When doing the research for this resource guide on “How to Travel with a Folding Bike?” I banged my head on the table trying to figure out how to categorize the bags and cases for folding bikes. Do I cover them by name brand, by tire size, or what?
Then it dawned on me when I realized there were actually over a hundred brands of folding bikes being manufactured around the world that the best way to answer the question is twofold: one, present the most popular brands that carry their own bags and cases and two, present generic hard cases and soft cases based on the length x width x height that they can enclose. This will give us the best folding bike cases.
Also, take a look at my article on How Does One Carry a Folding Bike Unto An Airplane as it discusses different airline policies when it comes to bikes as carry-ons or as luggage.
Folding Bike Company’s Name Brand Hard & Soft Cases
Bike Friday has two options for a hard case. The first option is a hard shell Samsonite suitcase. This suitcase is under 62 linear inches so it is compatible with airline checked baggage. It has a TSA lock and four wheels.
The second option is also a hard shell Samsonite suitcase with what Bike Friday calls the Packing System. The extra packing allows you to protect your bike and parts without having to come up with your own DIY solution for spacers and material to wrap pedals and other things. Bike Friday actually has several options available for Packing Systems; one for Tandem XLs and Family Tandems, one for Pocket Bikes, and one for Tikits.
In addition to the hard cases and packing kits, Bike Friday also offer a variety of bags, to include soft cases that come in various sizes to fit various types of folding bikes.
Brompton only has two options for air travel; the travel flight case or the folding flight case. Both cases are made by B & W International Cases and are available through Amazon Affiliate Link. The Brompton folding bike when folded is 23 inches x 22.2 inches x 10.6 inches.
The travel flight case is similar to a suitcase. It has a pullout handle and two wheels. The travel flight case is constructed with an external belt embedded in the case shell and has two lockable cliplocks. The case weighs 15.9 pounds or 7.2 kilograms. You can look at the Travel Flight Case on Brompton’s website.
The second option provided by Brompton is the Folding Flight Case. It has four wheels and padded handles and can be locked by a TSA padlock; however, the padlock is not included with the purchase. The folding flight case weighs 2.5 pounds or 5.4 kilograms. You can see the Folding Flight Case on Brompton’s website.
Dahon has a full size bag for transporting the Dahon bike. This type of bag would probably be good for trains. Here is what the Body Bag looks like on Dahon’s website. Dahon does not provide the dimensions for the bag.
Another bag that Dahon offers is the Backpack Carry Bag. The Backpack Carry Bag includes removable shoulder and back cushions, as well as a chest strap. For reference, here are the sizes for the various Dahon bikes when folded:
- Biggest Folded 16 inch bike – 25.6 inches x 10.6 inches x 24.4 inches
- Biggest Folded 20 inch bike – 35.8 inches x 14.2 inches x 27.2 inches
- Biggest Folded 24 inch bike – 32.3 inches x 12.6 inches x 35.4 inches
Tern bikes offer several options depending on your mode of travel:
For buses and trains, Tern’s QuickCover is a good solution. It comes in two sizes, medium and large. The medium size covers the 20 inch wheeled bikes, with the largest being 17.3 inches x 33.9 inches x 29.1 inches folded. The large size covers bikes with up to 26 inch wheels with the largest being 18.1 inches x 37.4 inches x 34.3 inches folded.
The QuickCover has a drawstring for closing the top and the bottom is open to allow for rolling the bike using the bikes rolling wheels when folded up. To look at more details look at Tern’s QuickCover page here.
Another solution for buses and trains is Tern’s CarryOn Cover. The CarryOn Cover has a heavy duty shoulder strap to allow you to carry it rather than push it. This would work well for small folding bikes that do not have rolling wheels when folded. The CarryOn Cover also has an internal storage bag that can be easily mounted to the bike when riding to and from your destination. I am providing the link to the Tern CarryOn Cover page for more details.
Tern has two airplane luggage options. Both the AirPorter Mini and the AirPorter are made of nylon and are semi-hard cases. Both have pullout handles and two wheels for pulling the cases. The cases have a TSA-approved combination lock and include a padded chainring protector, wheel separators and tube protectors.
The AirPorter Mini meets airline regulation size requirements and can be checked as regular luggage. The Tern Airporter Mini is capable of holding the Brompton Folding Bike if you remove the two hinge clamps and seat.
However, the AirPorter is oversize at 76 inches linear length. Before risking taking and paying for an oversized luggage be sure you are familiar with both the airlines and airport where you will be checking your bags. Some are stricter than others and no matter what anyone else tells you, if the person checking the bag decides to implement there policy for an oversized or overweight bag, there isn’t anything you can do but to pay the extra cost. Be sure you are willing to risk that before you arrive at the airport.
Personally, I do not like that the cases are semi-hard because that tells me the are semi-soft, as well. I want my bike to be protected as much as possible because once it is out of sight, no one knows how it will be handled. Having said that, Tern also makes a FlightSuit for their 20 inch or 24 inch bike.
This suit is made of Nylon 240D and is a nine piece kit with instructions printed on the flap of the suit. So, if you have a hard case suitcase that will fit your bike this is a nice way to neatly pack it inside the suitcase. This does not come with a suitcase. Here is the link to the FlightSuit if you want to take a closer look.
Third Party Options
Since I do not have any personal experience with bike cases, I decided to look at Amazon’s Best Sellers that are based on most popular products by sales. I also have looked over the reviews and will let you know if I would recommend the case or not. I will cover the top three hard cases and then the top three soft cases for air transportation.
Best Folding Bike Hard Cases
B & W International
One thing nice about B & W International’s website is you can search by dimensions, so if you know the dimensions of your bike when it is ready for travel you can reduce the number of options that are available through B & W International.
Best Folding Bike Soft Cases
StillCool Folding Bike Bag 14 inch to 20 inch Bicycle Travel Carrier Bag Pouch. The dimensions for the StillCool bag are 30.6 inches x 22.5 inches x 13 inches. On Amazon this bag (link to Amazon) has 54 reviews with an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint is that the bag rips easily.
Enjoydeal 14 inch to 20 inch Thick Bike Bicycle Folding Bike Carrier Bag Carry Bag Pouch. The dimensions for the Enjoydeal bag are 30.6 inches x 22.5 inches x 13 inches. The Enjoydeal bag (link to Amazon) has 72 reviews with an average of 3.4 out of 5 stars. Biggest complaint is ripping of the material and not being able to fit 20 inch wheel folding bikes into the bag.
Vincita Soft Transport Bag with Wheels for Brompton Bicycle. The Vincita bag has two rear wheels, concealable shoulder straps and handgrips. The Vincita bag is designed to be used with the Brompton folding bike. You can look at additional pictures of the Vincita Soft Transport Bag (link to Amazon) here. There are no reviews of this bag on Amazon at this time.
Q: What is the lightest weight folding bike?
A: The Hummingbird folding bike is the lightest at this time coming in at 16 pounds (7.24kg). It is built with a carbon fiber frame and comes with a hefty price. This is the website for the company that makes the bike: Hummingbird Bike.
Q: How much does a Brompton bike weight?
A: A Brompton folding bike can weigh from 20 to 28 pounds, depending on the build that you buy.
Q: Where are Tern bikes made?
A: The answer is more difficult than I first thought. Tern is a Taiwan based company; however, I am still researching the locations of the bike factories. The Tern website does not answer that question directly. I do see that on some of their collaborations those products may be made in the country that is collaborating with them. For example, the Roji bike is made and sold in Japan.
Ride safe and may the wind be at your back!