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Old 04-17-14, 07:54 AM   #1
wagonfanatic
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Advice on BF Hard Shell Travel Case

Just picked up a Bike Friday New World Tourist and I'm searching for the appropriate hard case.

Here is Bike Friday's (from their site) for $200: https://store.bikefriday.com/product...ducts_id=10966

Here is a similar on I found for about $150 with shipping:
http://www.ebags.com/product/samsonite/flite-gt-30-upright/151716?productid=10237472&sourceid=ADWPRODUCT&couponid=94790994&gclid=CNux4IPV570CFVFp7AoddUwAbA&kwi d=productads-plaid^57060224418-sku^10237472-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^33618552138


Can anyone comment on major differences between the two? Does the BF case come with sleves for the parts, or is that only if you buy a new bike from them WITH the case?

Also, does anyone know if ANY samsonite F'Lite case is compatible with BF towing/ wheel package for towing the case behind the bike?

Any insight here would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by wagonfanatic; 04-17-14 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 04-17-14, 08:55 AM   #2
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Since the Samsonite F'lite '30 seems to be 63 or 64 inches total, and therefore over the 62 airline limit, I wonder if people have been able to fit their Bike Friday's into a '28 carrying case

I'm looking at these two different Samonites '28

1) Amazon.com: Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 28, Black, One Size: Clothing

2) Amazon.com: Samsonite Luggage Gravtec 28 Inch Spinner, Black,: Clothing
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Old 04-17-14, 09:03 AM   #3
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I would think that the Samsonite cases would all be the same and are just modified to accept a trailer. Do you already have the trailer? Wike makes a travel trailer which I have where the trailer part is integrated into the suitcase. About the same price if you were to buy the suitcase and trailer separately but guaranteed that the suitcase will fit the trailer.

Suitcase Bike Trailer | Wike Bicycle Trailers - The Walk and Bike Company
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Old 04-17-14, 09:35 AM   #4
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One benefit of buying from Bike Friday is that the case may come already with holes drilled out. While drilling the holes may seem trivial, I ended up with many more than I wanted when trying to fit the Bike Friday system and drilling by myself. Check, though, with Bike Friday whether they provide those cases with holes. Personally, I would not bet that any case would. The bike dimensions and the airline limit make the wiggle room tight. Myself, I have a Carlton that was the pre-Samsonite favorite of Bike Friday. That Carlton is not manufactured anymore.
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Old 04-17-14, 09:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by wagonfanatic View Post
Since the Samsonite F'lite '30 seems to be 63 or 64 inches total, and therefore over the 62 airline limit, I wonder if people have been able to fit their Bike Friday's into a '28 carrying case

I'm looking at these two different Samonites '28

1) Amazon.com: Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 28, Black, One Size: Clothing

2) Amazon.com: Samsonite Luggage Gravtec 28 Inch Spinner, Black,: Clothing
I'd suggest checking with Bike Friday directly to see what's included with their version of the suitcase. In the past their suitcase has differed from buying one direct elsewhere in that theirs lacked some of the usual interior pockets and padding for clothes and instead came with some packing material for the bike tubes and parts plus some spacers to take the load if the suitcase gets heavy objects dropped on top of it. And they'd drill out the three holes for attaching the case to a trailer if you indicated that you want that option. But check with them on current policy.

There have been at least three suitcases offered by Bike Friday for their bikes: a Samsonite Oyster, a Carlton (both were within the 62" limit), and the current Samsonite F'lite (which is a bit over).
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Old 04-17-14, 10:08 AM   #6
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Wike makes a travel trailer which I have where the trailer part is integrated into the suitcase. About the same price if you were to buy the suitcase and trailer separately but guaranteed that the suitcase will fit the trailer.
That Wike trailer looks much more professional than the Bike Friday system. However, while I tried Bike Friday, I did not try Wike. Bike Friday is nearly the scale of my basement production.
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Old 04-17-14, 10:35 AM   #7
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I've contacted Bike Friday regarding the differences of their case and if sleeves for the BF parts come.

