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Old 04-06-17, 05:03 PM   #1
Rick Imby
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Putting a Folding bike in a Suitcase

So I have a Xootr swift and bought a suitcase and packed it into it. I bought the largest suitcase that will go standard size by luggage.

I had to take everything apart. Fork off the frame, rear frame disconnected.

I also have a Dahon Mu. Does anyone have experience putting one of them in a suitcase?

Can I just take the wheels off and handlebar stem? or do I have to take the fork off too?



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Old 04-06-17, 05:05 PM   #2
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Did you happen to take any photos of the packing process? It would be interesting to see.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:10 PM   #3
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Sorry I don't have the bikes you mentioned. I do have a cheap bike that will fold than gets loaded into an extra-sized duffel, but I don't know if it is air legal.

On my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, I remove front and rear wheels. Seatmast folds forward. I think the seat comes out. Stem comes out. Bars separate in the middle, and pedals come off. The fork and cranks aren't removed. And it all gets stuffed into the suitcase. The suitcase has wheels and a towing tongue that I think will also fit in, but I've carried them separately.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:14 PM   #4
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I doubt that taking the fork off a Dahon would shrink it much. Folded, the fork overlaps the rear triangle.

You would save a few inches by removing the wheels, but only if you also remove the rear fender.

BTW - I don't put my bikes in hard suitcases. I find I do better in duffel bags with thick foam surrounding the contents, and using my clothing to pad the bike. IME - airlines don't measure big duffels carefully, and it's easy to pass an overly large bag below the radar.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:14 PM   #5
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You may get away with just taking off the wheels.
Here I have a 20inch wheeled folder with a similar fold to Dahon's:

Speed Uno(similar to Mu) squeexed in a S & S backpack(26" X 26" X 10").
Just took out the seatpost for a more compact fit. This is a soft luggage:
Dahon Speed Uno in S & S Backpack by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 04-06-17, 07:05 PM   #6
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Awwesome answers, thanks

I spent almost an hour packing and then another hour reassembling my Swift.

Too much work for a weekend trip.

Although it would be quicker next time.

Last edited by Rick Imby; 04-06-17 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 04-06-17, 07:28 PM   #7
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I also have a Dahon Mu. Does anyone have experience putting one of them in a suitcase?
Pictures borrowed from the internet. I'll put them back after you've seen them.

dahon packed 1.jpg

dahon packed 2.jpg

dahon packed 3.jpg
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Old 04-06-17, 08:54 PM   #8
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Pictures borrowed from the internet. I'll put them back after you've seen them.
Looks like a Speed P8, I have one and have packed it in a standard sized Samsonite Oyster hard shell the same way. IIRC, the dealer did mention that this was one of the unique Dahons where you could fold the fork into the rear triangle which allow a flat frame position without disassembly. Just remove pedals (I have MKS QR), seat tube, handlebar stem, and wheels. No tools, but I have to let the air out of the BA tires to close the lid.
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Old 04-06-17, 10:19 PM   #9
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I managed to squeeze my Dahon into the B&W suitcase meant for Brompton. Though it worked, it was the type of operation you would not want to repeat. The operation hinged on some particularly devious trick with the fork in my memory.
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Old 04-07-17, 07:17 AM   #10
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I packed my old Dahon in a suitcase that will take a Bike Friday..Not particularly difficult..Take off the front wheel..Take off the pedals ..Take off the front mudguard (fender)..Slide out the handlepost and handlebars and lay them down in the case..Take off the seatpost and saddle and put in the case....Place the folded bike in the case....Put the front fender around the front wheel in the case...Pack the case with spare clothes..Job done..
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Old 04-07-17, 09:32 AM   #11
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Pictures borrowed from the internet. I'll put them back after you've seen them.

Attachment 558509

Attachment 558510

Attachment 558511
I'm not sure you can put them back but looks great. Thank you

Rick
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Old 04-07-17, 01:16 PM   #12
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Here's a few tips that may save a bit of space.

