Best bike bags and boxes 2023: Jump menu
This year Black Friday is running from November 24th – 27th. We’ve rounded up all the best Black Friday bike deals – spanning fully built bikes, components and tech – in our main hub page. You’re guaranteed to find a bargain.
Riding abroad can do absolute wonders for a cyclist’s soul. The best cycling holidays offer good weather, premium quality roads and minimal traffic… plus, those big hills are ideal for putting some fitness in your legs.
Many cyclists like to take their own bike with them when they go abroad – rather than hiring a bike on holiday. But that means getting that awkward thing there in the first place.
There are two options if you’re flying: you can fly your bike in either a box or a bag. Both have their pros and cons, so we’ll run through both options. If you’re driving, a bike rack is a good bet to carry your bike with you and we’ve got a guide to the best bike racks for cars and a separate guide to the best caravan and motorhome bike racks.
The Quick List
1. Scicon AeroComfort 3.0
Scicon is a go-to name in bike bags. Its AeroComfort range mixes a hard base with rollers and a soft top that includes a stand for your frame. This allows you to pack your bike without removing anything but the wheels.
Best for ease of use
2. Evoc bike travel bike bag
Best for ease of use
The Evoc Bike Bag is a soft sided option. It’s well padded though and easy to pack, plus it takes up a lot less room when not in use than a rigid box. There’s extra armour over vulnerable parts of your bike too.
If you’re looking for a budget option to carry your bike, the Lifeline pod is significantly cheaper than the brand name options. It suffers a bit in rigidity and durability, but should be good for the occasional trip.
4. Orucase B2 Bike Travel Case
At 15lbs, it’s a compact and lightweight bag that’s easy to travel with and store away when not in use. The backpack straps are pretty handy too.
Best with stand
5. Thule RoundTrip Pro XT bike bag
Best with integrated stand
Doubling up as a stand comes in handy when you reach your destination and you need to build your bike. Integrated wheel storage a plus.
Large in size and robust in nature, the VeloVault 2 provides your bike with plenty of protection. This level of peace of mind comes at a cost on the scales.
Best bike bags and boxes for cycling travel: Our picks
The AeroComfort 3.0 from Scicon is a firm favorite among the Cycling Weekly tech team. We’ve flown test bikes all over the world, and we like to use this carry case because it makes travelling by bike easy, hassle-free and incredibly quick. It takes just 15 minutes to pack the bike away, and even less time to put it back together.
How so? The outside is a soft, fabric bag, but inside you’ll find a metal structure. You simply remove the wheels, loop your chain over a specially designed T-bar and use your quick releases to stand the bike on the metal frame, so it’s immovable inside and thus a lot more secure. It couldn’t be easier.
There’s no need to remove anything aside from the wheels, the handlebars stay straight and don’t need twisting. This does make the front end quite bulky, but we found that the protection is good, with a thick soft fabric, designated pockets for wheels, helmets and shoes, and most importantly the rear derailleur is kept off the ground.
Read more: Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 Road Bike Travel Bag full review
Best for ease of use
Whilst hard cases give the ultimate reassurance that your bike is well protected, they also take up a lot of room when out of use, and, they’re heavy – limiting your ability to pack kit alongside your bike and stay within airline limits.
Enter soft cases, and this Evoc bike bag is an excellent option. Yes, it offers less protection – but the Cycling Weekly team has used it to transport press bikes on plenty of occasions (NB, we once even used a cardboard box for a personal bike, the theory is that baggage handlers will be more careful!).
This Evoc Bike bag really excels in terms of ease of use, too. The side opening makes getting the bike in a cinch, and the handy Velcro makes getting the parts in the right place a piece of cake. The newer model reviewed here now has a reinforced front zip, meaning it should last longer.
Read more: Evoc bike travel bike bag full review
Although it’s a reasonably compact bike box, the LifeLine Bike Pod will take a smaller sized bike without too much disassembly. It rolls on two rear wheels, with two front feet to stand on. Quick release wheels, although not wheels with thru-axles, can be secured to the outside of the case.
Our tester found that the LifeLine Bike Pod is relatively easy to move around, although since you have to lift the front end and the carrying handle doesn’t let you wrap your hand through it, longer carries can be tiring.
