Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
25 posts • Page 1 of 1
Travelling overseas next year to Europe with two touring MTBs and we need to keep the weight down. The bikes will have rear racks and probably front racks (these may be removed). I have had it suggested to us that a bag is going to be better than boxing the bikes as the boxes are quite heavy. I'm considering the Ground Effect bags but not sure which to go for. The Tardis is maybe more robust (?) but requires the bike to be pulled down more. My bike has a long wheelbase and may not fit into the 115cm length of the bag. Otherwise it would be the Body Bag, which is bigger and only requires the front wheel to be removed (plus probably seat post, handlebars maybe).
Any experience or recommendations on these bags or others would be valued. Thanks.
I have a body bag which I've used on a few flights with my roadie. You need to remove the pedals, front wheel and bars, I don't have to remove the seat. I used some twin core cardboard to provide a bit more protection from side intrusion and wrapped the bike in bubble wrap. I was able to stuff assorted other items into the bag, helmet, backpack and lots of dirty laundry on the way home!
The resulting package was quite large and was awkward to move around especially as I had other luggage. Fitting some kind of wheel to one end would help. They pack into quite a small parcel when empty so are easy to travel with once you're where you want to be and have binned the additional padding.
Hi il Padrone,
I did mean to post a review of the Tardis from Ground effect and the Torpedo 7 bike bag.
We bought both bags prior to taking our bikes on their first plane trip to Cairns earlier in the year. Both bikes travelled well, the tardis was quite sufficient for a road bike, the Torpedo 7 bike WAY too big; not sure about mountain bikes. I would not hesitate in getting another Tardis for a road bike.
Thanks for the prompt, I will complete the review in next few days and post it up.
My bike looks like this:
and like this when loaded. It may be like this in Europe, or may be just rear panniers. We will be carrying camping gear, tent etc.
So the Tardis maybe a bit inadequate - very time consuming to remove all racks, mudguards, lights, wheels etc.
have you looked into getting a smaller hair dryer? they can take up an awful lot of unnecessary space
No, it's my wife who carries the hair dryer
But seriously, that rig was packed for a long weekend away, carrying a reasonable amount of food. It doesn't hamper me but the damned airlines won't come at a 'total package' payload weight limit. If they'd do this I would carry the bike plus 30kgs of gear easily onto the plane with my low handicap In Europe we may be able to travel a fair bit lighter, just buying food day-to-day.
I've had one of these Neil Pryde bags for several years
It's transported my mountain bike from Melbourne - Santiago - Falkland Islands - UK - Australia. It's also transported a couple of other bikes back and forth from Melbourne to Hobart. I've never had any damage to the bikes it has transported, and it has basically no wear and tear from luggage handing. It has wheels at one end of the bag which with a bit of adjusting of the shoulder strap you can then push or pull the whole bag around airports etc. It also has a nice array of internal pockets for tools etc, and separate removable wheel bags. There's also plenty of space for extra gear once you have the bike in. It does require removal of the front wheel, pedals, and the handlebars from the stem, and the seat post to be dropped but this only takes five minutes worth of work at the other end to fix up.
The bag is pretty well padded, but I've always fitted plastic plugs to the forks, and wheel axles before transporting, as well as protecting the chainrings and derailers with rags or bubblewrap. The big issue I can see for you though, is if you go for the body bag option, you'll then have to stash it somewhere as carrying it around whilst you tour isn't really an option. A box on the other hand you can ditch, and then pick up another one easily at any bike shop when required.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Thanks for the ideas about the Neil Pryde bag. Looks interesting, but it is now discontinued. Shucks!
One thing that I am wary of with either bag or a box is the weight. The Qantas bike box is very sturdy, but very weighty at >3kgs. Some bike bags are built to coset valuable race bikes and have internal frames making them 4.5kgs and more. I do not want this and we need to keep weight to a minimum to be able to take the bikes plus personal clothing plus camping gear.
