Bike Bags - Hard or Soft?

by Colin Peyresourde   May 13, 2013  

I wanted to start a discussion about people's experiences using bike bags. Whether people find hard shell bike bags work bette? Or whether soft shell bags work just as well? If you've had any damage while transporting your bike? If you think it's more about the airport baggage handler? Or any secret techniques to avoiding damaging your precious steed. Do the soft shell bags fold away neatly? Or are they cumbersome? Have you had problems fitting the case in your car.

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I've got 3 bike bags. A Scicon hard case - never used because it is too big/heavy. A Neil Pryde soft case - I line it with soft foam and cardboard either side of the bike and have not had a problem. I've also got an Evoc but only used it once - again like it because it folds.
If cost is not a major issue buy a Helium - - if it is, then a soft case well packed is fine.

posted by rivitman [9 posts]
13th May 2013 - 8:50


Thanks Rivitman. That's really useful. We looked at the Helium and thought it looked good. I also like the look of the Evoc bag (I've not heard of the Neil Pryde).

The Helium looks a bit bulky though once inflated.

Do you use all three or have you thought about selling them?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1623 posts]
14th May 2013 - 9:41

1 Like

I did read that a decent sized soft shell bag with a cardboard bike box from your LBS inside is a good compromise for no extra cost over a soft shell case. Pipe lagging from B&Q and drop-out spacers should do it.


posted by arrieredupeleton [587 posts]
14th May 2013 - 11:24


I've got a soft bag - good points are that you don't have to dismantle the bike as much as some more compact hard cases require, though you do spend more time protecting bits (I wrap exposed parts of the frame in bubble wrap and brace the forks and rear dropouts).

The bag is also more useful "in country" - you can remove the wheels and drop the bike in it and then put the whole thing in the back of a hire car if you are travelling around - and then get it out and put the wheels back on for a ride pretty quickly.

Downside is the fear of serious damage. Actual damage only happened once for me and that was on the flight back - but it needed the frame fixing so could have had a real impact if it had been on the way out to an event.

My bag isn't really foldable but once the bike is out the bag takes up much less room.

shropshirelad's picture

posted by shropshirelad [8 posts]
14th May 2013 - 11:33


If you want, I have one of these, in grey, sitting doing nothing and NEVER been used.....£30 and I'll see what I can sort out postage wise

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9365 posts]
14th May 2013 - 14:05


No way I'd trust my beloved to a soft bag. Just waiting for an idiot or mistake imo.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

badkneestom's picture

posted by badkneestom [134 posts]
15th May 2013 - 4:28


Used a soft bag but upgraded to a hard shell box when a) I got a more expensive bike and b) I saw pretty major scuffs on the bag once it came out on the baggage carousel!

posted by cojones [13 posts]
15th May 2013 - 11:01


Thanks GKam. That's very generous of you. I think that I'm looking for something that supports the frame of the bike, rear derailleur etc.

It's a shame bike bags (hard shell) are so expensive. The GF and I are doing the Raid Pyrenees and we need to fly her bike out (I'm going to rent my ride). She has a carbon frame. We live in a flat so space is a factor, so if people have found their soft shell adequate then that would be good.

Ultimately we need the bike in one piece so that's the enduring factor.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1623 posts]
15th May 2013 - 12:16


You could always just hire a hard shell from Bike Box Alan.....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9365 posts]
15th May 2013 - 12:33


A lot of bike shops have hard cases you can hire too. My LBS lent me a Polaris hard bike box. £30 for 10 days, Job done. Personally I wouldn't be totally happy to fly an aluminium bike in a soft case, and I wouldn't even think of it for carbon

posted by pirnie [221 posts]
15th May 2013 - 13:27