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Bike travel case

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Old 05-14-16, 11:33 AM
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mattm
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Bike travel case

What bike cases are people using for (domestic) airline travel?

I thought there's bag that was somewhat disguised so that the airlines don't charge extra, but can't find it - anyone have a link?

But really I'm looking for a hard case; I have nightmares of sitting on the plane and watching the handlers stomp on my bike & throw bags on it..

[asking here because I trust you more - and our bikes are so fancy]
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Old 05-14-16, 11:54 AM
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I have this one:

Thule RoundTrip Sport | Thule | USA

It's heavy but not insanely so, and expensive. Definitely protects the bike.
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Old 05-14-16, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
What bike cases are people using for (domestic) airline travel?

I thought there's bag that was somewhat disguised so that the airlines don't charge extra, but can't find it - anyone have a link?

But really I'm looking for a hard case; I have nightmares of sitting on the plane and watching the handlers stomp on my bike & throw bags on it..

[asking here because I trust you more - and our bikes are so fancy]
I've used a soft sided padded case for a long time, semi-regularly from 1995 or so to 2011. At one point I'd be doing 3 trips a year with it (CT-CA, CT-NV, CT-FL). I've used the same bag, loaned it out maybe a dozen times or more, rented it out when I had a shop (maybe 10-15 times then). I've revamped it a couple times, put bigger wheels on and stuff, but overall it's the same bag. Believe it or not it's a Nashbar knock off of a BikePro. A euro pro (at the time) friend gave it to me when he had to clear out 5 or 6 bike bags that he'd accumulated over the course of a few years. He'd used the bag hard for a while, basically all the rips and stuff in it were there when I got the bag from him.

There's an article interviewing airline baggage handlers (can't find link but I read it maybe 1-3 weeks ago). The person said that the soft bags are better because they get loaded separately and on top. The hard cases are treated like any other bag. I have always been a bit paranoid about my bike but it's been fine. I pack two sets of wheels, one set on each side of the frame, my integrated seat post gets mostly protected by the wheels (on the black bike), and I usually have enough free weight to put a couple helmets, a floor pump, and some tools. I usually carry my shoes carry on (pedals stay with bike).

My bag weighs about 30 lbs empty (it has a steel frame at the bottom to hold the fork and so I can lash down the BB area). It's usually 45-50 lbs at check in.
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Old 05-14-16, 12:20 PM
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I've used this type: Amazon.com: Trico Iron Case - Bike Travel Case: Sports & Outdoors

It works well. Our club owns it and it has been on lots of flights. These old-style cases require you to remove the seatpost, RD, pedals, and handlebars.
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Old 05-14-16, 12:22 PM
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We use an Aerus soft cases. Loaded with the bike, shoes, helmet, some spares etc it weighs 35 lb. It's way easier to lug around and get on shuttle in taxis and rental cars than the hard cases we used to use, and still have. About 1/2 the time I don't get charged the bicycle fee. I put in on the scale at the ticket counter, the agent sees 35lb, prints out the tag, and then is surprised by its size when the go to put the tag on it. They ask and I tell them it's a bike. Rather than go through the rigamarole to cancel the tag, charge me and print out a new tag, they let it slide.
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Old 05-14-16, 12:32 PM
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I think a bike box is usually sufficient. it costs nothing. it's bigger than a hard case, but it's going to be oversized anyway, so the fee doesn't change. with a bike box, you can usually keep the rear wheel attached, which is good for the derailleur hanger and chainstays. pack it up with filler, and it should be good to go.

kind of related but not really: amtrak only charges a $20 fee for bicycles. I assume you already know this, being from california, with your fancy caltrains, pacific liners and ****.

