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Thread: Advice Needed: Bike Case for Air Travel

  1. #1
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    Default Advice Needed: Bike Case for Air Travel

    So. I need to get my bike to South America or otherwise risk not having a bike for 6 months. To achieve that, I'm going to need a case that can protect my bike on an international flight.

    To that end, I need your help/advice... what the heck should I be getting? What have your experiences been with cases? Which have worked for you, which haven't? How easy/impossible was the packing/reassembly process?

    By way of numbers, my bike is a Trek Crossrip with a 49cm frame, 31" drop handlebars, and commuter wheels running 32s.

    Thanks for your help! I need to figure this out soon (or get lucky on finding a commuter-quality, flight-ready, folder.)

  2. #2
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    I mentioned this in your other thread, but I would forgo trying to buy/borrow a bike case/bag and just pack your bike in a cardboard bike box (that you can get for FREE from any bike shop) and ship it via Bike Flights. It is going to be a lot cheaper in the long run.

  3. #3
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    A good travel case is a significant investment. I have a Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA, which allows minimal disassembly of the bike. It works, but was expensive. Also, airline only accept damage claims on bikes store in hardcases, not soft/fabric ones. I'm not sure if this policy applies to all airlines, so be sure to check.

    Unless you plan to travel with the bike often, my suggestion is just to have your favorite bike shop pack it up the in one of their new bike box, and request "Fragile" stickers at check-in (so it is loaded last and unloaded first), and it should be fine.

  4. #4
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    Before kids, my wife and I did a few vacations that involved shipping out bikes overseas on a plane as luggage. Back then, it was free if it was one of your two checked bags. No idea what the fee is now. On domestic flights, it's outrageous. I've got a couple Performance hard cases sitting in my tool shed gathering dust. You're welcome to borrow one. They're hard plastic, but have no wheels. They're not the real fancy ones like trico, but they work. There are latches on the side for locks, but I'd use carbiners instead because TSA may want to open it up and examine the contents.

    Look on ebay and you'll find some used Performance cases.

    The packing/unpacking process is pretty easy

    1. Remove the wheels
    2. Remove the skewers and cassette from the wheels and store in a bag
    3. Remove the saddle/seat post
    4. Remove the pedals
    5. Brace the front and rear drop outs -- you can make braces yourself, or get them from a bike shop. Don't skip this step.
    6. Loosen the headset and turn the bars 90 degrees.
    7. If you're worried about your paint job, you can buy plumbing pipe insulation -- basically 4' round foam tubes an zip tie them to the frame tubes.

    If this sounds like a PITA to you, your local bike shop would probably box it up for you for a fee and show you how to unpack it. Or you could just ship the thing to where you're going. Know anyone down there?

    One year we did Ride the Rockies. Hundreds of people were wandering around the Denver airport. I think we were the only ones with hard cases. Everyone else seemed to be getting along just fine with cardboard boxes.

  5. #5
    hozn's Avatar
    hozn is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Maybe also consider https://velosurance.com/ w/ the "international option" to cover any damage / theft of bike during trip + while you're there.

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