The sides of the bag are quite flexible, so it would be advisable to wrap wheels and frame well inside to prevent crushing. We were also concerned about how robust the feet would be and how well the zip would stand repeated use, but overall, the LifeLine Bike Pod is a relatively inexpensive option for the less frequent flyer.
Read more: LifeLine EVA Bike Pod full review
We’ve taken the B2 bike case on a number of domestic and international flights and were left impressed. It sports a lot of welcomed features, including backpack straps and a rollable chassis. Combined with it’s compact, space-saving size it makes for a sleek, highly portable and trustworthy bag that’s we think is a great option if space is limited or you’ll be traveling on serval modes of transport during your trip.
We did find that it’s not the easiest to pack, and required some disassembling of your bike – so you’ll need to be confident of putting your bike back together once you’ve arrived. It’s also far from cheap, but in our opinion, it’s likely a worthy investment given the ease of portability and the ability to save on extra fees due to its smaller size.
Read more: Orucase B2 Bike Travel Case full review
The Thule RoundTrip Pro XT falls into the not-quite-a-bike-bag category. It’s a softshell but has some structural implants that should keep your bike safe through the worst of it.
However, the bag does have some weak areas and for the price you pay this doesn’t induce confidence. But, maybe we’re being picky. This is a solid purchase, undoubtedly, and we always add extra bubblewrap around our frames, whatever we’re packing them into.
The base, which holds the bike static in the case, can have three legs added, transforming it into a workstand for when you get to your destination – which is a rather ‘nice to have’, too.
Read more: Thule RoundTrip Pro XT review
We really quite liked the VeloVault2 bike box when we had it in for test. It’s big and robust, which is what many cyclists need in order to achieve peace of mind when flying with a bike.
However, weighing in at 12.2kg means it should sneak under most airline weight controls. The company has sweated the small stuff, too: the clasps are quality, it’s easy to close and it rolls great.
VeloVault2 bike box has a new carrying handle, longer wheelbase, improved strut design and it is roof box ready. Oh, and it’s now bright blue… other colours are available if that’s not to your liking.
Read more: VeloVault2 full review
How do I pack a bike into a bike bag or box?
Packing the bike into the bag or box sometimes takes quite a bit more effort than expected. The process may differ slightly if your handy companion has some special inserts of internal structure, but the general process goes something like:
There are a few more mechanical adjustments you might make, and if you’re handy with a spanner they shouldn’t cause too much grief. For example, you might have to remove the chainset. This will keep it protected en route but it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll have to reassemble it when you arrive on your hols, so if you’re no spanner wizard it might be best to avoid this. It may also mean packing extra tools, which means extra weight to carry around.
Best bike bags vs best bike boxes: which is better?
You might think this is an easy question: it’s surely a box, right? However, that’s probably before you’ve taken weight into consideration.
A lighter weight bike bag influences two things: how comfortable it is to carry and lug about but also how much of your baggage allowance it eats into – and how much the baggage supplement might be.
The trade off is in the level of protection: a hard flight case like box is going to take the knocks better than a soft bag. That said, soft bike bags will usually protect your bike from the worst of it and they also tend to be cheaper than bike boxes.
There is an in between option. The best bike bags tend to have some more structural inserts inside but retain more of a bag’s lightweight nature. Other bike bags can have nifty, in-built storage techniques. For example, some have built in dropouts that allow you to stand your frame upright and hold it tight.
Do I need to add extra padding to my bike bag?
Regardless of how tough your bag or box might be, you’ll definitely want to pad the important parts inside it. We’d recommend bubble wrap and foam piping. If you’re lucky, your local bike shop might have excess from all the bikes they get sent in.
With Black Friday coming up on November 24th and running until the 27th, all the major retailers are already starting their discounts. On the tech side of things, we’ve rounded up the best Black Friday Wahoo deals over here and the best Garmin deals over here.
More generally, we have specific hub pages for power meter deals and bike computer deals. With the nights drawing in, we’ve also picked out the best bike light deals as well
Beyond that, we’ve got a hub on the best Black Friday cycle clothing deals, deep winter glove deals and our top picks from Adidas’ Black Friday bike kit deals.
And with Christmas coming up, we absolutely have a page on the best kids’ bikes deals – from balance bikes to fully equipped gears.