Taking your bike on holiday? Road.cc Bike Box/Bag guide


If you’re travelling with your bike you need a decent bike bag or box to make sure it arrives safely. Here’s what you need to look for.

Take your bike in the back of your car and, fair enough, you can often just take the wheels off and/or fold down the rear seats and put it in there. But if you want to get lots of other luggage in too, using a dedicated bag will protect your bike from bumps and scratches, and stop oil from your bike getting on anything else.

If you’re flying, you need to take extra measures. Baggage handlers aren’t known for their finesse or delicacy of movement. No disrespect to those guys but they’re not going to move every bag and case as if it contained a priceless Ming vase, are they? Would you, if you were in their position? Luggage often gets flung about, dropped or stacked sky high, and you don’t want your bike to be subject to any of that with anything other than heavy-duty protection.

We’ve heard tales of people who thought they’d take their bike abroad in a soft bag or a cardboard bike box and it all going horribly wrong. You might get away with it, of course. You might get away with it many times. But what about that one time when your bike is at the bottom of a tower of cases being sorted by a bloke who’s already late finishing his shift?

It happens. Really, it does. And arriving in the Pyrenees with your bike frame snapped in two is, let’s face it, a disaster. Aside from needing to replace your bike in the long term, you need to salvage a trip for which you’ve already paid.

Bike bags and bike boxes might be expensive but chances are that they’re not as expensive as your bike or your holiday. Invest in something that’s right for your needs and it’ll likely last you years.

Wheels

All the bike boxes we know of and a lot of soft bike bags come with wheels that allow you to pull/push them to and from a car, around the airport and so on, and that’s a hell of a lot easier than carrying all that weight.

Wheels that are recessed into the base of the box are less vulnerable to getting broken off in transit and wheels that can be replaced after a mishap might save you needing to buy a completely new bike bag or box.

Handles

You can’t drag your bike bag or box everywhere – you’ll inevitably need to lug it up some steps or over some gravel at some stage. That’s when some form of carrying handle or strap comes in useful; More that one option helps. A shoulder strap will save your arms doing all the hard work.

Locks

Locks might be useful but, realistically, how often are you going to let a loaded up bike box out of your sight anyway?

Okay, it’ll be separated from you for the flight, but bear in mind that if you check in a locked bike box and the customs officials want to look inside, they’ll bust the locks open. Think about it. They need to be able to check what’s in there and a simple lock isn’t going to stop them (otherwise drug smuggling would be really, really simple).

Size

Get a bag or box that’s big enough to take your bike easily. If you have a 56cm road bike with a normal seatpost, you’re unlikely to have a problem with any of the options out there.

However, if you take a very big frame, have an integrated seat post (an extended seat tube rather than a separate seat post), or if you have a full-suspension mountain bike, things might get more complicated.

Check the minimum dimensions you need before you part with your cash, and allow a bit of wiggle room. You don’t want to have to remove every component and use masses of force to get your bike into a box; you need something that’ll take your bike easily. International travel can be stressful enough without adding to it with bike packing pressures.

You can often fit other stuff inside your bike box or bag, in the spaces between the frame tubes, although this obviously adds to the weight and that might be a consideration when you’re flying.

If you intend to drive to the airport rather than take public transport, remember to make sure your bike bag or box will fit in your car. As long as you can fold the rear seats down, that’s not usually a problem.

Oh, and remember that you’ll have to store your bike bag or box somewhere at home. One of the drawbacks of a hard-shelled bike box as opposed to a soft bag is the extra storage space you’ll need for it.

Ease of packing

Getting a bike bag or box that’s large enough (see above) is the essential first step, but beyond that some options are much easier to pack than others.

You’ll have to take the wheels off your bike, either spin the handlebar or remove it from the stem, and remove a pedal (or both of them). You’ll likely have to remove the seatpost or push it down too (depending on the size of your bike). You’ll have to deflate the tyres for flying too.

If you have to remove the rear mech and/or the chainset, things can start to get boring. You obviously have to rebuild the bike at your destination, then take it apart for the return journey and rebuild it again when you get home. As long as you have half-decent spannering skills, that’s unlikely to be a problem. It only takes minutes on each occasion, but it just adds to the faff and might shorten valuable riding time.

