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How to fly with your bike | Packing, weight limits and surcharges explained

Our complete guide to travelling with your bike on a plane

Benedict Pfender

There’s always good riding to be had at home, but sometimes you need to get your bike fix somewhere else.

Often, flying remains the easiest way to get abroad, but figuring out how to transport your bicycle can sometimes feel like a bit of a battle. So we’ve done some research to make it easier for you.

We've also got 15 tips for travelling with your bike from our readers, a separate article with detailed advice on how to pack your bike , our pick of the best bike boxes and bike bags , as well as our guide to bicycle insurance - just in case things do go wrong on your flight.

How to pack your bike for travel

travel with your mountain bike

If you’re flying with your bike, you’re going to have to pack it up. The days of chancing it and showing up at the airport with an unpacked bike are over. Instead, we recommend you take a bit of time to prepare.

Whether you’re using a basic bike bag or a more elaborate hardshell case, always ensure your pride and joy is stowed securely and safely.

As a rule, you’ll have to take off your wheels, pedals and bars.

We’ve put together two detailed guides on how to pack your bike for travel, which should provide you with all the information you need to keep your bike safe in transit.

Note too that your airline may have additional restrictions on carriage of the battery if you plan to travel with an electric bike . Some ban batteries altogether, while others stipulate a maximum capacity, usually 160Wh, that's a lot smaller than most electric bike batteries .

Do I need to deflate my tyres and shocks?

Many airlines, but not all, stipulate that tyres and shocks should be deflated or part-deflated for carriage. Aircraft cabin and hold pressures are lower than that at sea level, around that experienced at 2,500m (8,000ft). This might not cause your tyres to explode, but it's probably worth letting some air out.

On the other hand, some air left in your tyres will help to protect your wheel rims, so squidgy, not flat, is probably best.

What to pack it in – a bike bag or box?

We would advocate a dedicated bike bag or box, but recognise that the cost can be off-putting, especially if you don’t plan on travelling with your bike very often. So, there are some cheaper alternatives you could consider.

A cardboard box

travel with your mountain bike

You could try to get a cardboard bike box from your local bike shop, though it’s unlikely to be a particularly compact option, so it’s worth checking the baggage size restriction with your airline.

Cardboard is also not the most impact-resistant material (nor durable if it’s sitting outside in the rain), so we’d recommend padding out the box to protect your bike.

It is worth bearing in mind that some airlines don’t accept anything other than a 'recognised bike bag', so you should check beforehand precisely what is meant by this.

While this option is decidedly cheaper than buying a dedicated bike bag or box, if you are travelling regularly then the prospect of investing in a bike bag can seem more reasonable as a purpose-built solution for transporting your bike. It should protect your bike better as well.

A dedicated bike bag or bike box

travel with your mountain bike

There are two options here: a hard or a soft case. The former will usually provide a bit more security and protection, while the latter is generally a little cheaper, lighter and easier to store when not in use.

You also get hybrids that are designed to combine the best of both worlds. That usually means a soft shell that has an internal frame to add extra rigidity and protection for your bike.

The main advantage of a dedicated bike bag is it's designed specifically to hold your bike and as such has padding in all the appropriate locations. Being purpose-built means it will also have compartments, straps and all the necessary measures to hold its contents and accessories securely.

We have additional reviews of bike travel cases on site.

As always, the sky's the limit when it comes to protecting your ride – we reported on this decadent $50,000 bike case from Fairwheel bikes a while ago, but there are definitely some more reasonable options available.

We’ve listed some of our favourites for you below:

Evoc bike bags

travel with your mountain bike

Evoc bike bags have become a go-to in the cycling world. We gave the Travel bag a 4.5-star review . It’s not the cheapest, but provides very good protection and still comes in cheaper than a hard case.

Scicon Aerocomfort

travel with your mountain bike

The Aerocomfort is a soft-sided bag, but includes an internal bike stand and the design provides space to keep the bars and seatpost in place. There are options for MTBs and triathlon bikes, as well as road bikes. Look out for airlines' maximum linear dimension limits though.

travel with your mountain bike

Biknd produces soft bags that add additional protection with inflatable side panels. We’ve reviewed the JetPack in the past, and while it's pricey it performed very well.

B&W hard case

travel with your mountain bike

If you want the ultimate in protection, a hard case is the way to go.

Something such as the B&W Bike Box is a cheaper option that provides good protection. However, it doesn’t appear to fit mountain bikes.

BikeBox Alan

There are numerous other examples out there. One we have particularly liked in the past is the BikeBox Alan, although it's another box that might fall foul of airlines' maximum linear dimensions regulations.

travel with your mountain bike

  • Buy the BikeBox Alan

Split your bike in two

In order to pack bikes smaller, frequent travellers might choose to go with travel bikes that have a frame that can be split in two.

These usually enable you to then check your bag as normal, rather than as outsize luggage, saving significant costs.

travel with your mountain bike

One of the slickest solutions we’ve seen is the Ritchey Break-Away.

We've reviewed the Break-Away Carbon , and while it's quite an investment, it could easily be used as your only bike. There’s no compromise on ride quality, just a tiny bit of added weight due to the fittings that enable the frame to be disassembled.

S&S couplings

travel with your mountain bike

S&S couplings are a precision-fitted, threaded linkage that can be retrofitted to many (round-tubed) frames.

The tubes of your bike can then be split for transport but reassembled without any performance impact. In fact, S&S couplings are said to be stronger than the tubes themselves.

There are a limited number of approved frame builders and you can check out the list here . S&S makes cases specifically to fit the compact, disassembled frames.

Take a folding bike

travel with your mountain bike

If you just want a bike to get around a city when you arrive, a folding bike can be a compact solution that will pack into a case that's a lot smaller than a standard bike bag.

Brompton sells a wheeled soft case for its folders, and B&W has a hard-case option with a drag handle. Other folding bike brands also offer soft or hard cases for their bikes, such as Gocycle's travel case for its electric folding bike .

You may be able to avoid airlines' oversized baggage restrictions, but look out for baggage weight limits and, if you're taking an electric folding bike, restrictions on carrying batteries.

What else to pack

travel with your mountain bike

Don’t forget, you’ll need to take all your riding accessories with you too. Make sure you have your essential tools, pump, nutrition, bottles, clothes, helmet and anything else you usually take with you when riding.

Bear in mind that bike bags tend to add quite a bit of weight on top of the bike itself (and so will your padding if you’re doing a DIY version). Keep an eye on the maximum weight limit for luggage on your flight and make sure you don't exceed this or pack any restricted items.

Some airlines stipulate that a bike box can't be used to transport anything except your bike.

If your bike goes missing in transit, you can potentially hire a bike while you're at your destination. However, other items such as cycling shoes in the right size and your favourite helmet are going to be trickier, so you might want to take those in carry-on luggage.

There's usually a maximum packed weight for the bag, that's often 32kg but may be lower. Airlines may also stipulate maximum 'linear dimensions', which is the sum of a box's length + width + height.

Travelling without a bike

travel with your mountain bike

So far, the focus here has been on travelling with your bike. However, you may want to consider just leaving your bike behind and hiring one at the other end when you arrive.

There are an increasing number of providers who offer high-quality bike rentals in various destinations, and in some cases this can work out cheaper or easier to organise than transporting bikes yourself, especially when you consider transfers. Often they're dream bikes and stock is updated annually, so you might get to ride an almost-new top-spec bike – and not have to clean it.

Getting your bike on a plane – fees and weight limits explained

travel with your mountain bike

The above information is all well and good, but when selecting your flight things start to get complicated. As a rule, we will use a comparison site such as Skyscanner or Tripadvisor to figure out which flights are cheapest, although you might find a better deal on an airline's website and some airlines are not covered by comparison sites.

However, hold fire before booking your tickets – figure out how much transporting your bikes will cost because we’ve found that in some cases choosing an initially more 'premium' flight can work out cheaper overall.

Different airlines will treat bikes differently, with some accepting a bike bag as part of your baggage allowance, even though it's outsized, while others will require you to pay a surcharge on top of your flight cost to be able to carry your bike with you.

Sometimes, we have found it cheaper to upgrade your class of travel rather than adding additional baggage to your booking. You’ll often have a more generous baggage allowance, so it can be worth looking through the fine print to figure out what will work best.

One thing we would add is it’s always worth calling ahead to let airlines know you intend to carry your bike. Find out all the information you need in advance because paying for excess weight allowance or excess baggage at the airport is almost always prohibitively expensive. Keep a note of who you talked to and when.

If you have a transfer flight on a different airline, you should make sure both carriers will accept your bike on board.

It's recommended that you insure your bike because airlines won’t cover any damage to your bike. Make sure to check your bike over once it arrives at the other end too so that you can flag up any issues immediately.

We’ve collated the terms and conditions of the major airlines here, but do please also take the time to double-check them yourself - they do change, usually for the worse.

Flying with a bike from the UK and in Europe – rules, costs and weight limits explained

Most of these airlines fly internationally and long-haul. However, for the purposes of this article we’ve done a rough grouping according to whether the airlines fly predominantly in Europe, the US or Australia.

Details updated 23 March 2023

  • Requires approval from customer service department at least 48 hours before flight
  • Bikes are not a part of baggage allowance
  • 23kg maximum weight
  • Bike transport within Europe and to some French DOM-TOMs costs €55
  • Price ranges from €40 to 125 depending on five different flight zones
  • Max dimensions of 120x90cm
  • Max ebike battery 160Wh, must be removed from bike
  • Weight limit of 23kg
  • For more details visit Air France here
  • A bike will cost €50 per flight or €40 if booked online
  • Weight allowance up to 23kg
  • Part of standard baggage allowance for flights to/from North America
  • For flights to/from North America, bikes can be carried as part of your luggage allowance
  • Extra luggage is charged at €75 / $100 each way
  • Business class passengers carry sports equipment for free
  • Electric bikes: contact customer services
  • For more details visit Aer Lingus here

British Airways

  • Bikes allowed as part of your free checked baggage allowance if packed
  • Call 72 hours ahead of time to confirm your bike reservation
  • Permissible dimensions of 190x95x65cm
  • No clothing or other personal items to be packed with bike
  • Above 32kg, you will have to ship anything as freight
  • No electric bikes
  • For more details visit British Airways here
  • A bike is counted as large sports equipment
  • One piece per booking, no refunds
  • Costs £45 per flight pre-booked / £55 at airport with weight allowance up to 32kg
  • Must be packed in a bike box
  • No items other than your bike may be transported in the bike box
  • 32kg maximum weight
  • For more details visit EasyJet here
  • Okay, we know this one doesn't leave the ground
  • Email [email protected] to book a space
  • Drop off at luggage area before departure
  • Only available on certain services from London to Paris
  • Folding bikes in a protective bag/case up to 85cm long can be taken on board
  • For more details visit Eurostar here
  • Register in advance to reserve space
  • 32kg max weight
  • £43/€50 for short haul flight
  • For more details visit Eurowings here
  • Bike counted as part of luggage allowance for long-haul flights
  • A €40 fee applies for short-haul flights if booked in advance, €50 for medium-haul
  • Weight allowance up to 32kg
  • Permissible dimensions of 131x72x21cm
  • Can buy a 131x72x21cm box for €20 at some airports
  • No ebikes, no tandems
  • For more details visit Iberia here

Ita Airways

  • €60 per flight in Europe, €100 per flight intercontinental if booked in advance
  • Not larger than 300cm
  • For more details visit Ita Airways here
  • Must be pre-booked
  • Taking a bike starts at £30 / €37
  • For more details visit Jet2 here
  • Not a part of baggage allowance
  • Within Europe €55
  • Prices range from €40 to €100 depending on five different flight zones
  • Max linear dimensions 300cm, up to 23kg
  • Ebike batteries must be removed and be smaller than 160Wh
  • For more details visit KLM here
  • Register bike at least 24 hours before departure
  • Bikes counted as part of your baggage allowance (except in Economy Class Light)
  • Weight allowance up to 23kg for economy, 32kg for business
  • Sum of linear dimensions of 2.8m maximum
  • Additional baggage costs from €70 to €250 / $80 to $287
  • For more details visit Luthansa here

Norwegian Air

  • Adding a bike will cost £30 online / £50 at airport
  • Max size 250x79x112cm
  • Print and take travel receipt to airport
  • For more details visit Norwegian Air here
  • Fixed £60/€60 fee per flight
  • Max weight 30kg
  • Must be packed in a bike box or bike bag
  • For more details visit Ryanair here
  • Space must be reserved in advance
  • Bikes are part of your baggage allowance
  • Must be packed in a box or bag
  • Additional fees outside allowance are very expensive
  • ebike battery must be removed, max 160Wh capacity
  • For more details visit Swiss Air here
  • Considered 'Special Luggage' and subject to a minimum €100 fee
  • Add to booking online
  • Max weight 32kg
  • Max linear dimensions 2.7m
  • For more details visit Vueling here
  • Subject to Sporting Equipment fee of €45 if booked in advance, €65 at airport
  • Add to booking online or via call centre
  • Can carry an ebike battery up to 160Wh separately in carry-on baggage
  • For more details visit Wizz Air here

Flying to, from or in the US with a bike – rules, costs and weight limits explained

  • Bikes must be registered at least 24 hours in advance
  • Specifically requests bikes are packed in purpose-built bike bag
  • Bike can be counted as part of your baggage allowance, except on some flights where there's a $50 (CDN/US) fee
  • Weight allowance up to 32kg for bikes, with no overweight charges for bikes below 32kg
  • Maximum linear dimensions of 292cm
  • No other items in bike box
  • For more details visit Air Canada here

Alaska Airlines

  • Alaska will waive $100 oversize and overweight baggage fees and charge bikes at standard rate of $30 for first bag, $40 for second bag, $100 for each additional bag
  • Weight under 51lb, sum of dimensions less than 115 inches
  • No items except bike in box
  • For more details visit Alaska Airlines here

American Airlines

  • Bike can be taken as part of checked allowance if in bike box/bag
  • Must be under 50lbs / 23kg
  • Must be under 126 inches / 3.2m in linear dimensions
  • Above this will incur a fee of $150, increasing allowance to 70lbs / 32kg and 126 inches / 3.2m
  • For more details visit American Airlines here
  • Bag can be carried as part of your checked luggage on most flights
  • Weight allowance up to 50lb
  • Maximum linear dimensions up to 292cm
  • Above those limits, bicycle is charged at minimum $150
  • Limited release form must be signed unless in a hard case
  • For more details visit Delta here
  • Carrying bikes between US and Europe costs £66 / $83 within Europe, £92 / $116 to/from US per flight leg
  • Pre-book for 20% discount
  • Weight allowance up to 70lbs / 32kg
  • Maximum dimensions of 87x22x40in / 221x56x102cm
  • For more details visit Icelandair here
  • Carried as part of checked baggage if under 50lb/62 inches
  • $100 / £80 / €90 per leg plus any applicable checked bag fee for larger items
  • Must be under 99lbs
  • No liability for damage if packed in a soft-sided case
  • No other items in bike case
  • For more details visit JetBlue here

Southwest Airlines

  • Bikes can be carried as part of checked allowance for a $75 fee per flight leg
  • Must under 62 inches / 1.57m in linear dimensions
  • For more details visit Southwest here

Spirit Airlines

  • Bikes are charged at $75 each way
  • Counts towards part of your checked allowance
  • For more details visit Spirit here
  • Bike can be carried as part of your luggage allowance
  • Maximum of 292cm linear dimensions
  • $150 for travel in North America if limits are exceeded
  • $200 for travel everywhere else if limits are exceeded
  • For more details visit United here

Virgin Atlantic

  • Bikes allowed as part of your free baggage allowance, unless travelling Economy Light
  • Pre-booking not required
  • Overweight baggage charge from 23kg to 32kg
  • Overweight luggage or adding extra bags starts at £65
  • For more details visit Virgin here

Flying to, from or in Asia Pacific – rules, costs and weight limits explained

Air new zealand.

