When Cervelo was doing consumer surveys a few years ago, one of the issues that worried triathletes most was travelling with their bikes. It doesn’t need to be that much of a concern, though. There are numerous bike cases on the market these days that are easy to pack and manage. Once you’ve got your bike all packed up, though, there can still be some headaches along the way. Airline bike fees can be insane – some airlines will charge over US$200 to carry your bike. Bikes are often left behind when luggage areas fill up, too – veteran triathletes are all too familiar with the lost-luggage process.
That doesn’t mean you should ever be wary of travelling with your bike, though, especially when you have cases like these to choose from. Sometimes you have no choice – you don’t want to ride a rental when you’ve been training for upwards of a year for a big Ironman event or a world championship. Riding a rental at a training camp or bike tour just never seems to be quite as satisfying as being on your own bike.
OruCase Airport Ninja — $499
If you hate shelling out airline bike fees, this is the case for you. Be warned, though – there’s more work on your end to pack and unpack your bike with the Airport Ninja. To avoid airline fees the extra packing and unpacking time might be worth it. Made with 1680-denier ballistics nylon, the case is plenty tough, offers lots of protection and, at 12 pounds, is lighter than most other cases. With the Airport Ninja you not only have to take off your wheels, seat post, pedals and rear derailleur, you also have to take off the front brake and fork. Everything fits into handy compartments, though, and once you’ve got it all packed, you can literally throw the Airport Ninja on your back and head to the check-in line.
Biknd Helium V4 — $700 ($900 for special P5X very, shown)
Based in Chicoutimi, Que., Biknd has slowly become one of the top-end bike case manufacturers in the world. Cervélo picked the company to design the unique case that is used with the P5X. And for good reason – when you pack your bike in a Biknd bag, you can be confident it will get to its destination in one piece. Weighing 9 kg, you get lots of protection in a bag that won’t see you hitting the weight limits the next time you check in. Packing your bike in the Helium V4 is a breeze thanks to the generous zippers around the bag that allow the case to open up completely. That said, there’s still some work to be done on your end – wheels, pedals, handlebars and seat post (if you have a larger frame) will have to come off to get the bike into the bag. There’s room for an extra set of wheels, your helmet, shoes and other essentials. Once you’re all done packing the bike, you fill up specially designed air panels to provide more protection, too. There are four swivel wheels, so you can negotiate your way around an airport or hotel with ease, and it’s relatively compact, so you shouldn’t struggle getting it into the back of your rental car once you arrive.
SciCon Aerocomfort Triathlon 3.0 TSA Bike Travel Bag — $949
There’s a reason you’re seeing more and more of these bags in airports and at races these days. Triathletes hate packing and unpacking their bikes, and the SciCon allows you to get to your destination with the minimum amount of packing and unpacking. Packing the SciCon is a dream – you remove your wheels and clamp the bike into the frame. Because you don’t have to touch your handlebars (which get protected with an extra padded nylon cover), you don’t have to worry about doing anything to your electronic shifting. The two sets of wheels allow you to negotiate your way through the airport and, once you’re at your destination, you’ll be ready to go in just a few minutes. Those with larger frames might find they do have to do some adjustments to get their bikes into the SciCon Aerocomfort bag, so it’s worth checking that out with your bike shop before you make the investment.
Pro Bike Travel Case Mega — $780
Thanks to a sturdy alloy frame, the Pro Bike Travel Case allows you to dial in a precise fit for your bike, ensuring you’ll pack it with the confidence that it will get to your destination in one piece. Specially designed pouches wrap around the various components of your bike to provide excellent protection. In terms of ease of packing, this case is almost as easy as it gets – you can get away with only taking off the wheels, pushing your seat post down and twisting your bars. You then just clamp the fork and rear stays into the frame and your almost done. There are two outer zipped pockets for your wheels, and you can easily fit another set in bags on the inside of the case, too. There’s lots of room for a couple of sets of wheels and all your equipment: pump, helmet, shoes and more. Moving this case around is a breeze thanks to the four wheels that roll easily.