Padding

You need some means of stopping the various bits of the bike from damaging one another. Some wheels attach to the walls of a bike box with their quick-release skewers (we’ve had a skewer take a knock and get ruined in this way, so you might want to consider using old skewers for the job) and and have some form of cover to avoid harm, others have their own separate wheel bags, as do many bike bags.

Look for other means of storage for removed pedals, the tools you need for rebuilding your bike, and so on.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can always fall back on the cyclists’ favourite, simple pipe insulation from your local DIY store, to protect the various parts of your bike.

Weight

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to weight. First, you have to move your loaded up bike bag or box around so lightness makes life easier.

Second, you have to stick within airline weight limits. Currently, EasyJetallows you 32kg for a boxed up bike and the Ryanair limit is 30kg. Sticking within those boundaries shouldn’t be a problem.

British Airways, though, say that items over 23kg may incur a heavy bag charge. Larger items (in dimensions rather than weight) like bike boxes can be carried for an oversized bag charge, although they waive this at the time of writing.

The point is, you need to check your allowances with your airline before you travel in order to avoid expensive surprises.

Scicon have published a really useful article on weight allowances and other regulations covering flying with your bike.

Hard or soft?

Soft, padded bike bags are lightweight, easy to store, and they’ll protect your bike from scratches and scrapes. As a rule, they’re also cheaper than rigid boxes. Some come with aluminium space frames and rigid spacers for the frame and fork dropouts to help avoid damage.

Next, there are boxes made from semi-rigid polymers that offer good impact strength. In terms of weight, they’re somewhere between a soft bag and a rigid bike box.

Then there are boxes with rigid walls that provide loads of protection, although these tend to be the heaviest and most expensive options out there.

Between that lot there are plenty of variations.

The Biknd Helium (£479, C3 in UK), for example, is essentially a soft bag with inflatable walls that protect your bike, and it folds down small for easy storage.
Find out more here.
Buy it here

Travel insurance

Get it! Even the best bike boxes don’t guarantee you against damage to your bike, so get yourself some insurance that covers the value of your bike.

B’Twin Bike Cover — £39.99

The B’Twin bag has a large bike compartment, two wheel compartments and a rigid base. It weighs 3.6kg and, like most other bags of this kind, it comes with a shoulder strap. That’s an unbelievably low price!

Merida 29er bike bag — £159.99

This bag is quick and easy to use. It has the advantage of being large enough to take downhill and long 29er mountain bikes.

Find a Merida dealer 

B&W Bike Box — £220.50

An aluminium frame, ABS shell with internal padded walls, and padded wheels protect your bike here. You get four locks and the wheels are replaceable.

Find a B&W dealer

Chain Reaction Cycles Pro Bike Bag — £179.99

You fit alloy crush protection inserts in place of your bike’s hubs in this padded bag, and hold everything securely in place with straps.

Polaris Eva Bike Pod Plus — £259.99

This polymer case is moulded to take the vast majority of road bikes without any trouble. You attach the frame to one side of the clam shell design, your wheels to the other, and zip it closed.

Find a Polaris dealer

Evoc Bike Travel Bag — £239.99

Evoc’s highly rated bag comes with a reinforced fork mount, external-loading wheel pockets, compartments for smaller parts, and multiple handles. It’ll even take big mountain bikes and is collapsible for simple stowage.

Find an Evoc dealer
Read our review of the Evoc Bike Travel Bag

Bikebox Alan Premium Bike Box — £415

This robust plastic case has steel catches to hold the sides together and good wheels to make travel that little bit easier. You can even choose your own stickers!

Merida Premium Bike Bag — £399.99

An alloy internal frame provides your bike with extra protection inside this soft bag. You get separate wheel bags inside.

Find a Merida dealer

Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 — £225

You fix your bike to a frame inside this a nylon ripstop bag, and hold it steady with a strap system. A waterproof polyurethane base and high-density foam padding provide protection for your bike.

Find a Scicon dealer
Read our review of the Scicon AeroComfort 2.0

Thule RoundTrip Transition hard case — £445.49

This ABS hard-bodied case includes an integrated bike work stand that makes taking your bike apart and rebuilding it again super-easy. List price is £494.99 but you can find them for less currently Evans are selling them for £445.49.