I've also used greyhound (on my last tour). never again.

is this about work related travel, or are you trying to make it to some races on the national calendar?
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Old 05-14-16, 12:49 PM
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I have 3.
The BikeND biknd - HELIUM - bike travel case has airbags that go flat, but for one bike it is pretty good and you get two sets of wheels. We replaced the airbags with foam. It also fits in the trunk of a larger/mid-size car (Benz E320). I also like the Performance Team case for most protection. It has a PVC support bar that goes in the center for more structure. With a disc wheel - you can't use the bar, but it still works well. Only one wheel set, but you can cram a lot of other stuff in there.

Shown below the BikeND and Performance Team bags are not inflated.



This year we used the Tri-All-Three VeloSafe Pro and put two bikes in Road and TT and one wheel. I expect a pro packer might get another wheel in there. It also has a PVC bar for the center and really must have it, so not packing a disc in this one. You can get pipe foam from the hardware store for something like $2.00 for 6 ft. Problem is with two frames, one wheel and some foam you are at about 70# - the limit for some airlines, while most will allow 100#. Also this thing needs more than a trunk to transport.



Then I took a separate (team owned) wheel case that while technically over-sized, normally goes with no extra charges.



So what do I recommend?
#1 All rounder - BikeND for 2 wheel sets, and trunkability. Wheels are somewhat exposed, but never been an issue. I'd replace air mattress with foam - as I did.
#2 One bike - one set of wheels - the TEAM hard case - cheapest < $300
#3 TriAll3. Only reason to do this is two bikes. Then it goes to #1 . The wheel case is very nice.
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Old 05-14-16, 12:53 PM
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I would also note some bikes pack better than others.
If you are funding your own racing - select the bike with travel in mind.
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Old 05-14-16, 01:15 PM
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The trico case is awesome. I used it to fly a couple years ago. Big and heavy..but you could probably drop the thing off the top of a building and your bike would be fine.
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Old 05-14-16, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
I have this one:

Thule RoundTrip Sport | Thule | USA

It's heavy but not insanely so, and expensive. Definitely protects the bike.
I have the same one. You can find them for $325 on sale.
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Old 05-14-16, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
What bike cases are people using for (domestic) airline travel?

I thought there's bag that was somewhat disguised so that the airlines don't charge extra, but can't find it - anyone have a link?

But really I'm looking for a hard case; I have nightmares of sitting on the plane and watching the handlers stomp on my bike & throw bags on it..

[asking here because I trust you more - and our bikes are so fancy]
Mattm...I know what you want. Can't really type now but will shoot a message in the next day or two. Many flights....no fees, no damage...way better than a hard case in terms of space.

You go hard case and you are def getting fees plus they're going to open it as it can't fit through the machines, and when tsa tracks it all bets are off.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:03 PM
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Thanks all for the tips! So many options - this at least helps narrow it down.

Weight does matter somewhat, since I'm weak and don't want to lug 50# of anything around.

Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
is this about work related travel, or are you trying to make it to some races on the national calendar?
Masters Nationals in North Carolina in a few weeks. I have a team mate that has a bag of some sort I can borrow, but I might just invest in something to have for later.
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Old 05-15-16, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Thanks all for the tips! So many options - this at least helps narrow it down.

Weight does matter somewhat, since I'm weak and don't want to lug 50# of anything around.

Masters Nationals in North Carolina in a few weeks. I have a team mate that has a bag of some sort I can borrow, but I might just invest in something to have for later.
this is what i use. traveled about 5 round trips. one to france. Haven't been charged for my physical therapy equipment yet. I have a 50-52cm frame, and the XS small bag is dang near right around the dimension limit. Haven't had any damage done to my bikes by handlers. Soft case wouldn't survive a wwe body slam, but the soft case is what gets it through the sizing limitations.

