Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NW England
Bikes: SL2-X; DT mini; Joey Sport
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B and W hard case review: the case and its use. Hmmmm ?
I am just back from a second trip to the US from the UK with a B and W hard case with a Brompton inside, and thought I would share feedback on its use and how the case stood up.
So, first of all, it was great having my bike with me, and gave a lot more freedom in the places I was staying (Ann Arbor and East Lansing).
However, the travel itself was a hassle. You can actually squeeze a lot in the case - clothes, books, s-bag. However, fitting is one thing, being at or under an airline 23 KG weight restriction is another. This time I ended up buying a second case and paying excess baggage on the way home. Some airlines are cheaper than others. Mine - Lufthansa - was one of these - but the cost was still $150.
Moving around on buses with a case and largish backpack was ok, but if I was to do it again, I would get something that was a lot more rucksacky - you want to keep both hands free, and my bag kept slipping off my back. AMTRAK was a real pain, because the platforms are so low compared to the train door, took a bit of strength actually getting the B and W on the train. But it was great having a bike in Chicago. With the B and W and another suitcase, life was a real hassle getting in and out of lifts etc. If you know you can get a trolley, fine, but at both ends of my journey there weren't any, or I didn't have the right change.
I am really disappointed with the build of the case. One of the wheels must have rubbed against a wall or siding while it was on a belt (this was at Detroit - it was fine when I had to take it through customs at Newark before rechecking). Anyway, it now has a centimeter or so flat bit, which on a wheel aint too helpful. It doesn't role as well, and makes an attention seeking kind of machine gun sound as it does. Having had my attention drawn in this way, I couldn't help checking against other folks' wheeled luggage, and the B and W wheels looked smaller and less tough. Their fitting seems rivetted on, so I am not sure if it can be replaced. Also broken was the bumper thing on the bottom which sits the case upright, opposite the wheel. On my last journey back the velcro straps kind of ripped off a bit at the back, too.
So, how do I feel about all this. Well, it was really great having a bike on my travels.. But when I look at the hassle and the grief, I may investigate hiring, or even buying a clunker off cragslist. If it is going to cost min 150 bucks every time, I have a benchmark price comparator.