THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Testing a hard case on a CHANGE bike

There are two questions we often get about traveling with a CHANGE bike:

  1. Can I take it on a plane as standard baggage?
    No. A 26″ wheel by itself barely makes the 63″ combined volume limit for standard baggage!
  2. Can I take it on a plane as oversized baggage?
    This one has serious possibility. If you don’t want to use Bikeflights to ship it conveniently to your hotel in the durable pasteboard box your CHANGE bike came in, then you’ll need a smallish hard case. We just need to find and test one…

The moment we arrived back at the office after the Toronto bike show, there was a serious candidate for this smallish case, waiting for testing. It’s the foldon box M, finally imported from b-w-international in Germany. At 33″ L x 32″ H x 18″ W , it’s not quite the shape of the CHANGE boxes (35 L x 30 H x 15 W), but it’s close.

Close enough?

Assembling the hard case for first use

 

A cool thing about this hard case is that it folds up even smaller. It arrives compact, just as you would store it in your closet.

This is also how you might fold it small if you were arriving in one city, biking to another and flying out of there. Just fold it up small, ship it ahead to your final hotel, and make it full-size again for shipping home. Kind of magic, really…

33″ x 18″ x 8″ when folded (plus wheels).

Assembly could not be easier. Undo the straps to disassemble the case, unfold the center part, and put the aluminum reinforcing bars on the edges of the center piece.

 

To test size, we just moved a CHANGE 612 mountain bike from the original box (reused for recent bike shows) to the hard case. Easy peasy.

 

There’s even a bit of extra room on the sides and top. You could store a helmet and a sweatshirt with no problem. Just don’t go over the 50 lb weight limit so you don’t get hit with another surcharge!

Underneath are four convenient casters that make any airport walk easier.

How rugged is this hard case?

 

The whole reason we’re doing this is because airlines are rougher on packages than commercial shippers are. Packages get stacked, tumble, bounce, and eventually get to their destination, often with crushed edges and damaged corners.

A quick look at the top of this case shows good engineering in the corners and edges. Insets not only reinforce critical areas but provide places for fingers to pull, even if the pull strap isn’t being used.

But will it handle lots of weight?

We knew sitting on it would be no problem. Our boxes often arrive stacked three high, with footprints on top, and something like this with inset reinforcement is even stronger.

But side strength is another matter. Putting a package on its side and adding 200 pounds to the middle of it qualifies as abuse, and we don’t think our original boxes can handle that. But these cases can.

And the final verdict is…

 

This is a major upgrade over our heavy-duty pasteboard boxes that we’ve used up to seven times and usually have limited issues if packed properly:

  • It’s far less likely to have corner or side damage.
  • It can be rolled instead of carried (super-important if you have two or more)
  • It can be folded up small if there’s limited room at your destination

Those reasons are enough for us to standardize on these when traveling to bike shows and airshows. Even if we use a commercial shipper instead of an airline, all the benefits apply, making a couple more a good investment for Flatbike.

The question is, is it a good investment for you? We anticipate the final cost of the foldon box M to be about $350. If you order it with a new bike, we’ll even ship that way, so you start out as you intend to continue.

So what do you think? Should we stock these at Flatbike for quick and easy delivery?

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave

President, Flatbike.com

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425-985-6219

P.S. In reply to Thomas, who asked about how a CHANGE 702 fits, here’s a Large 702 in the box.

A 702 fits without removing the handlebars, so no tools needed. But we did replace the front axle with plastic wheel shipping inserts to make it fit snugly without scratching.

 

4 thoughts on “Testing a hard case on a CHANGE bike

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for your interesting report. I have a Change Bike DF-702 with 28″ wheels.
    Did you try to fit this bike into the foldon box? I fear, the box is a bit too small.
    If not, do you know any alternatives?
    Thank you

    Thomas Hahn

    1. Thanks for your question, Thomas. Assuming that your 28″ wheels are the 700c wheels that come standard on the CHANGE 702, let’s test this, attempting to place a Large (520mm, 20.5 inch) CHANGE 702 in the box.

      I don’t see how to add an image to a reply, so I’ll append the original article. The Large 702 fits, with room to spare, using no tools. We just removed the front axle and replaced it with plastic wheel shipper inserts for safety. Expect an article update shortly.

  2. Thanks for the review,
    I also have been looking at the size S of this box for my Brompton.

    I am wondering how to check this in at the airport:
    Is it regular luggage size or do I need to check it in as a “bicycle” with a surcharge or would it be oversized luggage with a surcharge?

    Thanks,
    — Bernhard

    1. Thanks for the question, Bernhard. For folding small, Brompton has the edge. We carry these hard cases in only one size (M) for CHANGE bikes, and it is definitely oversize luggage. We’ve never even seen the S size of the case, but if it’s anything like the M, it will be oversize too.

      One nice feature of these is that they don’t have bicycle branding all over and aren’t ” typical bike-sized”. So if you wanted to check it in as an oversize luggage case of exercise equipment, rather than an oversize luggage bicycle for that $pecial $urcharge, that would still be truthful.

      Bob

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