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  1. #1
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    Air Travel Bike Case Question

    So I'm flying to Australia and want to bring my bike with me - and would ideally like to keep the bike in the same condition that the bike was in PRIOR to those lovely blokes at United "carefully" checking my bike with all the other luggage.

    Now I've read that a hard case is best and there's this recommendation:

    Trico Iron Case

    However a mate recommended that I should look at a soft case WITH an internal frame, maybe something like this:

    Sci-Con Aero-Comfort Case

    I could potentially be leaving the bike there however I'd like to bring the case back with me - would it be worth flying it back or look at shipping options via post or something?

    Any and all advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    MB1
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    Baggage handlers are randomly bad so you can't ever guess if you bike will be damaged or not on any one trip. FWIW we like hard cases but have never had a problem with our bikes being damaged in soft cases.

    BTW be prepared to get raped on charges for a bicycle. You will have to compare the cost of traveling with that case vrs. what you might be able to sell it for overseas before deciding to bring it back.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
    Number 2 on the course.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1
    BTW be prepared to get raped on charges for a bicycle. You will have to compare the cost of traveling with that case vrs. what you might be able to sell it for overseas before deciding to bring it back.
    The additional charges for bicycles sometimes do not apply for international flights.

    The cases should be designed with the max. allowable linear inches in mind. The potential problem is the weight. I have a Trico case and it is heavy -- 31#s unpacked according to the manufacturer. If you are flying economy on United, the weight limit is 50#s before you have to pay extra.

    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,52482,00.html

  4. #4
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    coming back is a no brainer, put your clothes inside the case. It will be your main suitcase. hard versus soft. in the words of chopper "harden up" http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=unkIVvjZc9Y <---F word alert

  5. #5
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    I use crate works

    I know that the box looks cheap BUT, I have flown with it to Europe seven times and have not had a problem (plus countless times on domestic flights). When it is packed it weighs no more than a regular suit case

    The box has held up well. I have had to tape a few of the corners for more protection.

    I think the damage to most bikes is because the bike container weighs a ton and the handles get pissed. With the crate works the weight stays down and it is easier for them.

    But that's just my opinion.

  6. #6
    crj
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    I flew from Atlanta to Tucson 2 months ago with a hardside case and could only put my helment an shoes or it would weigh over 50 pounds. By the way I flew United had no problems other than $125.00 each way for my bike.
    "If it ain't broke the government will keep fixing it till it is."

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by crewman
    I think the damage to most bikes is because the bike container weighs a ton and the handles get pissed. With the crate works the weight stays down and it is easier for them.
    The Trico is pretty impervious to PO'd handlers.

    Another thing to be aware of is that you may be required to wave any claim if your bike is lost or damaged. If you don't realize this until you are checking in, you generally have no choie but to sign.

    Depending on the value of the bike, this may make shipping the better option, even if it costs a lot more money.

  8. #8
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    Shipping it back will likely be insanely expensive--- at least the changes in shipping between the US and Europe are now crazy. Everything goes by air these days, unless you use a shipping broker (which is a hassle).

    Most airlines have started charging for bikes--- but you might get away with just using it as luggage/sports equipment. The good old days are long gone-

  9. #9
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    I have the bike pro peloton case (excel sports). It's pretty light empty (22 pounds) and has been fine for multiple trips to Europe and around the US - holds my 59cm frame, wheels, extras fine. get the big bubble wrap and use it liberally whatever case you choose.

    I not only check with the airline but also print a hardcopy of their bike shipping policy from their website as backup if I get a hassle from a check-in person. Some will try to charge both oversize and overweight fees (most airlines charge only one). And of course help them weigh it, chat with them, and smile while your holding some of the weight off the scale...

    The downside of a hard case is getting it around once you're at your destination - the cars in Australia tend to be smaller than in the US, more like Europe because of gas costs, so it could be a problem getting a hard case around (the soft case fits across the backseats of most cars in a pinch).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike
    I have the bike pro peloton case (excel sports). It's pretty light empty (22 pounds) and has been fine for multiple trips to Europe and around the US - holds my 59cm frame, wheels, extras fine. get the big bubble wrap and use it liberally whatever case you choose.

