Soft vs Hard Bike Case

Traveling with a bike. Bike Box reviews. Bike travel hacks. Organized Bike Events, Gran Fondos, and Cycling Destinations. Self-Promotion of upcoming events welcome.

Moderator: robbosmans

Soft vs Hard Bike Case for Air Travel

Soft Case
17
30%
Hard Case
35
63%
Cardboard Box
2
4%
I ship my bike
0
No votes
Depends on the situation
0
No votes
Something else
2
4%
 
Total votes: 56

NSWCruiser
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:53 am

by NSWCruiser

I think what bike box to use is really situational. I have used the SCICON AEROTECH and EVOC Bike Travel Bike Pro before, now settling with EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro for my Tarmac and cardboard for my Epic. Here are some Pros and Cons:

SCICON Aerotech: (Retired)
Good protection, not too big, but it required some disassembly (handlebar/pedals/wheels), quite painful when your cables are routed internally.
The internal space is very tight too, not a lot of room to put your stuff inside.
You need to fully deflate the tyres to fit the wheels inside, so not very friendly to tubeless users
The case is not very compatible with modern road bikes with integrated cockpits and tubeless tyres
Also bear in mind that the box is quite heavy.

EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro: (Retired)
Good protection too, never had any issues flying with this bag for several times.
Not as heavy as the SCICON AEROTECH.
You get adequate internal space to put your shoes and clothes inside.
You have compartment insides to put the tools you need.
The bag is compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.
The downside is that the bike bag requires you to remove the handlebar, especially for bikes with internal cabling and the brake hoses are short, you need to plan very well how you pack your bike

EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro: (Currently using)
Required minimum disassembly (removing wheelset only). Good Protection. Lots of space inside.
No downside except the form factor is huge. Be prepared to rent a SUV when travelling around with this bag.

Cardboard: (Get one from my LBS whenever I need)
I use the cardboard only for my mountain bike
Usually require removing handlebar/pedals and wheels. I wouldnt mind so much because MTBs are external cabling.
Cardboard is light in general, and actually more sturdy than you think. I don't have to worry about overweight (23kg limit).

After all, there is no single bike bag that is perfect in terms of protection, form factor and assembly. You always have to sacrifice one element.
2023 S-WORKS EPIC EVO
2024 S-WORKS TARMAC SL8

Retired
-------------
2022 Cervelo R5
2019 Specialized Tarmac SL6

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



LOWIEV
Posts: 204
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:03 pm

by LOWIEV

NSWCruiser wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:10 am
I think what bike box to use is really situational. I have used the SCICON AEROTECH and EVOC Bike Travel Bike Pro before, now settling with EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro for my Tarmac and cardboard for my Epic. Here are some Pros and Cons:

SCICON Aerotech: (Retired)
Good protection, not too big, but it required some disassembly (handlebar/pedals/wheels), quite painful when your cables are routed internally.
The internal space is very tight too, not a lot of room to put your stuff inside.
You need to fully deflate the tyres to fit the wheels inside, so not very friendly to tubeless users
The case is not very compatible with modern road bikes with integrated cockpits and tubeless tyres
Also bear in mind that the box is quite heavy.

EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro: (Retired)
Good protection too, never had any issues flying with this bag for several times.
Not as heavy as the SCICON AEROTECH.
You get adequate internal space to put your shoes and clothes inside.
You have compartment insides to put the tools you need.
The bag is compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.
The downside is that the bike bag requires you to remove the handlebar, especially for bikes with internal cabling and the brake hoses are short, you need to plan very well how you pack your bike

EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro: (Currently using)
Required minimum disassembly (removing wheelset only). Good Protection. Lots of space inside.
No downside except the form factor is huge. Be prepared to rent a SUV when travelling around with this bag.

Cardboard: (Get one from my LBS whenever I need)
I use the cardboard only for my mountain bike
Usually require removing handlebar/pedals and wheels. I wouldnt mind so much because MTBs are external cabling.
Cardboard is light in general, and actually more sturdy than you think. I don't have to worry about overweight (23kg limit).

After all, there is no single bike bag that is perfect in terms of protection, form factor and assembly. You always have to sacrifice one element.
I see you also own the SL8. You would recommend the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro ?
And you dont have the take off the Rapide Cockpit? :)

NSWCruiser
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:53 am

by NSWCruiser

LOWIEV wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2024 11:32 am
NSWCruiser wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:10 am
I think what bike box to use is really situational. I have used the SCICON AEROTECH and EVOC Bike Travel Bike Pro before, now settling with EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro for my Tarmac and cardboard for my Epic. Here are some Pros and Cons:

SCICON Aerotech: (Retired)
Good protection, not too big, but it required some disassembly (handlebar/pedals/wheels), quite painful when your cables are routed internally.
The internal space is very tight too, not a lot of room to put your stuff inside.
You need to fully deflate the tyres to fit the wheels inside, so not very friendly to tubeless users
The case is not very compatible with modern road bikes with integrated cockpits and tubeless tyres
Also bear in mind that the box is quite heavy.

EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro: (Retired)
Good protection too, never had any issues flying with this bag for several times.
Not as heavy as the SCICON AEROTECH.
You get adequate internal space to put your shoes and clothes inside.
You have compartment insides to put the tools you need.
The bag is compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.
The downside is that the bike bag requires you to remove the handlebar, especially for bikes with internal cabling and the brake hoses are short, you need to plan very well how you pack your bike

EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro: (Currently using)
Required minimum disassembly (removing wheelset only). Good Protection. Lots of space inside.
No downside except the form factor is huge. Be prepared to rent a SUV when travelling around with this bag.

Cardboard: (Get one from my LBS whenever I need)
I use the cardboard only for my mountain bike
Usually require removing handlebar/pedals and wheels. I wouldnt mind so much because MTBs are external cabling.
Cardboard is light in general, and actually more sturdy than you think. I don't have to worry about overweight (23kg limit).

After all, there is no single bike bag that is perfect in terms of protection, form factor and assembly. You always have to sacrifice one element.
I see you also own the SL8. You would recommend the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro ?
And you dont have the take off the Rapide Cockpit? :)
Remove the wheels and you are good to go
2023 S-WORKS EPIC EVO
2024 S-WORKS TARMAC SL8

Retired
-------------
2022 Cervelo R5
2019 Specialized Tarmac SL6

Eterna7m
Posts: 394
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:25 pm

by Eterna7m

usr wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2023 1:57 pm
jekyll man wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2023 11:18 am
If you look through slowtwitch forum, there's plenty of threads regarding carriers not covering damage if a bag has been used, and not a hard case.
Is there any evidence that if it had been a hard case, they would have covered, instead of pulling some other excuse from thin air?

I use a hard case, the case has been damaged to the point of requiring repairs four times (and one time I watched it fall off the conveyor from about chest height, without damage).

But having watched many ride buddies pack their bikes in some hotel backyard, I think it would be an EVOC if I had to buy again.

Actually I'd probably buy the same that I already have, B&W bikebox2, but not because I think it's the best case but because I'm already so well stocked with spares - the company has been very cool with supplying them and I'd gladly give them more business. Perhaps that could be considered a good role of thumb in general: use a case from a company that's somewhat local to you. Doesn't have to be around the corner, but when you need spares you want to talk to the main offices and not just to some import company intermediary who does not feel particularly connected to the entire transport case market at all.
Have you by any chance considered the bw guard curve?
I'm currently debating the be bike box 2, the bwcurve and the bike box Alan plus and scicon evolution x.
The bike box cost about 2/3 of the others...

usr
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:58 pm

by usr

Eterna7m wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 1:54 pm
Have you by any chance considered the bw guard curve?
I'm currently debating the be bike box 2, the bwcurve and the bike box Alan plus and scicon evolution x.
The bike box cost about 2/3 of the others...
Did not consider at the time of the original purchase, but later when I discovered a (very temporary) offer for a Storck-branded BG curve at basically BB2 price. I guess Storck discovered the hard way that before you start stocking bike cases, you should better consider warehouse volume cost in advance?

The curve is essentially the bike box 2 with the shell made from a different plastic. Same wheels, same soft goods, at least now in the "black belt" generation. The advertised weight advantage is very tempting (travel to/from airports is rarely without challenges), but some shops seem to advertise the curve with box-only weight and the BB2 with box + innards, so the weight advantage appears bigger than it is (I think B&W have comparable numbers on their site). If my BB2 went unrecoverable I might be tempted to upgrade, but it sometimes lives in a tailored cabinet cavity where the curve would not fit, so I'd probably go cheap again.

I still think that the UK style boxes (alan and the like) are quite attractive, but I'm not sure they offer enough flexibility for stuff that isn't 100% regular bike travel (e.g. my bike flies crank off, because that's easier than setting up the OG Bepro that happen to be on that bike)

Eterna7m
Posts: 394
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:25 pm

by Eterna7m

usr wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 5:39 pm
Eterna7m wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 1:54 pm
Have you by any chance considered the bw guard curve?
I'm currently debating the be bike box 2, the bwcurve and the bike box Alan plus and scicon evolution x.
The bike box cost about 2/3 of the others...
Did not consider at the time of the original purchase, but later when I discovered a (very temporary) offer for a Storck-branded BG curve at basically BB2 price. I guess Storck discovered the hard way that before you start stocking bike cases, you should better consider warehouse volume cost in advance?

