Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

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Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby sir_camel » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:20 pm

So I'm heading up to Noosa in November to do my first triathlon. I'm probably flying JetStar who have the most flights to Maroochydore and have easy excess baggage rates. I'll just pre purchase 25kg and try and get to the airport early etc.

I was curious as to what you guys and girls have used to transport your bikes on a plane.

Friends have used bike boxes from the LBS but I am worried about my carbon frame in those. Also have a few mates with those soft, lightly padded ones much like this http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=20604 from CRC.

I was thinking of the Enviro Box http://www.envirobikebox.com.au/ and just missed out on a Trico Iron Bike Case on eBay for a steal.

What do you use or recommend?
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by BNA » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:45 pm

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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby PA » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:45 pm

$16.50 from the Qantas/Jetstar service counter. You can also put other items in the box. I put our two Carbon roadies and shoes etc in one when we went to Cairns for the Tri up there. I did need to put our front wheels in a bag as two bikes with four wheels was to much. Pack tape to repack the box for the flight home.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:00 pm

Have a look at these, a nifty idea for a bike box: www.envirobikebox.com.au
This gentleman was at the Sydney bike and lifestyle show, the boxes are simple:

Advantages:
- very light
- foldable flat (when travelling)
- Checked in as a box not a bike, so the waiver is not required
- cheap (ca. $100)

Disadvantages:
- Doesn"t have the side protection or overall strength of a hard cover bike box
- No internal padding etc -you pad it yourself


It has some big plus points and wins over a soft big. A very interesting option.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby JV911 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:24 am

AUbicycles wrote:- Checked in as a box not a bike, so the waiver is not required


as long as you're under your kg allowance, there are no additional fees for hardcases


AUbicycles wrote:- Doesn"t have the side protection or overall strength of a hard cover bike box


After seeing what the baggage handlers did to a mate's bike on the way back from France, all I can say is that I'm glad I used a hardcase!

Sure there is a weight penalty (mine is 13kg) but at least your bike won't end up looking like a taco
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby SpinninWheels » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:46 am

I transported my bike (carbon roadie) in a box from a LBS from Syd to Bris. It was well packed and presented no problems. The cardboard was very sturdy and id a good job.

I am currently planning a few interstate events, so will be buying this: http://bikeboxalan.co.uk/ for the job. It might be a few bucks up front, but what's inside is worth a lot more, and they provide a sort of insurance if your bike is damaged while inside the case (details on the web site).
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby JV911 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:05 pm

SpinninWheels wrote:http://bikeboxalan.co.uk/


that's awesome
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby Ross » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:22 pm

I travelled o/s with my bike a couple of years ago and bought a hardcase to pack it in.
Pro: It protects the bike well
Cons: Case weighs about 13kg empty so by the time you add the bike and a couple of tools and maybe some clothes it's over 25kg and so airlines rape you for excess luggage charges
Con: It's also large and awkward, won't fit in a regualr taxi, need a van or wagon
Con: You have to dismantle the bike a fair bit to get it in the case
Con: Pretty exxy if you buy new - over $200

I travelled interstate (by air) last year and borrowed a soft bike bag (DHB brand from Wiggle)
Pro: Light and can be folded away when not in use
Pro: Bike doesn't require much dismantling
Pro: Has wheels on one end so easy to wheel around
Pro: About 1/3 price of hard case
Con: Still quite bulky when a bike is in it so requires a van or wagon to move it
Con: Doesn't protect bike as well as hard case (advised to put sheets of cardboard in the sides for extra protection and to make the bag stiffer so it will stand up)
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby scirocco » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:38 pm

Have travelled interstate and overseas numerous times with a carbon frame and wheels in a modified LBS cardboard bike box with no issues. Pack the frame with foam tubing and make sure nothing is free to rattle.

Soft cases don't give enough protection from the baggage throwers and hard cases weigh too much. The box is a decent compromise.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby Bakks » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:47 pm

On this subject, when checked in as a bike does the item come out before / after / during the normal checked in luggage? Unfortunantly I've got time restrictions to work with.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby Summernight » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:49 pm

Bakks wrote:On this subject, when checked as a bike does the item come out before / after / during the normal checked in luggage? Unfortunately I've got time restrictions to work with.


Depends on the airport and the airline procedure, I believe.

Some airports have the oversized stuff being picked up from a different location to the suitcases as well.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby dalai47 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:05 pm

Summernight wrote:
Bakks wrote:On this subject, when checked as a bike does the item come out before / after / during the normal checked in luggage? Unfortunately I've got time restrictions to work with.


Depends on the airport and the airline procedure, I believe.

Some airports have the oversized stuff being picked up from a different location to the suitcases as well.


I've always gone to a separate counter to pick up the bike.
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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby dalai47 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:15 pm

I have the Polaris Bike Pod. I've found it a good compromise between protection and weight. Made with EVA, it offers more protection than a soft case but lighter than a hard case.

Ended up being 19kg with bike and tools last OS trip. Just made sure the frame was covered using slit pipe lagging and reusable cable ties.

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Re: Bike on a Plane - best bike box options?

Postby CW83 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:11 am

I pack our titanium and steel bicycles wrapped in foam and bubble wrap inside cardboard boxes from the LBS.

I reinforced the bottom of each box with an extra layer of cardboard which wraps up over the side and end edges; I also reinforced the cut-out handles. I attached the reinforcing with that khaki colored plastic wrapping tape. In fact, I wrapped the entire outside of the boxes in that tape. It provides a small measure of waterproofing (important if you get caught in a downpour), strengthens the boxes somewhat, and makes them less susceptible to tearing and a little easier to slide on floors &c.

I printed some "This Way Up", "Handle With Care" signs, a silhouette drawing of a bike, and some large arrows on A4 paper, and used more wrapping tape to stick them on all sides of the boxes under a layer of hard, clear plastic (I think the clear plastic was old transparency sheets—a less robust alternative would be those plastic envelopes you clip into folders). I print and attach the shipping addresses in the same way. The boxes and bikes have survived a number of trips with less than careful handling by many baggage handlers, taxi and bus drivers &c; they've also survived a tropical monsoon in an open-sided shed.

I got the boxes free from the LBS, the tape cost me about $10 from a $2 shop; I salvaged the transparency sheets, foam, and bubble wrap; the printing costs were minimal. The major cost was my time and energy in wrapping them in the plastic wrapping tape—about 1 to 1.5 hours. Since I've been able to reuse the boxes several times and they show no sign of falling apart yet, I think they've been a good investment. They've prompted good-humored comments and compliments from customs officers and baggage handlers—good humor can be helpful in busy airport situations.

BTW, I pack the bikes with the tyres let down and the rear wheel on. I tuck the front wheel beside the frame, spread the front fork with a piece of dowel between the dropouts, put a small piece of cardboard or foam between the bottom of the forks and the box, remove the pedals and RD (keeping the cable attached to it) and tape them to the frame. I turn and tape the handlebars to the frame with padding in between. I've also been able to fit in racks, bags, mudguards, tools, and clothes (in cloth or plastic bags) as packing material between contact points. I close the already wrapping tape wrapped lid with, yep, more wrapping tape. I cut open the lid with a knife at the destination.
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