2022 Bike travel cases
If you are planning on purchasing a new bike travel case in 2022 then this page is for you. We have researched what is currently available on the market and listed it in the table below to give you a head start in working out which is the best case for you. Each listing shows the weight, dimensions, price, and bike type and links back to the manufacturer’s website. The table can be viewed in both metric and imperial measurements so you don’t need to worry about converting from one to the other yourself.
Read on below for our explanation of the different types of bike travel cases and some of the factors you need to consider when you choose one for you. Alternatively, click on the button to jump to the list directly.
What should I consider when choosing a bike travel case?
When you choose a bike travel case for the first time we think there are five main factors you need to consider:
- the type of bike you have
- the combined weight of your bike and the case
- your budget
- frequency and type of travel and,
- how easy the bag is to pack
We will go through each of these in turn after a quick overview of the types of travel cases available.
The differences between hard, light and soft bike travel cases
Bike travel cases come in three broad categories which we have called hard, light and soft.
Hard bike travel cases are constructed from molded plastic, aluminum, 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 18 lbs to 41 lbs. Given their rigid construction there is no ability to reduce the size of the case for storage purposes.
Soft bike travel 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 11 lbs and 22 lbs. 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.
Light bike travel 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 1 lbs to 10 lbs. When not in use these cases fold up and take little space.
Now that you have an understanding of the difference between cases we will go through each of our 5 factors to help you choose the most suitable bag for your needs.
1. Bike types and bike travel bags
One of the first things you need to consider is the type of bike that you want to put in the travel case. Are you looking to put a road bike, mountain bike, or another type of bike in the bag? Not all bike travel cases will fit all types and styles of bike and it is important to check that the case you are considering is suitable for the type of bike you have. While many cases will accommodate multiple bike types, others are designed with a specific bike type in mind. If you have an especially large frame you may also find that some cases will not fit your bike. Given the range of bike travel cases available on the market, you will find a case to suit the type of bike you have, but you need to be aware of this upfront.
2. The combined weight of your bike and the travel bag
If you are planning to use airlines with your bike and travel case then the combined weight of the bike and case 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.
3. Your budget
The next factor is how much you are able to spend on your bike case. The cost of bike cases varies significantly. In our table, the cheapest bag on the market is $US 42 (£30) while the most expensive is $US 1,190 (£852).
The range of prices for each of the types of bags is as follows.
Hard cases – US$ 165 to US 1,190 (£120 to £852)
Light bags – US$ 42 to US$ 250 (£30 to £180)
Soft bags – US$ 160 to US$ 912 (£117 to £655)
Ultimately it is a personal decision on how much you want to spend on a travel case and there are cases to suit everyone’s budget.
4. Frequency and type of travel
How you intend to use your bike travel case 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 in getting a light bag that offers 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 cases consider the level of protection offered, maneuverability, size, and durability.
5. Ease of packing
The final factor we think you should consider is how easy it is to pack your bike in a travel case. 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.
What is the best bike travel case available?
Our table has nearly 60 different bike travel cases 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 cases 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 shortlist which you can then research a little further and make your choice.