I understand the value of the trailer, but am skeptical. My primary concern is acquiring a case that fits the airline dimensions (although I know weight is more important than the '62 size).
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Old 04-17-14, 10:37 AM   #8
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Just a few things to consider even though my experience is apparently a rarity with this sort of setup. I bought a Samsonite F'Lite case last year, which is right at the 62" limit, and built a trailer frame based on BikeFriday's design. However instead of setting my trailer wheels way in the back I moved them forward a little to reduce "tongue weight" yet still allow me to detach the trailer and wheel it around in an almost upright position.

One point of failure, having occurred on the very first day, was that the air chuck that screwed into the BF's frame broke leaving the threaded portion of the chuck in the frame and no reliable way to attach the trailer to the bike. Also, even with the reduced tongue weight of my trailer, the connector hose (fuel injector hose) was still wearing quickly and probably also would have failed within the first couple of days. The air hose idea is a novel one but apparently not up to what I can dish out. My approach was to use a more traditional hitch design with a heavy spring (in lieu of the hose).
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Old 04-17-14, 10:42 AM   #9
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Just a few things to consider even though my experience is apparently a rarity with this sort of setup. I bought a Samsonite F'Lite case last year, which is right at the 62" limit, and built a trailer frame based on BikeFriday's design. However instead of setting my trailer wheels way in the back I moved them forward a little to reduce "tongue weight" yet still allow me to detach the trailer and wheel it around in an almost upright position.

One point of failure, having occurred on the very first day, was that the air chuck that screwed into the BF's frame broke leaving the threaded portion of the chuck in the frame and no reliable way to attach the trailer to the bike. Also, even with the reduced tongue weight of my trailer, the connector hose (fuel injector hose) was still wearing quickly and probably also would have failed within the first couple of days. The air hose idea is a novel one but apparently not up to what I can dish out. My approach was to use a more traditional hitch design with a heavy spring (in lieu of the hose).
Was the F'Lite the '30 or the '31?
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Old 04-17-14, 11:59 AM   #10
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Can anyone comment on major differences between the two? Does the BF case come with sleves for the parts, or is that only if you buy a new bike from them WITH the case?

Also, does anyone know if ANY samsonite F'Lite case is compatible with BF towing/ wheel package for towing the case behind the bike?

Any insight here would be greatly appreciated!
AFAIK, based on comparisons after I bought my case from Bike Friday to another one bought elsewhere by someone else, I didn't see any significant differences. Presumably if you wanted to convert one for towing it would be straightforward.

It's been years, but I think that the felt sleeves were a bit extra.
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Old 04-17-14, 12:01 PM   #11
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One benefit of buying from Bike Friday is that the case may come already with holes drilled out. While drilling the holes may seem trivial, I ended up with many more than I wanted when trying to fit the Bike Friday system and drilling by myself. Check, though, with Bike Friday whether they provide those cases with holes. Personally, I would not bet that any case would. The bike dimensions and the airline limit make the wiggle room tight. Myself, I have a Carlton that was the pre-Samsonite favorite of Bike Friday. That Carlton is not manufactured anymore.
I bought a suitcase through them but without the trailer. There are no holes in the case.
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Old 04-17-14, 12:52 PM   #12
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Was the F'Lite the '30 or the '31?
30... I bought it last year for about $100.
http://www.amazon.com/Samsonite-Lugg...onite+F%27lite
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Old 04-17-14, 01:21 PM   #13
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30... I bought it last year for about $100.
http://www.amazon.com/Samsonite-Lugg...onite+F%27lite
Wow, $100 is a good deal. Best I can find now is $150 shipped.

I also wonder what the difference is between the normal F'lite and the "GT"

Thanks for the info
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Old 04-17-14, 06:40 PM   #14
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Wow, $100 is a good deal.
sure, it's a good deal... for 6 cases..

