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Old 10-03-07, 08:53 PM   #1
jakub.ner
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Gah! Won't fit in a suitcase :(...

Two days before leaving for Florida I bought the biggest airline friendly suitcase I could find at "The Bay": a 29" case.

The only bike I have ready to take--Dahon Vitesse D5--seems to fold too big . I took off the wheels and pedals. The bike fits. But there is no room for the wheels .

A little investigation and it seems Dahon's "Airliner" suitcase would fit the bike with the wheels on but that suit case definitely seems oversize: 33" x 27". From what I gather the airlines like their suitcases to be in the 29" x 22" range.

Since this time around taking the bike is a bonus to the trip, I'm going to leave it behind. Next time I will prepare my Swift and pack that.

Seems to me my Dahons fold much smaller and much quicker than the Swift for intact storage and putting in the trunk (i.e. normal every day sort of use). But the Swift--like the Bike Friday--will fold smaller than the Dahon into a suitcase once I take off the wheels, rack, perhaps fenders. There is no further amount of components I can take off to make the Dahon fit any better, since it gets wider when it folds.

Kind of bummed out but oh well...
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Old 10-03-07, 08:58 PM   #2
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You, uh, sure about that? I find the Swift is a tight fit into my suitcase, which I think is a 31".
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Old 10-03-07, 09:13 PM   #3
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Heh. The only fact I have right now is that the Dahon will not fit . The problem is not the length or width, it's the depth. The Xootr people packed a Swift into a 30" case so what's one inch : "http://www.xootr.com/xootr/swift/packing.shtml".

If you think a 29" case is a lost cause I will just return the suitcase. Instead of speculating I should try, but I cannot at the moment .

I bought a shower curtain liner to protect the case from dirt and grime so no problems returning the case if need be.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:14 PM   #4
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The suitcase that Bike Friday now sells is the Samsonite F'lite 31 -- which is technically 2 inches over the max dimensions. I've flown with my bike twice (once internationally) and had no problem either time. On the Bike Friday email list nobody as ever reported being challenged over the size (weight, yes). The Fl'ite doesn't really look *that* oversized so I don't think they take the time to measure it.

I have a fairly large BF NWT and there is room for more stuff in it when I pack (odd sized spaces, etc.) but I'm usually so near the 50lb limit I don't have anything extra except my helmet.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:42 PM   #5
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Most people don't find resistance flying with luggage bigger than standards. That might be an option. Depending on how often you travel, making the bike ready to fit can grow old really quick. I fixed the problem switching to 16" wheeled bike. best thing i ever did. I fly more often and I ride more frequently because of that.
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Old 10-04-07, 05:20 AM   #6
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Hmm, now you guys make me wonder if anyone has been able to put a Swift or a BF into a 29" airline-approved size suitcase. Maybe my approach was doomed from the get go, irrespective of bike used .
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Old 10-04-07, 05:28 AM   #7
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I'm having similar issues with my newly arrived Dahon MU SL

I looked at the Dahon Airporter case but (1) it's really expensive and (2) it weighs 9.5kg which is heavier than my bike!!! A heavier folder in that case would soon hit the max luggage allowance

I'm still keen to find the best value case for the job.....
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Old 10-04-07, 06:20 AM   #8
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Swift in a 29 inch case

Mine won't fit (Swift in a 29 er), but it'll just go into the bigger Samsonite if I remove the wheels, saddle, stem, bars, pedals and RD.
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Old 10-04-07, 07:28 AM   #9
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I used to pack a Swift into a 29" Samsonite suitcase. There are photos here:
http://phred.org/~alex/pictures/bike...d/DSC01050.JPG
http://phred.org/~alex/pictures/bike...d/DSC01051.JPG
http://phred.org/~alex/pictures/bike...d/DSC01052.JPG

Note that I had to pull the fork. I used a cartridge bearing threadless headset which make that pretty simple. It still took much longer to pack than my NWT, which takes much longer than my Tikit, but I could pack it.

On the 31" Flite suitcase. I'm not convinced that it is technically over by 2". The suitcase's shape is tapered a bit and the average dimensions probably keep it right around 62". I've travelled with it a few times without issue.

Going way over with the Dahon suitcase seems like it'll cause travel problems.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awetmore View Post
Note that I had to pull the fork....
and remove the rear triangle from the rest of the frame. How long was your packing time again?


By the way, I concur that the airlines don't care about 2"-5" overage for regular cases. However, they will nail you more often if your suitcase is overweight.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:32 AM   #11
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and remove the rear triangle from the rest of the frame. How long was your packing time again?
Yup. I haven't seen a Swift go into anything close to an airline legal suitcase without removing the rear triangle. 5 or 6 years ago Peter Reich showed me some drawings of a new frame design that would pack into a suitcase more easily, but they don't appear to have gone into production. I haven't kept in touch with him since selling my Swift.

