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I’m planning to do a race in March that will require an airplane flight.

I’d prefer to fly with my bike on the plane, so I want to buy a bike box.

I’m hoping not to spend more than $500 or $600.

I’m taking an XL Specialized Epic Full Suspension, so I need something that will fit that bike.

So far I’ve seen some good bike bag options by Dakine and EVOC, but can anyone recommend a specific model?

I want something that’ll protect my bike (it’s carbon), but I‘m also hoping to keep the overall weight of bike and box under 50 pounds.

Any opinions? Thanks!
 

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I’m planning to do a race in March that will require an airplane flight.

I’d prefer to fly with my bike on the plane, so I want to buy a bike box.

I’m hoping not to spend more than $500 or $600.

I’m taking an XL Specialized Epic Full Suspension, so I need something that will fit that bike.

So far I’ve seen some good bike bag options by Dakine and EVOC, but can anyone recommend a specific model?

I want something that’ll protect my bike (it’s carbon), but I‘m also hoping to keep the overall weight of bike and box under 50 pounds.

Any opinions? Thanks!
Youll need to fo softside if you want to stay under 50lbs. I have an older Thule and its nice, but barely fits my newest 27.5 FS bike, as it is i need to turn the fork around.
Friend has a newer Dakine, pretty nice, better than their older one where the wheels made so you had to roll it in flat orientation. Vertical rolling is much easier.
theThule is nice in that it has a rigid base for more protection and folding coroplast side panel inserts (like corrugated cardboard but plastic). Part of base clicks into portable legs to make a mini stand. I can put some tools and shoes and get it at exactly 50lbs.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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depends on your bike.

you're going to need to measure the hell out of everything to figure out what you need size wise.

I borrowed a friend's OLD Thule hard cases once. my wife's 26er was the only bike that actually fit. I think these were made with road bikes more in mind. My FS fatbike had to go in a cardboard box. It worked, but moving it around the airport and into my hotel room was a pain. I also flew an airline that didn't limit me to 50lbs, too.
 

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I'd recommend an EVOC bag. You can often find them on sale for ~$450. My size XL 27.5" YT Jeffsy fits in the bag fine and it's under 50 lbs. The EVOC bag actually has a ton of protection built in and it rolls easy and stable. The PRO model has even more protection.

You could package the bike in a cardboard box for cheaper if you're only flying with your bike this one time but it would be a huge pain in the ass to carry through the airport. IMO you're better off buying a quality bag.
 

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Pro Crastinator
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get a bike box from a shop and be responsible about how you pack it in there. airports have baggage carts, so rolling it around isn't an issue. i've done this dozens of times over the years and never had a single issue yet...
 

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you have to check with your airlines as well. Southwest and Alaska ask for a hard sided case. They will take your bike in cardboard but are limited release items. So if they break it you bought it.
 

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I've had this Thule case (see link below) for over decade. Probably been used on 30+ trips--I loan it out to any friend in need. Its shipped XXL and XL mtb's, 29'rs, road bikes, lots of trips out west, a few trips to Spain and France. Still in great condition but with a few stickers and scuffs. Plenty of room for helmet, shoes, and hydration pack. UPS friendly so you can ship ahead of your trip if needed--TSA is a pain-in-the-colon.

 

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The better Dakine soft sided bag is also good. I've shipped a newer FS carbon bike in mine and it always gets there and back with no issues. The way the bag is designed there is more protection than you would think/expect. As far as whether you would trust shipping companies or baggage handlers more is a crapshoot with maybe a slight nod to the shipping co. just because they are more accountable. And the shipping price isn't too much higher than an oversized check bag with most airlines, though that can vary.
 

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pro tip: pack your tools with your bike. don't put them in your carry-on. as silly as it is, TSA will confiscate your pedal wrench.
 

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No known cure
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I like the Trico Iron hard case. I can fit all my tools and gear inside. It also has wheels and a collapsible handle. Retails for $400. It's been to Europe several times and even though it has heavy wide straps, TSA can get in and out of it without screwing up my layout.
 

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I fully endorse the EVOC “Bike Travel Bag”. The wife and I have traveled with our bikes coast to coast, north to south extensively for the past few years and despite the airlines best efforts to destroy or MTB’s or road bikes, this bag has worked great.

The bikes, (including my XL 29” MTB) gear and tools fit in the bags with room to spare.

Delta, American, United and Alaska have accepted the EVOC with no drama. Note: We always fly first class so the EVOC’s have flown for free. If you are in coach, I’m sure there will be a fee, but it’s certainly less than a bike rental at your destination.

Prior to purchasing the EVOC’s, when traveling we rented bikes for years. The EVOC’s are expensive but they have now paid for themselves many times over. For us, the savings is nice but nothing beats having your own bike when traveling.
 

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I've used the Evoc many times and it works great. Has protection in the places where it's needed. For your purpose, I would recommend the one-wheeled model, as it will get tight trying to keep it under 50lbs with the dual wheel model. I can take my XC bike no problem with the one-wheel model, but on my enduro bike I have to take off a bunch of parts.

But yeah, Evoc works great.
 

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MaoBing
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Evoc Pro is the only way to go......have used it on multiple international trips - I highly recommend it!
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Very happy with my Evoc.
Only thing is the weight of the Evoc Bike Bag. Over 10kg, this ads up if there is a max. weight for your luggage.
 

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If it's one time, I second the suggestion for a cardboard bike box from LBS. I think it's even more protective than the bike bags if you pack it correctly (after all, your own bike made it to you in that box...) Saves on weight, but it's probably oversized, but some airlines don't charge arm & leg for sports equipment.
 

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I've never had a max weight mentioned but just a flat fee. Usually $100 for bikes and surfboards. This includes connecting flights like LAX to BOS to KEF. Somehow golf clubs fly for free when I've checked on sports equipment regs. I've heard of people sliding a large cardboard bike box into an extra large box for double protection. Having had surfboards destroyed in padded bags, I'll never pack a bike for flight in a bag.
 

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You guys are overthinking it. Get one of those wedge-shaped Aircaddy boxes from Shipbikes. They are about 120 bucks with shipping. This includes the metal reusable kit for the front axle. . The boxes themselves are pretty rugged and you can use them several times. I have used them for my bikepacking bike, a large-frame Salsa El Mariachi Ti and all I had to do was remove the front wheel, seatpost, and remove the handlebars. Reassembly is therefore very easy at the destination.

If you only do a few trips every now and then this is a good option. you don't even have to cushion you bike because of the way it is held in the box. Also, the shape almost (almost) forces baggage handlers to keep it vertical. It rolls easily with the wheel kit. The only drawback is you have to buy a new box every now and then and it probably weighs a little more than a high end shipping case. Also, if your bike is greater then 56 inches from the front of the fork to the back of the rear wheel it might not fit. You can deflate the rear tire if it's close which I may have to do with my current bike or you can get one of their larger boxes.

When you think about it, if you get two trips out of the box you are only spending fifty bucks per trip. Up against the cost of most cycling trips this is not that much especially considering how easy they are to pack and how securely they hold your bike. No part of your bike actually touches the side of the box. The rear wheel is cradled in a very rugged cardboard insert and the front is in the wide part of the wedge. I got two trips out of mine (a total of four flights) and the box was a little scuffed by still usable.

Tour Divide, 2017. Houston airport. My lovely wife shown for scale.


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