Instead of struggling with an unfamiliar bike, bring your ride along on your next touring adventure or vacation. From hard-sided rollers to portable bags, here are the best bike cases for air travel. Flying with your bike doesn’t have to be stressful, but you’ll want to check with your airline ahead of time to ensure your bike carrier is acceptable.
Be prepared for your next trip with these our favorite designer luggage sets and pieces.
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1. Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 TSA Road CasePrice: $616.85Pros:
- Multi-layered composite construction resists damage
- Comes with two TSA-approved locks
- Compatible with thru-axle and quick-release systems
- Recessed handholds aren't very deep
- Exterior may scratch
- Can be awkward to transport
The Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 TSA Road Case features a heavy-duty composite for maximum protection, yet it’s also one of the lightest bike travel cases out there. By nature, composites are stronger than steel and other tough materials and resist corrosion for longevity. They’re also pretty light, which makes traveling with your bike more appealing.
Certain bikes are a better fit for this asymmetric case, including most road, gravel, triathlon and cyclocross bikes. Most bikes with an integrated seat post will fit. The case is compatible with thru-axle and quick-release designs.
Baggage handlers likely won’t know how much money you spent on your bike, which is where the carrier’s tough exterior and internal strap system to secure the frame come in handy. Breaking your bike down for your trip is a relatively quick process that involves removing the wheels, seat post and just one pedal. Dedicated compartments secure your bike’s wheels for the journey, while a separate storage bag holds smaller parts.
Even if your bike is out of sight, you’ll know it’s secure with two approved TSA locks. Travel Sentry Approved locks ensure the carrier will be inspected without damage.
This bike carrying case weighs 24 pounds, which makes it easy to carry alongside your luggage. SciCon outfitted its popular TSA Case with eight precision ball-bearing wheels that spin fully around for ease of use. It’s slender and versatile enough to roll through airports and fit inside most vehicles. In fact, it’s similar in size to some of the most popular roof boxes for road trips.
2. Speed Hound Bike CasePros:
- Main compartment can fit helmets, shoes, etc.
- Separate compartments securely store the chain and more
- Multiple handles for easy transport
- Not as sturdy as a hard-sided bag
- Lacks a bracket for the front fork
- Cramped wheel compartments
A more affordable alternative to some of the pricier options on the list is the Speed Hound Bike Case. It’s designed for road, mountain and triathlon bikes. With this value-oriented case, you can save money and protect your bike when traveling. There’s padding on all sides along with anchor points to keep your ride secure.
You probably want to bring your shoes, helmet and other gear along, especially if you’re participating in a triathlon. The main compartment is spacious enough for the bike frame, seat and handlebars along with essential accessories. There are even separate compartments to securely store pedals, skewers and repair tools. To ensure your bike arrives in its original state, there’s a separate drive chain cover that prevents grease from rubbing off and protects the chain.
Designed by a triathlete, a lot of planning went into this carrying case. It doesn’t have the hard sides, but there’s ample padding to withstand a rigorous trip on a plane. For example, there are seven handles and large wheels to easily load, unload and transport your bike from the doorstep to the finish line.
3. Thule Roundtrip Road Bike Travel BagPros:
- Padded interior packing panels keep delicate components safe
- Rigid side panels protect against bumps and jolts
- Front wheel swivels to breeze through airports
- Higher price point
- Only comes in one color
- Can be awkward to roll
Ideal for road, gravel and cyclocross bikes, the Thule Roundtrip is a safe and secure solution for flying with your bike. It’s spacious and fits wheelbases up to 110cm. Traveling with a mountain bike? Consider the Thule RoundTrip MTB Bike Travel Case.
Both versions share many of the same features, including a built-in work stand to perform maintenance, general repairs and more. The stand slides into the case so you don’t have to carry it separately. You can also use it to set up your bike once you arrive or remove parts to prepare for your trip.
To ensure your ride arrives safe and sound, padded interior panels are included to secure specific components, including the seat and rear cassette. You can conveniently clip the panels to the frame so you don’t lose any parts during the trip.
Once the bike is safely stored inside the box, you can zip it closed and move it using the handles or wheels. Rigid side panels with a polypropylene blend help protect your precious cargo from take-off to touchdown.
The bag weighs just under 28 pounds so you can breeze through the airport. There’s also a swiveling front wheel to swiftly steer and maneuver the carrying case.
4. THRLEGBIRD Folding Bicycle BagPros:
- Water-repellent exterior protects against the elements
- Compact enough for public transportation
- Fits most folding bikes between 14 and 20 inches
- May need to remove wheels, handlebars and seats for transport
- Zipper isn't very durable
- Doesn't have an extra shoulder strap
If you aren’t traveling with a full-sized bike, consider the THRLEGBIRD bike bag for folding bikes with tires up to 20 inches. The storage bag works for most compact bikes with tires between 14 and 20 inches.
Equipped with durable 600D polyester and a water-repellent coat, this bag works equally well for air travel and commuting. It even has a waterproof lining to protect your precious cargo. The bag weighs just under 1.5 pounds, making it easy to carry it on buses, trains and other forms of public transportation.
