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  1. #1
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Packing A Brompton M3L Into An Airline-Approved Suitcase.

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_EqgpUrE0IEs/...-h/delsey1.JPG

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_EqgpUrE0IEs/...-h/delsey2.JPG

    As I posted earlier, I bought the Brompton M3L because I wanted to be able to quickly pack it in a suitcase and take it with me on my various business trips. After researching the various options on suitcases, I think I’ve found THE one: the Delsey Axiom Suiter 29”. It is a hard-sided suitcase. Even though many recommended the Samsonite F’lite, it was too small. The largest F’lite is 31” but even that was too small.

    As you can see from my pix, the M3L fits nice and tight in there. Not loose at all. This should be an advantage as a bike that is loose in a case could tend to be more easily damaged in transit. Maybe I’ll pad it further with some clothes or foam to make it more snug. I plan to get a luggage strap to wrap around the case just to be sure it won’t break apart if some baggage handler launches it like a shot put.

    I was a little disappointed that I had to remove the saddle in order for it to fit, but I guess that’s the compromise with going with an airline-sanctioned suitcase. I will have to pack a wrench to remove and attach the saddle. This is certainly better than the type of disassembly some folders undergo. The Brompton weighs about 25 lbs and the case is about 10 lbs. I should still be under the 50 lb limit.

    I have a big trip coming up in July to Alaska. It’ll be the maiden voyage for this case and Brompton. I’ll report back to see how it goes.
    Last edited by ShinyBiker; 06-09-08 at 11:52 PM. Reason: missing period.

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    You may consider the telescoping brompton seat post so you can pop the seat off just with a quick release. There is a mod to cut off the top nub on the stock brompton, fit a shim, and put a quick release collar to use a standard 27.2 seatpost. Where / how much did you pay for your suitcase?

  3. #3
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagatron View Post
    You may consider the telescoping brompton seat post so you can pop the seat off just with a quick release. There is a mod to cut off the top nub on the stock brompton, fit a shim, and put a quick release collar to use a standard 27.2 seatpost. Where / how much did you pay for your suitcase?
    Thanks, any pix describing that seat post mod?

    The Delsey Axiom is widely available in most independent luggage stores in my area. I was able to take my Brompton and drop it in both the Delsey and the Samsonite and do a comparison test. Most online places sell the Delsey for around $150 but I was able to find it for a little over $100 at a luggage shop in NYC (w/free shipping). I think they were called Eastside luggage. Local shops wanted around $250 for this Delsey.

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    Bicycling Gnome
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    Does the suitcase have wheels by any chance. I'm thinking of taking my Merc to Barcelona. A wheely bag would be handy. I was thinking that I'd take my personal stuff in a rucksack, bike in a hard case, and then on arrival, pack my personal gear in the hardcase and mount it on the Merc's luggage rack to go touring. I'd fasten a 2 foot long aluminium rod across the back of the luggage rack and mount the case to that and the seat post for stability.

    What do you think, would the case mount like that?

  5. #5
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Does the suitcase have wheels by any chance. I'm thinking of taking my Merc to Barcelona. A wheely bag would be handy. I was thinking that I'd take my personal stuff in a rucksack, bike in a hard case, and then on arrival, pack my personal gear in the hardcase and mount it on the Merc's luggage rack to go touring. I'd fasten a 2 foot long aluminium rod across the back of the luggage rack and mount the case to that and the seat post for stability.

    What do you think, would the case mount like that?
    That could work. Check out this pix that I found showing the wheels:

    http://baggageforless.com/prodimages/large/01679.jpg

    The only caution would be the durability of the wheels on the case. I am at work, so I can't see them right now, but I would imagine they would be fine for rolling around the floors in most airports, but not asphalt. Maybe you could install stronger inline skate wheels on the case? I'll report back.

  6. #6
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Double post. Mods, please delete.

    The BFs are sloow this am.
    Last edited by ShinyBiker; 06-10-08 at 09:01 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    That could work. Check out this pix that I found showing the wheels:

    http://baggageforless.com/prodimages/large/01679.jpg

    The only caution would be the durability of the wheels on the case. I am at work, so I can't see them right now, but I would imagine they would be fine for rolling around the floors in most airports, but not asphalt. Maybe you could install stronger inline skate wheels on the case? I'll report back.
    Ah - thanks.

