If you regularly travel to the continent with your bike you have a number of options when it comes to packing it for the journey: protect it with bubble wrap and pipe lagging, borrow a cardboard box from your local bike shop, or use a canvas bike bag. By far the safest way, though, is to buy a dedicated hard transit case. The benchmark cases from Scicon (www.wiggle.co.uk) will set you back around £300, but Revolution, the in-house brand of the Edinburgh Bike Coop, has released this comparatively budget-priced case.
The case is compact compared to its competitors at under 1m high and just over 1m long. With four wheels underneath it's easy to move around an airport or railway station too, and at just over 13kg that leaves a handy 19kg/40lb for what's inside (given a 32kg airline luggage allowance). This is all kept nice and secure by no fewer than six clips holding the hinged halves together with the top two lockable.
Packing the case was much more time consuming than with a Scicon or Elite (www.ultimatepursuits.co.uk) case, because of its compact size. Aside from the usual removal of the wheels and pedals, to get my 57cm standard road bike to fit required the removal of the seat and post, stem and bars. I also had to rotate the fork backwards, therefore removing the front brake, and then the rear mech too - even then with the wheels in the included bags it was still a very tight squeeze.
I also tried it with my partner's bike (a tiny 48cm compact), which still required nearly as much disassembly. With the Elite and Scicons I've used before, wheels and pedals have been the only disassembly required.
Once packed, the Revolution case was tough and easy to cart around. It may be more time-consuming to pack, but at half the price of the competition, it's still a bargain if keeping your pride and joy safe from knocks when travelling is a priority. Warren Rossiter