  • Items can be carried as part of your checked allowance
  • Must be in a bike box/bag
  • Items may weigh up to 23kg
  • May not exceed 2m long
  • Can pack accessories in box
  • For more details visit Air New Zealand here

Cathay Pacific

  • Contact at least 72 hours in advance to book bike
  • Bike must be transported in a hard case or "recognised bicycle box"
  • Bike counts as part of checked allowance
  • For more details visit Cathay Pacific here
  • Bikes must be booked at least 24 hours in advance
  • Can be carried as part of your checked baggage allowance
  • Weight limit of 23kg or 32kg depending on the class you are flying in
  • Maximum linear dimensions of 300cm
  • Additional charges are rather expensive
  • For more details visit Emirates here
  • Bikes are exempt from oversize rules
  • 300cm linear dimensions
  • For more details visit Etihad here
  • Bikes can be carried, but must pay oversize fee
  • Charged at AU$25 per flight
  • Max 32kg weight
  • Make sure to purchase enough weight allowance
  • For more details visit Jetstar here

Malaysia Airlines

  • Bikes will usually be accepted as checked baggage, with different allowances by cabin class
  • Maximum 158cm linear dimensions
  • Maximum 204cm linear dimensions to carry as oversize baggage
  • Fees vary depending on airport
  • For more details visit Malaysia Airlines here
  • Bike can be carried as part of your baggage allowance
  • Maximum weight of 32kg
  • Dimensions of 140x30x80cm
  • For more details visit Qantas here
  • Bike will be carried as part of free baggage allowance
  • Minimum $200 to add extra items of luggage to your booking
  • For more details visit Qatar Airways here

Singapore Airlines

  • Bikes are carried as part of free baggage allowance
  • Weight limit of 32kg
  • No stated dimension restrictions
  • For more details visit Singapore Air here

Virgin Australia

  • Bike accepted as part of checked luggage
  • Must be packaged in specific bike case (soft or hard)
  • Weight limit of 23kg (32kg in business class)
  • Size restriction varies by type of aircraft
  • Must be checked in at least one hour prior to departure
  • ebike batteries maximum 160Wh
  • For more details visit Virgin Australia here

At the other end

travel with your mountain bike

Once you land at your destination, be sure to consider how you are going to transport your bike. In all likelihood, you’re not going to be riding away from the airport, so check luggage restrictions on any public transport that you might be taking so you don’t run into any trouble.

Make sure you know how to get your bike to where you're wanting to go.

It may also be worth considering whether you need to fly. There are quite a few options that offer to transport you and your bike more conveniently. For example, in the UK, Bike Express offers transport to mainland Europe at relatively reasonable prices.

Always make sure you double-check terms and conditions before making your booking, and if in doubt contact the airline you intend to fly with.

We've flown with our bikes countless times and while it can seem a bit of a logistical headache, with a little bit of effort it's easy enough to get everything sorted out.

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travel with your mountain bike

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How To Fly With Your Bike: The Ultimate Guide

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Exploring new terrain on your bike is one of the true joys of cycling. But if you’re unprepared when flying to your destination, your trip can be ruined by expensive fees, damaged equipment, and logistical challenges. Luckily, flying with a bike can be fairly easy and affordable if you plan ahead. What do you need to know before embarking on your next cycling adventure?

Table of Contents

  • Flying With a Bike: An Overview
  • Baggage/ Case Options
  • Packing Your bike
  • Typical Costs/ Airline Policies

Flying With a Mountain Bike

Flying with a bike: an overview .

There are three major variables to consider any time you fly with your bike. First, the safety of your equipment—you want to be confident your bike will arrive intact and undamaged at your destination. The second factor is the cost of getting your bike there, which can vary dramatically depending on the airline and on how you pack it. Finally, the third factor is simplicity— it can be difficult and time-consuming to rebuild a fully-deconstructed bike, especially if you’re in a hotel room or unfamiliar environment with limited tools.

Every method of traveling with a bike balances a mix of these three factors. No option is perfect, but understanding the pros, cons, and logistics of each in advance can help you determine which is best for you and your equipment.

Basic Advice 

However you choose to get your bike to your destination,  you’ll need some basic technical knowledge and tools  to do so. All travel cases and bags require some amount of deconstruction— usually at least the removal of pedals, wheels, and handlebars. It’s notable that for some modern road bikes with fully integrated cockpits, this can be a very laborious and time-consuming job, and these bikes may require special cases that allow handlebars to remain attached.

Many airlines are becoming more bike-friendly, but  fees can vary dramatically . In some cases, you may save money overall by choosing a more expensive airline with lower baggage fees. And note that no matter how welcoming an airline is to cyclists, baggage handlers may be very rough with your bike, and airlines are often not responsible for damage that occurs during transit.  Consider purchasing luggage insurance  for your trip, especially if traveling with an expensive carbon bike. Some homeowners’ and renters’ policies, as well as certain credit cards, may cover your baggage already, so check your specific policies for details.

Don’t save anything for the last minute . Practice packing your bike well in advance, and consider all aspects of your trip’s logistics and how they relate to your bike. Will your box or case fit in your transport upon arrival? Will you be able to comfortably rebuild and later repack your bike in your lodging? How will you get your bike to the airport when it’s time to head home? 

Finally, it’s worth considering whether it’s actually necessary to bring your bike on the plane with you in the first place. Bike shipping services can send it in advance, and this option may be economical depending on your destination and itinerary. Alternatively, if having your own bike with you isn’t necessary, consider renting one from a local shop for the duration of your stay.

Note: A few bikes have frames specifically designed to come apart for easy packing. These bikes can be worthy investments for frequent flyers, but this post is primarily intended for athletes traveling with their existing standard bikes.

Flying With a Bike: Packing Options

Three main options exist for packing your bike for flight— cardboard bike boxes, soft-sided bike bags, and hardshell cases. It’s also worth mentioning that a few bikes are made with special frames designed to come apart for easy packing, and these bikes can be excellent options if you are a frequent traveler. But the packing discussion in this post

Cardboard Bike Boxes

A cardboard bike box is the simplest container for your bike during travel. Cardboard boxes do have a few things working in their favor— for one, they’re easy to get (often for free) from almost any bike shop. Most are large enough to fit your bike nearly intact, so they are fairly easy to pack.

But that’s about it when it comes to positives. Cardboard boxes are prone to damage, especially in wet conditions. Cardboard boxes are easily punctured, and their handles often tear out and rip off. Bikes packed in cardboard boxes need significant additional padding and must be very carefully packed to arrive safely. Additionally, cardboard bike boxes are large and ungainly. They might not fit into small vehicles bringing you to and from the airport, and they’ll definitely incur oversize baggage fees. To add insult to injury, most airlines won’t insure or cover any damage to bikes packed in cardboard boxes. Use at your own risk.

Cardboard Box Pros: Cheap, easy to pack. Cons: Large, fragile, difficult to transport, airlines won’t insure, always incur oversize fees.

Bike Bags/ Soft Cases

Soft-sided bike bags vary widely in their design and features. Most have straps and wheels that make them easy to move around, and they’re generally small enough to fit in a rental car without a problem. On the downside, many airlines require a liability release for bikes packed in soft-sided bags. Also, they aren’t cheap— costs typically range from about $400–$600 USD. Some companies allow you to rent one for your trip instead of purchasing the bag outright. 

Larger bags allow you to leave your fork on your bike and may include an internal mount for your frame which can make them easy to pack. They usually include some amount of internal padding and protection, but you may want to add additional padding to your frame and components. These bags are usually lighter than hard-sided cases, but they are still quite large, and invariably incur oversize luggage fees. 

Smaller bike bags are designed specifically to avoid airline oversize fees and are about the size of a large suitcase. These bags are somewhat challenging to pack and require significant bike deconstruction— fork, handlebars, pedals, both wheels, and rear derailleur usually need to be removed. But if packed with some extra padding on crucial components, they’re quite sturdy and safe, and are by far the easiest option for transport to and from the airport. This blog post’s author has used one of these bags for several years, with no damage or additional fees.

Soft Case Pros: Easy to transport, can avoid airline fees. Cons: Difficult to pack, expensive, often require extra padding.

travel with your mountain bike

Hard-Sided Cases

Most protective of your bike but also the most expensive option, hard cases range in size and design. Some are quite compact and challenging to pack. Others are extremely large and heavy, but allow you to travel with your bike almost fully assembled. All offer the promise of robust protection against impact, though some travelers believe baggage handlers are more likely to be rough with hard cases than soft-sided bags. On the plus side, if you use a hard-sided case, airlines are usually willing to insure your bike and compensate you if damage occurs during a flight.

Hard cases are generally less convenient to transport and get around than soft bags, but some have multiple handles and wheels to make things easier. Unfortunately, most hard cases are big enough to incur an oversize luggage fee. It’s also quite obvious what’s in one of these cases, so if your airline charges a bike-specific fee there’s no avoiding it when using one. 

Hard Case Pros: Highly protective. Moderate packing difficulty. Cons: Heavy, awkward, expensive, usually incur extra fees.

Packing Your Bike

When it comes time to pack your bike for travel, there are two main tasks— protecting your equipment and preparing it for potential opening and inspection. The more systematic and organized your packing job, the more likely it will be safely repacked after inspection by transportation safety agents.

Packing Your Bike Step-By-Step

  • Remove any components needed to fit the bike in your chosen container. This almost always means removing the handlebars, pedals, and front wheel. Depending on your luggage it may also require removing your rear wheel, fork, and seat post. Put shipping spacers or thru axles into your dropouts, and put spacers into your disc brake calipers.
  • Wrap your bike and components in padding. Some cases include this, but many riders use bubble wrap, pipe insulation, or pool noodles sliced in half and cut to size. Securely tape or zip-tie the padding in place.
  • Attach handlebars/ fork/ seat post to your frame and zip-tie in place. Where you put them depends on your case and your bike, but by attaching everything together it will be easier for TSA agents to put your bike back into your case after inspection, and less likely anything will get lost. 
  • Remove rear derailleur and any other protruding component (computer mount, derailleur hanger, eTap batteries, etc) that could potentially be impacted if your bag or case is mistreated. Wrap these parts in padding/ attach to your frame. Wrap your chain in padding and attach it to your chainstay. Remove disc rotors from your wheels and wrap in bubble wrap or clothing.
  • Photograph your gear before you put it into your bag. It will come in handy if you need to file a claim with the airline, and will help you repack your bag on the way home.
  • Write your name and contact information on a sheet of paper and tape it to your bike. Insert the bike into your bag or case. Insert wheels into the case, slightly deflating tires if needed to fit.
  • Fill extra space in your bag or case with kit and shoes. Wrap your pump in padding and insert it. Wrap other components you removed in padding (such as pedals, rotors, and saddlebag) and place them together in a small bag, which can also go into the extra space or pockets in your travel bag/ case. Put every tool you used to deconstruct the bike into a small bag, wrap in padding, and place them in the luggage, too. 
  • Close the bag/case and carefully feel around the outside. If any part of your bike (such as your chainring) can be felt protruding, reopen and reposition/ attach extra padding to this area. 
  • Verify all old barcodes/ destination stickers are removed from the exterior of your luggage. Mark the exterior prominently with your name and contact information.

Other Important Packing Tips

  • Bikes are often damaged by contact with objects inside the case. Add padding anywhere two parts touch each other in the luggage. Wrap every loose component in padding and secure inside.
  • Bent disc rotors are the most common damage during travel. Even if your case doesn’t require it, remove your rotors, wrap them in padding, and secure them somewhere safe.
  • Zip-tie everything together inside the case, so if a security agent removes your bike during an inspection they won’t lose anything or have trouble putting it back in. Make it foolproof!
  • Don’t forget your tools. Many bike tools are prohibited from carry-on luggage, so wrap all the tools you’ll need together and secure them in your case. Don’t forget an air pump, and always bring a torque wrench!
  • Your tires won’t explode on an airplane. Some airlines require you to deflate your tires, but always leave enough air in tubeless setups to keep the tires seated. 
  • Most airlines prohibit CO2 containers in carry-on  and  checked luggage. Remove them from your flat kit and grab new ones at your destination’s local bike shop.
  • Electronic groupsets bring some additional considerations. Remove batteries from SRAM derailleurs, so they don’t get lost if your case is opened. Shift levers can be inadvertently pushed inside of bags and cases, so remove the coin cell battery from SRAM shifters and unplug shifter cables under Shimano hoods.
  • If your power meter has a removable battery, remove it during packing to prevent battery drain.
  • Remember to bring chargers for any electronic components, including head units, lights, and derailleurs.

travel with your mountain bike

The Typical Cost of Flying With Your Bike

So you’ve got your bike packed and ready to fly. How much will it cost? 

The answer depends on the airline and your specific equipment. Some airlines charge no special fees, while some charge an all-inclusive fee for bikes, and some layer multiple fees for bike, luggage weight, and luggage size. Check your airline’s policies, but you can usually use this formula to find your expenses:

Cost to Bring Bike = Bike Fee + Standard Checked Bag Fee + Oversize Fee (if Applicable) + Overweight Fee (if applicable)

For most airlines, oversize fees kick in if the combined length, width, and depth measurement of your luggage add up to more than 62”. While many popular bags and cases do exceed this limit, these fees are inconsistently enforced by gate agents. Overweight penalties usually start at 50 lbs, and for even larger and heavier bags most airlines have more severe fees. 

All told, costs can vary dramatically. If you have a lightweight road bike in a small, soft bag and you’re flying on an airline with no bike fee, you’ll only be charged for a standard piece of checked luggage. On the other hand, with a large mountain bike, in a hard case, on an airline with a bike fee, you may need to pay $300 or more each direction in bike, weight, and oversize charges. Discount carriers usually charge more in additional fees, so do your homework and research potential costs before you buy your ticket. In the end, it’s often worth paying a little more upfront for a premium carrier without bike penalties.