    I not only check with the airline but also print a hardcopy of their bike shipping policy from their website as backup if I get a hassle from a check-in person. Some will try to charge both oversize and overweight fees (most airlines charge only one). And of course help them weigh it, chat with them, and smile while your holding some of the weight off the scale...

    The downside of a hard case is getting it around once you're at your destination - the cars in Australia tend to be smaller than in the US, more like Europe because of gas costs, so it could be a problem getting a hard case around (the soft case fits across the backseats of most cars in a pinch).
    That is good to hear you don't have problems with the larger frame - I have a choice of 2 frames (one 59cm, one 62cm) and knowing that the 59 fits is good to hear.

    You're definitely right in that back home we all drive smaller cars - do you think it's possible to fit one of these cases in say a smaller car like a Corolla or Civic with the rear seats down using the trunk/back seat area?? Thats certainly got me concerned now as the last thing I'd be wanting to do is to ride my bike out of an International Airport because I couldn't fit it in a car!

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon
    coming back is a no brainer, put your clothes inside the case. It will be your main suitcase. hard versus soft. in the words of chopper "harden up" http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=unkIVvjZc9Y <---F word alert
    LOL - Have to love good old Chopper - don't think I'll be flying "Chopper Air" though! LOL.

    I'll have to keep looking but that is a great idea about using the case as a suitcase on the way back.
    Last edited by rowboy; 11-08-2008 at 11:17 AM.

  11. #11
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowboy
    So I'm flying to Australia and want to bring my bike with me - and would ideally like to keep the bike in the same condition that the bike was in PRIOR to those lovely blokes at United "carefully" checking my bike with all the other luggage.

    Now I've read that a hard case is best and there's this recommendation:

    Trico Iron Case

    However a mate recommended that I should look at a soft case WITH an internal frame, maybe something like this:

    Sci-Con Aero-Comfort Case

    I could potentially be leaving the bike there however I'd like to bring the case back with me - would it be worth flying it back or look at shipping options via post or something?

    Any and all advice is appreciated!

    TRICO IRON CASE. Then, get some PVC floor flanges and some PCV pipe at a hardware store and build some compression spacers to keep the sides from imploding in (in case the bicycle case is a the bottom of a pile of suitcases). You'd probably want to build two or three of them.

    Take a look at the white things on the picture on this page:

    http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?p...ajor=9&minor=1

    Good luck!

  12. #12
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    Having just traveled but from Austin with a Trico Iron Case I can say it did a great job protecting my bike. The cost is now 150 domestic each way on Delta and I had heard 300 for international. I was lucky and they honored the 80 dollar price when I purchased the ticket. My XL Giant TCR fit but barely and I did pad the heck out of my seat tube and fork. I also brought my handlebars in a box on my checked luggage which work out pretty good. They are making the "oversize" much smaller, like 62 inch L+W+H. Going to have to factor that cost into any future ticket purchases for skiing and biking vacations.
    Just fast enough to know I am slow.

  13. #13
    pretty-n-pink
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    Prepare to bend over w/ Delta

    Quote Originally Posted by jupiterrn
    Having just traveled but from Austin with a Trico Iron Case I can say it did a great job protecting my bike. The cost is now 150 domestic each way on Delta and I had heard 300 for international. I was lucky and they honored the 80 dollar price when I purchased the ticket. My XL Giant TCR fit but barely and I did pad the heck out of my seat tube and fork. I also brought my handlebars in a box on my checked luggage which work out pretty good. They are making the "oversize" much smaller, like 62 inch L+W+H. Going to have to factor that cost into any future ticket purchases for skiing and biking vacations.
    You're right. You bend over with Delta. I just did a tour in the Pyrenees and it was $600 round trip international for tickets purchased after 7/08. British Airways was 0. I ended up hiring a bike in France. So check before purchasing your ticket.
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  14. #14
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    I called to confirm with United and they said $200 each way - considering that's international it's not so bad.

    So the consensus is the Trico??

    Again - I'm a little concerned that the Trico may not FIT in my car to get myself too and from the airport - would it fit in a small car (Civic/Corolla) with the rear seats down?

