. There are good quality hire bikes and travelling with a bike has now become expensive and too risky.
Damn… that’s wild. How did they manage to crack the bike in such a sturdy case??
People I talked to were quite cautious about those types of cases. The forces can be passed through the case into the bike. Another big problem is that there’s a specific way they should be packed and TSA often won’t get it right. TSA basically said the same thing.