BIKING

Best Bike Travel Case: Pack Up and Roll Where You Want To

man opening bike travel case
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Traveling to exotic locations for biking vacations is a great way to get away and have a truly unique experience. Being able to take your bike with you to ride in a far away local is really ideal, and no bike will ever compare to the one you have set up just the way you like it. If you are going on the trip of a lifetime with your bicycle, be sure to get the best bike travel case.

If you have a great bike that you love to ride and want to travel with, making sure that your wheels show up on the other end of the trip intact is everything. Everyone has different needs so make sure to think about how you are going to travel, and what kind of bike you are taking with you.

Unlike many other forms of luggage, bike cases are highly specialized and made to do very specific things. When you start to look for a travel case for your bike, it is very important that you know exactly how big your bike is and how you will be traveling with it.

There are a lot of options, and not every travel case is going to fit your bike, or protect it against the kind of travel you are going to do. Let’s have a look at the types of bike cases that are made, so you can decide what type is going to fit your needs.

Case Types

You have three main types of bike travel cases to choose from, and they each serve a different set of travel needs. There is no such thing as a “best case” overall, and you will have to decide which kind of case is the best for your purpose. You will encounter a wide range of prices and capabilities, so really think about what kind of travel you are going to do, and buy accordingly.

Soft Case

The most basic kind of a bike case is a fabric bag that is usually lightly padded. It is made for keeping your bike from getting scratched up, and is not designed for air travel. If you want to move your bike in the back of your car or van and need to save on space, a soft case is perfect. Soft cases are also the cheapest option, and usually weigh the least of the three kinds of cases.

soft bike case

In addition to being really handy for some kinds of travel, they also make a good option for shipping your bike domestically inside of a cardboard box, or storing your bike for the winter. They will keep the dust off of it, and when spring rolls around just unzip the case and put your bike back together.

Semi-Rigid Case

If you want to fly with your bike and don’t want to invest in a hard case, a semi-rigid is the lowest amount of protection that will suffice. They are usually made from a mix of materials, will offer far more protecting against impact than a soft case, and will have some sort of a space-frame built into the design.

A semi-rigid case will be lighter than a hard case, and this is a big help if you are going to be lugging your case around in an airport, or afterward when you are getting to where you plan to cycle. The major drawback to a semi-rigid case is that they will not resist crushing like a hard case.

semi-rigid case

If a whole bunch of suitcases get stacked up on top of your semi-rigid case, your bike may get damaged. Under most circumstances a semi-rigid case will give you loads of protection for most bikes, but they are not perfect.

In addition to the crushing risk, they are also more likely to allow the your dissembled components to shift around if the case is really punished in transit. If you decide to use a semi-rigid case, make sure to use a lot of padding inside and prevent possible damage.

Hard Case

If you want the most protection possible for your bike when it is in transit, a hard case is by far your best option. That protection comes at a price, and if you decide to get a hard case, be ready to pay for it. They are also heavy, and some find them to be difficult to manage through an airport.

hard bike case

While the price-point is going to be high, the protection that a hard case offers really does make it the best choice for air travel, especially if you are carrying a road bike with you. The frames and components on a road bike are delicate, and the last thing you want to do is arrive to your dream vacation with a bent up frame.

Features

Now that you have a feel for what kind of bike cases are available, lets look at some of the features that you will find on them. Many of these options will make your life a lot easier when it comes to moving your bike once you get on the road. Make sure to consider the practical logistics of getting around with a bike on public transportation.

Size

It seems a little bit counter-intuitive, but there is actually a huge range in sizes for bike travel cases. The hard cases are going to be on the larger side, while the soft and semi-rigid cases will tend to be more compact.

girl with different size cases

This is also going to be a consideration when it comes to fitting your frame into the case, and people who ride bigger frames, or unique frame designs need to be very aware that many cases simply won’t fit their frame. When you are looking for a case, make sure that the case will fit your frame size, and also give you a little bit of extra room for padding.

Another consideration for the overall case size is ground transportation. Just because you can get the airline to take your case, it doesn’t mean that there will be a taxi waiting on the other end that can accommodate your strangely shaped bike case.

