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  1. #1
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Small enough for airline carry-on luggage?

    Plenty of bikes fold small enough to fit in a non-oversize suitcase. What bikes would you suggest that fold small enough for carry-on baggage?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  2. #2
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    sorry, the only bike that might work as a carry on is the a-bike and i wouldn't recommend it.

    one of the smallest folds is the brompton with its 16" wheels but it's still too big for a carry on. i suppose if you took everything apart, you might be able to fit the frame in one bag and everything else in another bag, etc. but probably not.
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  3. #3
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    Even if some bike were small enough to fit the airline carry-on size limit, there's also the issue that it leaves you open to the whims of the particular TSA agent. Their list of prohibited and allowed items doesn't mention bikes or bike frames, but it also says that it's not all inclusive. OTOH, it does prohibit any "tool" over 7" in length in carry-on and I could see an agent classifying metal parts of the bike frame as prohibited tools. Most probably wouldn't - but I don't think I'd feel comfortable taking the chance of running into problems.

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    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    Even if some bike were small enough to fit the airline carry-on size limit, there's also the issue that it leaves you open to the whims of the particular TSA agent. Their list of prohibited and allowed items doesn't mention bikes or bike frames, but it also says that it's not all inclusive. OTOH, it does prohibit any "tool" over 7" in length in carry-on and I could see an agent classifying metal parts of the bike frame as prohibited tools. Most probably wouldn't - but I don't think I'd feel comfortable taking the chance of running into problems.
    I once had to do quite a lot of talking to be allowed to keep a 15mm spanner I needed to put the pedals back onto the bike at arrival. We had planned to ride from the airport. I wanted to keep it with me- on the plane since it was really important not to loose it.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  5. #5
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    If your location has pristine roads I would get the A-bike. but the official one only. it wouldn't compare to any other folder out there but at least you can carry it on the plane . at least you can get around easily on 42 gear inches.

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    I have read reports of people "gate checking" their Bromptons as long as the bike can fit through the x-ray machine. I remember reading that you might have to remove the seat to do that.

  7. #7
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    I guess the question is why would you want to carry on a bike? Plus where is the rest of your belongings going? I know helmet, shorts, shirts, bottles, etc. plus shoes might come close to filling a second bag
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    I guess the question is why would you want to carry on a bike? Plus where is the rest of your belongings going? I know helmet, shorts, shirts, bottles, etc. plus shoes might come close to filling a second bag
    We have traveled with a Brompton as a carry-on, with auxiliary items going into the T-bag. The T-bag remained attached to the bike, through the gate. The Brompton needed to be concealed under a cover.

  9. #9
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    popcorn ready ......

    please .... when making remarks from the past ...please add the year ..... and possibly the carrier .....
    I have taken full sized 700 C bikes INTO the plane ..2 of them .... 25 years ago on Lufthansa.. ( flight to one of the first Vegas bike shows from Germany )

    I have been harrassed and almost thrown off a flight for trying to bring a micro mini tool into a plane ( protoyype Titanium one, with nothing longer than a inch sticking out ...... Vegas 2011....

    thor

  10. #10
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    popcorn ready ......

    please .... when making remarks from the past ...please add the year ..... and possibly the carrier .....
    I have taken full sized 700 C bikes INTO the plane ..2 of them .... 25 years ago on Lufthansa.. ( flight to one of the first Vegas bike shows from Germany )

    I have been harrassed and almost thrown off a flight for trying to bring a micro mini tool into a plane ( protoyype Titanium one, with nothing longer than a inch sticking out ...... Vegas 2011....

    thor
    Not to mention the variances of TSA. My bride is a 28 year survivor of the not so friendly anymore skies. She works as a Flight Attendant and tell you stories galore of the crazy things that TSA has decided they want to take, and what people manage to get through and on to the planes.

    Aaron
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    please .... when making remarks from the past ...please add the year ..... and possibly the carrier .....
    Brompton, August 2011, Delta, few-leg flights both ways.

  12. #12
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/conte...-world-tourist

    Submitted by AdamNewman on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 16:51

    By Adam Newman
    Fold It

    Working in the cycling industry requires quite a bit of travel. We go to press camps, trade shows, bike shows, festivals, and, some- times, just-for-fun trips. Bringing a bike with you on your trip has never been simple. You can box it up and ship it ahead of time, or you can pack it and fly it in an oversize case. Both methods have their drawbacks. Enter Bike Friday.
    Bike Friday got its start in 1991 when co- founder Hanz Scholz traveled to Australia with a prototype. He was able to move freely between planes, trains, and buses without hassle, while his traveling companion was forced to pay fees for her full-size bike. Bike Friday is primarily about traveling and pack- ability. Their bikes do not fold into neat little transformers like some other folding brands, but they also pride themselves on building bikes that ride like “normal” bikes.

