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Bicycle travel cases and bags(8 posts)

Bicycle travel cases and bagsDCW
Nov 20, 2001 1:46 PM
(I posted this on TTF also:)

Need advice re travel case and bag for airlines. I've just registered for 2002 TdF Bikestyle tour and will need to get my road bike from US to Paris and back with as little damage and hassle as possible. I have checked with Air France regarding their no-charge policy (so long as it's my second checked "bag.") I forgot to ask whether their total inches limit for checked luggage applies to bike boxes/bags, but I have yet to find a choice that's within the 70 inch total limit.

Possible size contraints aside, I've looked at seven or eight options, from glorified cardboard boxes to various plastic box designs to various padded soft case designs. (Frankly, the Performance Cargo Case looks best for design/price.) I have seen none in person. I could use some help with this decision from those of you who have experience.

1. Which is better: box or bag? Why?
2. Do you have a specific recommendation for a box or bag? 3. Do airlines have preference for box or bag?
4. Do airlines enforce published size limits re bicycle boxes or bags?
Performance Cargo CaseLI Biker
Nov 20, 2001 2:06 PM
I have the Performance Cargo Case and have shipped it UPS twice (and NEVER again with them) and flown in the US and to the Caribbean many many times without any bike or box (other than UPS losing it for days both times) problems.
Performance claims it works for up to 60cm bikes and it does. Mine is a 62cm and fits but requires more disassembly and work.
It will hold the bike, two wheels and lots of clothes and stuff.
Have a great time!
Performance hard casepmf1
Nov 20, 2001 2:07 PM
My wife and I bought these for a trip to Italy last year. We went on Air France with no problem and no charge. They did get lost on the plane switch between Paris and Florence, but they showed up the next day. We have since used them to fly to Colorado. Both times, the bikes suffered no damage and everything went well. I actually watched a guy drop one of them 5 feet from the cargo hold to the runway in Paris. On the way back from Italy, we had so much cheese, olive oil and other stuff in them that I was sure the airline would refuse due to weight (55 kilos). Not a problem.

I'm sure there are better carriers, but the Performance ones get the job done and don't cost that much. I initially looked into cardboard boxes, but got the Performance carriers on sale for $180 plus 10% off w/ the team performance thing. That brings them to $160 which is pretty close to the $120 for the fancier cardboard box. I'm sure the box works fine, but if you're going to use them in the future, spending a bit more might be worth it.

Whatever you do, make sure what you buy has wheels. The best set-up would have 4 so you can push it rather than drag it (Perofrmance case). Boxes have no wheels. Also, make sure its lockable (if you get the Performance one, get 4 padlocks -- 2 is not enough). I use a spare (third) piece of foam when packing my bikes in these cases.

As far as airline preferences --- domestic carriers charge out the butt for this. United wanted $75 each way from DC to Colorado. We paid one way and then convinced the person working the counter that that was the round trip charge on the way home. You can try the tip the sky-cap approach (he wheeled them to the desk), "its conference supplies" -- sorry, we charge everyone, maybe your company will re-imburse you. It all depends on how cool the person working the desk is. On international, I don't believe they charge.
re: Bicycle travel cases and bagsgtx
Nov 20, 2001 2:51 PM
I always use boxes (taken bikes to Italy a few times) but these look good for the money.

http://www.crateworks.com/

Some bike shops rent hard cases, too.
triall3sports Velo SafeLuis
Nov 20, 2001 9:40 PM
After hunting around for the right case I wound up with the Tri All 3 Sports UPS Velo Safe Pro case. Takes around 10 minutes to pack or unpack (pedals, wheels, bar and stem) and has been great on a number of trips. Rolls easily on good wheels (though the narrower UPS version is a little tippy--the other side of that tradeoff is that if for some reason you can't take it on the plane you have an alternative shipping method through UPS).

There's plenty of extra room for helmets and shoes (and kids life jackets and--in the larger size velo safe--boogie boards on the way home from Hawaii.)

The people at the company are friendly and helpful on service. It's toward the higher end of the cost range, but looks like it'll hold up for years and years. You can order direct--http://www.triall3sports.com--or they're sold through some of the big online shops (colorado cyclist?).

I've only been charged extra about 20% of the time with a big sign on the top that says "display material."

I'm happy with it--and when I get it home the top nests into the bottom (maybe it's the other way around) and it takes up less space.
CrateWorksStew
Nov 21, 2001 2:19 AM
I used a Crate Works corrugated plastic box on my trip to Utah this summer as did my two riding buddies with no incident. We all have the more expensive foldable version - no problem with it, but if I had to to it over again I would buy the standard version since it is more unwieldy folded up. I would also definitely go with the optional wheels.

This is not as sturdy as those ABS cases, but it seems sturdy enough. It's relatively inexpensive and it's a whole lot lighter than those ABS cases. The main reason I bought it though was because it was the only case under $300 that would fit my rather large 65cm frame.

Good luck in your decision.
I'll vouch for CrateWorks too (nm)nova
Nov 21, 2001 6:21 AM
re: Bicycle travel cases and bagsLone Gunman
Nov 21, 2001 10:23 AM
I use a Pika Packworks soft sided bag. It does what is advertised, I have had no bike damage, 2" or thicker padding on the bottom and outer sides, wheels sit beside frame triangle. Very light weight.