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Old 02-23-06, 09:27 PM   #1
harrington
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Making your own Custom Bike Case

I'm considering modifying an old suitcase into a folding bike carrier for plane trips instead of getting a pricey bag. I was wondering if anyone can tell me about their experiences building/modifying their own cases. So does anyone have any cool ideas? Pictures and Layouts would be great!
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Old 02-23-06, 11:33 PM   #2
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Some good threads on this topic on the Dahon Bags and Luggage forum

http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php?showforum=8
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Old 02-24-06, 02:20 PM   #3
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The 30" Samsonite roller seems to be the size chosen for most 20" folders. You could work from those dimensions. My suggestion is unlined that can be wiped down quickly and hard-shell that will protect the bike better.

That case has been sold at discount at some outlets. You might find one on eBay or craigslist.
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Old 02-24-06, 07:48 PM   #4
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I use a standard Samsonite F'lite for my Bike Friday. BF wanted $250+ for their version. I bought the Samsonite in Ebay for $100. I also spent $10 for some felt fabric to wrap the parts while in the case...

I don't recommend building a case/box. An old suitcase will be fine.

My Samsonite gets searched about 1 every 5 trips... A homemade case/box will virtually guarantee a TSA search every time(assuming you're in the US).
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Old 02-24-06, 10:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
I use a standard Samsonite F'lite for my Bike Friday. BF wanted $250+ for their version. I bought the Samsonite in Ebay for $100. I also spent $10 for some felt fabric to wrap the parts while in the case...

I don't recommend building a case/box. An old suitcase will be fine.

My Samsonite gets searched about 1 every 5 trips... A homemade case/box will virtually guarantee a TSA search every time(assuming you're in the US).
Have you recently used the F'Lite on a domestic flight and was the fact that the suitcase is 2" over the 62" limit ignored at check-in. When you declare the value which I assume is well over $1k for a BF, do you tell them that it is for a bike.
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Old 02-25-06, 08:15 AM   #6
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My Samsonite has never been measured by the airlines. I've never had to pay an oversize fee.
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Old 02-25-06, 02:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
My Samsonite has never been measured by the airlines. I've never had to pay an oversize fee.
Not to nit pick, I know international flight are much more liberal with size and weight, are you refering to domestic airlines?

Thanks

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Old 02-25-06, 02:27 PM   #8
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yes, I'm talking about US domestic. I've flown with my BF last year on over 30 flights and never had a problem with weight or size.
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Old 02-25-06, 08:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
yes, I'm talking about US domestic. I've flown with my BF last year on over 30 flights and never had a problem with weight or size.
Thanks
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Old 02-27-06, 07:56 AM   #10
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After considering building a case for my Dahon Speed 8, I went to Goodwill and got an older plastic Samsonite for $5. I am now considering building a case for my 26" wheel travel bike but the concerns about enhanced TSA scrutiny are compelling. Does anyone know of any off-the-shelf luggage that will hold a 26" inch wheel?
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Old 02-27-06, 08:02 AM   #11
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BTW, I don't know the name of my $5 Samsonite but it is a typical 29" model (i.e., 29" long) and it holds my Speed 8 with room for shoes, bottles, tools, etc. I do remove the (non-folding) pedals first, though.
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Old 02-27-06, 09:41 AM   #12
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Here are a few tips for dealing with the TSA.

1. I put a note that is visible as soon as the case is opened that reads "Attention TSA if you have any problems packing this bike, please call me on my cell phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx".
2. If you pack any small parts, put them in clear baggies. That way the TSA can see the contents without removing the bags..
3. If you use CO2 to inflate your tires, don't pack any. CO2 is a big no-no on airplanes...
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Old 03-03-06, 06:22 PM   #13
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What is the width? Even disassembled I seem to need just under 12" and all suitcases I've seen are no more than 10".
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Old 03-03-06, 06:56 PM   #14
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The Samsonite F'lite is 31" x 21" x 12"
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Old 03-04-06, 08:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
The Samsonite F'lite is 31" x 21" x 12"
Great suitcase, I have 2 of them. Unfortunately while I can fit my Dahons or Swft in them my Bromptons won't without disassembly. However my Brompton fits fine in my Briggs and Riley 28" expandable (but so do my Dahons, Downtubes, BF and Swift. Briggs and Riley is much pricier but I have never had an issue with it while traveling and its warranty it is the BEST in the business. I try to use my F'lite though where possible as it is "slightly" lighter in weight but much crappier quality AND the F'lite DOES NOT HAVE TSA approved locks. So I always have to leave it unlocked or the TSA will break the case like they already did once. It has never been measured for size either.

To add to the TSA list by Dave Hickey I also put a diagram (photo) of how all the things should be arranged back in the case. They already ruined 1 wheel by not putting it back in properly. I also have a checklist of all parts on so they can verify what they need to put back. I also use bungee cords to hold it all together and a few zip ties.
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Old 03-04-06, 10:02 AM   #16
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I agree about the locks on the Samonite case...They are not TSA approved. I got around that by buying a luggage strap with a TSA approved lock. I used a couple small screws and washers to attached the strap to the bottom of the case. It works great.....
Attached Images
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Old 03-04-06, 11:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrington
I'm considering modifying an old suitcase into a folding bike carrier for plane trips instead of getting a pricey bag. I was wondering if anyone can tell me about their experiences building/modifying their own cases. So does anyone have any cool ideas? Pictures and Layouts would be great!
Here is a walk through on packing my folder in a standard 29" Samsonite. The modification I made was to add the center post made of galvanized pipe fittings to prevent the sides from pushing in. I've made 3 round trips from Seattle to Florida with it. So far so good.
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Old 03-04-06, 11:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavshrdr
Great suitcase, I have 2 of them. I can fit my Dahons or Swft in them .
Hey Wav, Glad to have you back. I still waiting for my "Swifty" to be worked on. I know that the Swift will fit in the 31" F'Lite but was wondering did you already try fitting it in. If you did, were you able to fit it in without disassembling the fork? What about the fenders and rack?
I am assuming you will be carrying a water bottle. I would like to carry at least 2, one could go on the stem riser, where would the 2nd go. What about getting an attachment to the saddle? My seatpost will already have a rack attachment.
Like you, I'm getting the TransIt seatpost rack from Performance. I would like to go with one with side panniers but since I would be folding it up several times a day, would it interfere with the folding since I would have to point them to the front of the bike and they would have to go through the top tube. If I decide to go w/o the pannier, I can get either QR or allen bolts. Is the QR version as stable as the allen bolted one? The QR has a 25lb capacity while the other has 20lbs. They look the same except for the hookup. Sounds strange, maybe it's a misprint.

SG
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Old 03-04-06, 12:47 PM   #19
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@cheg . I use PVC pipe for "centerposts" ... much lighter than galvanized pipe. I use three centerposts with plastic "flanges" made for closet clothes hanging rods.
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