Which bike bag for air travel?

pilot_pete Posts: 2,120
edited September 2010 in Road buying advice
Hi all

Looking for advice regarding good/bad bike bags to transport my pride and joy to sunnier climes for a bit of hill-climbing in November. Travel will be by plane.

So, there seem to be many options from a non-padded through to armour plated....but at a price. The EVOC bike travel bike certainly looks good, anyone any experience of it? It is about my upper price range (£250).

Any experiences and tips welcome.



  • nferrar
    nferrar Posts: 2,511
    edited September 2010
    I have an EVOC bag and it's good, although difficult to justify the cost over some of the cheaper bags. It is well padded and the wheels/base are very stable so less hassle than most cheaper bags at airports but given it's £200 more than some that's a lot for convenience ;)
    I haven't actually tried one of the cheaper padded bags but have travelled with a cardboard bike box and a hard case before. The cardboard was fine on all but one trip where the bike got damaged, but they are a bit of a faff to cart around especially if you have a suitcase and carry on bag to deal with. The hard case was good in that you get almost total peace of mind but it's heavy (think the DHB one is 15kg) and not as roomy compared with others (certainly the EVOC has more room in it).

    Unless you'll be travelling at least once a year it might be worth checking with your LBS if they have any to rent to.
  • There's a good thread on Weight Weenies atm, should be worth reading through... :D
    VO2 Max - 79 ml/kg/min
    W/kg - 4.9
  • I have one of these http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Roof_Box_Touring_Box_Bike_Box/5300002584/ which worked fine from Dubai to Nice, Nice to Bristol, Bristol to Penzance (by train) and London to Dubai.

    Box weighs in at around 15KG's (no bike, but wheel bags & other packaging material included)

    I've just posted a review on Wiggle, but not sure when it will be published with more details.

    In summary, the box has stood up fine to my trip, and I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of "battle scars"

    The airlines (Emirates & EasyJet) didn't blink an eye when I turned up with it, but I am Gold on Emirates (and was travelling Business Class) and had paid the sporting goods supplement on EasyJet - which undoubtedly helped.

    Emirates didn't even bother weighing it on the return to Dubai, as long as I promised it was less than 32KG's :D

    The only subsequent problem I have is where to store it :lol:

  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    IME it's how you pack your bike bag or box has more bearing on the protection your bike receives, rather than what you put it in - although cases are better to prevent piercing or crush damage, so probably better for carbon frames. I now have a Ritchey Breakaway - small enough not to warrant airline baggage charges and well enough designed to minimise damage.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I agree with Monty, it's how you pack it.

    I used one of these this year -

    http://www.cyclestore.co.uk/productDeta ... uctID=3795

    I packed the bike into a bike box my LBS were more than happy to offload on to me and surrounded it with a bit of bubble wrap and most of my cycle clothing. The box then got put into the bag.

    Top banana!
  • spezial
    spezial Posts: 142
    My bikes n planes experience comes from a short flight from Gatwick to Glasgow (and back!).

    I bought one of the DHB hard boxes from Wiggle -http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/dhb_Elsted_Bike_Box/5360026102/

    Though they were reduced when I bought mine, so not quite as much of a sting as they are now.

    The bike got there and back completely unscathed, and it wasn't too much trouble to get it through check in. I was travelling with BA, and they are far more generous with their special baggage allowances than Easyjet, for example, so it's worth checking the total weight of the packed bike and what it might cost before you go.

    I was obviously extremely nervous about packing up my carbon frame for flight, and I don't think I'd trust it in a soft bag having seen what baggage handlers were doing to the suitcases out of the plane window!

    The main quibble with this particular case is that it is a hell of a job getting the bike into it. It took a fair amount of dismantling, and only my very patient girlfriend found a way a turning handlebars and positioning wheels to get it to shut and lock!

    I looked at hiring a bike box alan case before, and they look far bigger and better, and easier too pack too. I would probably say this is a better option if you're not going to be travelling regularly, as DubaiNeil says, a big box is a pretty hefty thing to store, and it won't fit through my loft hatch!
    "what's it pertaining?"
  • nferrar
    nferrar Posts: 2,511
    I agree on the how you pack it is important thing as well, even using the well-padded EVOC I still bought some pipe lagging from B&Q and used it at various points I thought my be vulnerable. If you do go for a cheap padded bag I'd at least recommend getting one with wheels on it, just so much easier to cart around than having to carry it (even if you grab a trolley in the airport you still have to get it inside, which can be a fair way if you've parked at the airport).