Best bike travel cases: Bags, boxes and cases for flying with your bike

Scicon Bike travel Case being loaded with a Pinarello road bike
(Image credit: Scicon)

For many people, travelling has been completely off the table for the last few years. That means there hasn't been much use for the best bike travel cases. However, as the world hopefully starts to round the corner towards normality, there's more travel happening again. Races in far-off places and holidays on a bike are starting to seem like a possibility again, along with new possibilities for exploration. That means thinking about things like bike travel bags to get your bike back and forth safely. 

We all love our bikes and that means we tend to be protective, so for many people, the idea of handing off our pride and joy to the airlines is a terrifying thought. It means trusting someone who doesn't care much about something that's so important to you. Thankfully, the best bike travel cases available these days are incredibly well designed. 

Another thing you might want to consider while planning is an insurance option. Even with one of the best travel bike travel cases things do occasionally happen. We have a list of the best bike insurance options and some of them cover your bike even when travelling, so if the unthinkable happens and your bike doesn't arrive in one piece, or at all, you'll want to have insurance in place to help ease the blow. 

You might also want to check out our list of the best bike torque wrenches. Modern bikes require precision and some of the options on our list will require some disassembly of your bike before use. Don't get caught at your destination without the tools you need to make sure your bike goes back together exactly how it's meant to. With those considerations in mind, keep reading to see our list of the best bike travel cases and the best bike travel bags available today.  

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes

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Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: Evoc

(Image credit: Evoc)

Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro

The best bike travel case for anyone worried about breaking off the case wheels

Specifications

External dimensions: 47 x 36 x 85 cm
Empty Weight: 10kg w/ bike stand
Capacity: 310 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Internal stand
+
Sturdy handles
+
Easy packing procedure
+
Case wheel removes

Reasons to avoid

-
Soft sides aren't the most protective
-
Partial disassembly required

Around any bike event, you're likely to see a sea of Evoc bike bags, because they are some of the best you can buy. With room for anything from a lightweight roadie to a long and slack 29er enduro bike, the Pro version includes an aluminium tray that attaches to the axles of the bike inside the bag and doubles as a work-stand when it's time to rebuild. 

Inside, the bike is secured with a range of Velcro straps and purpose-built padding, and is plenty big enough for road and MTB wheels. Inside the bag, there are internal pockets for tools and pedals and the removable plastic ribbing allows the bag to be rolled up for storage. 

The back features two ultra-smooth roller blade wheels and a third that slots into the front handle for easy transition from the baggage claim to your accommodation.

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: PRO

(Image credit: PRO)

PRO Bike Mega Travel Case

The best bike travel case for those who need to transport both mountain bikes and road bikes

Specifications

External dimensions: 130 x 25 x 77cm
Empty Weight: 8.1kg
Capacity: 348.3 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to pack
+
Lightweight
+
Internal frame

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be cumbersome
-
Soft sides aren't as protective as solid

With room to easily swallow road, TT and mountain bikes, the Pro Bike Mega Case is huge and features an aluminium base frame which connects to your bike at the axles. With so much room inside the case, the seatpost doesn't need to be removed, just lowered, and in most cases, you can get away with simply spinning your bars.

The inside of the bag has plenty of well-padded provisions to hold your frame securely, and even with the four 360-degree wheels at the bottom, the bag tracks easily in a straight line but it can be cumbersome in crowded baggage claim areas or train stations. 

The outer fabric seems to mark a bit in transit, however, it's robust and weighing a hair over 8kg you should be able to get your bike and a bit of extra gear inside before you tip into overweight baggage territory.

Best bike bags: Scicon

(Image credit: Scicon)

Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 Road Bike Travel Bag

The best bike travel case when you don't want to take anything apart

Specifications

External dimensions: 109 x 103 x 50 cm
Empty Weight: 9kg
Capacity: 561 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Minimal bike disassembly
+
Lightweight
+
Packs down for storage when not in use
+
Strategically placed rear derailleur protection

Reasons to avoid

-
High price
-
The 360-degree wheels can cause the bag to wander

The beauty of the Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 TSA is you can pack your bike without turning a single bolt (unless you have thru-axles); all you have to do is remove the wheels. 

With a rigid Frame Defender metal base, the bike slots in using your quick release or thru-axles, and comes with plenty of additional padding and a gear bag that's secured to the base under the downtube. 

At 9kg empty the bike straps into the bag securely, and the 360-degree wheels allow for easy one-handed dragging. With all of that said, we’ve seen baggage handlers stack Scicon bags upside down on baggage carts on multiple occasions so they won’t roll away, so consider some additional padding for your handlebars and shifters.