    The New World Tourist is Bike Friday’s original model; now there are several others. Each new Bike Friday is built with specifications and components customized for the customer’s needs. When we contacted Bike Friday about a test ride, I was put in touch with a “Bike Consultant” who listened to what I was going to use it for (commuting and general road rides) and what specific components I had to have (drop bars and bar-end shifters), then he put together the bike you see here. At $1,295, the bike is not flashy, but if you’re looking for something that goes faster, carries an even larger load, or is more adept at packing up small, they can make that happen.
    The standard New World Tourist is available in three sizes (based on top tube length rather than the more typical seat tube length), but custom sizing and heavy rider upgrades are available as well. There are nearly 20 stock colors to choose from. All the frames are handmade of steel in Eugene, Oregon, and include a lifetime warranty.
    As I requested, this bike came equipped with drop bars, Shimano bar-end shifters, a double chainring crankset, and a standard derailleur drivetrain. The wheels are 20” and are drilled for Schrader valve tubes, so you can use standard BMX tires and tubes should you need a replacement while out on tour.
    The second half of this travel combo is the case-turned-trailer. Made from a standard Samsonite hard- shell suitcase, it is modified by Bike Friday to accept an undercarriage that supports the wheels and bike attachment. The trailer chassis mounts to the suitcase with butterfly nuts and lock pins, and can be completely disassembled without tools. The hitch is a piece of pneumatic tubing—just like you’d find on an air compressor—that flexes to allow for cornering, while the pneumatic coupler mechanism makes connecting and disconnecting it a snap. The materials used in the case are simple and unpretentious, with a sturdy, DIY feel. The design of the set-up isn’t refined, but it keeps the price down and allows you to repair or modify the system easily, with commonly available materials. Almost all of the pieces could be had from a big-box hardware store.

  13. #13
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I realize you asked for a bike that can go in a carry on luggage,
    just thought that this might be another option

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
    I realize you asked for a bike that can go in a carry on luggage,
    just thought that this might be another option
    The problem with a NWT air travel for me is that it takes me 1h to disassemble and pack the bike and another 1h to reconstitute it back. Altogether, this is 4h of hard labor per trip. If I have not done it for while, it may spill to over 1h. One may discuss it why it takes me so long, but over and over statistically that is where it ends up. I am still inclined to do it when I go for a week+ trip and have opportunities to ride at the other end, but it is a serious drag.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    The problem with a NWT air travel for me is that it takes me 1h to disassemble and pack the bike and another 1h to reconstitute it back. Altogether, this is 4h of hard labor per trip. If I have not done it for while, it may spill to over 1h. One may discuss it why it takes me so long, but over and over statistically that is where it ends up. I am still inclined to do it when I go for a week+ trip and have opportunities to ride at the other end, but it is a serious drag.
    actually, this is useful to know - what the reality is. So, will stick with the Brommie and go for a B &W hard case.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  16. #16
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gringo_gus View Post
    actually, this is useful to know - what the reality is. So, will stick with the Brommie and go for a B &W hard case.
    That is my game plan. I also like the idea of NWT for longer trips, but after watching Russ and Laura from The Path Less Pedaled I think the Brommie could definitely be the way to go.

    Aaron
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    The problem with a NWT air travel for me is that it takes me 1h to disassemble and pack the bike and another 1h to reconstitute it back. Altogether,
    It should NOT take you 1 hour to pack the NWT. You should be able to do this in 15 minutes or less, but this will depend on what you have installed on your NWT. Complete packing videos from Bike Friday are less than 10 minutes, and they assume you know nothing.

    Maybe the first time you do this it will take you one hour. And the first time you unpack it 30 minutes.

    One of the advantages of the normal Bike Fridays is that they can be fit into a normally found suitcase. The Brompton will need something a bit more specialized. BF can fit into a <$50 large clamshell case due to its rectangular shape and ability to naturally disassemble it more completely.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimBeans83 View Post
    ... One of the advantages of the normal Bike Fridays is that they can be fit into a normally found suitcase. ... BF can fit into a <$50 large clamshell case ...
    As will many 20" Dahons and (maybe?) 20" Terns. See:

    http://www.gaerlan.com/dahon/pack.htm

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    DISCLOSURE: I have an ownership interest in an independent bike shop that is an authorized dealer for Raleigh, Dahon, Tern & Brompton.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimBeans83 View Post
    It should NOT take you 1 hour to pack the NWT. You should be able to do this in 15 minutes or less, but this will depend on what you have installed on your NWT. Complete packing videos from Bike Friday are less than 10 minutes, and they assume you know nothing.
    There are also plenty of science fiction movies around. Packing in 10 min, 15 or less - I have not heard something this ridiculous in quite a while - might be a solid case for a court hearing like with those mileage claims for cars . I have stuff mounted on the bike to make it usable, not a piece for an exhibition or a packing demonstration.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimBeans83 View Post
    Maybe the first time you do this it will take you one hour. And the first time you unpack it 30 minutes.
    When I started, it took me 2h each way.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimBeans83 View Post
    One of the advantages of the normal Bike Fridays is that they can be fit into a normally found suitcase. BF can fit into a <$50 large clamshell case due to its rectangular shape and ability to naturally disassemble it more completely.
    They fit into 2 suitcases acceptable to airlines that I am aware of, one Carlton and one Samsonite. The Carlton cost over $100 and this after European VAT refund (Samsonite $220 at BF, merely to illustrate how inflated your claims are). It takes iterations to distribute the bike properly within the suitcase, this with deflated tires, make sure that different parts don't fly around and damage other. The rack often ends up in the second suitcase. I've done it also a couple of times with the trailer pieces as in the photo that was brought and this might have gone into 3h. I can assure you, I am plenty skilled both around bikes and packing - for good piece of a year I live out of a suitcase and some of it hopefully with BF.