Best Airlines for Flying With a Bike

Here is a comparison of major airlines’ policies on bikes, to help you find the best option for your next trip. Note: If an airline layers multiple fees, all are listed. Some fees marked N/A may still be incurred if your case is very large/ heavy. Policies are accurate as of 10/5/21. Prices USD unless noted.

Adaptive Training

Get the right workout, every time with training that adapts to you.

In most ways, bringing a mountain bike on an airline is the same as bringing a road or gravel bike. However, mountain bikes are generally bulkier, with thicker tubes and wider axles. This means mountain bikes may not fit in all travel cases, and you may need a case or bag specifically designed for large bikes. Pay close attention to weight, as adding extra kit and equipment to a bag containing a mountain bike may incur an expensive overweight penalty.

When preparing your mountain bike for travel, it’s often easier to remove the handlebars from the stem, than it is to remove the stem from the steerer tube. If possible, flip your fork backward to shorten your wheelbase and make your bike more compact for packing. As with road bikes, always remove your brake rotors, and only deflate your tires enough to fit your luggage. Don’t allow your tires to come off the bead, and bring a small container of sealant in your checked bag just in case you need it upon arrival.

If your bike still won’t fit, let some air out of your suspension to reduce height (but make sure you bring your shock pump with you). Resist the temptation to fly with your dropper post down— a long flight with the cartridge under pressure can stress the hydraulics, so remove the post from your frame instead. And on that note, service any hydraulic components in need of maintenance  before  you travel. Extended periods in your bag in an unusual position can push worn seals beyond their limits, and you don’t want to arrive at your destination to find a crucial part no longer works.

Finally, bring a large rag or towel along with you for your trip. You might not have the ability to wash your bike at your destination before repacking it for your return, but at least you’ll be prepared to give your equipment a good wipe-down.

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Sean Hurley is a bike racer, baker of sourdough bread, and former art professor. He is a connoisseur of cycling socks and a certified USAC level 3 coach. Rumor has it he also runs a famous cycling instagram account, but don't tell anyone about that.

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Can You Bring a Mountain Bike on a Plane? a Comprehensive Guide

Planning on a vacation with family or friends could be a lot of fun, but sometimes, it could also be a little complicated, especially when you’re traveling with heavy and bulky luggage like a mountain bike. A common question usually raised by bikers whenever going off on a faraway place is this: can you bring a mountain bike on a plane?

You can bring a MTB on a plane as long as you follow airline guidelines and pack it according to the rules. In order to travel you’ll need to partially dismantle it, clean it properly, and store in a suitable bag designed for bikes.

Some also travel for the main purpose of going on world-renowned bike trails. In this article, we will be providing you with guidelines on how you can safely bring your mountain bike on a plane, so you could have an enjoyable time sightseeing on your favorite ride. After all, it would be pretty amazing to enjoy the magnificent views of a destination while going on a bike ride.

person on his way to an airplane with a mountain bike

Mountain Bike Airline Guidelines

Step 1: make sure your bike is squeaky clean, step 2: prep your tools, step 3: dismantle the bike, step 4: put them all in the case, bonus pro-tip, option 1: shipping, option 2: renting.

Bringing a mountain bike on a plane can be quite a challenge, but with these tips, we hope to make your life a little bit easier. Just take note of these considerations and your off-road trip will be a breeze.

  • Before anything else, the most important thing to know is if your chosen airline allows bringing a bike on a plane. You want to do this early on, as you don’t want your whole trip ruined because of airline restrictions. While most airlines allow it, sadly, some prohibit bikes on their planes. In the event that your airline will not allow you to bring your bike on the plane, check out the last section of this article for alternative options.
  • Make sure to read up on the baggage policies of the airline. Take note of weight restrictions before purchasing a ticket. The maximum baggage limit varies from airline to airline. Obviously, knowing the weight limit will help you determine whether you can bring your bike or not. Vacations are supposed to be fun, you don’t want to have any regrets just because you didn’t read the fine print.
  • Find out how much the fee is for bringing a bike. Whichever airline you pick, there will always be a bike fee. Usually, the cost ranges from $50 to $250 one-way. It’s better to check with your airline ahead of time to help you budget your finances appropriately.
  • When you finally get on the plane, you have to double check that your bike is secured tight in a bag. There shouldn’t be any pieces rattling or moving around inside the bag as that may cause severe damage to your bike as it is being transported.
  • Once you have reached your destination, it is critical to check the condition of your bike. If it is damaged in any way, shape, or form, you will have to report it immediately to your travel insurance company. If you don’t report right away, chances are they won’t pay you.

Prepping Your Mountain Bike for the Trip

Once you’ve had all the airline regulations all sorted out, now it’s time to ensure that your mountain bike is ready for the long trip ahead. You might think that it’s going to require a lot of work to pack your bike and bring it on the plane, it is actually not as arduous as you would think.

Don’t worry now, preparing your mountain bike for that foreign trail you’ve always wanted to try is not as difficult as packing up a road machine. Plus, we’re here to provide you with step-by-step guidelines to make sure your mountain bike flies safely on your trip. After having read this article, you will surely have a relaxing, stress-free journey.

The first step to prepping your bike is to clean it well. First of all, certain countries such as New Zealand have strict regulations about foreign dirt entering their country. If you think those dirty tires look badass, think again. Better do some research, as bringing a dirty bike on your trip might result in getting it impounded.

Secondly, who wants to go on a trip with a muddy bike? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you bring a clean bike to a new country and then have it get dirtied up with foreign mud?

Once you’ve given your mountain bike a good bath, it’s time to dismantle certain parts. Here are the tools and items you’ll need in order to get this all done:

  • A Bike bag or box. Now, if you will be going on multiple off-road trips with your mountain bike, it’s advisable to invest in a good bike case. You don’t want to open your bag after a plane trip and see a damaged brake rotor or derailleur hanger. That will just cost you an entire day and a lot of money to have it repaired in a foreign country. That’s not how you want to start a vacation.

Another great thing about having a bike case is that you could also use it to store other items apart from your mountain bike. You’ll have to pay a bike rate anyway (with no weight restriction, mind you), so better maximize that extra space. As we all know, airlines have a weight limit for passengers’ checked baggage.

So, feel free to transfer bike clothes and other items to your bike case to save up on baggage space. You could even use your bike clothes to further protect your bike frame. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

  • Allen Keys or a Multi-Tool Set
  • Pedal Wrench
  • Bubble Wrap or Foam
  • Booze (not required, but highly advised)

Once all the tools and items are ready, it’s time to dismantle certain parts of your bike. You’ll need to do this if you want to safely bring your mountain bike on a plane. There’s no need to be overwhelmed, as we will walk you through this every step of the way. It’s actually pretty simple!

  • Place a mark on your seat post and handlebars. You will dismantle these parts when as you pack the bike for travel. Stick a piece of tape around these bike parts and mark them with a pen.
  • Take out the rear wheel. As you remove this, make sure to put a hub spacer or something similar in the frame’s rear. You might need to take out the rear derailleur as well. Make sure the derailleur is protected with foam or bubble wrap.
  • Take out the tires. Before removing, though, ensure that the bike’s chain is moved on to the biggest anterior chainring and the smallest posterior sprocket.
  • Take out the pedals. As you do so, be reminded that the pedal wrench or allen key must be turned in the right direction.
  • Remove the handlebars off the stem. After taking this piece out, we suggest that you reattach the stem faceplate just to remove the chances of it getting lost. Make sure to secure the bolts tight so they won’t move around. Check your bag first, though — some cases might need you to remove the stem completely, while others might require you to position the stem such that it is facing the back.
  • Secure the thru-axles so that you may easily reattach the rear wheel back onto the bike frame.
  • Dismantle the front wheel. Make sure that the fork is protected by making use of an axle spacer. If you do not have one available, an old axle or hub will do the trick as well.
  • Deflate the tires. Airlines sometimes don’t require you to deflate bike tires prior to flying, as plane cabins are pressurized anyway. However, other airlines do require it, so might as well do so just the same to avoid trouble. Just be sure to leave just a small bit of air in: this step is critical if you want those rims protected. Also, it’s important that you wrap the linkages with some bubble wrap for protection.
  • Take out the handlebars and seat post. In certain bike cases, you will need to remove the seat post. Others come with a fitted dropper, so instead of removing the seat post, there is no need to do so. Just position it properly and you are good to go.
  • Protect those disc brake pads. In order to stop them from contacting each other, place a pad spacer such as a piece of cardboard in between your front and rear brakes. It’s a small step that will come a long way, trust us.
  • If you have any excess chain, use some zip ties to attach them to the bike’s frame. Use some bubble wrap or cardboard to wrap the chain as well. This will help eliminate the chances of the chain scratching or damaging your mountain bike. It will also prevent grease from spreading all over the bike case.
  • Protect the bike frame by applying foam or bubble wrap all over it. Go crazy!
  • You’ve done a good job so far. Reward yourself and have some of that ice cold booze.

Now that you’ve taken apart the pieces of your mountain bike, it’s time to bag them up. Don’t just throw all of them in randomly. Follow these steps for some organized packing.

  • The first to go in the bag are the wheels. Before placing them inside the case, make sure to detach the skewers first. Place the skewers inside any of the bag’s side pockets.
  • Now it’s time to place the bike frame inside. Bike cases usually have straps and fittings to allow you to put the bike properly in place. If there aren’t any, not to worry. In this case, you may use some cardboard, foam, or bubble wrap to secure the bike safely.

The bottom bracket must be placed on the block in the center of the case. The chainring must hang down to the side. These blocks are adjustable, so you may customize them depending on the size of your mountain bike. In case the case does not have blocks, just remove the chainrings and grab some bubble wrap. Fill the bottom of the case with bubble wrap for protection.

Next up, place the posterior axle into the rear block. Make sure that the axle is placed on the correct rear block slot.

  • Using the straps provided in the case, attach the handlebars to the case. If the case doesn’t have any straps, use zip ties instead. Make sure to secure it properly to prevent any movements during the flight. Bag the pedals and seat post as well.
  • If there is still some space left in your case, throw in your helmet and other protective gear. It is also good practice to bring some tools you might need while on vacation. We also suggest that you place energy drinks inside the bag. Just make sure that you have enough cardboard, foam, and bubble wrap to protect the bike and all its parts from rattling around.

When going on a foreign bike trail, we highly recommend that you bring boatloads of biking clothing. Mountain biking, as we’re sure you know, is a very exhausting and sweat-inducing sport. After a tiring day of riding your bike, we bet you’d hate the idea of putting on the same shorts and jersey the following day.

We’re sure you wouldn’t want to waste precious time at laundromats, either, so just to be on the safe side, take with you at least 4 pairs of shorts and jerseys for a 2-day bike trail. Make sure to bring as many socks as you can too.

Other Options

As promised, we’re giving you these alternative solutions in the event that your chosen airline prohibits you from bringing a mountain bike on a plane. These might be more expensive than taking your bike with you on the plane, but, if you’re really hell-bent on bringing your bike, then at least you have these options available.

We’re not gonna lie, this option is really pricey, especially if you’re traveling to a different continent. For instance, if you have your mountain bike shipped to Lima, Peru from Toronto, Canada, it will cost you around $600 CAD.

However, if you are traveling within your continent, say, Europe or North America, then this option might actually better than bringing your bike on a plane. It’s much more convenient, as you won’t need to carry the bike at the airport. Additionally, couriers will take better care of your mountain bike than airline baggage handlers because it’s easy to avail of travel insurance using this method. Some of the better shipping companies are as follows:

  • Bikeflights. This company takes pride in being the simplest and most affordable method to get your bike shipped.
  • FedEx. This company provides insurance for your bike case.
  • UPS. This is a little pricier option, though. Also, the Adventure Cycling Association shares that it ships longer than FedEx. They don’t cover insurance either.

Another good option for you is to simply rent a bike wherever you are staying. Usually, we advise riders and all bike travelers, in general, to take their bikes with them. It’s easier to ride using a bike that’s already familiar to you, except of course if you own a crappy one.

However, in certain circumstances, bike renting is just way more convenient than bringing it on a plane or having it shipped. For instance, If you’re going on another trip after your bike trail trip, wouldn’t it be such a hassle if you still carried the bike around everywhere?

To help you out, here are a few tips you need to know when renting a bike:

  • Rent in advance, especially during peak season when shops are usually slammed with customers.
  • Research on the rental company’s available bike models, age, and brands.
  • Find out how frequent their bikes are maintained and inspected. Ideally, it should be done every time it’s been used for rent.
  • Find out the damage policy. If a piece gets damaged or broken by accident, will you have to pay for it?
  • Lastly, do not take sizing for granted. This is a critical aspect of smooth bike riding. For example, a medium Santa Cruz will not necessarily fit you the way a medium Specialized will. If you are set on renting a bike, figure out what brand and model you want first, and find local shops within your area that has that bike available. Then, proceed to that particular local shop and try out the bike to identify what your size is.

Sacred Rides has worked with various bike shops and rental stores in many destinations so that there are plenty of superb mountain bikes available for rent for you. Regardless if you’re traveling with them or going on a trip alone, don’t hesitate to give them a call to know your options.

Now, once you’ve done all these preparations, there is one final thing you need to do: sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Ruben

I always had a thing for cycling sports and love almost anything that involves bikes and boards. I work part-time as a designer in the tech industry and work on my blogs whenever I can.

Terradrift

How to Travel with a Bike by Air (And Two Rad Travel Bags Perfectly Suited for the Task)

By: Author Alisha McDarris

Posted on April 18, 2024

Sharing is caring!

Ever wanted to travel with your bike to a cool mountain bike (or gravel bike, or road bike) destination, but didn’t because you looked at the cost of renting a decent steed for the week and had a low-grade heart attack? We get it. For years, we thought the only way to travel with a bike was to make a road trip of it. Which can be a super fun time, especially if you have a solid, multi-functional bike rack like the Yakima Exo System , but sometimes, it’s just too dang far and you don’t have the time.

Fortunately, road trips aren’t the only option if you want to travel with a bike: you can absolutely fly with a bike, too. Yes, fly with your bike. As in, check it as luggage when you’re jetting from one destination to another on a commercial airline. Exciting stuff, right? So we’re gonna break down how to do it, what to expect, and then compare two excellent bike travel bags so you can take your bike with you the next time you fly to a place with gnarly single track to shred!

Walking outside the airport with the Dakine Bike Roller Bag.

How to Travel with a Bike: Airline Restrictions when it Comes to Flying with a Bike

First of all, it’s important to know that you can’t just roll your bike into the airport, take it to the baggage check area and toss it on the scale. You’re going to need either a dedicated bike travel bag–like the two we’re going to talk about in a minute–or potentially even a bike box, like one a bike might have been shipped in (whether that was to you or a bike shop near you). Airlines require it.