The Body Bag can fold down to A4 size (1.2kgs) and we could easily carry them strapped onto our rear rack. The bike shop box idea is not so good. I did that once when we went to Tassie. Boxes from the bike shop in Hobart were all ridiculously small - they're often from smaller kids bikes and the current crop of compact road bikes. It was a nightmare to squeeze four touring bikes into the boxes (the kids were not able to really help too much so I was rather stressed by the end of it all) . Qantas boxes are a wonderful size (but heavy as I said), then you need to find somewhere to store them at the destination. 12 weeks is a bit long to reliably store them at a YHA
Currently I am considering options - maybe I take the old Shogun Metro hybrid, set it up for touring; and my wife could nick my daughter's barely used Trek 7.3FX which is 3kgs lighter than her MTB and quite well set up for touring. Or else we could look into hiring some touring bikes in Italy - but for 12-13 weeks ??
I've written a bit about using my Tardis; here's a bit that will give you an idea. I'd guess your wheelbase is a touch longer than mine, but it's a bag and can change shape. My bike certainly doesn't fit in without bulging in places and being floppy in others.
I carried the folded Tardis with me. It weighs 1.5kg from memory, and is about the size of a ream of A4 paper when folded. Because I had it with me, I didn't have to worry about finding a bike box when I put it onto the train/plane etc. The dismantling/reassembly does take a fair bit of time. I can do it in about 30mins at a casual pace, or 20mins if in a hurry. I usually take 45mins because I'm a slow mover.
Here's a link later in the journal showing me assembling the bike.
Thanks for that Pete. So you whipped the mudguards off and secured them to the wheels in the bag? I have a tail-light on my rear rack, but it is hard wired right through from the dynohub (no connectors along the frame) and the cable is cable-tied to the rack strut. Thus removing the rack gets fiddly = time consuming. The Tardis seems more difficult to use for me and I'm more keen on a bag like the Body Bag.
Have you tried your Nomad in the Tardis? Mine would be very similar size to yours.
Last edited by il padrone on Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm not surprised by that, the bike market in little 'ole Hobart is pretty small after all. However I presume you'll be flying into a major city in Europe so I reckon you'd find one of a decent size without too much fuss. Europeans love their sturdy upright utility bikes which have pretty generous frames.
Having touted a bike around the world myself the weight issue is an a*se, but for me if I were using a body bag, or a tardis, I'd want to have a fair bit of extra padding to protect things (which is probably anal). Once you factor that in then your potentially looking at the weight that a decent box would be anyway. Also the advantage of box is once you've bubblewrapped the chain rings and derailer (pretty minimal in terms of weight) you can then stuff your gear pretty successfully in and around the bike.
For that length of time, financially you'd be better off buying something second hand over there and then flogging it off when you've finished. The few days spent sorting it out at either end of the trip wouldn't impact on your itinerary greatly.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Thanks for the ideas. All good vaue for me.
I really do like the CTC's recommendation for travelling with a touring bike and packing it.
There is a clear logic behind it, and it does work - I know having transported my bike several times by air around Australia in the 80s with nothing more than the handlebars turned and pedals reversed. I'm just not sure what sort of reaction there would be from Melbourne Airport check-in staff. It seems boxes for bikes are almost mandatory (like our local attitudes to the h*****s)
There's more than a few touring folk out there who advocate this approach. Part of me would be nervous if it were my bike, but realistically I reckon you'd be fine 99/100 times. Hey, if your airline accepted this sort of packaging, couldn't you just take your bike into Melbourne airport, and get it wrapped up at that big glad-wrapping station for bags, that they put in after people were panicking after the whole alleged bag tampering, Schapelle Corby business? Just a thought...
I guess one problem though is that if your bike is wrapped up, then that's your one piece of luggage gone, and you've still gotta get the panniers on somehow.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Can't help you much with bike transport apart from suggest a new bike shipping carton from a bike shop, maybe get two and staple/gaffer tape them together to make them wider.
What is that black box on the down tube under the front bottle? I'm guessing that bike has a hub dynamo so doesn't need a battery.
Yes, I have a SON28 dynohub. The black box is a B&M E-werk charger, to charge mobile phone, Ipad, mp3 player, digital camera..... and my Powermonkey Extreme 900mA lithium battery to charge any of these separately. It rectifies AC from the hub to DC for charging and means I'm pretty independent of power supplies in remote locations.