  20. #20
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    As a bf owner I agree that the claims of a 15 minute disassembly is ridiculous! If you have a rack it takes a solid 30 minutes to pack it up in the case if you are really good. I don't have to take off fenders or deflate tires otherwise this would take another 15-30 minutes.

  21. #21
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    I usually take my time packing my Bike Friday, but one time I pedaled up to the airport in Las Vegas a little late so I had to pack the bike and trailer into the suitcase in a hurry. I got it all done and was in the terminal in just under 15 minutes. I don't deflate the tires when packing it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscalia View Post
    As a bf owner I agree that the claims of a 15 minute disassembly is ridiculous! If you have a rack it takes a solid 30 minutes to pack it up in the case if you are really good. I don't have to take off fenders or deflate tires otherwise this would take another 15-30 minutes.
    I still have a basket (goes into 2nd suitcase) and need to fiddle with U-lock mounting and wires for lighting and I am pretty good and organized to get it down to 1h. As to the Brompton, it also has a rack, fenders, lighting and U-lock. The basket is effectively replaced by carrier block. It all folds in one sweep. I can live with BF packing provide it is not too frequent, but I do not enjoy it. Is there a gain from BF packing into a more regular suitcase? Just some. The suitcase is a tad cheaper and looks less inconspicuous. In one case or another, you in practice dedicate one suitcase to the bike. My BF suitcase stands dirty with some grease from BF and filled with packing pieces - I am not going to use it for regular luggage anytime soon.
    Last edited by 2_i; 02-05-12 at 04:10 PM.

  23. #23
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    In this video, Rob English packs a Model-T tikit into a suitcase in 8 minutes including lots of explanation. But it usually takes me about 30 minutes to pack my tikit at my house or a hotel room. Note that Rob's bike doesn't have fenders, racks, attached bags, or oversize tires in need of deflation.

    I have two Dahon Helios P8s. It took *quite* some time figuring out how to pack them successfully in similar bags, but I've only packed them once (to take them to, and leave them in, Italy), so perhaps I'd get better in successive iterations.

    I think the clear winner hear is the Brompton, assuming you have custom luggage for it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    There are also plenty of science fiction movies around. Packing in 10 min, 15 or less - I have not heard something this ridiculous in quite a They fit into 2 suitcases acceptable to airlines that I am aware of, one Carlton and

    ends up in the second suitcase. I've done it also a couple of times with the trailer pieces as in the photo that was brought and this might have gone into 3h. I can assure you, I am plenty skilled both around bikes and packing - for good piece of a year I live out of a suitcase and some of it hopefully with BF.
    You're too slow if taking this long, or you've complicated your setup to make it this way. I can do this in 15 minutes; ok, I may take longer if I need to wiggle a lot of other things in there, but to get the bike (as I mentioned without other complicated accessories requiring removal) in the case it's this long. The videos show the process as taking this long. Sorry for you, but science fiction is a bit of a strange analogy when the visual evidence exists. If you're going to baby the BF by putting pipe protectors on every piece and disassemble every bit, you'll do the same with another bike, and that's where the comparison can be made between times for differing bikes. Take the same attention to detail or protection for them both. You can take 1 hour to put a Brompton in a case as well.

    The price you were willing to pay for suitcases is irrelevant. The point here is that you can buy American Tourist (?) at Walmart, faux-Delsey at Carrefour in EU for $50 or some other junk suitcase. You don't need the specific expensive case sold for strange dimensions. The Bike Friday will fit in this. You will not find a non-custom Brompton case widely available. I've both bikes; I've suitcases for both; I know.

    Realize that I've been doing this for quite a while and fly very often with bikes.. I have no motivation to lie or exaggerate here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    They fit into 2 suitcases acceptable to airlines that I am aware of, one Carlton and one Samsonite. The Carlton cost over $100 and this after European VAT refund (Samsonite $220 at BF, merely to illustrate how inflated your claims are). It takes iterations to distribute the bike properly
    Ok, I re-read your message - this is absolutely wrong. There are hundreds of suitcases out there in rectangular form that approach max checkable dimensions; the NWT will fit into any of these. Originally it was shipped with the old Samsonite oyster shell case, which has many copies. Now it's shipped with the Flite 31, which also has many copies. And there are many other types of suitcases from many manufacturers.

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