The curve is essentially the bike box 2 with the shell made from a different plastic. Same wheels, same soft goods, at least now in the "black belt" generation. The advertised weight advantage is very tempting (travel to/from airports is rarely without challenges), but some shops seem to advertise the curve with box-only weight and the BB2 with box + innards, so the weight advantage appears bigger than it is (I think B&W have comparable numbers on their site). If my BB2 went unrecoverable I might be tempted to upgrade, but it sometimes lives in a tailored cabinet cavity where the curve would not fit, so I'd probably go cheap again.

I still think that the UK style boxes (alan and the like) are quite attractive, but I'm not sure they offer enough flexibility for stuff that isn't 100% regular bike travel (e.g. my bike flies crank off, because that's easier than setting up the OG Bepro that happen to be on that bike)
Thanks for the thorough answer.
I think the curve is also a smidge bigger. And you're right, judging from their website the difference in weight seems to be only 800g.
I don't think that is worth the 260€ price difference as long as I get my bike in.
But do you think the material is sturdy enough? Read some mixed reviews.

Think I might just order the box and see if it can fit my stuff.
I just saw they also make a bike case that has a proper Aluminium lip, but apparently that is just a bit too heavy.

usr
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:58 pm

by usr

One other difference besides weight is what they call stackability: they are both curved, but the "curve" has those protrusions near the corners that keep load from the soft middle part as long as pressure is applied by a somewhat flat surface. Given the socio-physical law that hard-ish cases always end up lowest in multi-bike airport transfer situations, this can really make a difference. On the other hand, my BB2 had wheels torn off (well, one wheel), multiple of those huge straps, and the edges of the shells are mended with a small zoo of sheet metal and thermoset-carbon braces, but the seemingly weak curved part had never caused any issue.

spartacus
Posts: 1049
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

I took my coupler bike to Europe in the s&s soft backpack case. If it was ANY bigger it wouldn't have fit a few places I needed to go such as on the train. You can easily padd it by sticking clothes in the outside pockets - it's quite well protected.

User avatar
ultimobici
in the industry
Posts: 4463
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Trento, Italia
Contact:

by ultimobici

spartacus wrote:I took my coupler bike to Europe in the s&s soft backpack case. If it was ANY bigger it wouldn't have fit a few places I needed to go such as on the train. You can easily padd it by sticking clothes in the outside pockets - it's quite well protected.
Living in Europe and having travelled extensively by rail all over, I call BS. I’ve never had any issues fitting my Evoc case on trains.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Sander7721
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2021 6:41 pm

by Sander7721

I am actually waitimg for an apparently what is a game changing bike box if it ever turns up!!
ShokBox Pro this one might actullay take the claimed 10 minutes to pack that the bike box Alan Aero Claims but more like 30-45mins!
Also like some I have seen what some of the baggage handlers are like so nothing less than a hard case IMO, no point relying on luck!
SL8 Maganta 54CM 6kgs
Winspace SLC 2.0

spartacus
Posts: 1049
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

ultimobici wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2024 7:56 am
spartacus wrote:I took my coupler bike to Europe in the s&s soft backpack case. If it was ANY bigger it wouldn't have fit a few places I needed to go such as on the train. You can easily padd it by sticking clothes in the outside pockets - it's quite well protected.
Living in Europe and having travelled extensively by rail all over, I call BS. I’ve never had any issues fitting my Evoc case on trains.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I put my bike in a locker at a German train station, you can't do that with the EVOC case. On the high speed rail going from France to Spain there was fairly limited area for suitcases and such, and with the other passengers luggage, I'm not sure how I would have fit a larger case at the time.

But call BS if you want I don't care, you folks do whatever you want.

da123
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:42 am

by da123

It's been said already, but if you want both peace of mind and ease of packing, the Buxum Box is probably your best bet. I appreciate that its expensive (though probably less for me being in the UK), but I made the plunge 5 years ago, and in that time almost everyone I go on overseas cycle holidays with has switched to the Buxum having seen mine. As far as soft vs. Hard case is concerned, IMO a soft case is just asking for trouble. You might be lucky 3 or 30 times, but eventually odds on something will happen. I had a Scicon Aerotech 2.0, and on the second flight the case was hit so hard in transit somewhere that the internal metal frame was bent. I was very lucky - my mech hanger was wrecked, but somehow the frame came away unscathed. I've owned a BikeBox Alan too - the protection is fine, however packing is a PITA in comparison to the Buxum, and after 10 or so trips the metal clasps were ripped off on one flight, meaning I had to source rope when on holiday to hold the box together for the return. This is probably going to come back and bite me on the arse, but I think the Buxum is as close as you can get to a guarantee that your pride and joy will get to its destination unscathed.