1.No one says the entire bike has to go into the same case,many parts can be removed and put into another piece of luggage such as carry on,etc.
2.Remove fenders Leave them home get a couple of plastic ones that roll up, the kind that attach to seat tube on back wheel and I think they make one for front wheel too.

3.Remove air from tires saves almost an inch or more depending on suitcase size and shape.
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Old 04-14-17, 01:18 PM   #13
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With my Tern Verge, I disassemble the bike quite a bit. It's total overkill, but knowing how rough baggage handlers are, I don't want to risk arriving with a damaged bike.

Generally, here's what I take off: chain, rear derailleur with hangar, handlepost, handlebars, seat/seatpost, one of the V-brake calipers, pedals (but they're QR so that doesn't really count), fenders get zip tied around wheels.

Then I wrap everything in foam/bubble wrap, including the frame & fork. I have a 1/2" layer of foam on the inside of the suitcase and I also put a crush protector in the middle of it.

It is a very lengthy and tedious process. I give myself about half a day to do it. I dread it actually, but I can't risk any damage in transit. If there was a comparable bike that I could simply fold up and put in a suitcase without having to go through this process, I would probably jump on it. Supposedly the Helix but...
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Old 05-19-17, 06:16 PM   #14
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With my Tern Verge, I disassemble the bike quite a bit. It's total overkill, but knowing how rough baggage handlers are, I don't want to risk arriving with a damaged bike.

Generally, here's what I take off: chain, rear derailleur with hangar, handlepost, handlebars, seat/seatpost, one of the V-brake calipers, pedals (but they're QR so that doesn't really count), fenders get zip tied around wheels.

Then I wrap everything in foam/bubble wrap, including the frame & fork. I have a 1/2" layer of foam on the inside of the suitcase and I also put a crush protector in the middle of it.

It is a very lengthy and tedious process. I give myself about half a day to do it. I dread it actually, but I can't risk any damage in transit.
I would prefer using a larger case in all dimensions. Then fill up the space around the bike with packaging foam, sport shoes, towel, etc. Than dismantling of the bike is not necessary IMO.

Or you could prepare latex foam, by cutting the exact form of the bike out with a sharp knife, and make the foam fit snugly in the case. You could use an old matress for that.
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Old 05-19-17, 07:17 PM   #15
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I would prefer using a larger case in all dimensions.
Wouldn't we all! But above 62" (H+L+W) you'll pay oversize baggage fees (or have your case refused) on airlines (and in the USA, long haul bus companies).
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Old 05-19-17, 07:23 PM   #16
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Did you happen to take any photos of the packing process? It would be interesting to see.
Here are pix and instructions.

xootr.com/swift-bicycle-suitcase-packing-instructions.html

Down this thread, in comment #8, reppans advises letting air out of the tires, something that's not mentioned on the xootr page. I have chubby Schwalbe Marathons (and I like 'em) on my Swift. Bleeding some air from the Schwalbes is essential. On the other hand, if your bike has skinny tires, releasing some air may be unnecessary.

In other threads, there's been mention of struts (e.g.: pvc tubes and closed-end flanges) to brace the suitcase against being compressed. I found with my bike packed along with the other stuff I was schlepping there was no clearance for struts. To protect against compression, I taped five or six 3" squares of corrugated cardboard together, punched a ˝" hole in the center, and secured this sandwich to the exposed end of the rear wheel's axle in xooter's step #15.

In steps 5 and 6, xooter directs you to merely remove the chain from the chain ring and bag it while it's still looped through the derrailleur. Trying to reassemble the bike, I found the chain had tied itself into a marvelous knot. The next time and subsequently, I finessed this by removing the chain entirely (quick release link) and bagging it separately. At the end of a tour, when the chain might not be too clean, packing the chain in its own bag is a really good idea.
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Old 05-19-17, 07:28 PM   #17
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Wouldn't we all! But above 62" (H+L+W) you'll pay oversize baggage fees (or have your case refused) on airlines (and in the USA, long haul bus companies).
Then maybe buying a smaller folding bike is an option, or renting a bike?
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Old 05-19-17, 08:02 PM   #18
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When it comes to exceeding the 62" maximum baggage dimension for airline travel, I have a few ideas. These come from experience traveling with folders inside the Samsonite Oyster and Carlton cases (both are < 62" total) and my Samsonite F'lite (> 62" total).