Most airlines also treat bikes differently than traditional luggage and have different size and weight restrictions, which usually works in your favor. It means bikes have more wiggle room in the size department so you’re less likely to be charged extra. But you will want to look on your airline’s website before booking tickets for details about traveling with bikes. Details will typically be listed under “special items” or “sports equipment” in the area of the website that offers info about checked baggage. There, you’ll find details on whether oversized fees are waived for bikes, if there are different size restrictions, or if bikes cost extra, which they do on JetBlue and Hawaiian.

And while most airlines have bike-specific size restrictions that accommodate their larger size, weight restrictions are another thing entirely. The specifics depend on the airline, but in general, if your bike is heavier than 50 pounds, you’ll be charged an overweight fee. Which could be double or more the price of a typical checked bag. We’ll get into why that matters when picking out a bike travel bag in a minute. For now, here are some domestic airlines and their guidelines for checking a bike as luggage.

Walking outside with the Thule RoundTrip bike bag.

Airline Bike Restrictions

  • Alaska : Oversize and overweight fees are waived. Regular checked bag fees apply.
  • American : The usual checked baggage fees apply when checking a bike. There may be oversize or overweight fees.
  • Delta : Normal baggage fees and overweight/oversize fees apply.
  • Hawaiian : Depends on where you’re flying. Travel from one Hawaiian island to another with your bikewill cost $25. To or from anywhere elsecosyts $100. Overweight fees apply.
  • JetBlue : In addition to a checked baggage fee, bikes cost $100 extra per direction of travel But there are no overweight or oversize fees.
  • Southwest : As long as bikes fall within regular checked baggage dimensions you can check them for free like other luggage (up to two bags). If a bike is oversized or overweight there may be additional fees.
  • United : Normal checked baggage fees will apply, including overweight fees.

What to Expect at the Airport

When you arrive at the airport with your bike appropriately packed, you’ll probably drop off your bike at the regular check-in counter and bag drop. But when you arrive at your final destination, you’ll probably pick it up on the oversized baggage belt. So don’t sit around waiting at the regular baggage carousel and panic when your bike doesn’t arrive. Go find the oversized area.

An oversized baggage pick up are at the airport.

Don’t forget!

In addition to your bike, don’t forget the necessities for riding and re-assembling your bike once you arrive at your destination:

  • Helmet (We love our Sena M1 Evo intercom helmets )
  • Knee and elbow pads if necessary
  • Torque wrench
  • Portable tire pump

A woman standing in front of the Dakine and Thule Bike travel bags.

Types of Bike Bags for Travel

But let’s talk about bike travel bags. There are two main kinds: soft and hard .

Soft cases are pretty much what they sound like. The base will be rigid, but the sides and walls will be fairly flexible and just slightly padded. Soft bags are nice for a few reasons:

  • They fold up to take up much less space in your garage or closet when they’re not in use.
  • They tend to weigh less than hard cases.

The Thule RoundTrip MTB bike travel case folded for storage.

Then there are hard cases . Some people prefer these despite the fact that they take up more room when not in use and they weigh more for one reason:

  • They are more protective. After all, It’s a lot harder to damage your bike when it’s in a hard-sided case when it’s getting tossed around luggage bays at the airport.

So if you have an especially nice or expensive bike, you may prefer the peace of mind that comes with the additional protection of a hard bike case, even if the weight of your bike and case together tip it over the overweight limit. But we tested two bags to see which we preferred, the Dakine Bike Roller Bag and the Thule RoundTrip MTB (both with mountain bikes, though there are also road bike versions available).

A woman picks up the Dakine bike travel bag.

Dakine Bike Roller Bag

A true soft bike bag, The Dakine took a bit more time the first go-round trying to figure out what buckles and straps were supposed to go where and how to position the included foam block to support the frame, but once I had everything in there, it all felt pretty secure and I had no problem doing it again in less than 10 minutes when it came time to travel home. And despite the soft sides, my bike didn’t get dinged or dented in transit.

The inside of the Dakine Bike Roller Bag packed with a bike.

  • At 18lbs, this bag is lighter, meaning when used to pack my mountain bike, which is 28lbs, I was able to squeeze at just under max weight limits when I packed just a small set of tools in the bike bag with my bike.
  • The bag is made of 100% recycled materials.
  • Easy to pack and unpack a bike after one trial run.
  • Protective sheathing.
  • Several pockets.
  • Durable and comes with a 10-year warranty.
  • More affordable ($500).
  • It was a pain to pull around the airport. It was heavy and kept running into the back of my leg because there’s no leash or extendable handle on it.
  • Doesn’t offer quite as much protection at a harder-side case.
  • Tricky to figure out how to mount the frame in the bag initially.

The Thule RoundTrip Bike Bag.

Thule RoundTrip MTB

Then we have The Thule RoundTrip. Which is kind of a cross between a hard and soft case. That’s because it collapses like a soft case, but has semi rigid side panels to help protect your bike a bit more than a traditional soft case during transport. The Thule has a built-in stand on which you mount your bike outside the bag, take off the handlebars, and then move the whole frame, still attached to the top of the stand, from the tripod legs to clip-in points on the bottom of the bag.

The Thule RoundTrip Bike Bag packed with a bike.

  • Semi-rigid sides kept my bike more protected from rough handling.
  • A built-in stand made it slightly easier to dis-assemble and re-assemble my bike.
  • Thanks to a removable caster wheel, the bag was much easier to roll through the airport.
  • Several Pockets.
  • The Thule bag is heavy at 30lbs, which put my bike in the overweight category without a single extra piece of gear in the bag.
  • The stand was too tall for me and not adjustable, plus can only be used with the front wheel removed.
  • The bike rail is hard to remove when a frame is mounted without significant upper body strength.
  • Expensive ($999).

The Thule RoundTrip integrated bike stand.

Bottom Line: Which Bike Bag Would I Choose?

Well, my situation being what it is, as in, since my mountain bike is a bit on the heavier side, I’m going with the Dakine just because I absolutely do not want to pay an exorbitant overweight fee every time I travel with my bike. And honestly, my bike isn’t that expensive–comparatively speaking, of course.

That said, if I did have a carbon frame, or a more expensive bike that I was committed to protecting at all costs, I think the Thule bag would be the right choice.

Basically, it depends on you and your bike. The Thule may be heavier and more expensive, but It will definitely offer more peace of mind when it comes to protection–without the rigidity and storage space requirements of a hard case.

The Dakine might not seem as protective, but it did just fine at getting my bike to and from Texas without any problems, plus it was lighter and didn’t require as much of an investment upfront.

But tell us what you think. Do you have one of these bags? Are you thinking of getting one? Let us know in the comments below! I’m super curious to hear which features are more important to you.

Either way, pack up your bike, take it with you the next time you head to Whistler or Bentonville or Fruita, and wander on.

Looking for more travel and MTB content? Find our favorite MTB gear here , and learn whether you can use a backpack as a carryon in this post !

Alisha McDarris

Alisha is a freelance outdoor journalist and photographer based in Ogden, UT. She loves backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and snowboarding (even though she’s terrible at it). She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com

How To Fly With A Bike & The Best Airlines To Choose

Flying with a bike can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right information and preparation, you can travel with your bike safely and securely.

Flying with a bike

In this article, we’ll look at how to fly with a bike and the best airlines to choose for your trip. We’ll also touch on some of the tips and tricks that will help ensure a smooth and stress-free journey. So if you’re planning on taking your bike with you, read on to find out what you need to know!

You’ll want to research the airline’s bicycle policies before booking your flight. Different airlines have different rules and restrictions when it comes to flying with a bike, so it pays to do your homework in advance.

You’ll also need to decide which type of bike travel bag or box is best for transporting your bike. We’ll cover all of this in detail in our article so that you can make an informed decision about which way is best for you.

Flying With A Bike: Basic Advice

Flying with a bike can be a challenging endeavor. Airlines are becoming more bike-friendly, but size and weight restrictions, airline fees, and baggage policies vary widely between airlines. When planning your flight, there are several factors to consider:

  • The safety of your equipment is paramount—you want to make sure your bike arrives intact and undamaged at its destination;
  • Size matters as well; you’ll need to determine if your bicycle box or case fits in the transport upon arrival;
  • Lastly, cost is an important factor—it may be beneficial to opt for an airline with higher fees but better protection for your bike.

Before you travel with your bike, it’s important to have some basic technical knowledge and tools on hand. Most cases and bags require deconstruction of the bicycle, including removal of pedals, wheels and handlebars. For modern road bikes with integrated cockpits this can be particularly laborious and time consuming; special cases may be required that allow handlebars to remain attached. Depending on the airline and how you pack it, costs can vary dramatically so make sure you do your research beforehand.

It’s also important to purchase luggage insurance before flying with a bike; airlines are often not responsible for damage that occurs during transit. Consider checking your homeowners’ or renters’ policies, or any credit cards that cover such items before leaving home. Doing this will help ensure the safety of all parts of your bicycle when flying with it.

The Different Types Of Bike Travel Bags

Let’s start with the most basic option: cardboard bike boxes. These are inexpensive, but they don’t offer much protection.

Then there’s soft-sided bike bags, which are more lightweight and easier to maneuver, but they can be a bit more fragile.

Finally, there’s hard-sided cases, which offer the most protection, but they can be quite heavy and expensive.

Related: Best Bike Travel Cases

Cardboard Bike Boxes

Cardboard Bike Box

When it comes to packing your bike for flight, one of the simplest and most common options is a cardboard bike box.

Cardboard boxes are easy to get (often for free) at most bike shops and they’re large enough to fit your bike nearly intact without too much fuss.

Plus, they’re lightweight and don’t incur oversize luggage fees, making them a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable way to fly with your bike.

Just make sure you add extra padding around the frame and components for extra protection.

Soft-Sided Bike Bags

Evoc Soft Bike Travel Bag

Moving on from cardboard bike boxes, another option for traveling with your bike are soft-sided bike bags. These bags offer a few advantages— they’re usually easy to transport due to straps and wheels, and their size makes them a great fit for rental cars. Plus, you don’t have to worry about oversize luggage fees like you do with hard cases.

On the downside, most airlines require a liability release if you’re using one of these bags. They can also be pricey and you may need to rent one instead of buying it outright. Just remember to add extra padding around the frame and components for extra protection.

Hard-Sided Cases

Hard-sided Bike Travel Case

Moving on from soft-sided bags, hard-sided cases are the most protective option for traveling with your bike.

These can be a bit cumbersome, as they’re usually large and heavy, but you don’t have to take the frame apart like you do with cardboard boxes.

Plus, airlines will usually insure your bike if it’s in one of these cases, so you won’t have to worry about bike fees.

Unfortunately, they’re also expensive and can incur an oversize luggage fee.

Hard cases come with multiple handles and wheels to make them a bit easier to transport, but they’re still not as convenient as soft bags.

Preparing Your Bike For Air Travel: Packing Your Bike Step-By-Step

Let’s start by breaking down the step-by-step packing process and discuss some tips to make sure you’re prepared.

Step-By-Step Packing Process

Let me guide you through the process of packing your bike like a pro. You’ll need some tools and supplies, like bike-breaking-down tools, pipe lagging or bubble wrap, zip ties, a rag, spare cardboard, and duct tape. You might find some of these items in bike bags and boxes, so check before buying.

Remember, packing your bike might vary depending on the type of bike bag or box you have. For example, Scicon AeroComfort bags don’t need you to remove the handlebars, saddle, or seatpost. Always read the manual that comes with your bike case.

Take off any parts needed to fit your bike in the container. Usually, this includes removing the handlebars and pedals. Take off the wheels and deflate the tires a bit (but not too much). Remove the quick-release skewers and secure them safely. Use plastic fork/rear triangle spacers if you have them. Don’t leave any items loose in the bag; they might cause damage.

  • Remove or lower your seatpost and saddle. Make sure the clamp is either lightly tightened or removed and kept separately.
  • Wrap your bike and its components in padding. You can use bubble wrap, pipe insulation, or pool noodles. Secure the padding with tape or zip ties.
  • Attach the handlebars, fork, and seat post to your frame and secure them with zip ties. By attaching everything together, it will be easier for TSA agents to inspect and repack your bike.
  • Remove the rear derailleur and any other protruding components that could be damaged during transit. Wrap these parts in padding and attach them to your frame.
  • Position the cranks and chainrings, and pad the bottom of the chainring. Add foam padding to the main tubes and other areas that might get scratched.
  • Take photos of your gear before packing. Check your bike for damage before clearing customs and get written confirmation of any damage from baggage handlers.
  • Fill extra space in your bag or case with kit and shoes. Wrap your pump and other components in padding and place them together in a small bag.
  • Close the bag/case and check for any protruding parts. Reposition or add extra padding if needed. Remove old barcodes and mark the exterior with your name and contact information.

Additional packing tips:

  • Add padding anywhere two parts touch each other in the luggage. Pack clothing and soft items around your bike: Use clothing, towels, and other soft items to fill empty spaces in your bag or case. This provides additional padding and helps protect your bike from impact.
  • Remove and wrap disc rotors to avoid damage.
  • Zip-tie everything together inside the case to make it foolproof.
  • Leave enough air in tubeless tires to keep them seated.
  • Buy CO2 containers at your destination’s local bike shop.
  • Remove batteries from electronic groupsets during packing.
  • Label your bike parts: Use masking tape and a marker to label each part of your bike as you disassemble it. This will make reassembly easier when you reach your destination.
  • Use a bike-specific travel case or bag : Investing in a bike-specific travel case or bag can provide extra protection and make packing your bike much easier. These cases are designed to accommodate various bike sizes and shapes and usually come with padding and compartments to keep everything organized and secure.
  • Bring spare parts and tools: Accidents happen, and it’s better to be prepared. Pack a few spare parts, such as tubes, brake pads, and a derailleur hanger, to ensure you can fix any issues on the go.
  • Consider travel insurance: If you’re traveling with an expensive bike, it might be worth considering travel insurance that covers bike damage or theft. This can provide extra peace of mind during your trip.

Transportation To & From The Airport

Bike Cases Transportation To & From The Airport

Bike bags are often heavy and bulky, making them tough to fit in a regular car. To make your journey as smooth as possible, it’s essential to plan your transportation ahead of time.

Here are some options to help you and your bike get to and from the airport without a hitch:

  • Hotel shuttle: Many airport hotels have shuttles that are large enough to accommodate a bike bag or box. It’s a good idea to give the hotel a call beforehand to confirm that they can transport your bike.
  • Ride-sharing services: If you’re a fan of Uber or Lyft , you can request an XL vehicle to ensure there’s enough space for your bike. These larger vehicles are perfect for fitting in bulky bike bags or boxes.
  • Renting a car or van: If you’re planning to rent a vehicle, opt for a hatchback or a van to make sure your bike fits comfortably.
  • Local transport: Sometimes, you’ve just got to go with the flow! Depending on where you’re traveling, local transportation options like buses or trains might be able to accommodate your bike. Make sure to check their policies and any fees for carrying bikes before you set off.

