Have bike - will travel

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5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"Dear NYCCers
I need some advice on the best bag/case for my bike for airline travel.
I will be travelling to Australia in December for a few weeks and will take my bike (Full carbon). Luggage will be loaded at JFK, and reloaded at LA. The total time in transit (flying + waiting) will be around 26 h so the case will have to offer substantial protection if it is packed under a ton of other luggage.

Possibilities appear to be
1. Solid cases like the Trico Iron Bike case ($260)

2. Tri ALL 3 Sports case ($470)

There are cheaper ""soft"" cases but I doubt they will provide sufficient protection.

I would be interested in any advice/experience that others have in using these cases.
Kind Regards

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Trico Sports Ironcase

I have had good luck with this case. I typically ship from NYC to Chicago, IL via UPS. I've done this about a dozen times and bike has always arrived as originally packed. One time, a strap was stolen in transit. I called Trico and they sent me another for free.


Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)
+1 for trico

great case. super super tough.

Anonymous's picture
Zenzi (not verified)
trico good but titanium w/ S&S couplings better

Make sure that you have someone with serious experience shipping bikes help you with packing the bike. There are a number of good sites offering tips on the web and these are worth attending to (just google the seemingly relevant keywords and print out the results and pack them with the bike). I have a carbon/aluminum bike with an incredibly delicate-in-retrospect paint job that did not do too well despite having a friend who worked in (sales in) a bike store help with packing it. Remember that anything you loosen (like the seat post clamp) needs to be tightened in order to avoid loose screws.

Also be extra careful to make sure that your address labels are secure. On a recent cycling trip, FedEx hopelessly lost a fellow cyclist's Seven presumably because the address labels came off of the case. Make sure that insurance covers replacement costs. It may be strategically easier and equally expensive to ship the bike with Sports Express as to use the airlines (and the insurance coverage is likely better).

If you plan to do much traveling in the future, I highly recommend getting a bike with S&S couplings or having them retrofit into a bike. I wouldn't do it to a carbon frame although some manufacturers apparently will (google S&S couplings to get the main site and all their info). Although the couplings detract from the beauty of a frame, they allow you to take it everywhere, including travelling solo on a train with other large pieces of luggage. Across about 12 flights (about half transatlantic), I've only had to pay extra once and that was due to a within-Europe 20 KG limit with Air Italia (which only applied one-way thankfully and probably accidentally on their part). Bike cases are an incredible pain compared to a wheel-sized (but heavy) suitcase.

Anonymous's picture
thomas martin (not verified)
Which Bike Transport bag for airline travel

"My thanks to Christophe, Zenzi, Stephane and Robert for your helpful comments.
It seems the Trico Iron Case is OK.

However, Zenzi has pointed out something that I was unaware of - the S&S coupling of bikes.
The frame is ""coupled"" so that it can be broken down to fit in a normal sized luggage case (on wheels). The coupling is supposedly stronger than Renoylds 531, weighs 8 oz, and there is reportedly no detectable difference in ride.
If all the above is true, then that could be a good alternative for my next bike to give me one that can travel easily.

Thanks again for your help.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Bike Friday

Besides S&S coupling, many people reported success with Bike Friday. They're folding bikes that look funny. But I've met quite a few avid cyclist who're happy to travel with one. One of such cyclist was an airline attendent who travels A LOT with his bike. He occasionally rides it on group rides and it didn't seem to hold him back at all.

Unlike S&S coupling, which can take up to half an hour to disassemble and even longer to re-assemble, these folders pack and un-pack very fast. As a side benefit, you can take it into your office cube!

cycling trips