1. Don't even think about exceeding the maximum weight limit for baggage on your flight, typically 50 lb. suitcase + contents for international travel. Because once you do, every airline agent I've ever seen whips out the tape measure and checks for oversize so additional charges can be levied. If you're not over the weight limit, less chance you'll be checked for dimension, especially if the suitcase doesn't look oversize.

2. Who you approach at the ticket counter and how busy they are also factor in. If the agents are swamped, less chance of being measured. I've yet to encounter an airline agent who neglected to weigh a bag - seems everyone does - but many skip the tape measure if it's a close call.

I've actually waited for the airline agents to become busier before I approach. Weird, I know.

3. Never, ever, ever admit you have a bicycle in your suitcase. When asked, make up whatever you feel is appropriate to the moment. Bicycle parts. Wheelchair parts. Medical assist devices. Once you admit it's a bicycle, you can be socked with the full bicycle carriage fee even if it's in a standard suitcase.
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Old 05-20-17, 02:45 PM   #19
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I just packed my Dahon Vybe in the flight for a business trip to Columbus OH. It was a bit of a struggle at first until I removed the rear derailleur. After that things went in pretty smooth thanks to the photos in this thread. Room for the helmet and sneakers with a few spots I can put clothing, just need to watch the weight.

I had to remove the fenders, the derailleur, and one pedal. I used ties to hold the chain on the crank to avoid the chain tangling.

Needed a 15 mm wrench for the wheel bolts and the Allen wrench for the pedal.
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Old 05-21-17, 05:11 AM   #20
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Alloy wheels can improve the packing density.
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Old 05-21-17, 06:23 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
So I have a Xootr swift and bought a suitcase and packed it into it. I bought the largest suitcase that will go standard size by luggage.

I had to take everything apart. Fork off the frame, rear frame disconnected.

I also have a Dahon Mu. Does anyone have experience putting one of them in a suitcase?

Can I just take the wheels off and handlebar stem? or do I have to take the fork off too?



Thanks
If you can remove the main hinge pin, the bike can be carried safely in latex foam in two separate hard-cover suitcases.

Last edited by George3; 05-21-17 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:51 AM   #22
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Checked in the Flite with Southwest with no issues. I was the only one in line, did the self check and was never asked what was in the suitcase. Weighed in at home at 44 pounds. Bike, sneakers, helmet, water bottle, and tools included. I think if weight came close I could always pull the kickstand off. Used several plastic bags inside a plastic bag in my gaps as they weigh nothing.
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Old 05-21-17, 12:12 PM   #23
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I bought a Bike Friday Tikit, used, the seller shipped it inside a suitcase..

That is what Bike Fridays company made their bikes to do,
and so a lot of touring rides around the globe are on those bikes.

they even offer a trailer kit,to put the suitcase on, to tow it behind your bike with your stuff in it,
Or, strapped on ..

A friend has brought his Stage Piano strapped onto his suitcase trailer , on his trip around SEA..




.....
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Old 05-21-17, 01:10 PM   #24
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Oh boy...due to delays I only have 30 minutes between flights! Anybody ever lose a bike in luggage?
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Old 05-29-17, 08:34 PM   #25
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I packed up my folders many times in a 28" x 21" hardshell suitcase no problems. Everything comes apart: crank arms, rear triangle (on the Swift) and forks (of the Swift) You Brompton owners have it made in comparison, but I am just not a Brompton owner. Forks are a P.I.T.A. to mess with but you get really fast at assembly and disassembly if you do it over 200 times. Raleigh 'Folding 20' is a bit faster break-down and set-up than the swift actually.




ps. One time I left all my tools in a Swiss train station but they were easily replaceable.

On the left you see the frame before the wheels go in, on the right you see the wheels and a picture on how to pack it , incase it 'becomes' unpacked. Everything is secured or zip tied together so nothing goes missing. Fun!
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