By exploring these options, you’ll be able to find the most convenient and stress-free way to get your bike to and from the airport.

How Much Does It Cost To Take Your Bike On A Plane?

So, you’ve got your bike all packed and ready for your big trip, but now you’re probably wondering, “How much is it going to cost me to fly with my bike?”

The cost depends on the airline and your particular equipment, but generally speaking, you need to factor in the bike fee, standard checked baggage fee, oversize fee (if applicable), and overweight fee (if applicable).

Cost to Bring Bike = Bike Fee + Standard Checked Baggage Fee + Oversize Fee (if applicable) + Overweight Fee (if applicable)

Most airlines have a policy of applying oversize fees when the combined dimensions of luggage exceed 62 inches. It’s worth noting that while many bags do exceed this limit, gate agents may not always enforce these fees consistently. Additionally, overweight penalties generally apply to bags weighing over 50 lbs, and for bags that are even larger and heavier, airlines may charge extra fees.

In the end, it might be worth paying a little extra upfront for a premium airline that doesn’t have bike penalties. This way, you can enjoy your cycling adventure without worrying about unexpected fees.

Best Airlines for Flying With a Bike

To help you find the best option for your upcoming journey, we’ve compared the bike policies of major airlines. These policies are accurate as of May 1, 2023.

Remember, airline policies can change, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the most up-to-date information on the airline’s website before booking your ticket.

Choosing The Right Airline

Choosing the right airline for your bike is essential. With a variety of major airlines offering different policies, it can be difficult to know which airline is best.

When researching airline policies, consider factors such as the maximum weight and dimensions allowed for bicycles, the fees charged, and whether or not you need to register your bike in advance.

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are two of the best options for cyclists; they don’t charge extra fees for taking bikes on board and their customer service is great.

No matter which airline you choose, make sure to check with them regarding their particular bike restrictions and requirements ahead of time so there are no surprises when you arrive at the airport. Also, remember to pack your bike securely in a hard-shell case or protective bag in order to protect it during transport.

Flying With A Mountain Bike

Flying with a mountain bike can be a daunting task. It’s important to have the right gear and preparation before taking your bike on an airplane.

You’ll need to choose between a hard-sided case, a lightweight road bike bag, or a traditional mountain bike bag. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider your needs carefully before selecting a bag.

When packing your bike for travel, it is usually easier to remove the handlebars from the stem than it is to remove the stem from the steerer tube. Additionally, flipping your fork backward will shorten the wheelbase and make your bike more compact in the bag.

Make sure you also deflate your tires enough to fit in your luggage without coming off the bead, and bring along some sealant just in case. Lastly, if you have hydraulic components that may need servicing during flight, be sure to service them prior to packing up for travel.

For extra protection against dirt and dust on long haul flights, bring along a large rag or towel so you can give your equipment a quick wipe-down when you arrive at your destination. This will help keep everything running smoothly until you can give it a thorough clean later on.

Traveling Without a Bike: Bike Rentals and More

While bringing your own bike on a trip is often the preferred choice for comfort and familiarity, there are instances where renting a bike might be a more convenient and cost-effective option. If you’re considering renting a bike for your next cycling adventure, here are some tips and insights based on personal experiences to help you make the most of your rental experience:

  • Be flexible with your goals: If you aren’t overly concerned with your finish time or setting personal records, renting a bike can be a viable option for casual cycling trips or races.
  • Rent a familiar bike style: Aim to rent a bike similar to the one you use for training. If you’re used to riding a road bike, rent one and bring your own aero bars. Renting a triathlon or time trial (TT) bike without prior experience may not be the best idea.
  • Be adaptable with bike geometry: Although you can request the rental bike to be set up with measurements close to your own, it may not be a perfect match. If you require a precise position to avoid discomfort or pain, renting a bike may not be the best choice.
  • Arrive early for a test ride: Give yourself time to get acquainted with the rental bike by arriving a day or two before your event. Take it for a short spin to familiarize yourself with its features and handling.
  • Know basic bike maintenance: Being comfortable with basic bike maintenance is crucial when renting a bike. Familiarize yourself with tasks like fixing a dropped chain or adjusting limit screws, and consider watching instructional videos, such as those on GCN , to help you learn the essentials.

Renting a bike can be a suitable alternative to shipping or flying with your own bike, particularly if the cost and hassle of transporting it seem excessive. However, it’s essential to be prepared and flexible with your expectations. By considering the points above, you can ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free experience when renting a bike for your next triathlon or cycling trip.

Alternative to Flying With Your Bike: Bike Shipping

TriBike Transport

When planning your next cycling adventure, you might want to consider an alternative to flying with your bike: bike shipping. Shipping your bike directly to your destination can provide a more convenient and hassle-free experience, saving you time and effort at the airport.

Related: How much does it cost to ship a bike?

There are several reputable bike shipping companies that specialize in transporting bicycles domestically and internationally. Some of the most popular bike shipping companies include Overnight Bikes , TriBike Transport , BikeFlights . These companies offer various services, ensuring your bike arrives safely and securely at your destination.

The pros of bike shipping include door-to-door service, minimal airport hassle, the ability to ship additional gear and accessories, customizable insurance coverage, and the convenience of having your bike delivered directly to your destination. Furthermore, you won’t need to worry about airline size and weight restrictions or dealing with baggage claim and transportation to and from the airport.

However, there are also cons to bike shipping. You’ll need to source a suitable box or case for your bike and pack it properly, which may require some skill or hiring professional help. Additionally, you’ll be without your bike during the shipping process, and there’s a small risk of damage or loss during transit, although purchasing insurance can provide peace of mind.

In conclusion, the decision to fly with your bike or opt for an alternative like bike shipping ultimately depends on your personal preferences, budget, and travel requirements. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs. Whether you choose to bring your bike on the plane or ship it to your destination, the most important thing is that you have a memorable and enjoyable cycling or triathlon adventure. After all, the joy of exploring new destinations and races on two wheels is what truly matters!

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MTB ESCAPES

E-bike escapes, holiday collections, the ultimate guide to traveling with your mountain bike, a comprehensive guide to traveling with your mountain bike: tips, considerations, and packing procedures.

Traveling with your mountain bike can open up limitless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Whether you're planning to hit the trails in a new destination, join a mountain biking event, or simply enjoy a weekend getaway, taking your bike along allows you to fully immerse yourself in the thrill of the sport. However, traveling with a mountain bike requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the key considerations and steps for traveling with your mountain bike.

Pre-Travel Bike Preparations

Before embarking on your trip, it's crucial to ensure that your mountain bike is in top-notch condition. Here are some essential pre-travel preparations you should undertake:

1. Servicing and Maintenance: Schedule a visit to your local bike shop to get your bike serviced. This will involve checking the brakes, drivetrain, suspension, and ensuring everything is properly lubricated. Any necessary repairs or replacements should be carried out to avoid any unexpected issues during your trip.

2. Equipment Selection: Assess the terrain and weather conditions of your destination to determine the appropriate gear for your trip. This may include choosing the right tires, storage options, and suspension setup to optimize your riding experience.

3. Bike Travel Insurance: Consider obtaining a travel insurance to protect yourself and your bike during travel. Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer coverage for your mountain bike while it is in transit and at your travel destination. For a top notch adventure travel insurance we recommend to check out our insurance page .

Transportation Options for Mountain Bikes

Transporting your mountain bike safely and securely is a crucial aspect of traveling with it. Depending on your travel plans and preferences, you have several transportation options to choose from:

1. Car: If you're planning a road trip, transporting your mountain bike by car is often the most convenient option. Invest in a sturdy bike rack or hitch mount to securely attach your bike to your vehicle. Ensure that the bike is well-secured and all contact points are padded to avoid any damage during transit.

2. Plane: If you're planning to travel to a distant destination, flying with your mountain bike may be necessary. Most airlines have specific policies and fees for transporting bicycles. It's important to check with the airline beforehand to ensure you meet their requirements and to make necessary arrangements for packaging and transportation.

3. Train or Bus: Some train and bus operators allow for the transportation of bicycles, but it's essential to check their policies and make reservations in advance. Be prepared to disassemble and pack your bike into a suitable bike bag or box to ensure it meets the transportation regulations.

4. Boat: For certain destinations, traveling by boat may be an option, especially if you're planning to explore islands or coastal regions. Verify with the boat operator their policies on transporting bikes and any specific packaging requirements.

Packing Your Mountain Bike for Travel

When it comes to packing your mountain bike for travel, proper packaging and protection are essential to prevent any damage during transit. Here is a step-by-step guide to packing your bike:

1. Clean Your Bike: Start by cleaning your mountain bike thoroughly to remove any dirt, mud, or debris that may be present. This will not only protect other items in your travel case but also make it easier to inspect for any damages later.

2. Remove Accessories: Take off any accessories on your bike, including bottles, lights, and saddlebags. It's best to pack these separately to avoid damage or loss during travel.

3. Partially Disassemble Your Bike: If you're traveling by plane or boat, you will likely need to partially disassemble your bike. Start by removing the wheels, pedals, and handlebars. Lower the saddle or remove it completely, and loosen the stem bolts to rotate the handlebars parallel to the frame.

4. Protect Key Contact Points: Use bubble wrap, foam tubing, or pipe insulation to protect the frame, fork, and other vulnerable parts of your bike. Secure these protective materials with zip ties or tape.

5. Secure and Pack Your Bike: Place your bike in a bike bag or box and use padding materials to prevent any movement during transit. Ensure that the frame, wheels, and other components are well-secured and protected.

6. Additional Tips: Consider deflating the tires as well as the suspension slightly to prevent pressure-related issues during air travel. Additionally, it's a good idea to take photographs of your bike before packing it. This will help in case of any disputes or insurance claims for damages.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with your mountain bike is sometimes necessary in order to explore new destinations and experience awesome adventures. By following the steps and considerations outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can protect your bike, ensure a hassle-free journey, maximize your riding experience, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

So, plan your next adventure, pack your mountain bike, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey of trails, challenges, and breathtaking landscapes!

Please note that transportation regulations, fees, and requirements may vary depending on your location and the transportation method chosen. Always check with the specific transportation providers and airlines for the most up-to-date information.

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MTBminute – How to pack your bike

travel with your mountain bike

How to pack your bike

THE MTB MINUTE

Learn how to pack your bike for hassle-free travel

Travelling the world with your mountain bike in tow can seem like a challenge at first, but it’s actually not as difficult as you might think. Airlines are more accustomed to transporting bikes and with multiple styles of bags and boxes in which to pack your bike, it’s never been easier to explore the world on your mountain bike.

In this episode of the #MTBMinute Chris will show you how to pack your bike in our favourite EVOC Bike Travel Bag with no dramas.

With these few top tips and a good quality bag you’ll be ready to travel with confidence to discover the best singletrack in all four corners of the globe …

10 simple steps to packing your bike for travel

  • Remove pedals – Remembering the non-drive side pedal is reverse threaded!
  • Lower saddle
  • Release derailleur clutch to help with easy removal of the rear wheel
  • Remove both wheels and remember to replace axles
  • Remove some air from the the tyres to help with packing and to allow for flight pressure changes. Don’t go crazy here as you might lose your tubeless sealant!
  • Insert pad spacers into brake calipers
  • Remove bar and stem
  • Replace top cap and tighten stem bolt so they don’t get lost
  • Fit frame pad and secure bike in bag ensuring that no cables or components are rubbing
  • Insert wheels into the wheel compartment with discs facing outwards

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

What can you learn in a minute? Well, quite a lot as it turns out…

From changing a gear cable to mastering the attack position, in the #MTBminute we take on some of the most pressing questions around your mountain bike life and attempt to show you the key stages in just 60 seconds!

Using decades of collective guiding, riding and mechanical experience we’ve carefully created each minute-long video to give easy-to-follow, practical tips that will instantly demystify skills and techniques. They might still take a lifetime to master but with the #MTBminute at least you’ll be off to a solid start.

The first day of your mountain bike tour New Zealand starts off bright and early at 8.30am, when your guides will meet you at the designated pre-trip hotel. We’ll transfer to our local base so you can build your bike or get kitted out with a rental.

Once everyone’s geared up, we’ll pack the van and hit the road. Before we set off your guide will go through the all-important pre-trip briefing.

Your warm-up ride and first taste of singletrack here in New Zealand, will be a traverse of the volcanic crater rim that separates Christchurch from the impressive Lyttelton harbour. You’ll have the chance to shake-down your bikes and legs after your travels before we drop in to the fantastic Christchurch Adventure Park. You’ll enjoy a mix of flow trails and pedalling, and you’ll get spectacular views out to the Southern Alps which will be our destination later in the tour.

travel with your mountain bike

After a couple of laps we’ll chill out on the deck at the Park with a cold drink and lunch, before we head off in the direction of the Southern Alps to check in to our mountain lodge for the night.

If time allows we’ll saddle up for another ride before our welcome dinner, this time with more of a ‘big mountain’ feel.

Not wanting to miss a minute of this stunning landscape, we’ll enjoy drinks as the sun disappears behind the hills. When we’ve had our fill of stargazing we’ll bunk up in our shared accommodation and get ready for the start of something truly epic tomorrow.

Eat well and muster up all your strength over breakfast, because today we hit Craigieburn – world-renowned for its flowing singletrack trails that weave and wind through the area’s beautiful beech forests.

The mountainous terrain of the Craigieburn Range has spectacular views that rival the grand majesty of the American Rockies, so we’ll spend most of the day riding through and enjoying the varied trails Craigieburn has to offer. Mountain biking with these incredible views will take your breath away.

Once we’ve had our fill of this epic riding, we’ll drive through the mountains to the historic Gold Mining town of Reefton.

Over a hearty dinner we’ll share stories and prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s ride on the legendary Ghost Road.

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what is travel on a mountain bike

What is Travel on a Mountain Bike?

When someone says travel, the first thing that comes to mind is a vacation or perhaps a business trip. But if you’re looking for something different, why not take advantage of the freedom and adventure that comes with travel on a mountain bike?

Traveling on a mountain bike allows you to explore paths and trails that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s an exhilarating experience, allowing you to see and experience places you might not have otherwise.

Why Many People Enjoy Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is also a great way to escape your busy and stressful everyday life. It’s an enjoyable form of exercise that can help you clear your head, refocus, and gain some perspective. Plus, it’s a great way to spend quality time with friends and family.