Thule Roundtrip Bike travel case on a white background

(Image credit: Thule)

Thule Roundtrip bike travel hard case

The best bike travel case if you want to have a repair stand on hand

Specifications

External dimensions: 124 x 33 x 85 cm
Empty Weight: 12.5kg
Volume: 347.82 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Includes a work stand for ease of re-assembly
+
Packs down small when not in use
+
Rigid but light side panels
+
Specific protection for the brake rotors

Reasons to avoid

-
Case is heavy leaving less weight for the bike without incurring overweight fees

There are some bike travel cases that require a lot of disassembly and others that don't. The Thule Roundtrip Bike Travel Case falls into the category that requires taking things apart but they've been smart to embrace the concept. Parts of the bag that add support and protection come out and assemble into a work stand. There's even a clever triangle that you rotate to match your desired front axle standard. 

You can use the work stand to keep the bike supported and at a comfortable working height while you either get it ready to travel or get it ready to ride. It's a good enough work stand that although we have a list of the best bike repair stands you might be able to get away with a two for one purchase if you aren't much of a home mechanic. 

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: BW International

(Image credit: BW International)

B&W International Bike Box II

The best bike travel case with budget pricing

Specifications

External dimensions: 120 x 88 x 39cm
Empty Weight: 11kg w/ padding
Volume: 411 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Hard case offers superior protection
+
No latches or hinges to break
+
Price

Reasons to avoid

-
Frame not totally secured inside the box
-
Lots of disassembly required

Sometimes simple is best, and that's precisely what the B&W International Bike Box II has to offer. There are no complicated packing procedures - instead, you get a few layers of foam to protect the frame from the wheels and box, and it all fits inside two interlocking plastic sides.

The clamshell design utilises six self-tightening Velcro buckles to prevent the case from slipping open, and it features a surprising number of handles given the design. B&W International has updated the case with a new plastic designed to flex and not crack, and there are no latches or hinges to break.

With room for up to a 62cm frame, the case rolls on four wheels, two fixed and two free rotating and weighs 11kg with the included padding.

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: biknd

(Image credit: biknd)

Biknd Helium V4

The best bike travel case when you want to use airbag tech to protect the bike

Specifications

External dimensions: 130cm x 37cmx 85cm
Empty Weight: 9kg
Volume : 408 Liter

Reasons to buy

+
Space to carry two wheelsets
+
Airbag padding
+
Aerobars will fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Disc wheels require accessory straps not included
-
Plenty of disassembly required

Using unique inflatable partitions and strategically placed rigid reinforcements, the Biknd Helium V4 is one of the most well-padded cases of the bunch. With the ability to carry two wheelsets, the Helium bag puts two airbags on either side to absorb impacts while the rigid base and front cover protect fragile handlebar components.

The bag opens flat to simplify packing, and the bike connects to the frame at the axles. There are special compartments for your pump, helmet and shoes and sturdy end caps to prevent hubs from poking through the bag.

Even with the airbags, the Helium is not all that light tipping the scales a 9kg, but it does offer considerably more padding than any other soft case.

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: Orucase

(Image credit: Orucase)

OruCase Airport Ninja

The best bike travel case when you need to avoid bike fees

Specifications

External dimensions: 69 x 82 x 30cm
Empty Weight: 5kg
Volume: Not listed

Reasons to buy

+
Super light 
+
Well-padded
+
Carries your bike like a backpack

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of disassembly required

While many airlines are abandoning the extra fees for checking bikes, some still haven't taken note, and that's where the Oru Airport Ninja comes in handy. Travelling with the OruCase Airport Ninja, when asked by desk agents what's in the bag we've told them everything from massage tables and trade show gear, to 'it's just a really weird duffel bag’ — just make sure you’re not wearing a bike t-shirt, trust us.  

The Airport Ninja sneaks in under most airlines’ maximum external dimensions limits for baggage and features plastic armour panels that are backed by foam to keep your ride safe. You'll need to remove your pedals, handlebars, front brake, fork and seatpost, and the bag is still a tight fit, but it comes in two sizes to fit a range of frames.  

Weighing in at 5kg empty, there is plenty of weight for you to fill the bag with riding clothes (which also work great as extra padding), and there are plush backpack straps to help you get around with minimal fuss.