No wonder you carry so much luggage
Very nice set up you have there
even the brooks saddle
So, what does Qantas charge for a bike box? Virgin charges $15 for a box, if one could I would just ditch the old box on landing and get a new one on the way home, eaiser then trying to store or carry a bike box/bag. My thoughs anyway.
1. Not flying Qantas. Emirates have a much more generous luggage limit, don't know whether they sell boxes. I have a Qantas box that I used to and fro Alice Springs - still at least one more flight in it. They cost $20 from Qantas.
2. The boxes are very big. Advantages and disadvantages. Great to fit a bike in easier, but I still had to remove front wheel, mudguard, front racks, handlebars and the headlight. At the destination the flattened box is huge to store. As I said earlier, I want to keep the weight down - the Qantas box is >3kgs.
You are right, it's not a big price to throw away but the ability to obtain a box at the other end for the return is the big question. I still am not convinced that a bike box from a bike shop will be a satisfactory fit.
Not a problem. Emirates allow 30kgs to Europe, no limit on the number of pieces.
Yup. Fenders just sit on top of the tyres. Both racks removed with the rear inserted to provide a bit of squash protection. I unplug my rear light at the light. I have a bit of 1/2" retic pipe cable tied under the rack that I run the cable through and it gets wrapped around the rack stay where the cable leaves the frame. If I can, I'll take a photo. For your setup, would it be possible to add a connector/plug where the cable leaves the frame and runs up the rack? Yes, it's an added place for a problem, but if it's a good plug, it's unlikely to be a problem.
I put cardboard down the outside of each of the wheels. I also put a stip of strongish cardboard all around the bike inside the bag to give it more squash resistance. I get this cardboard from anywhere; it's always been easy to come by. I'd recommend some of those little plastic plugs that go inside axles, otherwise the axles have a tendency to pierce through the bit of neoprene (I'm guessing it's neoprene) on the bag. When I've forgotten these, I've folded up a glossy pamphlet and used an elastic band to keep them in place. This worked fine.
I take the stem off and use a couple of spacers to re-secure the fork. I could otherwise remove the handlebars and leave the stem. I remove the disk rotor on the front wheel, but had to leave the rear one on once when I rounded out the Torx heads on the Rohloff thingywotzit. I managed to pack everything so that the rotor was safe, and have been doing it this way ever since. I leave my saddle on, but lower the seat post to where the bidon cage bolts go through the seat tube. I wrap the precious leather of the saddle in something soft though. Pedals off. Cranks left on. The belt pulley doesn't have any sharp bits though and is laterally quite stiff because of it's profile; I imagine a sharp chainring would at least need protecting, if not removal, depending on how it packs up. The chainring will be at the top of the bag when it's packed.
I don't have a Nomad, just the modified Charge Duster. It's a medium sized frame from memory. It looks to me as if your chainstays might be longer than mine, so it might be a bit tighter. I reckon it'll go easily enough though. It will poke out in places and sag in others, but it should fit. I know a 193cm kiwi that transports his FS mountain bike in one all the time. Without racks though of course.
Just as an addition:
I used this bag for a short trip in Southern WA a while ago. I took my expedition bike, and my wife took her Bike Friday NWT. We flew her bike in its suitcase, which worked well because we could leave the bike with my family in Perth while we rode. When we got the train and bus down to Pemberton though, we "quick folded" the Bike Friday and transported it in the Tardis; the quick fold take about 20secs and doesn't involve any disassembly, racks etc remain in place. Anyway, getting off the bus, it was a simple matter to unwrap the Bike Friday, unfold it, clip on the panniers and ride off. My bike however took about 30mins.
I guess I'm saying that there might be scope for these bags to be used with folding bikes and plane flights. I'd like to explore the option more.
Hi, Wondered what happened on the Tardis? I'm travelling to Germany in May with my Tout Terrain Silk Road, which has integrated rack, and the Body Bag is probably a better size for it. I'm also flying with Qantas and they specify a box but the return flight is with Emirates.
Luckily I get 2 pieces of luggage as I'm Silver FF and am putting all my panniers in an Osprey Airporter.
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