    Just for clarity in case I have you thinking about this on different lines to me, I'm certainly not proposing to tow the case behind the bike - LOL. No - certainly not. I was just thinking about moving it around airports or their environs. As far as the touring, I envisage carrying the case containing the contents of my luggage back pack on the rear carrier of the Merc (which is a Brompton Clone). I see the case attached at the bottom on the rack and at the top under the seat fastened to the seat post. For low drag, I suppose I'd be thinking about mounting it sideways on. If that isn't possible, flatways on, but that would present a fair old sail to the wind when riding. I have experimented with carrying 70 litre backpack on the rack. I fastened a two foot (60cm) alluminium rod to the rack extending sideways with about 8 inches protruding at 90 degrees to the wheel line on either side of the rack. I did this by whipping it to the rearmost cross piece on the rack. This meant that I could securely attach the base of the rucksack to the rack. Then I tied the top of the rucksack to the seat post right under the seat. This worked fine. Now,thinking about air travel and foreign touring, I need a way to get the bike safely across the air segment of the trip and then a way of carrying my necessary luggage on the bike. If a suitcase can fulfill both requirements, that'll be great. I could just pack the rucksack into the case complete with its contents and mount the case on the bike.

    That's the idea anyhow.

    Cheers.

    Edit ->

    Of course I could also try and copy the Bike Friday trailer idea. That has a set of wheels and tow bar that dismantle and pack inside with the bike. At the other end of the air journey, you just assemble the trailer chassis, pack the case with your belongings, which presumably you put in the hold in a soft bag, and ride off into the great blue yonder.

    Last edited by EvilV; 06-10-08 at 09:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Thanks, any pix describing that seat post mod?

    The Delsey Axiom is widely available in most independent luggage stores in my area. I was able to take my Brompton and drop it in both the Delsey and the Samsonite and do a comparison test. Most online places sell the Delsey for around $150 but I was able to find it for a little over $100 at a luggage shop in NYC (w/free shipping). I think they were called Eastside luggage. Local shops wanted around $250 for this Delsey.
    Check out the ad at

    http://www.calhouncycle.com/productc...&idproduct=873

    Parts you'll need are

    > 1 BPC105381 XC-61 seat clamp with QR, 31.8mm black $6.20 $6.20
    > 1 BPC102832 Seatpost shim, 27.2 to 29.8mm $8.30 $8.30

    (bikeparts.com above)

    Thanks for the note on the Eastside luggage. I think you must have meant the axiom 30? Because there doesn't appear to be an Axion 29. I just bought the 30 from them on your recommendation and that was a much better shipped price than anywhere else, with the summer08 coupon.

  9. #9
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagatron View Post
    Check out the ad at

    http://www.calhouncycle.com/productc...&idproduct=873

    Parts you'll need are

    > 1 BPC105381 XC-61 seat clamp with QR, 31.8mm black $6.20 $6.20
    > 1 BPC102832 Seatpost shim, 27.2 to 29.8mm $8.30 $8.30

    (bikeparts.com above)

    Thanks for the note on the Eastside luggage. I think you must have meant the axiom 30? Because there doesn't appear to be an Axion 29. I just bought the 30 from them on your recommendation and that was a much better shipped price than anywhere else, with the summer08 coupon.
    You are right. It is a 30 inch bag. I used the summer coupon, too. Glad it worked out.

    The mod sounds doable. Just to be sure: You used a metal hacksaw to cut off the nub? Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    You are right. It is a 30 inch bag. I used the summer coupon, too. Glad it worked out.

    The mod sounds doable. Just to be sure: You used a metal hacksaw to cut off the nub? Thanks.
    I did , and then added a stress relief to the top of the cut off portion like on a normal seat tube on a bike. I did that with a rotary cut off saw. This is exactly how the Evolution one works, I've seen one in person. And the stock tube they use is exactly what comes with the Brompton.

    I hope that the fit isn't too tight into the Delsey. I had been looking for a while for a more square luggage instead of needing to make my own. The $350-400 that's charged for the Brompton specific box is too much.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cmcanulty's Avatar
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    I see the measurements add up to 66.5 inches, 4 1/2" bigger than the 62" allowed so it might risk an oversize charge
    http://www.ebags.com/delsey/axiom_30...LAID=144726087

  12. #12
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcanulty View Post
    I see the measurements add up to 66.5 inches, 4 1/2" bigger than the 62" allowed so it might risk an oversize charge
    http://www.ebags.com/delsey/axiom_30...LAID=144726087
    I thought about that so I picked the black color. The theory being that darker colors are more slimming and less apt to be scrutinized by airline check-in personnel.

  13. #13
    I Fold bykerouac's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this. I do have the Brompton B Bag that I haven't used yet, but if I had a choice I would prefer a hard shell suitcase. When I do get that I think I will sell the B bag.