Loading

Every bike case will have a unique loading system, and will accommodate your components in a different way. Some may be easier to use than others, and it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the way a bike case is made to be loaded before you buy it.

loading bike into case

Wheels

If you are going to be lugging your bike around airports and foreign countries making sure that it has some wheels on the bottom is a really smart move. Some cases have two wheels, and require that you lift the case to move it, while others have four so that all you have to do is pull.

Handles

Looking for a case that has handles for carrying and also places to attach a shoulder strap is a really good idea. Many cases offer multiple grab points, and this is a really nice feature to have built into your case.

handles for bike case

Padding

Some cases come with padded dividers, and some try to lash or mount everything inside so they can’t move around. In any event it is a good idea to use some foam around parts that may shift, or move in the event your travel case is crushed.

Weight

The weight of your bike travel case is important, and can make a big difference in what you have to pay to the airline. While you are unlikely to be refused service based on weight, you may run into some pretty heavy baggage fees for a heavy bike package.

heavy bike case

Be sure to know what your bike case weighs all together, and check with your airline to see what their baggage fees and policies are.

A Case for Travel

You will find that you have many options when it comes to bike cases, and there is a big difference in prices. Have a good idea of your travel plans, and buy accordingly.

Thule Round Trip Transition Bike Case

Thule Round Trip Transition Bike Case

Weight: 39 lbs

Material: ABS Plastic / Aluminum

Price: $589.95-$609.99

Features: Hard case, wheels, and bike stand. Handles and interior padding.

The Thule Round Trip Transition Bike Case is a great option for people who want to be able to travel anywhere with their bike. It comes with an integrated bike stand, which make it really easy to set up your bike on arrival, and make any little tweaks you need to. There are wheels on the bottom that make it easy to move around, and it also has nice handles for maneuvering it.

This case is built from durable ABS plastic, and has an aluminum rail that adds strength and rigidity. It will accommodate many different kinds of bike frames as long as they are under a 46-inch wheelbase.

There is really no downside to a case like this, and it is priced fairly. This is also a great option for long term storage of a valuable bike, and will keep your investment safe and clean in just about any environment.

Check the price on Amazon

Trico Iron Case

Trico Iron Case

Weight: 31 lbs

Material: Polycarbonate Triconium

Price: $409.99-$422.50

Features: Hard case with three layers of padding inside. Pull strap and wheels for ease of mobility. Exterior straps for extra security.

The Trico Iron Case is an extremely secure hard case for transporting your valuable bicycle. It is large enough to accommodate most bicycles without having to remove more than the seat post, pedals and wheels. It offers three layers of padding, and a contoured shell that is very strong.

This case has been made for around 20 years, and is a model that many of the newer cases are measured against. It is without a doubt a very capable case, and has been getting stellar reviews for a long time. The use of locks is possible, and it has integrated wheels.

Check the price on Amazon

BIKND Jetpack

BIKND Jetpack

Weight: 15.4 lbs

Material: Nylon with aluminum frame and inflatable side walls.

Price: $439.95-$465.99

Features: Lightweight nylon and aluminum construction. Inflatable walls and spacious interior. Wheels and pull handle.

The BIKND Jetpack is a really interesting way to make a bike travel case, and the design offers some major advantages. The case is made from nylon and uses an aluminum base to hold the frame, but the nylon walls are inflatable to help protect your bike from impacts it may encounter while in transit.

This design is not as strong as a hard case, but the inflatable walls offer it a low-weight advantage over a normal hard case. It is a very spacious design as well, and will accommodate most bikes with only the wheels and saddle needing to be removed.

This case is built with both wheels and a handle, and can easily be moved around given its relatively light weight. It may not offer as much protection against crushing as a hard case, and if you have a super light-weight road bike, this may not be the case for you.

Check the price on Amazon

SciCon Areo Tech Evolution TSA Bike Case

SciCon Areo Tech Evolution TSA Bike Case

Weight: 26.5 lbs

Material: ABS plastic

Price: $1125.89 – $1139.95

Features: Hard wall ABS plastic construction. 4 casters and multiple handles. Included many different kinds of padding. TSA approved locks included.

The SciCon Areo Tech Evolution TSA Bike Case is a professional level bike travel case, and has been used by high-end manufacturers for their race teams. It is made from ABS plastic, and is designed to hold all the components from a bike, plus a pair of shoes safely.

