If you take your bike on holiday with you, the right bag or box can make the difference between it arriving safely or in several pieces. Here's our pick of the best travel cases we've tested so far this year.
Choosing the right bike box or bag
Choosing the right case for bike travel is important if you want it to arrive in one piece. There's nothing like the anguish you feel when you hand over your pride and joy at the airport and see it disappear into the unknown, so having faith in your choice of box or bag can make a real difference.
More of us than ever are travelling with our bikes, whether it’s for a holiday, training camp or a race, and it shouldn’t be difficult as long as you do your research when choosing which airline to travel with and how to transport your bike.
Just because an airline charges to take a bike, it’s no guarantee your ride will be cared for as you might hope. Some don’t have a separate bike allowance but will let you take it as part of your luggage allowance, and some charge by the kilo.
A bike box is an invaluable piece of equipment for any travelling cyclist. There’s no perfect answer as to which is the best, because they all have their trade-offs, so it’s important to weigh up your needs before you buy.
Things to consider when choosing a bike box
Handles can make a huge difference to transporting your bike. One handle might work well for pulling it along, while others make lifting easier. It’s a small addition that can make a big difference.
2. Hard cases
These are made from tough plastic or aluminium. They’re the most robust, offering good protection. The trade-off is that they’re usually heavier and more cumbersome than soft cases.
3. Soft bags
These are made from soft hard-wearing fabric and usually feature added padding and hard bases for extra protection. They’re lighter, which makes it easier to hit airline weight limits.
When you have a week’s worth of luggage, your bike bag/box needs to be as portable as possible. Wheels are a must, and having at least two that steer is helpful. Drag handles make life easier too.
Make sure the box will fit in your car/hire car and check airline size restrictions. Not all bike boxes are easy to carry, but if yours is, it might mean it’s less likely to be dropped by airport staff.
6. Supports and crush poles
Crush poles, made from aluminium or carbon, are used in the centre of a hard case to avoid crushing your frame and components. Supports in soft bags help them keep their shape.
6 tips and tricks for boxing a bike
1. Deflate your tyres
2. Know your setup
3. Make the most of your box
4. Protect it
5. What to remove
6. Use baby wipes
Best bike boxes and bags
Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro
£469 / $TBC
- Size: 147 x 85 x 36cm
- Weight: 8kg
Evoc’s Pro offers a good balance of protection, low weight and portability. This robust bag is given extra in-use support with removable composite canes and PVC tubes.
The frame sits on a plastic block that uses Velcro to attach it to the moulded base, while the fork is housed in a padded sheath. Everything is held securely with Velcro straps.
It’s easy to pack once you’ve done it a couple of times.
BikeBoxAlan GPRS Race
£570 / $TBC
- Size: 105 x 90 x 30cm
- Weight: 11.74kg
- Highs: Solid, neat packing, easy rolling
- Lows: Fewer grab handles than some
BikeBoxAlan has become the hard case benchmark, offering excellent protection without excess weight or costing a fortune. But the USP of Alan’s top-end GPRS is its tracking device that can be monitored by SMS or smartphone app. The wheels use a skewer to attach to one side, with Velcro securing the frame and components to the other. The fixing clamps work well and have provision for a padlock or zip ties.
£744 / $TBC
- Size: 113 x 78 x 30cm
- Weight: 12.6kg
Chain Reaction Pro Bike Bag
£249.99 / $TBC
- Size: 140 x 79 x 28cm
- Weight: 8.7kg
Polaris Bike Pod Pro
£524.99 / $TBC
- Size: 116 x 86 x 30cm
- Weight: 11.4kg
The Polaris Pod Pro is constructed from polypropylene and it’s not only supremely rigid but also very crack resistant. All of the hardware, handles, wheels and clasps are bolted into place and fully replaceable. Of the four clasps, two are lockable for added security.
Inside, on each side of the box, are fitments for the wheels that allow the hubs to centre. These are locked into place with integrated position guides and reusable zip-ties.
The frame is then sandwiched between the included foam and plenty of straps are included to lock it down.
Pro Travel Case Mega
£379.99 / $TBC
- Size: 94–134 x 80 x 30cm
- Weight: 8.5kg
The Pro Mega is a good performer both in terms of its low weight and — for a soft bag — the protection it offers. Inside, an alloy base frame with sliding adjustable clamp brackets copes with a wide range of wheelbase lengths.
The wheels slip into side pockets with hub protectors and there’s plenty of room for shoes, tools and a pump. This bag features a protective inner foam lining and foam blocks to keep things safe, while four removable rigid rods help to keep its shape.
Below, four independently steering wheels and plenty of grab handles make it easy to tow and lift when necessary.
Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 3.0
£569 / $TBC
- Size: 109 x 103 x 50cm (top) / 103 x 93 x 25cm (bottom)
- Weight: 8kg