MrRolandos
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:19 pm

by MrRolandos

NSWCruiser wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:10 am
I think what bike box to use is really situational. I have used the SCICON AEROTECH and EVOC Bike Travel Bike Pro before, now settling with EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro for my Tarmac and cardboard for my Epic. Here are some Pros and Cons:

SCICON Aerotech: (Retired)
Good protection, not too big, but it required some disassembly (handlebar/pedals/wheels), quite painful when your cables are routed internally.
The internal space is very tight too, not a lot of room to put your stuff inside.
You need to fully deflate the tyres to fit the wheels inside, so not very friendly to tubeless users
The case is not very compatible with modern road bikes with integrated cockpits and tubeless tyres
Also bear in mind that the box is quite heavy.

EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro: (Retired)
Good protection too, never had any issues flying with this bag for several times.
Not as heavy as the SCICON AEROTECH.
You get adequate internal space to put your shoes and clothes inside.
You have compartment insides to put the tools you need.
The bag is compatible with both road bikes and mountain bikes.
The downside is that the bike bag requires you to remove the handlebar, especially for bikes with internal cabling and the brake hoses are short, you need to plan very well how you pack your bike

EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro: (Currently using)
Required minimum disassembly (removing wheelset only). Good Protection. Lots of space inside.
No downside except the form factor is huge. Be prepared to rent a SUV when travelling around with this bag.

Cardboard: (Get one from my LBS whenever I need)
I use the cardboard only for my mountain bike
Usually require removing handlebar/pedals and wheels. I wouldnt mind so much because MTBs are external cabling.
Cardboard is light in general, and actually more sturdy than you think. I don't have to worry about overweight (23kg limit).

After all, there is no single bike bag that is perfect in terms of protection, form factor and assembly. You always have to sacrifice one element.
What version of the aerotech did you use? Was it the Scicon 3.0? A friend of mine has a Aerotech Scicon 3.0 and thinking about using it for my next trip or if I should rent a road bike bag pro.

stevesbike
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:33 pm

by stevesbike

If you want to travel with a gravel bike, some cases that do not remove handlebars like the Scicon aerocomfort will likely not work. Flared drops are too wide. So, for my gravel bike I use a Scicon Aerotech Evolution X TSA Case. Note that integrated handlebars require removal at least enough to twist them down. It's a good case but has some puzzling features. The slot to loop an airline ticket through doesn't work - it loops through both sides so wouldn't allow the case to be opened to be inspected without ripping the ticket (solution was to use a heavy zip tie for the ticket). The slots for wheels also doesn't work for larger size tires so takes some work but otherwise is a sturdy case.

I used a pikaworks soft case for years - many international trips and never had a problem. Was useful more in the days when airlines would charge huge fees for a bike as it wasn't oversized. Plus also is its super easy to haul around and put in a rental car.

Whatever case you use I highly suggested putting an airtag in it to track its location.

Sander7721
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2021 6:41 pm

by Sander7721

stevesbike wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2024 10:37 pm
If you want to travel with a gravel bike, some cases that do not remove handlebars like the Scicon aerocomfort will likely not work. Flared drops are too wide. So, for my gravel bike I use a Scicon Aerotech Evolution X TSA Case. Note that integrated handlebars require removal at least enough to twist them down. It's a good case but has some puzzling features. The slot to loop an airline ticket through doesn't work - it loops through both sides so wouldn't allow the case to be opened to be inspected without ripping the ticket (solution was to use a heavy zip tie for the ticket). The slots for wheels also doesn't work for larger size tires so takes some work but otherwise is a sturdy case.

I used a pikaworks soft case for years - many international trips and never had a problem. Was useful more in the days when airlines would charge huge fees for a bike as it wasn't oversized. Plus also is its super easy to haul around and put in a rental car.

Whatever case you use I highly suggested putting an airtag in it to track its location.
Hey Steve good advice in regard to the Airtag will have a look at this or an alternative such as samsung. It will ntresting to see how accurate they are so will see if there are any videos on YT.
The box i have ordered says yiu can get GPS tracking so have asked for more info on thes from manufacturer
SL8 Maganta 54CM 6kgs
Winspace SLC 2.0

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



Post Reply