It’s important to note that mountain biking isn’t just about the destination but also the journey. You can take your time and enjoy nature at its finest, or challenge yourself and see how far you can go in a given amount of time. Either way, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

But did you know that travel can have a different meaning for anyone who enjoys mountain biking? That’s right! In this article, you will learn all about travel on a mountain bike.

What Is Travel On A Mountain Bike

Mountain biking travel is a term that indicates the distance of movement for any moving parts. Before, travel only referred to mountain bike suspension, but now it also incorporates dropper seat posts.

The travel distance is typically measured in millimeters (mm) and can range from 80mm on cross-country bikes to 200mm or more on downhill bikes.

Travel is a crucial aspect of mountain biking as it directly affects the bike’s performance and the rider’s comfort. More travel allows for greater absorption of shocks from bumps, rocks, and drops, making it ideal for rough terrains. However, bikes with more travel are typically heavier and less efficient on climbs or flat terrains.

With dropper post travel, the seat shifts from the typical riding position for pedaling to a lower level, enabling you to navigate technical descents more easily.

Differences Between Mountain Bike Travel Suspensions

There are three fundamental suspension systems that any Mountain Bike could have. Generally, a bike will feature either the classic “Hardtail” or modernized “Full Suspension” setup.

A hardtail mountain bike has a single suspension fork that is generally situated at the front wheel. It only has a “hard” rear frame, hence the name ‘hardtail.’ The suspension is usually limited in range, but it does offer impact absorption and increased stability for the rider.

On the other hand, a modernized “full suspension” has a suspension fork at the front and a rear suspension shock. With this setup, there is more travel for both the front and back of the bike. It offers improved impact absorption, increased control, and stability for the rider.

Here are the differences between hardtail and full suspension bikes:

travel with your mountain bike

When it comes to comfort, a full-suspension mountain bike is the superior choice. Not only will you be more comfortable while riding, but these bikes are designed for higher drops too! However, this can come at the expense of diminished power output on the path.

A hardtail mountain bike weighs less than a full suspension bike, making it the lighter option. This is because the frame of a full-suspension bike must be made stronger to carry the additional weight of the rear suspension.

Full suspension bikes cost more than hardtails due to their increased complexity and higher-quality components.

Maintenance

Maintaining a full suspension is more complicated than a hardtail, as the rear shock needs to be serviced or replaced at least once a year, depending on your riding conditions.

Front Suspension: The Forks

front suspension on a mountain bike

Each mountain bike fork comprises several components: a steerer tube that runs through the center of the crown and then branches off into two stanchions that fit inside their respective brace and slider. Lastly, these lead to two dropouts attached to the wheel for stability.

The conventional approach to upgrading front suspension is to up the travel of their stanchions. To put it plainly, this method amplifies the tightening of the front suspension. A shorter journey will be more reactive, allowing you to inject additional energy into your path. A longer suspension is an ideal choice for challenging paths and high lifts.

Common Travel Distances on the Front Suspension

It’s essential to remember that the size of the stanchion tubes matters greatly. As travel increases, the stanchion’s diameter must also expand to remain strong and stable.

Common Stanchion Tube Diameters

Rear suspension: the rear shocks.

rear suspension on a mountain bike

Unlike the front suspension of a mountain bike powered by two compression chambers, its rear shock operates with only one. The shock is installed horizontally on the ground, with a slight diagonal slant, in contrast to the front suspension, which is set upright. Connecting to the bike’s frame through two eyelets makes your rear shock accurately sized and ready for use.

Rear Suspension Designs

If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, you should be familiar with the five main rear suspension designs manufacturers use to make your rides even more enjoyable. These are the following:

1. Single Pivot

This is the most basic structure of all rear suspension designs and is generally cheaper to produce. The rear shock suspension is attached to the main frame simultaneously. The compression remains stable throughout the shock’s travel which amplifies stiffness when compressing to avoid bottoming out.

2. Linkage-Driven Single Pivot

With this design, a swingarm is still connected to one pivotal point. Despite this, the manufacturers have found a way to adjust the fixed compression curve as one move across their system.

3. Twin-Link / Virtual Pivot Point

This revolutionary design introduces a triangular structure connected to the mainframe by two swiveling connections. This design functions similarly to the Horst-Link but can frequently be produced at a lower cost due to its lack of patent protection.

4. Horst-Link / Four Bar

This design for a mountain bike features an axle that does not directly attach to the mainframe. By utilizing this system, you can eliminate the oscillation caused by regular pedaling. This also enables the manufacturer to adjust the compression arc, which is how much force needs to be applied throughout shock travel.

5. High Pivot

This is identical to the classic single pivot structure, except that the center of rotation is placed significantly higher on the frame for extra stability. Boasting an idler pulley that guides the chain path above its pivot point, this design significantly diminishes pedal bob for a more efficient cycling experience.

How To Find The Correct Eye-to-Eye Distance

The eye-to-eye distance measures the length of your shock, including any travel.

You’ll need to measure the distance between both of your shock’s eyelets to get a correct reading. Incorrect eye-to-eye lengths while using shocks can cause suspension inefficiency and adversely affect its function.

Balancing Suspension

To fully utilize a full-suspension mountain bike, it is important to understand its features and capabilities. Uneven compression rates between components can greatly affect ride comfort and suspension system performance.

The front and rear suspensions don’t have to have equal travel, but having them be similar makes it easier to balance them. To balance them, you need to adjust the pressure inside the chambers. This will ensure that each shock bottoms out at the same time, regardless of the travel. If you pair a longer shock with a shorter one, the longer one will require less pressure, and the shorter one will need more pressure.

Dropper Post: A Key Component In Mountain Bike Travel

What is a dropper post.

A dropper post, also known as an adjustable seat post, is a revolutionary piece of mountain bike equipment that allows riders to quickly and easily adjust the height of their saddle without needing to stop or dismount. This is done via a lever located on the handlebars, which controls a hydraulic or mechanical system within the post.

The primary advantage of a dropper post is that it provides the rider with the ability to adapt to varying terrain conditions on the fly. For instance, during steep descents, a lower saddle height can offer better control and stability. Conversely, on flat terrains or uphill climbs, a higher saddle position can facilitate more efficient pedaling.

dropper post

The Connection Between Dropper Posts and Travel

So, how does a dropper post relate to travel on a mountain bike? Essentially, the dropper post adds an extra dimension to the bike’s adaptability, complementing the function of the suspension system.

Just as the suspension travel allows the bike to adapt to the terrain’s vertical undulations, the dropper post enables the rider to adjust their center of gravity in response to the trail’s demands. This combination enhances the bike’s overall performance and the rider’s control and comfort, making the journey more enjoyable and safe.

Main Types of Suspension

There are two main kinds of suspension. One relies on compressed air, while the other one relies on springs.

Suspensions using air shock are lightweight, easy to adjust, and stiffer as they approach the bottoming-out point. However, these options need more upkeep and are less reactive.

Coil springs, on the other hand, are more responsive, durable, and require less maintenance. The downside of using a coil spring is that they’re heavier than air shocks and are difficult to adjust.

No matter what type of suspension you use, make sure it fits your riding style and terrain. Properly set up suspension should help you tackle any trail confidently and safely.

Some bikes don’t have a suspension, and they’re called rigid bikes. They offer a direct connection between the wheel and the frame, which can be beneficial in certain situations. Fat tire bikes are a great example of rigid suspension bikes.

Overall, your suspension has the potential to make or break your mountain biking experience. It’s important to consider your terrain, riding style, and budget when selecting a suspension setup for your bike. Properly setting and tuning your suspension will help you to get the most out of every ride.

Remember that the right suspension will depend on your unique riding style and terrain. Test different types of suspension and find what works best. With the right suspension, you can take on any challenge with confidence and style.

About The Author

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Mario Baker

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Hey there! We’re Antonnette and Mario, a sister-and-brother tandem who love bikes and biking.

We and our team use our extensive knowledge about bicycles to help you have a great riding experience.

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DIY Mountain Bike

What Does TRAVEL Mean on a Mountain Bike: Is More Travel Better?

what is travel on a Mountain Bike

I love riding my mountain bike down steep hills and off of lifts but I have noticed that even after adjusting my current suspension I am bottoming out on relatively small drops. That is why I decided to upgrade my suspension to have more travel distance. In this guide I will explain what that means for various kinds of bikes and suspension set ups.

What is “Travel” on a Mountain Bike?

Travel is simply the maximum distance that either the front or rear suspension of the Mountain Bike can compress, when absorbing force, before bottoming out. The higher the travel the more force the suspension can comfortably absorb. The lower amount of travel the lower amount of force absorbed.

Specialized FSR Suspension

Types of Mountain Bike Suspension

There are three types of suspension setups that any Mountain Bike might have (I will get into the third later). For right now it is most likely that your bike will either have a “Hard-Tail” or “Full Suspension” setup.

The difference between a hard-tail and a full suspension mountain bike is that on a full suspension bike there is a rear shock absorber as opposed to just the front fork. A hard-tail, therefore, will not have rear suspension components and will simply have a “hard” rear frame.

Full Suspension MTB

The differences between hard-tail and full suspension…

Price: A full suspension mountain bike will be much more expensive than a hard-tail mountain bike.

Comfort / Downhill Capability: A full suspension mountain bike is going to be much more comfortable to ride and be able to handle much higher drops. Although, this does come at the cost of reduced ability to put power into the trail.

Weight: A full suspension is going to add the components to your mountain bike so by definition will be heavier than a hard-tail

Maintenance: Again, the more parts you add the more that can go wrong and the more that needs to be adjusted.

Given this distinction between hard-tail and full suspension mountain bikes the next two sections are going to be split between talking about front and rear suspension components.

Suspension is Fun to Talk About

  • Mountain Bike Travel – Read What is Travel on a MTB and is More Better?
  • What is Lockout on a Mountain Bike Fork – all about when to use it.
  • Selecting a MTB fork is confusing, let me help with – C hoosing a Mountain Bike Suspension Fork
  • Wheels and Hub widths – Why is this so confusing? Read – How to Adapt a MTB Wheel to a Boost Fork

Front Suspension and Travel Distance on an MTB

Front Suspension Travel on an MTB

The front suspension, or forks, of any mountain bike is going to be split into a few components. The steerer tube which goes into the center of the crown which branches into two stanchions. These stanchions are what slide into the brace and slider which ends in two dropouts that attach to the wheel.

The main way that riders upgrade their front suspension is by increasing the travel of the stanchions. In essence, this is increasing the length of compression that the front suspension withstands. A shorter travel will be more responsive and allow you to put more power into the trail while a longer suspension is better for rough trails and high lifts.

Here is a chart of common travel distances on the front suspension of the mountain bike…

Another thing that is important to keep in mind is the diameter of the stanchion tubes. As the amount of travel increases so does the diameter of the stanchion to maintain durability and stability.

Here is a chart of the common stanchion tube diameters on the front suspension of the mountain bike…

As I mention before, many riders will upgrade their mountain bikes front suspension by increasing the amount of travel that the suspension is capable of. This is really only done in two scenarios as if it is done without thought then it could actually hamper performance.

  • When you have anything other than a downhill mountain bike and want to try to imitate one.
  • This one kind of ties in with the previous. But, travel distance is increased when a rider desires a more comfortable ride and intends to do mostly downhill riding with large drops. If there is a large amount of uphill riding then a long travel will only make it more difficult to ride the bike.

Something that is often mentioned on MTB suspension is a “Lockout” I explained what it is and when to use your lockout in another article on this website: What is a Lockout Fork and When to Use It

Rear Suspension and Travel Distance

Now this is where things can get really complicated. This is because there are around five main rear suspension designs that manufactures implement in mountain bikes. They are as follows…

Single Pivot: In this design the rear shock of the mountain bike is connected to a swingarm by the titular single pivot point located just above the chain rings. This is the simplest rear suspension design and therefore is often the cheapest to manufacture.

Single Pivot Suspension on MTB

The downside of the design is that the compression is going to be consistent throughout the travel of the shock as opposed to some newer designs which increase the stiffness of the rear shock as it becomes more and more compressed to hopefully prevent bottoming out.

Linkage-Driven Single Pivot: In this design there is still a swingarm connected to a single pivot point. The difference is that there is some kind of linkage which allows the manufacturers to manipulate the compression curve which was previously constant throughout the travel.

Horst-Link / Four Bar: Put simply, the rear axle of the mountain bike is not directly connected to the mainframe of the bike. This will reduce pedal bob (the bob that comes from the rhythmic nature of pedaling) and will also allow the manufacturer to manipulate the compression arc (amount of force needed to compress throughout the travel of the shock.

Twin-Link / Virtual Pivot Point: This design implements a triangular design that connects to the mainframe by two pivoting links. This design performs very similar to the Horst-Link but is not patented so is often cheaper to manufacture.

High Pivot: This is the same as the single pivot with the exception that the pivot point is placed much higher on the frame. There is also the addition of an idler pully which routs the path of the chain above the pivot point as to eliminate what would otherwise result in extremely high levels of pedal bob.

put 27 5 wheels on 26 inch mtb

Can I Put 27.5-inch Wheels on a 26-inch Wheel MTB?

Should I get a 26 inch MTB

Should I Buy a 26-Inch Mountain Bike?

Who 26 inch mountain bike

Who is a 26-Inch Mountain Bike Good For?

The rear shock and how it is sized.

The rear shock of the mountain bike is comprised of a single compression chamber as opposed to the front suspension which relies on two. The shock is placed horizontal (Often with a slight diagonal tilt) to the ground, again as opposed to the front suspension which is placed vertically to the ground.

Furthermore, the rear shock attaches to the frame of the bike by two eyelets which is actually how they (the shocks) are sized. Although, the same style shock is used no matter the design of your rear suspension.

Finding the Correct Eye-to-Eye Length of a Mountain Bike Rear Shock:

To find the eye-to-eye distance measure from the center of one pivot eyelet on the shock to the second one. This distance is the eye-to-eye length that you must use to find correctly sized rear shocks for your mountain bike.

Using shocks with incorrect eye-to-eye lengths can cause problems with the efficiency of the suspension and even can cause it to work against you. The travel on a rear shock is therefore more restricted although can vary slightly as the compression chamber can be of slightly different sized even if the overall length must be the same.

Just as with the front shock the longer the travel the better the shock will be at absorbing force, and the worse it will be for riding your mountain bike uphill (putting power to the trail).

MTB Tools I Love and Recommend

Bike Hand Repair Stand

I own each of these tools and only recommend things I own and use.

