We needed to take a road bike from England to Japan on international flight, so bought a bike box or 'pod' from Chain Reaction Cycles. This is basically a suitcase for a bike which is semi rigid, made of sturdy EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) foam. It costed £100 which was at a promotion price (reduced from about £190), very reasonable compared to other hard bike cases.
It is fairly lightweight at about 8 kg when empty, so even with a bike and several accessories, it is well under the Airline weight limit of 25-30 kg per bike pack. It has neat moulded recess for wheels with a padded dividing sheet between the wheels part and the main part to contain the bike.
As there was no instructions with the product, it was a little confusing to pack the bike for the first time. We eventually packed the bike in place with trial and error.
After taking wheels off and securing them to the wheel part of the pod with screws, we needed to take off pedals, handle bars and saddle post to place them all in the main compartment. As there was some space in between, we packed various other bike accessories, clothes, and some padding materials to secure the bike in the pod. We You can fasten the pod with a zip and also several buckle belts for extra strength. Nonetheless we taped the entire pod with some tapes for safe of mind.
The pod came out from the plane intact and we carried the pod on its wheels for further journey on Shinkansen and then on local train. It can be stored at the far end of the Shinkansen seats without obstructing anyone with extra luggage space.
When we unpacked the pod upon arrival, the bike inside was unscathed from the long journey. So it seems the pod did its job very well indeed. We only used it once, so cannot say whether this is durable enough to withstand several further journeys, but so far so good.
The following is information about this particular product from Chain Reaction Cycles, but we are not sure whether this product is still available to buy or not.
Brand-X EVA Bike Pod Features:
- A semi-rigid EVA moulded cycle Pod
- EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) has high impact strength and good tear/abrasion resistance making it an ideal construction method for the Bike Pod
- The Bike Pod is moulded to fit most road, touring and mountain bikes in a secure “locked” in position to reduce damage whilst in transit.
- Will accept wheels up to a 29" or 700C size.
- The “Clam Shell” design enables it to be fully opened for ease of stowing the bike
- The bike wheels lock in position using quick release skewers (Not provided)
- Closed with industrial strength zips and backed up by quick release buckles
- Big stable rubber skate wheels at the back so back always tracks straight.
- Numerous Pull handles to make lifting and pulling the Pod easy.
- Conforms to all major airline baggage handling restrictions
- Dimensions: Length 1200mm, Height (tallest) 907mm, Depth 280mm
- Weight: Approx. 8kg