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packing a bike for a plane trip

northernneilnorthernneil Posts: 1,549
edited May 2010 in Workshop
having never done this I am taking my pride and joy to France twice this year,

what do I have to do for packing the bike, obviously removing pedals, and getting something to wedge inbetween the front and rear forks.

any tips or advice welcome,

I dont really want to buy a big bike box as I would have nowhere to store it after my trip


  • felgenfelgen Posts: 829
    Well, pedals off, handlebars off or turned sideways, wheels off usually.

    I really would get something hard sided to take the bike in, even if its borrowing a bike box, or at the least try going to your LBS and getting a cardboard bike shipping box (that the bikes gets delivered to them in) as otherwise your bike may well get dinged.
    1)Planet X SL Pro carbon
    2)Nelson Pista Singlespeed
    3)Giant Cadex MTB
    4)BeOne Karma MTB
  • sungodsungod Posts: 16,076
    there are places that will rent bike boxes

    you should be able to pick up a cardboard bike box from a bike shop, if you get a couple of big sheets of plastic and some cans of builder's foam you could turn it into a custom padded box

    but baggage handling can be brutal, your bike might be fine, or it could arrive bent, a proper bike box would be safest

    airlines' liability for loss/damage is limited to 1000 special drawing rights (about £1000 a the moment), which won't cover the cost of many frames let alone a whole bike, so if you wanted full cover you'd need either to arrange it with the airline (for a fee) or buy suitable insurance
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Best option I can think of is to buy a used hardcase and then just sell it on ebay, etc. when you return. Many have used the old cardboard box from the LBS method without incident. As long as you use plenty of bubble wrap or foam tubing for the frame, spacers between the dropouts, unbolt the rear mech and secure to the inside of the chainstay and ziptie any loose parts such as the wheels and handlebar/stem it will be fairly safe, but admittedly, not as safe as a good hardcase so something to consider as well.
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,814
    One of the nylon bike-specific bags could be an idea but reinforce the sides and top with something better than cardboard : I've used polystyrene sheeting and thin hardboard (prob 3mm or so at a guess)

    Pros : light, decent protection
    Cons : will only last a couple of uses before it breaks to bits.

    Pros : lasts a good few uses, decent protection
    Con : heavy.

    That method is better than a hard shell box if you need the package to be fitted into a car , this along with the aforementioned packing such as foam pipe-lagging, removing the rear der, etc, is a fairly safe way of air transporting your pride and joy but the hard shell case if the only way to be pretty sure that it will arrive safe and sound.
    If, for transport and weight reasons you can use a hard case then go for it, otherwise I'd suggest the soft case but think about adding as much additional protection as possible.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I use a nylon bike bag and then I wrap every tube in pipe lagging. Put enough padding in there and if you'd be happy to throw the bike down the stairs - then you're ready to go.
  • crazyadcrazyad Posts: 1
    I too will be travelling with my bike for the first time this year to SA, with the obvious worries. I cannot make my mind up between hard or soft case - taking into consideration the cost/Wieght etc.
    What are peoples experiences of baggage allowance and excess charges like? Since I have several connecting flights on route i'm concerned at some point i might get hit with large unexpected bill?
  • Karl2010Karl2010 Posts: 511
    I was asking in Evans about bike bags/boxes.

    Ive seen this bike box thats about £300.00 and you take your wheels off and attach your bike to a JIG that is inside the bike box. Put your wheels in the same box. Close it up and off you go.

    The lad Evans Cycles told me that he had heard of peoples forks snapping using this type of box. Because the box gets chucked around and the bike frame takes the strain and can snap.

    anyone else heard of this?

    I guess the question is what is the best bike box to get?
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    I've travelled a few times, even with MTB's, heres my twopenneth:
    I use a CRC nylon bike bag. Inside this, I put a custom cut bike shipping cardboard box (from LBS). Whilst at LBS ask for the shipping spacers that fit between F & R dropouts.
    Remove pedals, bars, wheels, QR's & rear mech (this can bend) and deflate tyres (some carriers demand this!).
    Tape the bars to the top tube. Put pedals in an internal pocket, with QR's. Tape the rear mech to stay.
    Wrap pipe insulation around frame tubes and pack any remaining space with bubble wrap.
    With regards to weight restrictions, etc...
    I have always packed all my tools needed, including a track pump, plus my kit (not helmet) in the internal pockets of the bag, even when carrying a full sus MTB!

    crazyad, check that you are using one carrier, or not. If it is one carrier, you'll only check-in once, so wont have to go through it over and over again... :wink:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
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