Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
for anyone that has traveled international with their MTB, how do you prep it prior to "checking it" I want to box it and check it as luggage anything special to do for customs?
what box can you recommend for plane travel
have a 29er Trek Marlin I want to take. Pros / cons hard / soft case
 

·
Plays with tools
Joined
·
4,648 Posts
TSA is more likely to F it up than the baggage handelers. Make sure it can be opened and closed for inspection easily. The almost always open bikes and they really don't care if they get put back the way they were.

Their are pros and cons to every box. Bags are nice when you get their because you can collapse them down and store them easily. That may be a big bonus on your trip. Storing a bike case is a PITA, if you can't leave it at the airport.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
When I shipped mine a few months ago I used a Trek Project One box. The box had frame straps which really secured the bike, its still a cardboard box so it cuts down on weight.

The secret I figured out with TSA is to make sure to clearly put extra tape on the box. When they search the box they are going to cut all of it off, but they are then more likely to re-tape the box the way it arrived.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
I took mine using a cardborard box I got from a LBS. Ended up with a note from TSA that it has been inspected and no losses/damages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
Any thoughts on using hot glue on the bottom flaps?
I had a box I was thinking of using this summer, but the staples have started to pull through on the bottom.

Glue it on the bottom, tape the top (a lot, per Chicle), and hope for the best.
 

·
There's always next year.
Joined
·
872 Posts
I have a hard case had that I picked up years ago (don't know the brand). Yes, its heavier than the cardboard options, but it has been used by me upward of 20 times, so I'm ok with the weight. I feel like it has more protection, and wheels make it easier to move in the airport.

TSA ALWAYS has gone through it. I tend to think its the cables and tubing that makes them want to look inside. Not a big deal, as I've never lost anything during transit, but something to know for sure.

The 29er may take abit more work to fit inside a box, or not... simply depends on too many variables to give you concrete answer. I know the only thing that is different for me is that the tires have to come off for me to use the protective wheel bags that came with the box.
 

·
'11 Opus Strat
Joined
·
464 Posts
I am planning a trip to Newfoundland in July. Going to bring my 26er XC.

I haven been looking at every detail possible for shipping my bike.

Firstly, NO BOXES. Most airlines will not accept a box ( no handles, awkward, damage easily ).
Go buy or rent a hard-case. I myself am renting a hard-case for around 110$ for 3 weeks ( Cheaper then buying one at 500$ ) Then it's just packing it up, insurance etc, Then the airline fees ( Air Canada was around 50$ )



Another route, maybe a bit cheaper? I was asking my LBS about it. Their option was taking a old bike box, same idea, and packing it up in that. Then send it down through UPS, Fedex, DHL.. I didn't look much into this but it could be a cheaper idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I am planning a trip to Newfoundland in July. Going to bring my 26er XC.

I haven been looking at every detail possible for shipping my bike.

Firstly, NO BOXES. Most airlines will not accept a box ( no handles, awkward, damage easily ).
Go buy or rent a hard-case. I myself am renting a hard-case for around 110$ for 3 weeks ( Cheaper then buying one at 500$ ) Then it's just packing it up, insurance etc, Then the airline fees ( Air Canada was around 50$ )

Another route, maybe a bit cheaper? I was asking my LBS about it. Their option was taking a old bike box, same idea, and packing it up in that. Then send it down through UPS, Fedex, DHL.. I didn't look much into this but it could be a cheaper idea.
Shipping is a good option if you know your destination and the mail service there, is reliable. Some airlines don't like insuring bikes and will not be held responsible if they mess up your bike. You can get it shipped and insured and waiting for you when you arrive.
 

·
govt kontrakt projkt mgr
Joined
·
6,171 Posts
Not correct. Most will accept a box. The better boxes have a built in carry slot as well as strap and buckle fasteners.

I am planning a trip to Newfoundland in July. Going to bring my 26er XC.

I haven been looking at every detail possible for shipping my bike.