Best bike travel cases, bags and boxes: Bike Box Alan Premium

(Image credit: Bike Box Alan)

Bike Box Alan Original Premium

The best bike travel case when you just want a simple hardcase

Specifications

External dimensions: 116 x 96 x 36cm
Empty Weight: 11.2kg
Volume: 400 Liter

Reasons to buy

+
Great protection
+
Velcro tie-downs
+
Seven year Warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Price
-
Plenty of disassembly required

The Bike Box Alan Premium is a hard case box that claims to fit road bikes up to 65cm in size. Our 58cm test bike had plenty of room to spare, so we're confident the claim is true. It is a super sturdy, hard-wearing box that comes with a seven-year warranty. 

The solid plastic case takes the brunt of all heavy-handed impacts while your bike is in transit, and the inclusion of an anti-crush pole prevents lateral pressure on your chainstays and forks, should your chosen airline decide to stack your bike at the bottom of the pile. There is a weight penalty, however - an empty box weighs in at 11.2kg. 

Two layers of foam padding prevent damage from within, and the myriad Velcro straps and internal instructions make packaging a straightforward process. 

Removal of your handlebars, seatpost, wheels, pedals, and rear derailleur is required, which does take up some of your precious ride time but for the protection on offer, it's a sacrifice worth making. 

Topeak PakGo X travel case on a white background

(Image credit: Topeak)

Topeak PakGo X

The best bike travel case for the nervous traveler

Specifications

External dimensions: 127 (H) x 85 (L) x 35 (W) cm
Empty Weight: 12.8 kg
Volume: 377 Liters

Reasons to buy

+
Easily rolls
+
Totally protects every piece of the bike
+
Upright design is more manageable

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires plenty of disassembly
-
Expensive

The Topeak PackGo X is a bit like the kind of carry-on luggage you'd recognize on every flight except it's super-sized. Once packed the bike sits with the fork facing the ground and the tail of the bike up in the air. This means a more upright outer silhouette that's easier to manoeuvre.

More important than the orientation of the bike though is the well-thought-out protection. There are a number of protective elements and each one has a label on it. As you are packing it's easy to find which piece goes where and every part of the bike is both protected and securely held to avoid movement in transit. You will need to remove the bar and stem, saddle and seatpost, rear derailleur, and wheels but there's a place for everything. 

The one thing to be aware of is the weight of the case. Topeak lists the weight as 10 Kg for the case only but that's not how you'll use it. Instead, you'll want to look at the 12.8 Kg weight that includes all the protective pieces. Unless you have a lightweight road bike it's unlikely you will avoid overweight fees. 

What to look for in bike travel cases, bags and boxes

Hard or soft shell?

Hardshell bike travel cases were the best way to travel with a bike for quite some time; however, engineers at bike brands are pretty clever and softshell bags are nearly on par for protection, weigh less, and often have removable ribbing so they can be neatly rolled up for storage. 

How much does empty weight matter?

With a plastic base, wheels, internal skeleton, and robust materials, bike travel cases are heavy before you put anything inside, and some are pudgier than others. Most airlines will give you 23kg / 50lbs before they hit you with an exorbitant overweight baggage fee, and if your bag weighs 12kg empty, when you pack a 6.8kg lightweight road bike, shoes and a track pump you'll be nudging up against that limit. 

What size do I need?

Are you just looking to travel with just your road bikes, or will you be taking trips with your mountain bike too? Are you riding an aero road bike with integrated handlebars or TT bars? Are you riding an XL frame? These are all things to take into account when shopping for a bike travel case because some of the more compact options are simply too small for certain bikes and frame sizes.

Do I need to disassemble my bike?

No bike bag will take your bike fully assembled, but some require considerably more disassembly and mechanical acumen than others. At the very least you’ll have to pop your wheels off, but some bags also require you to remove your seat post, handlebars, and even the fork. 

Do I need to worry about wheels and handles?

For something designed to help you move around with a bike in tow, bike travel cases are unsurprisingly awkward and cumbersome to move around with. If you want to avoid a back injury, a set of wheels should be a minimum requirement, especially if you're walking much after you land - some even use easily replaceable roller blade wheels. In addition, you'll want plenty of handles to help you hoist your bag onto a conveyor belt or into the back of a car.

Do I need to remove my derailleurs and rotors?

Take them off. Just about every bike bag out there comes with some sort of protection for your rear derailleur and brake rotors, but airlines have a knack for rendering them ineffective. Learn from our mistakes and just take them off, the last thing you want is to start your holiday with a bent rotor or a broken derailleur hanger. If you are removing disc-brake rotors, don't forget to put a brake block in the caliper to prevent the pads sticking together or the pistons getting stuck - in a pinch, a folded over business card works, too.