  • Bike Hand Bike Repair Stand .  Nice mountain bikes don’t have a kick stand so keeping your MTB safe but conveniently stored is essential.  I keep my bike on my stand whenever I’m not riding it.  This makes it easy to lube the chain, inflate the tires and adjust the derailleur.  Highly recommended – Bike Hand Bike Repair Stand (👈 Link to Amazon to see what thousands of others have said)
  • A basic MTB toolbox for replacing a chain, adjusting brakes and dialing in the fit.  Bike Hand has a 37-piece box that has most of the specialty bike tools to keep your MTB properly maintained.  The Bike Hand brand is value packed for the avid rider.  Check out the competitive prices with this link to Amazon 👉 Bike Hand 37 pcs Bike Repair Tool Kit
  • Get a good air pressure gauge, if you get just a tiny bit serious about MTBing you’re going to start playing with tire pressure.  A couple psi can make your tires sticking or not.  Get a good gauge, I highly recommend the Topeak Smartgauge D2 , it’s accurate, flexible and easy to use.  An Amazon best seller, here’s a link 👉 Topeak Smartgauge D2
  • Carry a multitool with you on every ride.  I’m serious, most of the time you can MacGyver something to get back to the trailhead if you have a multitool.  I’ve got the Crank Brothers M19 , it’s worn, rubbed and abused – but it still works.   Thousands sold on Amazon – check it out with this link 👉 Crank Brothers M19

How to Balance Your Suspension with a Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Balancing the amount of force that the front and rear suspensions on a full suspension mountain bike is crucial to getting the most out of said mountain bike. If one component is compressing slower or faster than the other then the comfort of the ride can be dramatically compromised. As can the overall effectiveness of the suspension system.

It is not essential that the front and rear suspensions have the exact same amount of travel although the closer they are the easier it will be to balance them. Balancing them involves adjusting the pressure inside of the chambers so that each shock, no matter the travel, bottoms out at the same time. A longer shock will need less pressure when paired with a shorter shock and vice versa.

Coil Shocks VS Air Shocks

There are two main kinds of suspension. Those which rely on springs to compress and those which rely on compressed air. The benefits of an air shock are that it is lightweight, easily tune-able, and naturally get stiffer near the point of bottoming out. The downsides are that they require more maintenance and are also not as responsive.

The reason why some rider chooses coil springs, even though they must be bought specific to the weight of the rider and are also heavier, is that they are extremely responsive. Additionally, coil springs don’t fade in stiffness when riding for long periods of time as some air coils will.

The Third Kind of Mountain Bike Suspension Setup (A Rigid Bike)

Rigid Frame MTB on Fat Tire Bike

The third, and most uncommon, form of suspension on a mountain bike is… well… to not have one at all. On a rigid bike you will not find either a front or rear suspension system and rather just a solid frame comprising the entire mountain bike.

This kind of mountain bike setup is most widely used for fat tire bikes as with a fat tire bike it is absolutely necessary to be able to put a lot of power from the pedals into the trail. This is because of the friction accosted with a fat tire.

Rigid suspension systems on fat tire bikes are able to be implemented due to the natural suspension capabilities of having such a large tire. This larger tire works to absorb force and the low pressure you can ride at work to smooth out the ride as well.

Additionally, often time rider will upgrade their rigid style mountain bikes with increased cushion seats.

Some regular tire mountain bikes implement a rigid style suspension system although they are much less comfortable to ride and require a more experienced rider. These bikes can provide a great experience if you’re constantly going uphill and don’t plan to encounter any rough terrain.

David DIY MTB

David Humphries is the creator of DIY Mountain Bike. For me a relaxing day involves riding my mountain bike to decompress after a long day. When not on my bike I can be found wrenching on it or making YouTube videos at 👉 DIY Mountain Bike Read more about David HERE .

Looking for more How To MTB articles? Click -> HERE

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

a person riding a bike

The 10 Best Bikes for Your Next Bikepacking Adventure

‘Biking’ + ‘Backpacking’ = ‘Bikepacking’

To me, bikes symbolize freedom, and bikepacking is the pinnacle of that freedom. There’s always another mountain looming in the distance or a remote village to visit, and the majority of the days end at a campsite with a stunning view. (There may be mosquitos and sand flies, too, but the view’s worth it.)

Bikepacking routes feature long rides over bumpy, unpaved surfaces like dirt, rock and gravel. We’re talking about riding for hours day after day on towpaths, rail trails, forested singletracks and all-but-forgotten dusty roads that lead to some of the most beautiful and diverse places in the world. For these kinds of adventures, you need a bike that is durable, reliable, and relatively easy to repair trail-side. It also helps to have lots of mounts or ‘bosses’ to attach cages and/or frames to help you load up your camping gear. The best bikes for bikepacking can carry the load, opening the door for you to go on some incredible cycling adventures.

Go on a Cycling Adventure! Best Water Bottle Cages ● Best Mountain Biking Shorts ● The Best U.S. Cycling Tours

The Best Bikes for Bikepacking

  • Best Overall: Curve GMX+ Titanium
  • Best Value: Kona Rove
  • Best for Beginners: Canyon Grizl 7 Suspension 1by
  • Best Hardtail Mountain Bike for Bikepacking: Salsa Timberjack
  • Best Rigid Mountain Bike for Bikepacking: Surly Karate Monkey
The Expert: I’ve written about adventure travel and cycling gear for 15 years across a variety of outlets, including Time , Bicycling , Adventure Cycling Magazine , Fodors , BBC Travel , Next Avenue, and many others. My bikepacking adventures have taken me across Central Asia (following the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul), Northern Pakistan, Armenia, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, and most of Western and Eastern Europe. I also ride road, gravel and mountain bikes closer to home in the Catskills and the NYC cycling community’s home mountain, Bear.

What to Consider in a Bike for Bikepacking

Frame material.

Reliable bikepacking bikes can be made from many different materials . The metal used to make your bike frame will impact its weight and durability, as well as how they feel when riding, and whether or not they can be repaired.

Aluminum frames are common among $1,000-$2,000 bikes. They’re lightweight and stiff, but often require thicker, heavier tubes to make them strong. Aluminum, as a material, also doesn’t absorb road vibrations well, so you’ll feel every rock and root you ride over.

This is not to say that aluminum bikes aren’t conducive to bikepacking, though. I’ve ridden plenty of high-quality aluminum bikes: They’re tough and damage-resistant, making them a solid choice.

Steel frames provide exceptional strength, and can be repaired if and when they crack. That can be particularly helpful for bikepackers who run into issues mid-adventure. For example, one of my friends cracked his steel mountain bike frame in Northern Pakistan. We took it to a repair shop where they bolted two strips of metal on either side of the break to hold it together. You wouldn’t be able to successfully do that with aluminum or carbon.

Carbon frames are the lightest option, minimizing the heft of your loaded-up bike. That low weight is highly coveted among cyclists, and they're quite expensive. Once cracked, carbon bike parts generally cannot be fixed, so you definitely won’t be able to make repairs on the side of the road.

Titanium frames are my personal favorite. Like carbon, titanium makes for a light and comparatively expensive bike. It’s more durable than carbon, though, and is especially resistant to corrosion. It also absorbs road vibrations well, smoothing out bumpy rides on rough roads.

Manufactured with a range of sweeps and rises, using materials like aluminum, titanium and carbon, there are a lot of ways to build a comfortable, durable set of handlebars. Choosing the design that works for you is mostly a matter of personal preference, but there are a few small considerations I’d suggest if you’re optimizing for long bikepacking trips.

For starters, look for an ergonomic design with angled bends that suit your preferred riding style (upright or more bent over for example.), which will minimize the possibility of nerve compression and hand or wrist fatigue.

I’d also suggest looking for bars that you find comfortable holding in multiple positions. You don’t want your hands or fingers getting numb while riding; it's difficult to operate brakes and shifters when you can’t feel them. From my many trips, I’ve found that many bikepackers switch out the handlebars that came with their bike to the Jones H-bar , which are flat and curve back toward the rider at the ends.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to try as many options as possible. If you’re able, go to your local bike shop and try leaning on a few different handlebars to find the right fit for you.

A set of good brakes is essential on any bike, but they’re especially important when you’re riding up and down steep hills while weighed down with heavy gear. Most all of the bikes in this guide feature mechanical disc brakes , which are better than rim brakes at bringing a loaded bike to a stop when descending. They also don’t get mucked up by mud, leaves, and other debris.

What’s the difference? Location, location, location! Disc brakes are positioned at the center of the wheel, squeezing brake pads against a brake rotor next to the wheel hub. Rim brakes are mounted on top, applying their pads to the outer wheel rim. In their centralized position, disc brakes can stop a bike using less force. (In other words, they don’t need to squeeze as hard.)

Hydraulic disc brakes are also a good choice for veteran bikepackers: They outperform standard mechanical disc brakes on stopping power, but are more expensive and can be difficult to maintain. Since you generally can’t expect to have access to a bike shop on a bikepacking trip, I would only recommend using them if you’re prepared to learn how to maintain them yourself . (Honestly, it would be a good idea to learn, regardless.)

I’m mechanical all the way, mainly because this keeps the components easier to repair and maintain when in far flung places and/or countries where the latest bike gear and technology isn’t the norm. You also don’t need to worry about charging your electronic shifting at a campsite or a hotel that only has electricity for a couple hours every night. This doesn’t necessarily make it a better option, just the one I’m more comfortable with.

Suspension Forks

A suspension fork provides some cushion when rolling over rough terrain, making your ride more comfortable. It isn’t an essential feature, but worth keeping in mind. Neither of my bikepacking bikes have one and I manage okay… Though there have been stretches where I wished that I had one.

Again, the biggest argument against bringing a bike with a suspension fork on your trip is maintenance. If you plan to bikepack long distances, you’ll need to plan for the possibility that something may go wrong miles from civilization. Bikepackers with suspension forks should learn how to service them , and carry some tools and parts for the job, including a shock pump , valve core tool , and spare valve.

Storage & Accessory Support

While you can always gear to your bike with Velcro straps, it pays to pick out a bike frame that supports a large assortment of mounts, which give you the ability to add cargo racks , saddle bags and other dedicated bikepacking storage solutions like Salsa’s EXP Series accessories . The longer and more remote the trip, the more stuff you have to carry.

Drivetrain/Gearing

When it comes to gearing , the most important thing to remember is that you’ll likely be much happier with more gear options, especially for pedaling at lower speeds when ascending. Bikepacking trips often send you into rocky territory where you may be climbing for a full day (or days) while hauling all of your gear. Dirt and gravel roads, forest trails and singletrack also usually require deeper gearing than your average road bike because of the added rolling resistance you’ll experience on uneven ground.

Picking a specific setup is a personal choice, based in part on your fitness level and the weight of your fully loaded bike. That said, as a general rule, you’ll likely want a wider range of gears than what you’d find on a traditional road bike.

For example, new bikepackers could try a 1x crankset with at least a 32-tooth chainring on the front, and a 10-42 or 11-46 rear cassette, which should provide a wide enough range of gears with the lowest allowing you to pedal yourself and your gear up a mountain. You could also try an internally geared hub, which eliminates the chances of breaking/bending or otherwise damaging your rear derailleur (since you won’t have one.) Not all internally geared hubs offer the same number of gears. Make sure to get one with 12 or 14.

If you want to make your bike mechanic happy, ask them what they think and to explain the pros and cons of each setup.

How We Selected The Best Bikes for Bikepacking

I picked these model bikepacking bikes after taking each of them on a successful trip, or based on recommendations from experienced bikepackers I met on one. I can talk about bikepacking gear all day, and I often get the chance–with other bikepackers, riders who want to learn about the hobby, and brand representatives who cater to bikepackers (many of whom partake themselves). With that in mind, I selected these picks specifically to give you a wide variety of styles and preferences, so there’s an option for every kind of rider.

Curve Cycling GMX+ Titanium

GMX+ Titanium

The Curve GMX+ Titanium has all the qualities I look for (and love) in a bikepacking bike. The titanium frame features a carbon fork and significant tire clearance, so you can swap tire widths if you want, depending on where you’re riding. There is an incredible number of mounts–four on the fork, and two for water bottles on either side of the downtube.

As I mentioned, I prefer titanium frames because of their strength-to-weight ratio and toughness. I’ve also found that they’re excellent for absorbing road vibrations. (I’m always mildly shocked at the difference when I occasionally take my carbon racing bike out for a spin.) With elongated geometry, a substantial fork and wide handlebars, this bike inspires confidence no matter where you are; pavement, sand, washboard, rock or root-laden singletrack.

The GMX+ is incredibly versatile. It comes with a flared Walmer drop bar, but you can also outfit it with a flat bar if that’s your jam. It’s also available in a wide range of frame sizes and with many drivetrain options. It’s the closest you can get without going full custom.

Rove

The first bike I ever brought on a bikepacking adventure, the Kona Rove holds a special place in my heart. The Rove stands out as a versatile go-anywhere kind of bike fit for city streets or gravel trails, as well as one of the few 650b/26-inch wheeled steel bikes with a low enough price point for a wide audience.

This is a big benefit if you plan to take your bike abroad. Outside of the U.S. and Europe, 26-inch wheels are the norm, rather than the exception, so it’s easier to find compatible parts if you need them. Between that and the steel frame, the Rove is a perfect “hope for the best, plan for the worst” kind of bike.

When I started riding it, the Rove was one of the most comfortable bikes I’d tried, and one of the least skittish when off-road. On my first bikepacking trip with the Rove in Cambodia, I had no real idea what I was doing but somehow made it through with only a few scrapes and bruises and a new found passion for traveling offroad.

Canyon Grizl 7 Suspension 1by

Grizl 7 Suspension 1by

With a front suspension fork, clearance for up to 50mm tires, and a plethora of mounts for water bottles and other accessories, it’s easy to recommend the Canyon Grizl 7 to a first-time bikepacker who may not be used to riding on rough terrain hauling all their gear. The front fork keeps your tire firmly in contact with the ground, making descents feel less scary and reducing the impact on your hands and joints over the course of a long day slogging through washboard roads (or the majority of the Mongolian steppe.)

It’s relatively light, features quality components, and is easy to set up for bikepacking, since Canyon makes bags and packs designed specifically for the Grizl. It’s an excellent choice if you’re dipping your toe in the bikepacking pool, and need to buy a bike specifically for that first adventure.

Salsa Timberjack XT

Timberjack XT

One of the most difficult roads I’ve ever ridden a bike on was a narrow cliff ledge that snakes through the Karakoram Mountains to Shimshal , the last village in Pakistan before you hit the Chinese border. The narrow road cuts through rocky cliffs strewn with rubble and sheer drop-offs–not a ride for the faint of heart… or lung, or leg.

My friend Julian’s Timberjack, with its 130mm of travel, short chainstays, wide handlebars, and burly tires fared better than any other bike traversing over this treacherous span of our Karakorum cycling adventure. I watched him fade into the distance as I cautiously made my way over rushing rivers, impossibly steep inclines and a road made entirely of rock debris.

Sporting Salsa’s adjustable Alternator dropouts, the Timberjack can be outfitted with a Rohloff hub or single-speed drivetrain. There are plenty of rack mounts–down tube, seat tube, and top tube–for lots of different bikepacking configurations and internal cable routing, allowing for an effective and streamlined loadout.