Firstly, NO BOXES. Most airlines will not accept a box ( no handles, awkward, damage easily ).
Go buy or rent a hard-case. I myself am renting a hard-case for around 110$ for 3 weeks ( Cheaper then buying one at 500$ ) Then it's just packing it up, insurance etc, Then the airline fees ( Air Canada was around 50$ )

Another route, maybe a bit cheaper? I was asking my LBS about it. Their option was taking a old bike box, same idea, and packing it up in that. Then send it down through UPS, Fedex, DHL.. I didn't look much into this but it could be a cheaper idea.
 

·
'11 Opus Strat
Joined
·
464 Posts
Not correct. Most will accept a box. The better boxes have a built in carry slot as well as strap and buckle fasteners.
Probable differences, Air Canada is what I am basing my info from. AA ( not to sure on other airlines in the US ) probably differ from regulations here.

So that's another thing, If you are traveling out-of-country, see what regulations said country has in place.
 

·
RIDDLELDDIR
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Pita.

Just got back from my most recent trip.. Switched planes three times, even boarded a train twice and really, what a major Pain in the a**... And on that note, I found that both Midway and Ohare to be BY FAR the biggest bike haters of all the airports I flew through in the US, even though Chicago is FREAKING AWESOME (shameless plug). The only time I was actually not dealing with all the BS was when I was in the rental car and could deal with the heavy, bulky case myself.

Yeah, I had my beloved enduro with me everywhere I went, rode some aweome trails, but damn, it was A LOT of money, not to mention the scowels I recieved from the numerous bag lumpers etc.. In the end, after being in and out of the box more than a dozen times I found the following to be quite useful..

- Don't stuff all your tools, lube, spare tubes, soft cooler, beer cuzi or your vaporizer etc. into the box unless you are filthy rich and love oversized/overweight fees-o-plenty.
- remove your rear deraileur, pedals and the like.. Yeah, I know.. OBVIOUS. I totally roached an XO Deraileur.. Yeah, they are kind of pricey to replace, especially on the road.
-don't forget cables, cutters, ferruls, caps chain links and anything else that might break, but dont stuff them in the box.
-Zip tie the crap out of every bloody thing and dont be afraid to stuff, stuff stuff it full of padding, especially if you ride carbon like I do. Id even go as far as dropping it off the roof (not literally) prior to your trip. Nothing ruins a flight like the thought of "I wonder if my bike is ok?"

In my photo, my case weighs 70lbs (140kg) and I've got everything in the box. Horrible idea. Lesson learned: Mountian bikes are nowhere near like road bikes and a 27lb AM bike will easily weigh 70lbs by the time you are done packing.

Hope I could help you avert a serious headache like I endured. Sorry for the elongated post..
 

·
Bro Mountainbiker
Joined
·
3,583 Posts
I would get to the airport early and watch the TSA agent take it the case apart. When I flew this summer they had no clue how to put it all back together and had me help.

Besides that, use lots of rags to keep your paint from getting scratched up.
 

·
YOUREGO ISNOT YOURAMIGO
Joined
·
2,961 Posts
for anyone that has traveled international with their MTB, how do you prep it prior to "checking it" I want to box it and check it as luggage anything special to do for customs?
what box can you recommend for plane travel
have a 29er Trek Marlin I want to take. Pros / cons hard / soft case
Don't.
Rent instead.
That is all.
:D
 

·
The Original Suspect
Joined
·
2,384 Posts
I have recently flown 3 times on Southwest with my mtb in a box from LBS. The first two flights TSA did not even open the box. My last flight the other day, they did, but taped it back up as good or better than I did. Southwest only charges $50 as will take a bike as 1 piece of baggage. Boxes seem to be good for 1 round trip. I have looked into hard shell cases and the weight of the case plus my bike would be close to 60 lbs which would be charged an additional fee.

I make sure my bike is securely wrapped with padding and the front wheel is zip tied to the frame so as to make it one piece. Easy in, easy out. I also add extra cardboard inside and outside to any areas that may punch through.

Good luck!
 