What's the fastest way to get my bike back together?

Saddle height and bar roll aren’t something you often think about until either one is a little bit off, and the last thing you want to do on your riding vacation is to pull over constantly and faff with minor adjustments. A couple of dots and lines with a paint pen will allow you to replicate your preferred position on the bike first try every time.

Should I add extra padding?

Yes, we have just spent the last few hundred words saying how great the best bike travel cases, bags and boxes are, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of added peace of mind. Some bags come with foam tubing however, pipe insulation is perfect for an extra layer of protection. You can also pop into your local bike shop, and if you ask nicely, they're likely to have plenty of spare packaging from a newly unboxed bike.

If you have a few spare kilos in your bike bag once it's packed, throw your shoes, riding clothes, bars and gels and whatever else will fit without tipping your bag over the limit. If you've paid for 23kg / 50lbs, you may as well use it.

Do I need to deflate my tyres?

When you’re packing your bike, take a second to let the air out of your tyres. Airlines don’t allow anything pressurised into the cargo hold because it violates civil aviation safety regulations.

Before the engineering types slide into the comments, yes we know that the cargo hold is pressurised to ~10,000ft which will only add ~3-4psi to your tyres, and it’s extremely unlikely a tyre will burst in transit.

The reason you need to take this step, is because if you do send your bike through with the tyres inflated, there is the distinct possibility that an airline employee will pull your bag aside and attempt to deflate them, at the very least, it'll mean someone heavy-handedly rummaging through your neatly packed case, but we’ve heard horror stories of bags and tyres cut.

Avoid the drama and just let the air out. If you're running tubeless, drop them to a reasonable PSI that won't result in a sealant shower. 

Is there anything else I should consider?

If you need to remove your handlebars, put the faceplate back on your stem so you don't lose the four bolts. 

If you need to remove your stem, refit the top cap, then a zip tie around the steerer will keep your fork, headset and spacers from rattling loose. Be careful not to damage the steerer when cutting it off. 

If you have Di2, unplug the battery. At the very least, it'll save some battery life, but it may also prevent your tightly packed derailleurs from shifting in transit - overworking the motor. 

If you have an internal seatpost wedge clamp, remove and pack it safe. You don't want to spend the first hour of your trip fishing it out of your frame.

Take a spare derailleur hanger with you. For the price, it's worth having a spare anyway, not least when thousands of miles from home. 

Some airlines will let CO2 cartridges through, but others will stop the bike and remove them. If you're going to risk it, make them easy to find so the baggage handler doesn't have to empty your entire bag. 

If you're using zip ties to hold things in place, you'll need cable cutters or scissors in your case for unpackaging at the other end. You'll also need more for the return journey. Maybe pack screwdriver that'll allow you to undo the zip tie without cutting it, not only does it save you zip ties, it saves the planet of single-use plastic. 

Take your tools. If you're having to disassemble your bike to fit it in the box, you'll need to reassemble it at the other end - make a note of the tools used and don't forget to pack them. Especially your torque wrench. You don't want a 90km/h descent of Alpe D'Huez with badly torqued carbon handlebars. 

Bottles are a great hardshell for storing potentially damaging things - ie. allen keys, or items that will pop if crushed - gels, suncream, toothpaste. Wrap them in a carrier bag, though, or you might have oddly flavoured water on your first ride. Shoes are equally useful for this. 

If you've got space in the bike bag, wrap your cycling kit in plastic bags and fill the gaps. Not only does this leave room in your other bag, it will act as padding. 

Don't forget food. Your riding holiday is likely going to involve increased mileage, and speaking from experience, you can't always trust the local tuna sandwich. 

How do we test?

The crew at Cyclingnews is a dedicated group of cyclists who just like you care deeply about their bikes. When we travel, we have to trust baggage handlers just like you. We're lucky to be able to travel a lot in the course of sharing all kinds of relevant cycling technology with you, so we take the opportunity to try out different cases and hope we get a working bike back at the other end. Every experience informs the next and we are sharing a collection of options we think are the best available for a whole range of different needs. 

Based on the Gold Coast of Australia, Colin has written tech content for cycling publication for a decade. With hundreds of buyer's guides, reviews and how-tos published in Bike Radar, Cyclingnews, Bike Perfect and Cycling Weekly, as well as in numerous publications dedicated to his other passion, skiing. 


Colin was a key contributor to Cyclingnews between 2019 and 2021, during which time he helped build the site's tech coverage from the ground up. Nowadays he works full-time as the news and content editor of Flow MTB magazine. 

With contributions from