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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Brompton in a softsided suitcase - maybe, maybe not...

    I've been on the lookout for some sort of hard case to stuff my Brompton in, and not having much luck. The B&W hard case is the best, but it seems that it might be too heavy when combined with the Brompton. Thanks to other members, like Scooper, who have checked weights, measurements, etc. for me.

    I decided to head over to the local mall and scope out a few luggage shops, but came up empty in terms of hard cases. Most are just too narrow - I wish they would make wider luggage. However, I did come across a 29" (?) upright by TravelPro that measured about 21" across. It was about 62.5" to 63" linear inches in total: would probably just make it through as regular checked luggage.

    The Brompton would definitely fit, if I took off the seat (see photo). It's a softsided case however: it has a minimal, flexible frame. It would not offer much in the way of impact protection. It is light however (9 lbs) and has the advantage of obviously being standard looking luggage and offering a better structure to place extra padding along the sides (plastic sheets, foam, etc.). The sales associate and my wife were skeptical however; all it would is one good whack - particularly in the corners - and a wheel, locking bolt, handle, etc. would probably deform or break: there's not much clearance to put a lot of padding. I'm not sure if this is better or worse than padding up the Brompton soft-sided case, which has less support, but might be handled better than regular looking luggage.

    Brompton in TravelPro Pullman.jpg

  2. #2
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    Where will you leave the luggage once you get to your destination?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscalia View Post
    Where will you leave the luggage once you get to your destination?
    Just at the hotel. I'm planning to take the Brompton on mostly business type trips, so I'll be carrying other items as well. I usually travel with carry-on only, so I plan for the Brompton to be my only checked bag. But the trips will involve enough other activities that I'll have to rent a car or take a shuttle/taxi from the airport to my destination.

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    Could you manage a couple of plys of coroplast on each side?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccmfolder View Post
    Could you manage a couple of plys of coroplast on each side?
    That's exactly what I was thinking, plus some foam, etc. . I didn't buy the suitcase: I figured I'd check out a few more options first. I'm thinking that - somewhere, someone - has a lightweight case that could substitute. Pelican cases are indestructible, but too heavy. On the other hand, there has to be other shipping/packing cases that could be used (AV equipment?).

  6. #6
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I wouldn't trust any folder protected only by a soft case (especially one with a rear derailleur) to airline checked baggage handlers. The Brompton is a little less susceptible because the derailleur is inside the fold.
    - Stan

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Good point. I'm worried about all the little edges, etc. that could get bent or broken in a side impact. I once had my old Macbook Air in a neoprene case, locked into a soft-sided luggage that I left with a hotel concierge while I was away for the day. After I retrieved it and went to my next hotel, I found the corner of the MBAir bent. It's pretty tough aluminum, it was only being by one or two people in an environment nowhere close to being as abusive as airport handlers, and yet it still came out banged up!

    I did find this online, but it's virtually the same reported weight as the B&W case. Tough, but cutting it really close...

    http://www.phillycase.com/products/s...se-no-foam-418

  8. #8
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I downloaded the B&W "Clappton Box" catalog page directly from the German website, and the net weight is listed as 8.25 kg (18.2 lbs). What I don't get is the outer dimensions listed, which are 700 x 640 x 330 mm (27.56" x 25.2" x 12.99"). When I measure the outer dimensions of my case, I get exactly 25" x 25" x 12".

    I did notice the "ART.-NR." in the catalog is 96800, and the tag that came on my case is 96006, but I thought that difference was just the modification to eliminate the combination lock and add the Velcro straps.

    I believe the 23 pounds listed on the Calhoun website is the gross weight (including the cardboard shipping carton) which is 10 kg (22.04 pounds) on the catalog page.

    Last edited by Scooper; 04-29-12 at 12:28 PM.
    - Stan

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Hmmm... confusing indeed. You could be right about the 23 lbs including the shipping carton. Foldabikes lists the actual case itself as about 17 lbs (what you reported).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
    I downloaded the B&W "Clappton Box" catalog page directly from the German website, and the net weight is listed as 8.25 kg (18.2 lbs).
    The weight of mine is 8.0 kg.

  11. #11
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    The weight of mine is 8.0 kg.
    Mine is 17.3 lbs empty (7.85 kg).
    - Stan

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I wouldn't even consider the chain shoving thing as a vulnerable derailleur.
    because there is no parallelogram dangling down..

    a fork shoves the pulley sideways, on a longer bolt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    I went to a nearby Samsonite outlet store, and the widest hard case they had is 21". The Brompton fits, but the ends definitely are wedged up along the sides: there is not a lot of leeway. I even tried some soft cases, but because the fit is so tight, there would not be a lot of room for extra padding or protection (e.g., corrugated plastic).