It has four casters that allow it to roll easily, and a number of handles and grab points on the exterior of the case. This case includes lots of custom formed padding for your bike, and will fit most bike frames. This is an amazing hard case, and other than the price, it is a dream.

Check the price on Amazon

LOPEZ Bike Travel Case

LOPEZ 26-inch wheel Bike Travel Case

Weight: 8 lbs

Material: Nylon

Price: $69.95 – $89.99

Features: Soft nylon case. Lightweight with carry-strap. Accommodate larger frames with 26 inch wheels.

The LOPEZ Bike Travel Case is a great light-weight option if you need a case to take with you in a car or bus. Because it doesn’t really offer much padding, it is not ideal for air travel. It does come with a shoulder strap for ease of use, and has robust hard wear and zippers.

This case is very light, and only requires that you remove the wheels from your bike, and retract the seat post. If you are looking for a great way to keep your bike safe and out of the way if when you are going over land, this is a wonderful, inexpensive option.

Check the price on Amazon

JOYTU Bike Travel Case

JOYTU Bike Travel Case

Weight: 23 lbs

Material: EVA and Foam

Price: $179.88 – $204.95

Features: Semi-Rigid bike case with 4 wheels and handle. Zipper closure and quick close straps with metal anchors.

The JOYTU Bike Travel Case is a nice blend of protection and price, and gives you a case that will be a whole lot better than a cardboard box for your next air trip with your bike. This case offers you EVA side panels, which are not as strong as ABS plastic, but are going to offer more protection that nylon.

The cases closes with a strong zipper, and then is lashed together with quick-release straps. It is easy to move around, and has two fixed casters and two that steer. It is built to accommodate up to a 29-inch wheel, and just about any kind of bike frame you need to pack.

Overall this is a great inexpensive option for air travel that will give you a lot more protection for than a soft case.

Check the price on Amazon

Hepburn’s EVA Bike Travel Case

Hepburn's EVA Bike Travel Case

Weight: 25 lbs

Material: EVA

Price: $179.99 – $209.95

Features: Semi-Rigid 1 cm thick EVA with foam included for packing parts. 4 wheels and thick handle for easy movement. One zipper clam shell design for easy opening. Quick-release straps to securely close case.

The Hepburn’s EVA Bike Travel Case is a great option for people who want more protection than a nylon case offers, but don’t want to spend the money on a premium hard case. It is built out of a 1-cm thick EVA, and is also shipped with foam parts for you to wrap your bike parts for additional protection.

Four wheels make getting this case around an airport easy, and the two front wheels are omni-directional so that you can steer this case with ease. It features a single zipper closure and clam shell design for easy access. This is a nice compromise between an expensive hard case, and a soft case that will not offer the same amount of resistance to impact as EVA.

Check the price on Amazon

Aerus Biospeed Bike Travel Case

Aerus Biospeed Bike Travel Case

Weight: 9.8 lbs

Material: Nylon

Price: $419.99 – $432.95

Features: Soft case with reinforced nylon construction. Includes padded carry strap and many bags for packing your components. Light-weight and strong.

The Aerus Biospeed Bike Travel Case is made to be easy to use and really light. It is a simple design and is made from strong nylon that is reinforced in the areas that are most likely to see wear. Because it is a soft case it will not provide much protection against impact or crushing.

This case includes a variety of bags for you to protect your components once they have been disassembled, and this will help to prevent scuffing. It can accommodate most bikes, and is a very nice, light-weight option if you are not worried about your bike getting crushed in transit.

Check the price on Amazon

Pack Up And Hit The Road

No matter your travel plans, there is a bike travel case that will be perfect for your needs. If you plan on flying a lot with your bike then a hard case is probably your best bet. The more times you go through an airport, the more likely it is that a handler will be rough on your bike, so be prepared.

bike case going trough airport scan

If you are looking for something that is lighter weight and don’t need a case that can survive big impacts, then the soft cases are probably more what you are looking for, and there are many to choose from regardless of your budget.

No matter what kind of case you decide to buy, be sure to tell other readers about your experiences, good or bad, they can all help us to learn from you. There is a comment area below, and any information you can share would be greatly appreciated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

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