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Recommend A Soft Bike Travel Bag (Air Travel).

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Recommend A Soft Bike Travel Bag (Air Travel).

Old 06-12-13, 06:10 AM
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Recommend A Soft Bike Travel Bag (Air Travel).

I need to fly w/ my road bike, so I need to get a bike bag. The return trip will be driving, so I'm thinking a "soft" bike bag that can be folded up in the (small) car while the bike rides on the rack.

Can anyone suggest a good soft-sided bike bag? Or are they not worth getting?

The alternative, I guess, is that I could cut down a bike shipping box to the smallest possible dimension, to fit the bike with both wheels removed. Check that on the plane. Then discard the box at my destination. Or, use a rigid bike case and figuring out some way that it can ride on the rooftop rack.

I'm flying Southwest so the fee for a bike should be $75, but maybe a soft bag can pass for regular checked bags.

Thoughts? Thanks.

Last edited by jyl; 06-12-13 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 06-12-13, 07:33 AM
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My wife and I use Aerus soft cases for traveling with our CF bikes. 35 lb fully loaded with bikes and all riding gear and accoutrements. Much easier to maneuver on shuttle buses, taxis, rental cars, etc. compared to our hold hard cases, which we still have.. On the last four flights on Jet blue, I was only charge the bike fee once. They saw the weight, printed out a normal luggage tag and only when affixing it realized it's an oversize/bike, at which point they didn't bother to go back and change it.

Here's the review that got us to start using them. It's a bit dated and the bags now come with frame pads so no need to make your own.


When I checked a few months ago, Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America were all $50 each way for bikes on domestic trips. I checked a bunch of different airlines and they all list their fees on line, though it can be a bit tricky to find exactly what you're looking for.

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Old 06-12-13, 09:07 AM
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they measure girth hard /soft has little difference I Suspect.
I've got an old bike transport bag with a plywood bottom
and a couple wheels under it to drag it through terminals..

Drive out the big river to the coast and it's yours..

I'm moving around town this month, one side to the other.. bay to river..
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Old 06-12-13, 09:28 AM
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Other folks have had success with soft-side bags; I personally wouldn't use one. That's mostly because I don't trust the air travel industry, and ESPECIALLY not TSA. They have done little to make us safer, and done a LOT to make flying more of a PITA.
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Old 06-12-13, 12:05 PM
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The l+w+h of the Aerus soft case is certainly less than a hard case, but still way over the usual size limit of 62 inches. Being soft and trapezoidal makes it look a bit smaller, but it's still big.

Note that the bike fee is usually much less than the oversize fee that would be charged for an item the same size that wasn't a bike. In a hard case, you'd be very close to also incurring the overweight fee if it wasn't a bike.

In the many flights with our bikes (or other sporting gear), we've had the TSA leave calling cards in the cases a number of times saying they inspected them. They open them and may move things around a little to be able to reach in and swab a few places to check for explosives. On a couple of occasions I noticed the contents shifted around a bit from the way I had packed them, but nothing of consequence occurred.

Shipping ahead, flying with a hard case or a soft case, etc. all have their risks and pro's and cons which can vary depending on the type of trip.
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Old 06-23-13, 07:10 PM
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I did a lot of research into soft bags a couple years ago. Lots of options. There is a really good post on another forum that I cannot find that with photos and reviews of about 12 different cases.

I bought the Evoc soft case, and I think it is excellent. It is soft-sided, but has solid struts that form a sort of cage around the bike. Wheels go in special pockets, also protected by these hard plastic struts. Barely need any disassembly needed - wheels off, skewers out; bars off (no need to remove the stem); pedals off; steatpost down but not off (unless you cannot drop it); I took my RD off as well, just wrapped in bubble wrap, but you probably don't need to.

I have used it to fly to France and back, and several times across the US as well. No problems, no damage, no issues. TSA inspected it every single flight, without fail, but for whatever reason they did not unpack anything or break anything.

That said, this was all with my alu frame Giant; I am about to fly with my carbon frame Wilier, and I am not using the Evoc. I have bought a hard case (B-W - rebranded by Performance Bike), because I just don't want to risk a carbon frame in a soft case, even one as good as the Evoc.


Last edited by and1homer; 06-23-13 at 07:19 PM.
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