Choosing a bike travel bag can be a daunting task. There are so many different bike travel bags currently on the market and working out which one will suit you best can take hours of research. To help you out we have done some of hard work, saving you precious time and making the task a little bit easier. We have searched the web and listed all the bike travel bags we could find in a data table. Each listing shows the weight, dimensions, price and bike type and links back to the manufacturers web site. The table can be viewed in both metric or imperial measurements so you don’t need to worry about converting from one to the other yourself.
When you choose a bike travel bag for the first time we think there are five main factors you need to consider:
We will go through each of these in turn after a quick overview of the types of travel bags available.
Bike travel bags come in three broad categories which we have called hard, light and soft.
Hard cases are constructed from moulded plastic, aluminium or another rigid material. The biggest advantage of hard cases is the level of protection they offer your bike. This comes at the expense of weight though and you will need to keep in mind the combined weight of the case and your bike, especially when considering airline luggage restrictions. The hard cases in our table range from 8.2kg to 18.5kg. Given their rigid construction there is no ability to reduce the size of the case for storage purposes.
Light cases are made from nylon or plastic and provide the least protection for your bike. In our opinion they are only suitable for travel in a car or on a train where you are looking after the bike yourself. These cases weigh anywhere from 0.5kg to 4.8kg. When not in use these cases fold up and take little space.
Soft cases combine the benefits of the other types to offer good protection without significant weight. These cases generally have a rigid base with wheels and a tough nylon top section supported by battens or a frame. Cases in this category weigh between 4.9kg and 11.8kg. When you get to your destination or return home, you can reduce the size of these cases to make storage easier. We have included the folded dimensions in our table where possible.
Now that you have an understanding of the difference between bags we will go through each of our 5 factors to help you choose the most suitable bag for your needs.
One of the first things you need to consider is the type of bike that you want to put in the travel bag. Are you looking to put a road bike, mountain bike or another type of bike in the bag? Not every bike type will fit in every travel bag so it is important to make sure you chose a bag that will fit your bike. Some bags are designed with a specific type of bike in mind while others will fit all types of bikes. If you have an especially large frame you may find that some bags will not fit your bike. At the end of the day there is a bike travel bag out there to fit every bike and you just need to make sure you match them correctly.
If you are planning to use airlines with your bike and travel bag then the combined weight of the bike and bag is another important factor to consider. Many airlines impose a 23kg limit on bikes while others will allow up to 30kg. The heaviest case on the market weighs in at 18.5kg which does not leave much room for your bike if the airline you are intending to use has a 23kg limit. So make sure you know the weight of your bike when you are looking at different options and consider the combined weight of both.
The next factor is how much you are able to spend on your bike bag. The cost of bike bags varies significantly. In our table the cheapest bag on the market is £30 while the most expensive is £852. The range of prices for each of the types of bags is as follows.
Hard cases – £120 to £852
Light bags – £30 to £180
Soft bags – £117 to £655
Ultimately it is a personal decision on how much you want to spend on a travel bag and there are bags to suit everyone’s budget.
How you intend to use your bike travel bag is the fourth factor we think you should consider. Will you be using it on airlines? Will you need to fit it in hire cars? How often are you likely to travel? There is no point getting a light bag offering no protection if you are going to be doing lots of air travel and handing your bike over to baggage handlers. When looking at different bags consider the level of protection offered, maneuverability, size and durability.
The final factor we think you should consider is how easy it is to pack your bike in a travel bag. Some bags will simply require you to remove the wheels and place the bike inside while others will require handlebars and/or forks to be removed. If you are not comfortable taking your bike apart you may want to consider cases that don’t require too much dismantling. Likewise if you will be packing and unpacking your bike multiple times in a short period you would probably want a case that is quicker to pack.
Our table has nearly 60 different bike travel bags that are currently on the market from a range of different suppliers. So how do you work out which is the best one for you? Is one brand better than another?
To help answer some of these questions we suggest a little more research online. These days there are lots of product reviews available through bike magazines and online bike shops. A quick google search will turn up articles such as “Six best bike bags and boxes for travel” and “Best Bike travel case (updated 2020) – Buyers guide” providing plenty of information. The brands listed in our table have all been in business for a number of years and online reviews highlight any quality issues with a particular brand or model.
Online forums are another great tool and there are plenty of discussions about bike travel bags and the different brands to help you make your choice. You can even start your own topic to get information about a particular bag you are considering. This extends also to Youtube where you can find videos reviewing different bags or demonstrating how to pack them.
Our personal opinion is that the best bag for you comes down to a trade-off between our five factors. For example, if you are looking for a high level of protection then that is generally going to come at the expense of weight and cost. So we suggest working through our factors in your order of preference to end up with a short list which you can then research a little further and make your choice.
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