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  1. #1
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    bike and hard case for airport checked luggage

    Hi

    I've done some preliminary research, a lot of it somewhat confusing for a first timer. What I'm looking for is the following: a folding bike that fits into a hard case that meets the airline requirements for checked luggage. Ideally, I would like a hard case that converts into a trailer that would allow me to place a backpack & other small stuff into it. So that when I arrive at a destination, I can take the bike out of the case, assemble it, put my backpack into the case (which converts into a trailer), and then ride away from the airport on my bike with the backpack in the trailer.

    Am wondering what manufacturers and models people here have found useful for this type of travel.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    bike friday comes to mind .......
    couple questions... why a hardcase ? Usually sofcases get ugly faster but last much longer than any hardcase ....

    I am a Dahon dealer and like the mini AIrporter, as it is legal size. One needs to dissable the bike quite a bit depending on the bike.
    Wheels, seatpost,handlepost, pedals ... and the bike fits. If you have a carrier or fenders they need to go as well.

    WHen you look for a trailer you want to tour with, stay away from everything which is wimpy or has funky wheels, get a real trailer.
    I happen to have one .. the very very last available as it is discontinued ...
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/accessories/oneoff.htm
    the trailer fits in the bag with room to spare....
    I havent tried this out and dont have the time to do this right now anyhow... but I would take the trailer, put it in the bag, than take the wheels from the bike, which also should fit ... and get a soft bag with generous padding for the rest of the bike .... that softbag would be in the other bag when riding ....
    Really think this over ... how many times you want to do this per year .... can u rent a trailer at your destination and leave a regular samsonite at a dealer ( most bikes will indeed fit into a samsonite ) ...... most dealers are accomodationg especially if they can make a few bucks...

    thor
    www.thorusa.com
    Dahon : Freedom Unfolds
    Tern : all about the ride

  3. #3
    my nice bike is at home kraftwerk's Avatar
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    It all depends on where you are traveling to. In some places its just plain easier to stash a Samsonite 29" 'Oyster' than tow a trailer. That trailer is nice, if a bit pricey I like the look. Normal luggage ain't cheap either.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Bike Friday is the only one that comes to mind where the suitcase becomes the trailer. If you can stash the suit case or have a different packing option, there are several others that might work. I am currently shopping Brompton and BF, but have yet to make up my mind. Dahon does make suitcasable bikes, but they don't fit me very well. But they might work for you. I am sure there are others.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  5. #5
    14R
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    How much time do you want to invest, each time upon arrival at your destination, assembling the bike? Also, what is your budget?

  6. #6
    GN BIKN
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    As already mentioned, Bike Friday has their travel system to convert the travel case into a trailer, but I've read quite a few criticisms of the system: not terribly durable, and the dual wheel setup can make touring very difficult where shoulders are narrow or nonexistent.

    Personally, as a BOB Yak cargo trailer owner I've just discovered that the Yak's dimensions qualify it as "standard" luggage (at least in the USA) if the front fork is removed -- a 2 minute job. And I already have a duffel bag that can hold it. No, it won't hold the bike, but (1) it can be pre-packed with 30+ pounds of your gear, fulfilling the role of the "gear bag" you'd otherwise need to carry for most touring anyway, and (2) as long as you are willing to pack your bike in a soft-sided bag, the trailer can carry that bag.

    Here's the packing plan for my two-checked-bag system:
    • Softside bag containing the bike, plus the fork from the trailer.
    • Duffel bag containing BOB Yak trailer, pre-loaded with all my gear and ready to ride.

    At my destination: unfold/reassemble the bike, reattach the fork to the trailer and the trailer to the bike, lash the bike's travel bag to the top of the trailer and GO!
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 03-25-11 at 01:50 PM.
    I like bike lanes. I also practice VC when I'm not in them.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh2GDokqlx4
    these for Bromptons : via http://www.foldabikes.com/PriceListHTML/npricelist.php

    But doesnt have a trailer wheel kit. to tow on tour.

    I own A carry freedom city trailer , folded bike can lay on top
    of the bag hammocked in the trailer frame .

    a big duffle can swallow both, .. as trailer folds flat.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-25-11 at 02:16 PM.

  8. #8
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    I have a Bike Friday with their travel system suitcase/trailer. I've used it both for touring and for business trips when I wanted to be able to spend some time biking in the area after the meetings were over. The suitcase is a standard Carlton model with the inner lining removed and three small (1/4") holes drilled in the side for attachment of the trailer frame. So it looks just like a bunch of other suitcases being checked and doesn't result in any extra questions from the airlines. I haven't had any problems but there have been a few reports of issues created by the TSA when they inspected the packed bag and had trouble repacking it without causing damage. So it's been recommended to strap the disassembled bike together in such a way that it can be lifted out of the suitcase and examined and then put back as one piece. I've also started taping a picture of the packed bike inside the suitcase as a guide for the TSA.