    So, I figure I have three options:
    1. Order the B&W case, assuming the latest models weight 17 to 18 lbs. as the existing ones reported. Expensive option, particularly since I'll get charged duty crossing into Canada.
    2. Beef up the Brompton soft-sided case with more padding and an internal frame. I wish the soft sided case didn't look so... odd. I'm sure the check-in staff will ask. I rather not explain and hope to not get charged for a bike.
    3. Use the cardboard shipping box (or something similar to avoid all the bicycle text printed on the sides). Hey, it's cheap, is within 62", and can be modified/beefed up easily. Just bring along a lightweight, collapsible wheeled luggage rack. I read somewhere that somebody just used the shipping box the Brompton came in when traveling...

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Using a Tern Airporter Mini for a Brompton?

    Anybody with experience trying the Tern Airporter Mini to transport a Brompton?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Just go with it...

    After more searching, trying out other brands of luggage, figuring out if I could reinforce the B-bag... I just gave up. I ordered the B&W hardcase. Thanks to all the forum members who helped out with information.

    BTW... I phoned one dealer who said they had just tried to fit the Brompton into the Tern Airporter Mini, and they said "no go". The internal padding doesn't allow it to fit. Ah well.
    Last edited by Ozonation; 05-01-12 at 01:12 PM.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  16. #16
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I wouldn't even consider the chain shoving thing as a vulnerable derailleur.
    because there is no parallelogram dangling down..

    a fork shoves the pulley sideways, on a longer bolt.
    The arm is molded plastic; my concern with a soft case is that hit the right way, it could simply snap. A hard case would mitigate that risk significantly.
    - Stan

  17. #17
    jur
    jur is offline
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    The B chain tensioner/derailer can be easily completely removed for travel.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    But when you fold the front wheel up it is behind it ..

  19. #19
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    But when you fold the front wheel up it is behind it ..
    Right; that's why I said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
    The Brompton is a little less susceptible because the derailleur is inside the fold.
    - Stan

  20. #20
    Senior Member ubringliten's Avatar
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    I just bought my Bromptons from Clever Cycles and they recommend Tern Airport Mini suitcase over the B&K hard case. And it's cheaper. They said it fits a Brompton better than the hard case, has better protection than a regular suitcase and you don't have to worry about the size regulation from certain airlines.

    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/bags.htm

  21. #21
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    Clever Cycles certainly knows their bikes. I think more than half their staff commute to work on Bromptons. Clever Cycles have lots of Bromptons and Terns to try out. Lots of Brooks saddles. Other bikes that I wasn't interested in. And the coolest "monster" bike I've ever seen. The tires were about 4-5 inches wide, knobby and I believe it was a Surly. If there is a monster truck equivalent for bikes, this bike was it. So cool.

    Anyway, I'd believe them, although I'd personally want to see the Tern Airporter Mini in person.
    2012 Brompton H6L raw lacquer, hub dynamo lights, eazy wheels, C + Mini O bag, Ergon GP-1 biokork S grip shift, Lightweights spoke reflectors, Saddle Adapter pin.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    This is interesting.... while hunting for a case for air travel with my Brompton, I called JV Bikes in Vancouver as I previously alluded to. They nixed the idea of using a Tern Airporter Mini to pack a Brompton. They actually tried the day before and said it just didn't work because of the internal padding. Mind you, I think they were talking about the latest version of the Tern case. Another dealer commented that the older Dahon equivalent had less padding.

    If anybody has a Brompton and a Tern Airporter Mini, it would be great to hear some comments and see a photo.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    The B&W hard cases came in...

    ... and I can see why a lot of people recommend them. Very good fit, and the assurance of hard case protection. I thought the foam would have been a bit thicker though. I've decided to put some extra foam in key spots to provide a bit more padding.

    Weight is a bit of a concern. There's only about 5 lbs of leeway, and once I pack in my helmet and a tool kit, that's about it. There's really no more capacity to hold more without weighing it down.

    How do others keep the combined weight down to the 50 lb total allowed for checked baggage on an airline? Just pack the bike itself? Any lightweighting tips? Thanks.
    Last edited by Ozonation; 05-09-12 at 12:27 AM.
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  24. #24
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    For me, it's just the bike and a small tool kit in the hard case. The helmet goes in a small carry-on sport duffel with my shoes.
    - Stan

  25. #25
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    As a sideline to the discussion, except for one 20" wheel, I managed o fit a decomposed steel Dahon (Boardwalk-like China purchase) into the B&W case. Presumably with some work I could fit that wheel too but I was lazy and there was no problem accommodating the wheel in other luggage. I.e. the case happens to have more bike-related utility.

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