Taking bike abroad in cardboard box?
My old bike bag is a squeeze for my old 26” mtb-there is no way it’ll fit my new Hightower. So was thinking has anyone ever taken their mtb abroad in a cardboard bike box? Any issues? It’s the original box so has slots for wheels/forks etc and I was thinking of reinforcing using a basic wooden frame-also thinking of old skateboard trucks for the base.Posted 2 years ago
Done it a couple of times. Works fine, in fact I reckon they get treated better than bags so work out better all round. Never bothered with a wooden frame or wheelsPosted 2 years ago
As above, used several times and bikes suffer less abuse – the box is far less scuffed up than bike bags get.Posted 2 years ago
Never failed me on point to point toursPosted 2 years ago
Ps, be wary of adding wood as it’s heavy. I usually reinforce the ends with extra cardboard (another bike box end inserted inside) and/or high density foam packing.Posted 2 years ago
Grand, thanks. In that case I’ll ditch the wood and buy some dense pipe lagging to brace it up. Cheers!Posted 2 years ago
Cardboard is great, but… If your transfer from the airport is on a wet day and your box goes into a trailer….. 10k @ 100kmh and its paper mache…Posted 2 years ago
Maybe worth removing the rear derailleur. Last time I flew UK – San Francisco I left it in place on my tourer inside a well padded cardboard box and had a bent gear hanger on arrival. Luckily a steel frame so it bent back OK.
That was the first damage on 7 transatlantic flights though. But given it’s a quick job I’ll take it off next time.Posted 2 years ago
Flown a dozen times with a box. (New box each year collected free from a bike shop). Bit of gaffer tape reinforcement, brace forks and rear triangle and not had an issue (touches wood). Always pipe lag the frame, take off the gears and disc rotors off the wheels to stop stuff getting bent.
Only time it went slightly wrong was on a late flight from canaries and a big rain storm. Turned up with a soggy box! Got some cling film to hold it together. You could pre wrap with the industrial cling film if you’re worried.
Have seen the whole box pushed out a plane at one airport and bike was fine. (But it’s best not to watch them unload!)Posted 2 years ago
Paint the box with something. I used dilute PVA following advice on here and that seemed to work for a light shower. I attached some in-line skate wheels to one corner of mine for easier transport, but I was going by train so a fair bit of walking. That did require a few bits of wood glued in to take a threaded rod axle.
Here it is, you can just see the wheel:
ETA – I stuck old bits of offcut vinyl flooring to the inside where axles and bits might poke through.The box was cut down from full size and glued up with PVA in order to fit SNCF baggage dimensions.Posted 2 years ago
Done it and wont be doing it again. Box got a bit battered and bent disc rotor. Fortunately the bend was on the way home. If you intend to fly your bike frequently then buy a bag.Posted 2 years ago
I did it once, box got trashed, I watched the handler drag my bike across the tarmac with a few shreds of cardboard flapping about. Bike survived though.Posted 2 years ago
I have travelled with a bag as well, I always remove discs. Any soft cover cold get prodded (or sat on) at just the wrong place if you are unlucky, not worth the riskPosted 2 years ago
Some great suggestions, thanks-cling film water proofing and a vinyl sheet at base-check.
Can’t justify the cost of a new bag-I don’t go abroad enough, and can’t be bothered with the hassle of hiring one. I’m fairly sure if my bike gets damaged in the box it’ll get damaged in a bag too.Posted 2 years ago
also pack loads of spare duct tape/packing tape so you can repair the box if need be, and if it is opened at the airport, as you probably wont be able to re stick the old stuff.
i used old knee pads at the cornersPosted 2 years ago
Done it many times. A couple of trips from Oz and NZ with no issues.Posted 2 years ago
I did a variation on this recently but with cardboard instead of material bag.Posted 2 years ago
Can’t justify the cost of a new bag
What are you thinking is the cost? They can be had reasonably these days.
As for being no better protected – I think the issue is with sharp things poking into the cardboard, then they won’t slide over any more. The bags don’t protect against impact much more but they will help things slide off when being dragged about.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve used bags and boxes before. I reckon that the bike was better protected in a cardboad box than a budget CRC bag.
I got the biggest one I could find and left the rear wheel on then pipe lagged the frame etc.Then you can tuck the front rotor under the down tube for some protection. I used a wooden piece of 2×4 with 2 castor wheels on it, then a racket strap to hold it onto the outside of the box until I got to the airport. This survived the sleeper train from Aberdeen, walking from Euston to Angel then getting across London and into Gatwick.
I second taking spare tape for the return journey. If you’re going to Vancouver, don’t seal it before the airport as they look in all boxes.Posted 2 years ago
Molgrips-not cheap for a decent padded one that will fit a large 29”er. Reviews of the decathlon/CRC type bags suggest not only will it not fit, but lucky to last the trip, never mind the bike!Posted 2 years ago
I could only just get a medium Aeris in the CRC one. So no chance for a 29″er or DH bike.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve got two boxs, big heavy suitcase type thing and a folding Crateworks one. They each cost £50 off fleabay.
No way would i entrust several thousand pounds worth of carbon fibre to a cardboard box. For the sake of £50 it’s a no brainer.
There are bargains out there, get searching.
(If you are near Edinburgh you can borrow the Crateworks. If you are in Lincolnshire you can borrow the big case, it’s in my parent’s shed. Pm me)Posted 2 years ago
Crate works doesn’t look any more protective than a properly packed and reinforced cardboard box to be fair.
With the cardboard boxes thr advantage of you can recycle it on arrival and find another when you reach your destination hence why I have no bothered with a bike bag.
Where bike bags and designed boxes win is when your flying regularly and in and out of the same destination.Posted 2 years ago
Flew to Ciclo a couple of times with my Orange’s delivery box. First time was great, second time it went horribly wrong. Chucked it down all week. Didn’t even get directly wet – it just soaked up the moisture in the air and fell properly to bits. Had to get a CRC bag dhl’d out there. That barely fits a modern long bike & I now travel with the forks removed.Posted 2 years ago
As others say, it works fine, you just need to be careful packing. I had one box do glasgow-newark, Newark-st Johns, st johns-toronto, Toronto-glasgow! I was getting emotionally attached to it by the end.Posted 2 years ago
I could only just get a medium Aeris in the CRC one. So no chance for a 29″er or DH bike.
Im surprised. So far mine has filled a large 29er spesh camber, large 29er spesh enduro, an Ibis mojo HD4 again large. But I guess the aeris is longer than most bikes.
So far it has done 8 round trips and has a few more left in it. Its also alot less hassle packing the bike and stuff in with itPosted 2 years ago
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