    EDIT - so I'll add a twist here and see what people think:

    AS this could be a potential one way journey for this bike in particular would a CRATEWORKS box be sufficient for a one time use?? The reason I ask is economy wise this is a winner as I only have to pay the cost of the box and ONE shipping way so the total cost would be $300 where as the Trico would be $700 as I'd have to bring it back.

    What do you peoples think? Would you trust a Time VRX in one of these?
    Last edited by rowboy; 11-09-2008 at 04:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    I use the Velo II from TriAll3Sports. Primarily because I wanted minimal breakdown/setup.
    http://www.triall3sports.com/

  16. #16
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    For one-way you can probably get a Trek Madone box free from your LBS which would be comparable to the Crateworks.
    Just go ape with the padding etc.
    I got one for recent trip to Sunshine Coast and will hang on to it for next year but probably slide in a couple of MDF panels or similar as my mate got a pram wheel through the side of his.
    Main issue with these boxes is the size - would only fit in a station wagon or ute.
    Lucky there was enough of us to use maxi-cabs for transfers.

  17. #17
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by swuzzlebubble
    For one-way you can probably get a Trek Madone box free from your LBS which would be comparable to the Crateworks.
    Just go ape with the padding etc.
    I got one for recent trip to Sunshine Coast and will hang on to it for next year but probably slide in a couple of MDF panels or similar as my mate got a pram wheel through the side of his.
    Main issue with these boxes is the size - would only fit in a station wagon or ute.
    Lucky there was enough of us to use maxi-cabs for transfers.

    Don't go too "ape" with the padding. Don't put in so much padding that there is no wiggle room in the box. If you pack too tightly, there is no give in the packing material and any shocks will be transmitted down into your bike frame.

    And how far is it to the airport? Maybe a bike box hanging out the back end isn't too bad to cope with the heater on full blast and a bungee cord to hold down the hatch. Just make certain your driver doesn't have too many pre-flight beers (the ultimate cyclist recovery beverage -- may pre-recovery since you didn't do the ride yet) with you. Also an extra day upon arrival may allow yu to deal with any airline induced mechanical issues.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowboy
    I called to confirm with United and they said $200 each way - considering that's international it's not so bad.

    So the consensus is the Trico??

    Again - I'm a little concerned that the Trico may not FIT in my car to get myself too and from the airport - would it fit in a small car (Civic/Corolla) with the rear seats down?

    EDIT - so I'll add a twist here and see what people think:

    AS this could be a potential one way journey for this bike in particular would a CRATEWORKS box be sufficient for a one time use?? The reason I ask is economy wise this is a winner as I only have to pay the cost of the box and ONE shipping way so the total cost would be $300 where as the Trico would be $700 as I'd have to bring it back.

    What do you peoples think? Would you trust a Time VRX in one of these?
    Might also want to check out FEDEX or UPS or DHL to see what it would cost to ship a bike and box and have a friend pick it up at the other end (or a bike shop). TRICO case definitely the best out there.

  19. #19
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    Travelled with my bike from Singapore to LAX using the cardboard box (it's the better one that Trek ships the Madones in) and no problems except at customs since they wanted to inspect it. That was a real pain in the butt.

    Literally made me regret/pissed/cranky for awhile after.
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  20. #20
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    So this is the route I elected to follow:

    I originally went to the crateworks site, clicked buy - then at the point where you selected your shipping rate I literally said WTF??? The price of the bow is $120 yet they were charging $50 to ship a flat, cardboard box that literally would have been used once.

    So I hit up craigslist and picked up locally a used Serfas hard travel case for about the same amount of cash that the Crateworks would have cost - for equal money I'm getting far better protection.

    Moral of the story - shipping kills the crateworks.

  21. #21
    Rain Man
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    Probably too late, but....

    use a card board box from a bike shop (FREE!!!!!) if you you are going to leave the bike in Australia. Keep the Serfas for future travel.
    I travel a lot with my bike and have a Trico for 'no charge' travel and a coupled bike for travel where the airline tries to rip me off. When I tour, I use a card board box that I leave at the arrival airport. Then I get a FREE box from a bike shop at the departure city.
    Main thing is, have fun and ride safe.

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