·
> /dev/null 2&>1
Joined
·
3,824 Posts
Tips on flying with a regular bike-box (cardboard) from the LBS -

1) TSA/handlers will lift many times with the built-in handles (holes) in the box, eventually ripping them.

So, line these holes with a lot of packing tape inside and out so that the lift-points don't tear loose.

2) Draw big arrows UP, with big huge letters UP! and MUST BE THIS WAY UP- nothing worse than your bike sitting horizontally with two or three heavy suitcases on top, this will crush the wheels into the bike and bend spokes, etc. If flying internationally, find the word for UP!

3) I used to get away with a regular large size bike box, that the pre-assembled bikes come in
- fork left on
- rear wheel left on
- front wheel removed, put to side with lots of padding
- handlebar removed, padded, taped to top tube
- pedals removed
- tupperware taped around rear derailleur (resting against chainstay & spokes) to alleviate pressure on derailleur. But, you're trading spoke impact for derailleur impact . . . tough call. Basically you just hope they don't drop it.

In the old days you could skip a suitcase by just packing all your clothes around your bike as padding, but with TSA inspecting now that could be a disaster.

4) LBS should also have some plastic caps that come over the hubs on wheelsets, see if you can get some of these to protect your hubs from punching through the box, or rubbing against the frame for the whole flight

5) Do whatever you can to fly non-stop - damage is most likely in handling, not in flight.

Whatever you do, I fear there's pretty good risk of damage to be honest, I wouldn't do it with a really nice bike I don't think. Twowheelmotion, you're brave :)
 

·
No Stranger to danger....
Joined
·
4,596 Posts
First of all you want to strip the frame of paint, crack the welds and pack in as much coke into the frame as possible, i mean really pack it in to your down and top tube, you will need a push stick for this.
When this is done, break up some old weld resistant gloves and push it in the end of the tubes so your coke doesnt smoke when you reweld it back up..
After your nice clean weld back up, respray the frame again, add decals for the finishing touch and your ready to rock..
If your coming to Australia, drop me a PM and we can talk distribution, ;)
cheers
 

·
'11 Opus Strat
Joined
·
464 Posts
First of all you want to strip the frame of paint, crack the welds and pack in as much coke into the frame as possible, i mean really pack it in to your down and top tube, you will need a push stick for this.
When this is done, break up some old weld resistant gloves and push it in the end of the tubes so your coke doesnt smoke when you reweld it back up..
After your nice clean weld back up, respray the frame again, add decals for the finishing touch and your ready to rock..
If your coming to Australia, drop me a PM and we can talk distribution, ;)
cheers
Thanks! :thumbsup::yikes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
I borrowed a bike box from a friend, flew AA into Grand Junction. We got reamed on the bike charges each way, will never fly AA with a bike again.

I wasn't able to witness TSA opening the case in Boston, but in GJ they did it right in front of us as we checked in, and they seemed very experienced with handling them, as well as handling anxious bike owners.

I chose to pack the box relatively light, keeping it under 50 lbs. AA wanted to slap my buddy with an overweight charge on top of the $200 EACH WAY they charged for his bike!!! The most important thing not to overlook is to secure the dropouts so they don't get crushed. You can get a plastic spacer from your LBS, just be sure to tape it in place with electrical tape so it doesn't fall out during shipment.

This configuration left ample room to place rear tire with cassette facing down, and front tire overlapping. (I also removed rotors)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
lol @ aussie Tone's!

I have flown internationally more than 20+ times and domestically countless times and have only had one issue. I had a brand new bike in a box and it never left the box before I flew with it. When I got to Germany it had a bent rear derailuer hanger and a bent rear wheel (all easily fixable). The other times with a bike in a cardboard bike box went flawlessly. I used a Serfas bike box and those were awesome. TSA could easily open it check the box and close it without any problems. I did have my CO2 confiscated every time though.

I have had some luck with fees for traveling with the bike too. When they asked what was in the box I told them sports equipment and was never charged a fee. The card board box almost always received fee unless I was able to sweet talk them :) USAC use to offer free flight vouchers but I don't think they do it anymore.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top