As long as your bike folds, it should fit nicely into this storage bag. If the fit seems like it might be too tight, simply remove the front wheel. You may need to remove the seat and handlebars as well, depending on your bike. All components can be stored inside.
5. Best for Road Bikes: CyclingDeal Hard CasePros:
- Wheels spin 360 degrees
- Fits most standard 700c road bikes
- Includes a TSA lock
- Not compatible with mountain bikes or integrated seat posts
- Weight isn't fully balanced between wheels
- Castors aren't very durable
Transport your standard 700c quick-release road bike in this durable CyclingDeal bike carrier. However, it’s not recommended for mountain bikes or integrated seat posts. An included TSA lock adds an extra element of security when your bike is out of sight.
Built with EVA material for added durability, the case resists impacts and abrasions. Your bike and its components will be safe and sound even if the baggage handlers aren’t very gentle. From rushed trips through airports to cramped cargo spaces, this hard box withstands long travel days.
You don’t need to completely disassemble your bike to fit inside this carrier. For most bikes, you’ll need to remove the wheels and pedals. It’s possible you’ll need to remove the handlebars or turn them sideways, depending on the size of your bike.
Various buckles and straps keep your bike parts and accessories organized and safe. This carrier even has dedicated slots for the wheels. A user-friendly clamshell design allows you to completely open the case without disturbing the bike.
6. M-Wave Rotterdam Bicycle Travel CasePros:
- Can be locked for extra security
- Integrated tool pockets for safe storage
- Designed to be pulled or steered
- Wheels need to be stored separately
- Interior compartments don't close
- Case is relatively heavy
Traveling with your bike is less stressful with the Rotterdam M-Wave case, which has a durable plastic shell and foam padding for maximum protection. Bikes with wheels up to 29 inches will comfortably fit inside this bag.
Two wheel pockets are included for safe storage. This means you’ll have to carry the wheels separately, although it frees up more space inside the travel case for a larger bike. Small tools and essentials, including mini bike pumps, can be stored inside the two interior slots.
Although bike cases can be cumbersome to maneuver, this one has four pulleys for easier handling. You can efficiently pull and steer your load through the airport with this user-friendly setup.
Whether your bike costs several thousand dollars or a few hundred, you want to make sure it’s protected once it’s out of sight. This carrier has four exterior buckles and can be locked for safe storage.
7. Aophire Folding Bike BagPros:
- Heavy-duty shoulder straps withstand heavier loads
- Separate storage pockets for tools and small items
- Innovative 3/4 zipper design makes packing easier
- Doesn't have separate wheel slots
- Lacks extra reinforcement
- Shoulder straps aren't padded
Safely transport bikes with wheels up to 29 inches inside this folding bike bag. Built with a carrying handle to reduce your load, this Aophire carrier makes traveling with road and mountain bikes that much easier.
Depending on the size of your bike, you may need to remove several components. While you only need to remove the front wheel of a 700c road bike, the handlebars and saddle also need to come off if you’re traveling with a 27.5-inch (or larger) mountain bike.
Whether you’re carrying a smaller road bike or a hefty mountain bike, the heavy-duty 600D oxford material won’t strain under load. This bag also has two durable shoulder straps and dual pockets to store small bike repair tools and other accessories, including tire inflators.
What Is the Best Bike Bag for Air Travel?
Traveling comes with many unknowns, which is why we think this heavy-duty SciCon Aerotech Evolution X TSA Case is one of the best available for air travel.
Constructed with durable ABS composite for maximum protection, this carrying case is built to keep your bike out of harm's way. It's not cheap, but many cyclists agree the peace of mind is worth it to keep your prized possession safe.
The Elite Borson Bike Travel Bag stands out if you don't want to deal with disassembling your bike and putting it back together. This spacious hard-sided bike case only requires you to remove your bike's pedals and wheels. You can even keep your saddle height in place.
How Do I Pack My Bike for Air Travel?
At a minimum, you'll usually need to remove the front wheel. It may be necessary to remove the pedals and seat post as well. For larger bikes, including 29-inch mountain bikes, you may need to remove the rear wheel or handlebars to ensure your bike fits properly.
Some cases have integrated wheel storage slots, while others come with carrying cases. This can be helpful if you're bringing a larger bike, such as an e-MTB, on vacation.
How Do I Protect My Bike for Travel?
Hardshell cases are ideal for protecting your bike during travel. Many carriers are built with heavy-duty material to withstand rough handling and other situations that might cause damage.
Finding enough cargo space can be tough. If you're too cramped, consider attaching a cargo carrier to transport your bike case, luggage and other road trip gear.
Can You Take a Bicycle on an Airplane?
Yes, it's possible to take your bicycle on an airplane. However, it's a good idea to check with your airline to see whether they have certain restrictions in place. Some airlines may charge an additional fee for your bike bag.
If your airline doesn't offer specific guidance, Skyscanner suggests removing the pedals, removing and deflating both wheels, and turning the handlebars around.
Some bike boxes come with TSA-approved locks to reduce the risk of potential damage as your ride makes its way through security.
Although many cyclists have successfully traveled with their bikes, it's important to note that the TSA officer ultimately decides whether to allow your cargo through the checkpoint.