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Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxes(9 posts)

Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxesastrobiker
Jan 23, 2004 7:39 PM
My wife and I are going to France this summer for some scenic touring and I want to take our own bikes (vs renting some there). To do this we'll need to get 2 boxes, and I kind of like the sound of the Crateworks Pro-XL-C. A little cheaper, lots lighter, and it folds up when not in use. May also be easier to talk its way onto the airplane as checked baggage instead of $100 each way. Just looks more airport/train station/train friendly than the other big hardshell cases. Anyway - anybody have experience or advice on the subject?
could use a cardboard box..joe friday
Jan 23, 2004 9:37 PM
but there are some really nice hardshells out there, Triall3 Sports
makes a two bike carrier. in the end, it's a matter of what the bikes
are worth to you. Also, some bikeshops and clubs will rent out carriers. Also, what about shipping the bikes there ahead of time?
re: Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxeslyleseven
Jan 23, 2004 9:40 PM
Most overseas flights do not charge you for the hardshell carriers that are checked as regular baggage unless weight exceeds 60 lbs. Have had no damage to bikes carried in these cases as opposed to cardboard experience (broken derailleur hanger, damaged frame, etc.) Got mine at Performance on sale for $199
Looking at the same thingramboorider
Jan 24, 2004 4:41 AM
I'd definitely get something the size of the Crateworks or the Trico Iron Case, because you can take them on the plane or you can ship them via ups or fed ex ground or something. For domestic travel, I'll probably ship it most often. Whether to go for the lightweight and collapsable Crateworks vs. something like the Iron Case is a tough call. I think the Crateworks is more convenient and seems to offer adequate protection - the Trico would be more of a PIA to deal with, but probably protects the bike somewhat better. The testimonials on the crateworks are pretty positive (with just enough cautions to add credibility?), but I've always done OK with basic cardboard boxes and the crateworks should be better than that.

-Ray
Make sure it's easy to pack in the box / case ....GeoCyclist
Jan 24, 2004 5:11 AM
I traveled with my tandem bike last summer using S&S cases (Two). Every time I checked in for an international flight my cases were opened by security and inspected. Unfortunately, you probably will not be present when security opens your case / box. If packing your bike into the case / box is more complex than putting groceries into a shopping bag you can count on your bike getting damaged. Some security areas will let you help with the inspection, while others areas are restricted to passengers.

Something to think about in our new wonderful world!!!

Best of luck
re: Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxespseudocrow
Jan 24, 2004 5:13 AM
I have the Crateworks Pro-XL-C, but have only used it once (Southwest flight from Chicago to St. Louis) so my experience is limited. I checked curbside, and the skycap took one look at the box and said, "OK, that's oversize, but we'll pretend it isn't because the paperwork takes too much time." So, like the hard shell crates, the Crateworks is big enough to fail the "eyeball" test. However, it is under the 50 lb limit (unless you ride a lead bike).

When I arrived in St. Louis, I discovered that the Crateworks was a very tight fit in the back seat area of my Infiniti G20. (It fits fine, of course, in my Accord Wagon). Same would have been true of a hard shell case. Now the G20 is a small car for the US, but pretty large in comparison to the Renaults and Citroens you'll find in France. Whatever case you choose, think about the other end of the flight ...

The Crateworks is really a nice system. My bike (Pinarello Opera) packed pretty easily (wheels off, pedals off, saddle off, handlebar off but cables still attached; stem didn't have to come off). Lots of room in the crate for my helmet and shoes. The tie down straps are easy to use and hold the bike very securely. Lots of useful interior packing material for protection. No damage at all from this flight. It might just be Southwest and the care they give in baggage transit, but the crate arrived looking just like new. Although the walls of the crate are a corrugated material like cardboard, man -- they are rigid!

I plan to use my Crateworks several times this summer when I travel. I doubt that I would have any greater confidence with the typical plastic hardshell. Aluminum shell might be a different thing, but for a couple of trips each year the cost is prohibitive.

Be sure and buy the external straps and wheelset -- unlike the hardshell varieties, this crate does not have integral wheels.

Ray S
re: Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxesastrobiker
Jan 24, 2004 6:35 AM
Great info - thanks. I looked into shipping - UPS wants $387 one bike, one way (therefore NO way.) I talked to American - the only way it goes as free checked baggage is if it is under 62 inches L+W+H (smallest box is 86"). Interestingly, the Crateworks Pro-XL-C plus the strap/coaster wheel set end up costing the same as the Performance hardshell on sale. Renting 2 boxes for about 3 weeks would go a LONG way toward just buying them. I guess that leaves the trade off as storage/weight (goes to Crateworks) vs confidence (goes to hardshell). Another data point.. renting bikes over in France looks like it would cost about the same as flying mine over, and they are pretty weak looking bikes. Well, I have quite a while to ponder this further, and wait for sales...

Anybody know where to rent nice road/touring bikes in either Paris or Tours??

Thanks!
re: Need Advice/Experience with Bike Boxeslyleseven
Jan 24, 2004 8:30 AM
Try pricing Fed Ex. UPS has become outrageous in shipping of bikes. I frequently ship one of my bikes from Vt. to Calif. and Fed Ex has been charging me less than $40. I realize overseas will be more, but do check out their price. I have never been charged for my Performance case flying overseas as regular baggage so I have never looked into price of
Fed Ex.
re: The crateworks are niceteoteoteo
Jan 25, 2004 7:48 AM
I have used Crateworks for four French adventures and this summer will be number five. I love mine. It protects well and because of the material it is lighter. I work as a guide and I have packed and unpacked hundreds of cases. There are some nice cases out there but nothing comes close to the Crateworks for value and flexibility. The feature that lets it be broken down can be a lifesaver if room is tight.

I recommend them 100%
Contrary to statements I've read on this board MOST international carriers originating flights in the U.S. DO CHARGE for bikes now. Bikes=revenue.