super protip: goodwill industries...
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Old 04-18-14, 07:00 AM   #15
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You can find awesome stuff at Goodwill in big cities. Around here it's old farming and tobacco growing tools/implements, crappy 30 year old stereos and stained mattresses. Oh, I forgot to mention all of the cracked bowling balls drilled with finger hole spacing indicative of someone with a seriously deformed hand.
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Old 04-19-14, 12:32 AM   #16
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You can find awesome stuff at Goodwill in big cities. Around here it's old farming and tobacco growing tools/implements, crappy 30 year old stereos and stained mattresses. Oh, I forgot to mention all of the cracked bowling balls drilled with finger hole spacing indicative of someone with a seriously deformed hand.
Cool - I'll trade you a F'lite 31 and a 30 for a Granville Two Row Stripper Harvester...
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Old 04-19-14, 12:09 PM   #17
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You can find awesome stuff at Goodwill in big cities. Around here it's old farming and tobacco growing tools/implements, crappy 30 year old stereos and stained mattresses. Oh, I forgot to mention all of the cracked bowling balls drilled with finger hole spacing indicative of someone with a seriously deformed hand.
it would be pretty easy to argue the opposite. thrift stores in big cities are quickly picked over and many of them have an employee that checks incoming donations against current ebay sales for similar items for purposes of pricing.

of course, it also depends on how you want to spend your time. if you enjoy thrift and antique store shopping then it's no problem. you will find goodies. if, on the other hand, you don't want to spend your saturday hitting 10 different thrift stores, then clicking on a samsonite flite case for 170usd may be a better deal.
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Old 04-20-14, 10:32 AM   #18
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I usually like a Samsonite product, but those wheels look like they would snap off somewhere inside the airport luggage transit system.
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Old 04-21-14, 07:43 AM   #19
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I usually like a Samsonite product, but those wheels look like they would snap off somewhere inside the airport luggage transit system.
I'd hate see how the swivel casters would fare. After just the first couple of flights, my F'Lite had paint scuffs and gouges and looked seriously abused... less than 24 hours of handling by luggage tossers had aged it by years.
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Old 04-21-14, 03:36 PM   #20
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I went with the F'lite 30. I'm only going to use it for Airline travel. Will get a soft case for Buses/ Trains/ Car.

Bike Friday said they've never heard of any sizing issues with the 30, even though its like 63.5 total inches (regulations are 62).

However, they did warn that Europe is enforcing a strict 20 Kilo (44 lb) weight limit, depending on the carrier.
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Old 04-22-14, 01:24 PM   #21
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However, they did warn that Europe is enforcing a strict 20 Kilo (44 lb) weight limit, depending on the carrier.
FWIW, since that includes the suitcase, I have been putzing around with smaller suitcases and alternative packing to keep the weight down. For instance, if you put pedals, saddle, seat post in another bag you can lose a few pounds.
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Old 04-22-14, 04:08 PM   #22
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FWIW, since that includes the suitcase, I have been putzing around with smaller suitcases and alternative packing to keep the weight down. For instance, if you put pedals, saddle, seat post in another bag you can lose a few pounds.
This is a good idea. There is no doubt in my mind that airline are only going to get more restrictive, and a 44 lb limit will become more common. Certainly, as you note, you can divide your bike parts between bags, but if the limit is only one case, then the weight of the package will be key. Let me know what solutions you find..
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Old 04-22-14, 07:42 PM   #23
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FWIW, since that includes the suitcase, I have been putzing around with smaller suitcases and alternative packing to keep the weight down. For instance, if you put pedals, saddle, seat post in another bag you can lose a few pounds.
That's what I had to do. The pedals, saddle, seatpost and tool pouch went into my carry on to make room for my sleeping bag and tent in the case. Volume vs weight management.
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Old 04-24-14, 10:13 AM   #24
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This is a good idea. There is no doubt in my mind that airline are only going to get more restrictive, and a 44 lb limit will become more common. Certainly, as you note, you can divide your bike parts between bags, but if the limit is only one case, then the weight of the package will be key. Let me know what solutions you find..
It turns out that without racks but including my normal riding equipment, my NWT is close to a 44 pound limit. Like BnB's experience, taking out pedals, tools, spare tube/tire was more than enough cushion and easy to pack into a carry-on bag. (the tire is folding) What I just mentioned is roughly two pounds which I'd guess is more than enough to account for some error on my and the airline's part.
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Old 04-24-14, 10:14 AM   #25
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The saddle + seatpost would go next. My NWT fits with a 250mm long post.
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