The Scicon Aerotech Evolution hard case box provides excellent protection for your bike when you fly, but it doesn't come cheap.
I'll tell you something about baggage handlers, and this might not be much of a revelation: they don't necessarily give a monkey's about your bike. Sorry, maybe this is a gross generalisation, but they don't always move a bike around like it's their grandmother's bone china. That's why you need to protect your pride and joy with a good bike box when travelling. This is one.
The case is made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, if you're interested) which is a tough plastic polymer, and the walls are rigid. Put it in the way of a charging rhino and your bike might be in trouble, but it'll cope fine with most other stuff you're likely to encounter while travelling.
Packing your bike is straightforward enough. I usually take 57cm or 58cm frames and I had absolutely no trouble getting any of my bikes in.
Whip off the wheels and one pedal, rotate the bars downward, take the seatpost out, and the frame fits into the box no problem. You strap the frame in place after first sticking foam pads over the bars and top tube so they don't scratch, the wheels fix to the side of the box with your quick release skewers and have their own covers so they can't damage the frame, and your pedal and seatpost/saddle go into a little bag. Easy! Everything sits perfectly stable in transit.
Once you've done it a couple of times, you'll get your bike boxed up with locks fastened in minutes. And all with no swearing whatsoever. This was a revelation to me. I've never boxed up a bike without swearing before.
With other boxes I've used in the past, I've had to remove all the usual stuff and then take off the rear mech, load the bike in, put the box on its side and sit on it – literally – before I could get the clips done up. You really don't want to treat your bike that way.
Scicon reckon, 'This case can hold virtually any racing bike frame (up to 62cm) as well as carbon frames with seat extensions.'
We didn't have a 62cm bike to hand but a bit of work with a tape measure suggests that's true. Scicon also say you're okay with any mountain bike up to 26in.
The seat extension point is a good one, so I left a seatpost (no saddle) in the frame to check it. The maximum distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the seatpost that you could fit in would be about 80cm.
The case rolls easily on four 40mm wheels with proper bearings (the fastening points are slightly recessed so clumsy baggage handlers are very unlikely to knock them off) and you get moulded handles to help you move it around. The small hand strap is useful when you want to load it flat although I think a shoulder strap would be handy too. There are inevitably times when you can't push the case along and picking it up is awkward in those circumstances.
It's worth bearing in mind that this bike box weighs 11.5kg when empty. Currently, EasyJet allow you 32kg /content/news/108383-easyjet-reinstates-32kg-bike-weight-limit for a boxed up bike and the Ryanair limit is 30kg. Sticking within those boundaries shouldn't be a problem. Check with your airline before travelling to avoid expensive surprises, though.
The whole thing measures 114cm x 94cm x 36cm at the widest points, and spare parts are available.
There's no getting away from the price though the calculation on whether it's likely to be worth it will depend on how much travelling you do, how much your bike costs, and how likely you are to find it for less than it's list price if you shop around - quite likely we'd say.
Superb protection for your bike and easy to pack, it's just the price that's the sticking point
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Make and model: Scicon Aerotech Evolution bike hard case
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Scicon say, "The AeroTech Evolution is simply the best hard bike case on the market. Designed to optimize load, safety, comfort and handling. This case can hold virtually any racing bike frame (up to 62cm) as well as carbon frames with seat extensions."
It's the best bike box I've ever used, but it's also the most expensive. The more you fly with your bike, the more it'll justify the price. Plus shop around and you can find it for significantly less than list price
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is the best bike box I've used by a margin.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ease of getting the bike packed in and the level of protection.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I think it could do with a couple of anchor points for a shoulder strap. You wouldn't want to carry it far, but sometimes it's inevitable.
Did you enjoy using the product? It made life a whole lot easier.
Would you consider buying the product? I would because I'm so bored of using sub-standard bike cases.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
In terms of performance, this is the best bike box I've ever used and I have no hesitation in recommending it. The sticking point is the RRP. Plug the model name into Google and you'll find it much cheaper.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.