  14. #14
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    http://bp3.blogger.com/_EqgpUrE0IEs/...-h/delsey1.JPG

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_EqgpUrE0IEs/...-h/delsey2.JPG

    As I posted earlier, I bought the Brompton M3L because I wanted to be able to quickly pack it in a suitcase and take it with me on my various business trips. After researching the various options on suitcases, I think Iíve found THE one: the Delsey Axiom Suiter 29Ē. It is a hard-sided suitcase. Even though many recommended the Samsonite Fílite, it was too small. The largest Fílite is 31Ē but even that was too small.

    As you can see from my pix, the M3L fits nice and tight in there. Not loose at all. This should be an advantage as a bike that is loose in a case could tend to be more easily damaged in transit. Maybe Iíll pad it further with some clothes or foam to make it more snug. I plan to get a luggage strap to wrap around the case just to be sure it wonít break apart if some baggage handler launches it like a shot put.

    I was a little disappointed that I had to remove the saddle in order for it to fit, but I guess thatís the compromise with going with an airline-sanctioned suitcase. I will have to pack a wrench to remove and attach the saddle. This is certainly better than the type of disassembly some folders undergo. The Brompton weighs about 25 lbs and the case is about 10 lbs. I should still be under the 50 lb limit.

    I have a big trip coming up in July to Alaska. Itíll be the maiden voyage for this case and Brompton. Iíll report back to see how it goes.
    That is extremely cool. I'm assuming it's considerably cheaper than the $300 Brompton suitcase. If anyone can find one that fits a Birdy without paying for the Birdy suitcase, let us know. (By the way, has anyone bought a Birdy suitcase yet?)

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    Got my Delsey 30" Axiom for ~$110 shipped and am happy to report that the Brompton fits inside (with fenders) with no problems. I just pull out the upper seatpost and it's good. A lot of room above for other things. I'm using the MKS detachable pedals so it goes in the case in less than a minute total. Great find ShinyBiker. I wasn't really wanting to build a case to avoid the $300.

  16. #16
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    It worked! I just came back from a trip to Alaska and had no problems taking the Brommie in this suitcase. Upon check-in, the case weighed 42 lbs. The airline person didnít measure its dimensions. They did tag me with a $25 2nd bag fee (jerks). On the return trip, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) looked inside it because they left one of their pamphlets in the case. No problems! I wrapped it crosswise with a luggage strap, but the case may not have needed it. BTW, I flew Northwest airlines.

  17. #17
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Glad your trip worked out well ShinyBiker.

    Just one thing though. When you describe the airline person as a jerk for charging you $25 for this 42 pound extra bag, maybe we should remember the problems airlines are having in sustaining their business in the loss making climate brought on by the record oil prices. $25 for a 42 pound extra flight bag is not that much at all. I'd think it was ok if they surcharged fat people who weigh a quarter tonne and turn up expecting to pay the same as thin people to be lifted aloft and carried across the planet. This is unfair since transporting extra weight on an aircraft, be that in extra luggage or massive individuals in the cabin is a major part of the fuel load needed and that fuel is VERY expensive now.

    I'd charge every individual according the weight they present at check in, and I mean bags and person. The fare should be in $ per kilo/pound flown.

    Regards

    EV

  18. #18
    Senior Member iamstuffed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    I'd charge every individual according the weight they present at check in, and I mean bags and person. The fare should be in $ per kilo/pound flown.
    The problem though, in the US, is that being obese is considered completely normal. That would probably be the most fair method of charging people, but it would never ever happen.

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    ShinyBiker: success with my last voyage as well with Brompton with mudguards back/forth to Chicago via Southwest 2 weeks ago. No damage, no issues. Appreciate your posting the find on this suitcase. I can have the unfolded bike into the case in less than one minute with the telescoping post I have.

  20. #20
    Senior Member 1jacktripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    I thought about that so I picked the black color. The theory being that darker colors are more slimming and less apt to be scrutinized by airline check-in personnel.
    Has anyone used the blue one yet to test this theory? I'm finding the blue one at 1/3 the price of black and am wondering if I should just go for that?

  21. #21
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    (mine is black) Please post link for the blue one that is much cheaper. Mine was black and I've flown with it both with and without brompton several times inside/outside US (new york, new jersey, chicago, brussels, etc)and accessories is well under 50 lbs, no problems. It's a good suitcase and I wouldn't mind picking up another, as it works very well. Thanks again to shinybiker.

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