Find a Thule dealer

Scicon Aerotech Evolution — £439.99

This rigid bike box is made from a tough plastic polymer and it provides superb protection for your bike. It’s also simple to pack and rolls on four wheels with proper bearings. The RRP of £700 is a sticking point, but shop around and you will find it for less – we found it on Wiggle for £439.99 when we were putting this guide together.

Theatre Thursday: Shed the monster


Cycling is about more than exercise. It’s a lifestyle choice that lifts your mood and gets you out of the house and out of your stressful little world, even for a few minutes. At least that’s what this film from cycling charity PeopleForBikes is trying to tell us.

The advert’s director Evan Fry told Ad Week that although it sounds corny and pretentious “ever since I was a little kid, cycling in one form or another has been my therapy, my church, my athletic pursuit, my trusted friend and my main vehicle for growth.”

Cycling makes up on 6th of all (Central) London transport


Transport for London (TfL) says bicycles now make up one sixth of traffic in the centre of the capital, with cycling levels in London are now the greatest they have been since it began keeping records at the turn of the Millennium 15 years ago.

london_cycling

Mayor Boris Johnson says that the figures show the need for infrastructure such as the two proposed cross-city Cycle Superhighways, due to be approved by TfL’s board this week.

According to TfL, levels of cycling on the city’s major roads, which make up the TfL road network, rose by 10 per cent in the quarter from 14 September to 6 December compared to a year earlier, and by the end of the current financial year it expects annual growth to have hit 12 per cent.

Last year, for the first time TfL began monitoring the number of trips made by bike within the Congestion Charging zone, and says that 170,000 are being made each day, with bicycles now making up 16 per cent of traffic in Central London.

It adds that between a quarter and a half of all journeys on some routes during peak hours are undertaking by bike.

“Last week I announced my final intentions for the new East-West and North-South superhighways,” said Mr Johnson.

“These amazing numbers show how cyclists are becoming ubiquitous in London and prove, if further proof were needed, why we need to crack on with catering for them.”

TfL said that use of the city’s Cycle Hire scheme had also hit new highs, with just over 10 million journeys made during 2014 – up 25 per cent on the previous year, and 5 per cent greater than in 2012, which had been the year in which the scheme saw highest take-up.

It added that the number of hires made at Waterloo station had increased by 12 per cent, which it said suggested “more people are now using the scheme as a viable commuting option,” and it also revealed that customer satisfaction with the scheme was at record levels.

One of the reasons for the continued growth in use of the scheme is its wider availability – now covering 100 square kilometres and with further expansion planned, there are also more bikes and docking stations.

London-commuters-cycling--001

Mr Johnson said, “Barclays Cycle Hire continues to grow in popularity and there can be no doubt that our trusty bicycles have changed the way people get around our great city.”

Tfl’s director of strategy and planning for surface transport, Ben Plowden, added: “Our aim is to make cycling an integral part of London’s transport network and to be normalised so that anyone can jump on a bike to get to work, to the shops or to discover London.

“Seeing these continuously record breaking numbers of cyclists in London is a great demonstration that our work to make cycling easier and safer, including unprecedented levels of investment, is achieving this aim.”

a hybrid bike built for the future


designmilk.

​HUGE Design, a product design consultancy in San Francisco, teamed up with a local bike builder to create the ultimate utility bike for the 2014 Oregon Manifest bike design competition. The result was EVO Urban Utility Bike, a hybrid bicycle with a modular accessory platform that helps the bike adapt to the user’s needs. A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category When analyzing the current needs of city dwellers, they realized that the one consistent thing that was missing was, well, consistency. Not only does every biker have different needs, even these needs change throughout the week. It is this inconsistency that inspired them to build the EVO. A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category The EVO Urban Utility bike combines the robust nature of a mountain bike with the functionality of a city bike to match the different city environments. It has easily detachable cargo accessories that are attached through quick-connect mounts that quickly lock into the frame, or are removed when not needed. A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category The bike also has an asymmetrical frame that supports holding heavy loads in both the front and back of the bike. That “truss” frame geometry is functional and iconic, while also simplifying the welding and time for production. A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category EVO Urban Utility Bike also has a front fork lockout, making it easy to lean against the wall when loading and unloading. For safe night riding, it has front and back lighting systems, as well an integrated frame cable lock. A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  CategoryA Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category A Hybrid Bicycle Built for the Changing Needs of City Dwellers in style fashion main  Category