Our guide to the best bike bags and boxes to keep your ride protected whilst you travel the world

Riding abroad can do absolute wonders for a cyclist’s soul. Good weather, premium quality roads and minimal traffic are all great… 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 the damn thing there.

best bike bags

You need a quality bike bag or box to ensure your pride and joy arrives safely

There are two options really; 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.

Bike bags vs 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.

best bike bags

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. These tend to be bags that have some more structural inserts inside but retain more of a bags lightweight nature.

Other bike boxes can have nifty, in built storage techniques. For example, some have built in dropouts that allow you stand your frame upright and hold it tight.

How to 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:

• Remove the wheels from your bike
• Turn the handlebars to one side
• Either remove the seat post or drop it into the frame.
• Remove the rear derailleur

best bike bags

How good you are with a spanner will determine how much of your bike you disassemble

There are a few more mechanical adjustments you might make, and if you’re handy with spanner they shouldn’t cause give 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.

>>> How to prepare for an overseas cycling event

Best bike bags and boxes

VeloVault bike box – 9/10

Best bike bags and boxes: VeloVault bike box

Best bike bags and boxes: VeloVault bike box

Read more: VeloVault bike box review

We really quite liked the VeloVault bike box when we had it in for test. It’s big and sturdy, but weighing in at 11.kg 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.

Buy now: VeloVault bike box for £459 from Bike Box online

Bike Box Alan – 10/10

Best bike bags and boxes: Bike Box Alan

Best bike bags and boxes: Bike Box Alan

Read more: Bike Box Alan review

The fact that it’s a hard case box immediately gives the user piece of mind. Throw in the addition of an anti-crush pole in the middle and things are looking good for your pride and joy.

It is expensive, but it does come with a seven year guarantee, so depending on how much you holiday, it should pay for itself.

Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike box – 8/10

Best bike bags and boxes: Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike box

Best bike bags and boxes: Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike box

Read more: Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike box

To our relief, the Scicon Aerotech bike box returned our bike to us in one piece every time we flew with it – which we felt is worth the (staggeringly) high price.

Buy now: Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike box from Wiggle for £700

Evoc bike travel bike bag – 10/10

Best bike bags and boxes: Evoc Bike travel bag

Best bike bags and boxes: Evoc Bike travel bag

Read more: Evoc bike travel bag review

A wicked piece of kit that kept our bike safe despite its softer outer shell. However, the area that the Evoc bike bag really excels in is ease of use.

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.

Buy now: Evoc bike travel bag from Evans Cycles for £304.99

Thule RoundTrip Pro bike bag – 7/10

Best bike bags and boxes: Thule RoundTrip Pro

Best bike bags and boxes: Thule RoundTrip Pro

Read more: Thule RoundTrip Pro 100501 review

The Thule RoundTrip Pro 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.

Buy now at Sigma Sport for £247.50 (or check out the version with a bike assembly stand at Tredz for £449.99)

Chain Reaction Cycles Pro Bike Bag

Best bike bags and boxes: Chain Reaction Cycles Pro Bike Bag

Best bike bags and boxes: Chain Reaction Cycles Pro Bike Bag

We’ve not had the CRC Pro Bike Bag in for review but for its minimal price it looks good. According to Chain Reaction, only pedals, bars and wheels need to be removed for the bike to fit and it comes with a Shock Blocking System which features Crush Protection inserts.

Buy now: Chain Reaction Cycles Pro Bike Bag for £184.99 


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Bike bags and boxes: Things to consider

Fit

Chances are you ride a 56cm bike frame, or smaller, with a standard seat post and handlebars, in which case you should be golden with a standard bike bag or case.

However, if you ride a super-sized bike or if it has an integrated seat post (where it’s just an extension of the frame) then you could find yourself in a bit of a pickle.

If you know you’re the latter, its probably worth scoping the bag or box out in person, or getting some more of an idea of how well your precious cargo will fit.

Padding and protection

It’s worth packaging your bike carefully to avoid an airline related disaster

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 the all the bikes they get sent in.

>>> What do different airlines charge to fly your bike around the world?

Wheels and handles

Considering a fully packed bike bag or box is a weighty beast, built in handles and wheels become pretty vital. You’ll want to make sure they’re good quality, too, as nothing’s more annoying than a broken wheel on a long journey.