    Takes about 20 minutes to disassemble or assemble the bike and trailer. (This is substantially more involved than doing a simple fold of the bike such as would be used for carrying it onto a bus or train.) Haven't had any issues towing the trailer. It is a little wider than the bike alone but that's just resulted in traffic giving me a few extra inches of clearance. However, the trailer and suitcase weigh quite a bit more than regular panniers so on a tour where I'll be returning to the same location I prefer to store the suitcase and use panniers for my touring gear.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I have a Bike Friday with their travel system suitcase/trailer. I've used it both for touring and for business trips when I wanted to be able to spend some time biking in the area after the meetings were over. The suitcase is a standard Carlton model with the inner lining removed and three small (1/4") holes drilled in the side for attachment of the trailer frame. So it looks just like a bunch of other suitcases being checked and doesn't result in any extra questions from the airlines. I haven't had any problems but there have been a few reports of issues created by the TSA when they inspected the packed bag and had trouble repacking it without causing damage. So it's been recommended to strap the disassembled bike together in such a way that it can be lifted out of the suitcase and examined and then put back as one piece. I've also started taping a picture of the packed bike inside the suitcase as a guide for the TSA.

    Takes about 20 minutes to disassemble or assemble the bike and trailer. (This is substantially more involved than doing a simple fold of the bike such as would be used for carrying it onto a bus or train.) Haven't had any issues towing the trailer. It is a little wider than the bike alone but that's just resulted in traffic giving me a few extra inches of clearance. However, the trailer and suitcase weigh quite a bit more than regular panniers so on a tour where I'll be returning to the same location I prefer to store the suitcase and use panniers for my touring gear.
    Good information

    However I was under the impression that the current suitcase was the big Samsonite, is the Carlton the old one?

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  10. #10
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    marajef, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Xootr Swift, which is a fantastic folding bike that packs into a vertical 30-inch hardshell Samsonite suitcase. You have to take the bike apart a bit (instructions here), but it works great.

    I just returned from a trip from Boston to Arizona. I showed up with my bike packed in the suitcase and checked it as regular luggage. (The suitcase weighed 48 pounds, which is nicely under the 50# limit before you pay extra. And that was with a few tools thrown in - I've packed it at 45# before for a trip to Atlanta.)

    Packing the bike takes about a half hour (longer the first time), and reassembling took barely 15 minutes on the other end.

    it won't do the "trailer" thing - BF is the way to go for that - but other than that it's a wonderful setup. Being able to pack my bike rather than rent one at my destination has saved me hundred$
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Good information

    However I was under the impression that the current suitcase was the big Samsonite, is the Carlton the old one?

    Aaron
    They originally used a Samsonite, then switched to a Carlton, and I think have switched back to a bigger Samsonite. I've seen some reports that the latest Samsonite is a bit over the official airline 62" rule but close enough that it hasn't been a problem. I've never had anyone pull out a tape measure, but am glad to be within the guidelines - especially when flying AirTran which has a 61" rule.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    They originally used a Samsonite, then switched to a Carlton, and I think have switched back to a bigger Samsonite. I've seen some reports that the latest Samsonite is a bit over the official airline 62" rule but close enough that it hasn't been a problem. I've never had anyone pull out a tape measure, but am glad to be within the guidelines - especially when flying AirTran which has a 61" rule.
    Which BF model to you have? Based on my needs/wants I am thinking the NWT is going to be my best bet. I had one about 25 years ago and had to sell it. I am sure the newer models are that much better.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Which BF model to you have? Based on my needs/wants I am thinking the NWT is going to be my best bet. I had one about 25 years ago and had to sell it. I am sure the newer models are that much better.

    Aaron
    I'm afraid I can't be of much help there since mine is 17 years old. I had ordered the NWT in anticipation of a trip to europe but there were some production delays and it wasn't going to be ready in time. So I ended up getting a demo Pocket Rocket instead and taking it on that and subsequent trips. It's worked out fine but I think the NWT might have fit my needs just a little better. There's a reasonable selection of 451 tires, but they aren't nearly as available as the 406 size so I generally have to order them. And after a few loaded tours I started to break spokes in the original 24-spoke rear wheel. I got a new rim with 36 holes and rebuilt the wheel (the hub was already drilled for 36) - probably overkill, but the weight of the extra spokes isn't a big deal either.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    How much time do you want to invest, each time upon arrival at your destination, assembling the bike? Also, what is your budget?
    My budget is approx $450 for a bike, and the cheaper the better for a carrying case. Am currently thinking about ditching the trailer idea, and simply getting a carrying case that won't run more than $120.

  15. #15
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    old samsonite from the ebay and Mariner ( available again in 2 weeks ) or Speed D7 in blue or Tangerine maybe for a little extra a Speed P8 available in blue or black.....

    thor :-)
    www.thorusa.com
    Dahon : Freedom Unfolds
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  16. #16
    14R
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    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    old samsonite from the ebay and Mariner ( available again in 2 weeks ) or Speed D7 in blue or Tangerine maybe for a little extra a Speed P8 available in blue or black.....

    thor :-)
    +1 on that concept. There are some generic luggage with 52 linear inches available for under 50 bucks that might be a good fit in case you can't find a decent samsonite.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Hit up one of the Samsonite luggage stores in the outlet malls, they always have some sort of deal on the hard side cases. Also check thrift stores, I just missed out on on the big Samsonite hard side cases for $10...some college coed beat me to it...

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

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