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Old 05-15-16, 06:09 PM
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After extensive research in the same thing, this is what I would get: BikeBoxAlan
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Old 05-15-16, 10:59 PM
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I used Team one for international flight to Germany, then chugged it around on ICE trains.
Bike and wheels were just fine. It is heavy, specially if you cram bunch of other stuff in to it, but you can roll it.
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Old 05-16-16, 03:50 AM
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A pro I know who raced for champ-sys and now lupus designed this

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This is the case you may have seen on social media that folks are getting away with not paying fees
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Old 05-16-16, 04:43 AM
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Pika Packworks | Bicycle Travel Cases and Bike Luggage

I've had great success with it, if you can track down the interview CDR mentioned you'll be able to see why. I can't find a link to it either.
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Old 05-16-16, 06:26 AM
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Matt, you also have the option of shipping the bike to my house in NC. I'm about an hour and a half from the course. There's a good chance you'll be flying in to the airport near my house. And I think we will be racing each other.
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Old 05-16-16, 11:51 AM
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I've used the Performance had case like Doge for travel to Europe. Paid $200 each way for oversize.
Another to consider may be the Ruster Hen House, although it is soft-sided. It's $$$ but seems to be very well regarded. Rüster Sports | Hen House
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Old 05-16-16, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jdms mvp View Post
this is what i use. traveled about 5 round trips. one to france. Haven't been charged for my physical therapy equipment yet. I have a 50-52cm frame, and the XS small bag is dang near right around the dimension limit. Haven't had any damage done to my bikes by handlers. Soft case wouldn't survive a wwe body slam, but the soft case is what gets it through the sizing limitations.

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Originally Posted by island rider View Post
Pika Packworks | Bicycle Travel Cases and Bike Luggage

I've had great success with it, if you can track down the interview CDR mentioned you'll be able to see why. I can't find a link to it either.
Yeah one of these was the "hidden" bike box I was thinking of - thanks.

Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Matt, you also have the option of shipping the bike to my house in NC. I'm about an hour and a half from the course. There's a good chance you'll be flying in to the airport near my house. And I think we will be racing each other.
Thanks for the offer! See you at the start line - I'll be sure to yell out "who here is 'top flight pro'??"

I ended up buying the BikeND "jetpack" bag, we'll see how it goes. CompetitiveCyclist had a 20% deal for it too.
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Old 05-16-16, 12:22 PM
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Used to use a Pika Packworks. Switched over to a Ninja Case / Orucase because it has integrated backpack straps and it is a bit smaller so you can typically get past the airlines fees. Never had an issue with either, both are soft sided. Soft sided cases are more likely to get through without fees since they are normally smaller and lighter.

One word of caution is that TSA almost always goes through the bag, if things need to stay packed in a certain way (Say, handlebars tucked in a certain way around the frame) Tie them together with an old tube so that when TSA pulls it out it will go back in the way you put it in.
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Old 05-16-16, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Thanks for the offer! See you at the start line - I'll be sure to yell out "who here is 'top flight pro'??"

I ended up buying the BikeND "jetpack" bag, we'll see how it goes. CompetitiveCyclist had a 20% deal for it too.
I should be easy to find - I'll be one of the last guys across the line.
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Old 05-16-16, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dz_nuzz View Post
One word of caution is that TSA almost always goes through the bag, if things need to stay packed in a certain way (Say, handlebars tucked in a certain way around the frame) Tie them together with an old tube so that when TSA pulls it out it will go back in the way you put it in.
Good point, thanks.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Good point, thanks.
Pro move is talking to them at check in, and they will let you come to the search area while they look through everything. You usually can't touch anything, but you can tell them where to put what. They are also on good behavior with you standing right over their shoulder so they probably take extra care over and above their usually throwing of things and general disregard.
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Old 06-02-16, 02:33 PM
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Quick update on the Biknd "jetpack": bike/wheels made it to NC & back just fine.

Bag took a bit of a beating on the way back, had some scratches on the external fabric but no tears and everything worked out.

Was able to fit bike/wheels, helmet, tools, frame pump, shoes, and kit in the bag - came in at 50 lbs even. Paid the $150 "bike fee" but the team paid for that anyway.

I wish the bag had more wheels on the bottom, my wimpy programmer hands got a bit beat up from wheeling the bag around the airports!

Anyway I highly suggest this bag for anyone doing bike travel. Also, it was 20% off on Competitive Cyclist, so that was nice.
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