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S&S bike cases

Old 08-18-23, 12:18 AM
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S&S bike cases

Do you have experience with any of the SOFT S&S cases? I am planning to buy one, with the intention of folding the case and take it with me on the tour on the rear rack as I will fly in and out from different places. I read a few forum posts about the experiences with S&S backpack case and would be interested hearing from other people who used any of these but especially some of the other options out there, i.e the Co-Motion Co-Pilot or the OurCase Airport Ninja or any other case available. My bike will be a Thorn Nomad with 26" wheels and Rohloff rear hub (no freewheel), medium size (virtual seat tube: 56cm ~ 22", actual seat tube C-C: 42cm ~ 17")
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Old 08-18-23, 04:49 AM
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Not for a coupled bike, but for soft cases in general I have had good luck using a soft case that had little to no padding and adding cardboard. That way the cardboard could be discarded and the case could be packed up small for shipping ahead or home. When ready to pack the bike again for a flight home I'd need to scrounge some new cardboard.

I did actually do as you plan and carried my soft case for a tour, but only because I never got around to mailing it ahead or home. Mine is a cheap and light duty one which is what I'd prefer so that it packs small and light for mailing/shipping (or carrying if you desire). It probably weighs 2 pounds.

You might also consider the cardboard boxes that are sized specifically for that purpose. They could be used in a similar manner as a soft case. You could also make a custom box at the end of your tour.

With airlines recent more frientdy bike baggage policies I'd question the advantage of couplers since they are not so likely to pay for themselves any more. They never seemed like great deal for me since I never flew home from the same city as my tour started from and taking the case or shipping it ahead seemed enough hassle to negate the advantage at the price of the couplers in my usage case. They made much more sense for folks who often flew with a bike and flew home from the same city.
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Old 08-18-23, 07:36 AM
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I've got the hard S&S case, but I've met people who had the backpack cases. It is a lot easier to store the backpack case, since you can flatten it out, but it's still 26"x12" IIRC, which might be a challenge to load onto a bike. My case, loaded with large bicycle and a few tools, regularly checks in at 47.5 pounds; I think some airlines, mostly foreign airlines flying overseas, start charging for overweight around 40 pounds.

The S&S backpack case is 9 pounds lighter (8 pounds vs. 17 pounds for the hard case). That would still be a hefty load on my back, but it might fit under the 40# "heavy" limit. Just checked the Co-Motion case, and it's also listed at 17 pounds, so I'm not sure what benefit there would be to buying that (unless it's what's available when you need to buy a case).
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Old 08-18-23, 09:51 AM
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I saw the cardboard case, but it costs a horrific 56 or 65 USD, so it kind of negates the price advantage of having a small bag instead of a bike. Actually I checked some airlines and in some cases it's even cheaper to fly with a bike than with a suitcase. In certain flight there's another advantage of the bike: it has a higher weight limit. However there's also the way to and from the airport that is not an easy thing with a full bike box. And my other reasoning is that I don't want to add another day at the end of the trip just to hunt down a bike box (or two if it's not big enough and glue them together...)

As for the S&S case: it's "only" 4kg I think, which is considerable (especially that we're close to the airline limit with the bike itself) but still makes sense. The 8kg of the Co-Motion case is a problem, that is almost certainly too much to get under the allowed limit with a heavy touring bike.
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Old 08-19-23, 10:31 AM
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I use the soft S&S backpack case. I've flown with it many times. I mail it away after the plane lands. Most large airports have a post office. That's the main advantage of this case. The hard case is a total dead end in my opinion. You could store it, but then you'd be limited to only doing loop tours. You could spend big bucks to mail it, but at that point you might as well just pay the airline fee to fly a regular bike box.

In terms of protection, it's fine as long as you pad and pack your bike well. Packing and unpacking is a very time consuming process.
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I wouldn't carry it on the bike. It would be doable but it's so cheap to mail, just save yourself the effort.

Last edited by Yan; 08-19-23 at 10:37 AM.
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