Splitting the frame is much easier than removing the fork. It only required one bolt.

Packing time for the Swift as shown was on the order of 50 minutes. My Tikit packs in about 10. The NWT split the difference at about 30.

Quote:
By the way, I concur that the airlines don't care about 2"-5" overage for regular cases. However, they will nail you more often if your suitcase is overweight.
Yes. I think that it is important to keep it under 45lbs (the limit is 50lbs, but scales aren't always accurate and a little fudge room is good for the way home). It's amazing how quickly a 13-15lb suitcase, 25lb bike, tools and accessories add up to 45lbs.

alex
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Old 10-04-07, 01:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awetmore View Post
... Splitting the frame is much easier than removing the fork. It only required one bolt.
...
Great thanks for the info. Is there a trick to removing the bolts to split the frame? Any springs etc. to be on a lookout for? Want to try this later but don't want to damage the bike.

Thanks,
Jakub
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Old 10-04-07, 05:37 PM   #13
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On my steel frame you just removed the bolt and it came apart. There weren't any springs. The hex key for the bolt was not metric, so you need to get the right hex key for travelling this way.

Note that my bike was built in 2000 and things may have changed since then. I've never looked at the Xootr frame, let alone packed one.

alex
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Old 10-04-07, 08:12 PM   #14
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So I found this on the Xootr Web site regarding packing--as per the manual:

Pack the bicycle in a hard-shell suitcase. There are two popular sizes of “big suitcases”: 29 inch and 32 inch. The bike fits without frame disassembly in a 32 inch suitcase. The bike will fit in a 29 inch suitcase if you remove the pivot bolt (requires 10mm socket and hex key). You can usually buy a nice hardshell suitcase on eBay for under $100. Detailed packing instructions are available at www.xootr.com.

I guess that answers my questions. Thanks for prompting me with this avenue.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jakub.ner View Post

A little investigation and it seems Dahon's "Airliner" suitcase would fit the bike with the wheels on but that suit case definitely seems oversize: 33" x 27".
I bought a folder mainly because I travel a lot and wanted to bring it with me. I bought the Dahon Airporter and have travelled with my Dahon Speed inside several times and never had any problems. Mind you I'm travelling mostly in Europe..... could be different in the States after 9/11 and all.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:19 PM   #16
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Swift packing

Quote:
Originally Posted by awetmore View Post
On my steel frame you just removed the bolt and it came apart. There weren't any springs. The hex key for the bolt was not metric, so you need to get the right hex key for travelling this way.

Note that my bike was built in 2000 and things may have changed since then. I've never looked at the Xootr frame, let alone packed one.

alex
I bought my Aluminum Swift in July this year.....the bolt is metric now, or at least a metric allen wrench fits it perfectly.
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Old 10-06-07, 12:34 AM   #17
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I've never had to pay oversize baggage fees if the suitcase was "store bought", whether foreign or domestic airports, regardless of size. If you try to check a home-made deal, e.g., motorocycle tires in a makeshift cardboard "box", that is oversize, you WILL be busted at a checkin counter (IKFE), so you have to check in at curbside checkin and have $10 in your hand to tip the Skycap. Asia doesn't have curbside checkin, so that trick won't work, so instead, get a bike packing box and travel on an airline that doesn't charge extra for a bike box, e.g., NW doesn't charge if the itinerary is international (but does charge on a domestic only itinerary). A folder will fit in a bike box along with a trailer and camping gear.

Last edited by maunakea; 10-06-07 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 10-08-07, 04:15 PM   #18
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I bought a cheap 32" hard-case this week and my Dahon MU SL fits in pretty snuggly.

I had to let the tyres down to get an extra couple of cms, but the bike's all in with the wheels still on and no need to take it apart

I'm flying on Friday (internal in UK) so fingers crossed that there's no problem checking in the case :-)
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Old 10-08-07, 08:29 PM   #19
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Nice! Nice bike too! Hope you have a blast on your trip.
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Old 10-08-07, 08:36 PM   #20
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You will be fine, good luck on your trip. BTW, to avoid a pointless argument with uneducated ground crew...if they ask, say it is bike PARTS. Otherwise they will try to make you pay the bike fee (which, as we know, will not work since the bike is inside conventional luggage that you do have the right to carry)...but one wise man once told me, to avoid conflict, just say bike parts and you will be done sooner.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:48 AM   #21
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I got my Dahon Helios into a 31 x 22 x 11 soft-case easily....



The Brompton of course, even easier - with plenty of room to spare...




The difference b/t the Helios and Vitesse is the handle bar stem. This needs to be remove I believe for a better fit as it folds outside the frame whereas the Helios and Speed 8 folds inside...

Hope that makes sense?



OnF
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