Surly Karate Monkey

Karate Monkey

One of my exes once declared the Karate Monkey “the most perfect bike ever.” While there was a lengthy list of things we disagreed on, I admit that it’s an amazing mountain bike . With a rigid steel fork and steel frame, the Karate Monkey is built to withstand most anything you throw at or under it.

The current design can accommodate either 27.5- or 29-inch wheels, so you can set it up to suit your style and preferred position. It features rack mounts on the dropouts, as well as bosses on both sides of the downtube, so you can mount three water bottle cages if you want when traveling through areas where you may have trouble finding fresh water.

Perhaps most importantly, the Karate Monkey is compatible with most standard mountain bike standard parts, so it’s easy to customize for your bikepacking needs, or get a replacement part away from your home bike shop. That said, I’ve seen bikepackers riding Karate Monkeys on all kinds of terrain, all over the world: Not once have I ever seen one broken down or damaged.

Salsa Cutthroat C GRX 600 1X

Cutthroat C GRX 600 1X

Salsa designed the Cutthroat specifically for the Tour Divide Mountain Bike Race , a 2,745 mile -long bikepacking competition. That means it's well suited for very long trips with 16-hour days riding over everything from dirt trails to gravel, and all the tree roots you can stomach.

As all good bikepacking bikes do, it comes with a ton of mounts on the fork, down tube, top tube, and seat tube–17 in all. I also love the seat, which features thin seat stays and wide rectangle chain stays to absorb a lot of road vibration that would normally tire you out on this kind of terrain.

It also helps that this version of the Cutthroat features an ultralight carbon frame. (The “C” stands for “carbon.”) Steel frames traditionally reign as the most popular option among bikepackers traveling to parts unknown, but manufacturers have responded by building carbon adventure bikes with frames that can withstand quite a bit of thrashing over rough surfaces.

On a 5-month sojourn across central Asia, one of my riding cohorts made the very bold decision to bring Cutthroat and ride it hard like a mountain bike. He bombed rocky downhills as if he were invincible, and spiraled up steep, bumpy ascents with seemingly little effort. He managed to break a seat rail (not on the seat that came with the bike), which is not an easy thing to do, but the frame never cracked.

While the carbon frame still adds a little more potential for a trip-ending break, the Cutthroat is about as trustworthy as you can get.

Diamondback Haanjo 4 EXP

Haanjo 4 EXP

One of my favorite bikepacking buddies (and fellow adventure travel writer) Amy Jurries rides a Haanjo 4 EXP. She brought it on our eastern European ride across Georgia and Armenia, which ended up being much rougher (surface-wise) than we anticipated. We encountered singletracks through forests, pothole-laden asphalt and double-digit grades that went on for miles. There was more than one point where we thought our legs would most assuredly fall off.

Most gravel bikes will work well for bikepacking, but the Haanjo 4 ups the ante. It features a front fork with 60mm of travel, making it especially conducive to rough roads and bumpy trails. Its mechanical disc brakes are suitable for remote locales and are easy to maintain. It also has plenty of mounts on the top tube, down tube and seat tube.

The 1x11 drivetrain saves weight while still providing ample gearing for all the steep ascents you can handle, though you may wish for a few more on the top end for when you’re cruising over asphalt with a negative grade. Tomcat wheels with WTB Raddler tires help you keep the rubber on the road, even through questionable fields where the trail disintegrates into bush and grass.

1120

Sometimes the terrain you’re riding on calls for bigger tires. The Trek 1120 bike is designed specifically for off-road adventures. It features large 29-inch wheels, which you can ride through sand and deep snow easier than you could on narrower tires.

On the storage front, the 1120 features three fork mounts and eight frame mounts, including a water bottle cage mount on the bottom of the downtube for those who don’t mind some dirt with their hydration. Best of all, it comes with removable front and rear racks, so you’re ready to carry a lot of gear before adding any accessories or modifications.

My favorite feature, though, is its horizontal sliding dropout, which allows you to easily switch to a single-speed setup if your rear derailleur has an unfortunate encounter with the ground or an immovable boulder. Hydraulic disc brakes ensure you’ll be able to stop when needed… Like before your trail sends you off a cliff. (Pro tip: Most mountain roads outside the U.S. lack anything resembling a guard rail.) The extra braking power comes in handy here, as the 1120 is relatively heavy.

All told, the Trek 1120 gives you the confidence to the kind of high-risk locales where a bikepacker might specifically want a fat tire bike, from the Jordanian desert to the snowy backcountry of Alaska.

Specialized Diverge Sport Carbon

Diverge Sport Carbon

I am a forever fan of Specialized bicycles, and the Diverge is one of my favorites. The carbon frame, matched with a carbon Future Shock fork and progressive geometry, makes it one of the lightest and fastest bikes on the bikepacking circuit.

Bikes with “progressive geometry” have a longer front end, positioning your body lower as you reach for the handlebars to minimize wind resistance. Even with the increased reach, slacker head tube, and longer offset fork, the Diverge feels solid on rocky terrain without sacrificing rolling speed on asphalt. It also has a shorter stem, which keeps the bike agile. The bottom bracket is high enough that you can swap the 700cs for 650bs if you want. It also features mounts galore including fork, top tube, and rack.

All in all, the Diverge and its light overall weight means you can carry more, faster and further with less overall perceived effort.

Cinelli Nemo Tig Gravel 2

Nemo Tig Gravel 2

I’ve found that there is a subset of bikepackers (and cyclists in general) who get ridiculously excited about handmade bike frames. Cinelli bikes are built entirely by hand in the brand's headquarters in Milan, which helps to justify the high price of the Nemo Tig Gravel 2. If you’re a bike nerd like me who waxes nostalgic about Richard Sachs bikes of yore, you may find yourself willing to pay it.

As the name suggests, the Nemo Tig Gravel is slightly better suited to gravel and dirt than extremely rough, rock laden surfaces. Not that you can’t ride it over rocks; you’ll just need exceptional bike handling skills and leg strength. If you’re going where singletrack is the majority of what you’ll be riding, you may end up doing a lot of hike-a-biking.

This bike also full of cool features that will excite cycling gearheads, like diamond-shaped seat stays with oriented ellipses, which contribute to the bike’s all-around comfort when pedaling long distances. The diamond shape helps to absorb road vibrations. Its custom-drawn Columbus Spirit triple-butted tubes feature three thicknesses across their length, trimming weight and bolstering their structure. I also love that you can pick from up to 69 different paint and finish options, including a range of pinks, lime green, burgundy, and white.

Q+A With Veteran Bikepacker Vanessa Nirode

line break listicle

What is the difference between bikepacking and bike touring?

The difference between a bike tour and bikepacking is in the route. Bikepacking trips typically revolve around cycling to and through beautiful, remote landscapes, with everything you need to survive strapped to your bike. They often provide rare opportunities to visit remote places like villages on the “Roof of the World” , and sleep in camping spots far from overcrowded campsites.

As a result, the cycling is often off-road-focused, with dirt trails, gravel roads, rail trails and pretty much anything that gets you away from cars and pavement.

While you’re still riding all day and camping out at night, bike tours usually stick to paved roads. Bike tour riders also usually carry more gear for a more comfortable overnight experience, including front and back panniers and possibly even a trailer. That’s a lot more stuff than you can afford to take when traveling rough trails and offroad: Keeping a trailer upright while riding a singletrack would be a serious struggle.

What type of bike should I bring on my bikepacking trip?

Many bikepackers–including me–will tell you that the best bike for bikepacking is the one you already own, especially if you’re just trying it out to see if it's your thing. While that old gravel or hardtail mountain bike you rescued from the street may not be as comfortable as something new you bought with a specific trip in mind, it’s definitely fine to get you through your first short trip - or even multiple trips.

If your bike doesn’t have enough mounts for your gear, you can strap things on using zip ties, bungees and/or Salsa rubber straps .

If you feel the need to purchase a new bike, though, I’d steer most people toward a hardtail mountain bike or gravel bike for their first bikepacking trip. If your route includes long stretches on rough roads or trails, look for a bike that has a fork with suspension to minimize the impacts.

What should I wear while bikepacking?

It’s important to bring comfortable clothes that you can ride in day after day. Most riders prefer padded shorts for a little cushion on a long ride. You may also want to wear some clothes with moisture-wicking properties so more of your sweat rolls off you.

Beyond that, pack the same way you would for any camping trip. Depending on the weather and climate, it’s always a good idea to bring some layers, including a warm base layer , rain jacket , and a long sleeve jersey or jacket in case it gets cold. If you’re planning a trip where you’ll ride through regions with different climates, make sure to include layers to account for all the types of weather you should expect to encounter. Look for gear that is packable (compresses down into a small size) and lightweight to optimize the space you have for carrying.

I recently acquired some clothing from the Fjallraven and Specialized collaboration, and am a huge fan of the Anorak pullover for cool days; it's roomy for layering and features tons of pockets plus side ventilation zips.

What should I pack when bikepacking?

Every bikepacker develops their own list of essentials over time, fine-tuning it with time and experience after every adventure. Here are some essentials that everyone needs .

For an overnighter, you need something for sleeping. That could be a small tent and a sleeping bag , or a bivy sack . It’s absolutely fine to use any camping equipment you already own, though veteran bikepackers typically start upgrading with lighter, more compact gear.

While you want to pack light, you will need more than the clothes on your back. Make sure to pack a separate set of clothes to sleep in, and at least one spare riding outfit in case you get caught in the rain or sweat a lot. This way, you’ll always have a dry one to put on in the morning. I also bring extra socks, a warm hat , and a compressible puffy jacket for cool evenings.

Don’t forget about supplies, either. Always carry enough water to last between stopping points where you know you’ll be able to refill. If you’re going somewhere where stores or fresh water sources will be far and in between, a portable water filter may be worth the investment.

Lastly, if you’re camping you will need cooking gear, though you should bring as little of it as possible. I’ve heated many bikepacking dinners (and morning coffees) up via a Pocket Rocket and titanium cup .

And snacks, don’t forget snacks.

Headshot of Vanessa Nirode

Vanessa Nirode is a freelance writer who covers wellness, culture, outdoor adventure and travel for Hearst , HuffPost , PopSci , BBC Travel , and Threads , among others. She’s also a pattern maker and tailor for film and television but most of the time, she’d rather just be riding her bicycle.

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McLaren Launches the Most Powerful Trail-Legal Electric Mountain Bike Ever

McLaren is well-known as a supercar manufacturer and Formula 1 team. But today, the iconic brand unveils an electric mountain bike.

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McLaren electric mountain bike

McLaren, being McLaren, didn’t just release an e-MTB . The brand claims it’s the most powerful trail-legal mountain bike ever.

The British brand claims two of the four models it releases today, the Extreme 600 and Sport 600, are “the most powerful street-legal electric bike .” Its Race mode pumps out a claimed 852W of peak power and 161Nm of torque. Editor’s note: Under federal law, 750 W is the maximum allowable .

4 McLaren E-Bikes

McClaren electric mountain bike

The four bike models McLaren launches today represent its first foray into two-wheeled vehicles. They were designed by the same team that produced the $275,000 McLaren Artura Spider hybrid supercar.

The four e-MTB models are dubbed Extreme 600, Extreme 250, Sport 600, and Sport 250. The 600 versions boast the “most powerful” peak output of 852 W and a top speed of 20 mph. The flagship Extreme 600 has 145mm of rear travel coupled with 160mm forks, a mullet 29er front wheel, and a 27.5-inch rear wheel. Of course, the frame is carbon fiber. The Sport 600 is a dual 29-inch-wheel hardtail.

The 250 versions, as the name implies, use a less powerful 250W motor with the same dual suspension and hardtail configurations.

Every model has five power modes:

  • Off: No motor assist
  • Eco: Conserves energy for longer rides
  • Trail: A balance of power and efficiency
  • Sport: Extra power output when the trail demands it
  • Race: Maximum power and torque

McLaren shod the Extreme versions with SRAM electronic XX Eagle AXS and the Sport models with SRAM mechanical GX Eagle.

Oh, That Display! The Paint Job!

McClaren electric mountain bike display

In keeping with its luxury supercar roots, McLaren put a digital display on its bikes with graphics worthy of the brand. A large, full-color LCD panel integrated into the handlebars (as is a headlight) informs the e-MTB pilot of all crucial metrics, including battery life and range. You gotta manage the pit stops!

McClaren electric mountain bike headlight

And F1 fans will revel in the race-team-inspired finish on each McLaren electric mountain bike. Go, Lando Norris!

How to Get a McLaren Electric Mountain Bike

Rider wheelie on McClaren electric mountain bike

Like its supercars, McLaren offers a limited number of each of its four E-MTB offerings. To secure yours, hop over to the McLaren Bikes website . Prices range from $7,950 to $11,950.

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Seiji Ishii is Editor at Large at the AllGear network and the Climbing, Cycling, Fitness, and Powersports editor at GearJunkie.

He has been writing about cycling, climbing, outdoor endeavors, motorsports, and the gear and training for those pursuits for 20+ years.

Before AllGear, Ishii was a freelance contributor to print and web publications related to his interests and professional experiences. He continues to pursue climbing and cycling objectives seriously.

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How to pack your mountain bike for travel

Pack your bike for travel

© Wilson Low

  • Protecting the bike from itself (where components rub against each other and incur damage through rubbing, knocking, or other external force)
  • Reducing the number of loose items and components that can be forgotten or misplaced
  • Allowing easier re-assembly of the bike

1. A clean bike

Avoid lugging extra dirt: get your ride cleaned

Remember which direction each pedal turns

Keep those threads greased!

2. Pedals off

3. handlebars off.

Handlebars off, but leave the stem intact.

And keep your bolts here, so you never lose them.

4. Sort out the seatpost

With the dropper ‘post down, packing life is easy.

Helps to spread the brake pads upon reassembly

5. Wheels off

6. extra removals – extra peace-of-mind.

We say: “better safe than sorry”.

7. In the bag… with extra stuff

Your precious one goes inside now.

These objects don’t go in your carry-on

8. You’re all set

Bon voyage! Now you’re off to shred new terrain!

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Pedal-Powered Journeys: How E-Bikes Can Enhance Your Travel Experience

Posted: July 28, 2023 | Last updated: July 28, 2023

We explore how e-bikes can make your travels more enjoyable, practical, and memorable, with a particular focus on the best tandem electric bikes.

Revolutionizing Travel: The Power and Potential of E-Bikes

And when it comes to cycling, electric bikes (e-bikes) are fast becoming a favorite for many travelers. Here, we explore how e-bikes can make your travels more enjoyable, practical, and memorable, with a particular focus on the best tandem electric bikes for those wishing to share the journey.

The increasing prominence of electric bikes in the world of travel is more than a passing trend. E-bikes have emerged as a transformative mode of transportation that seamlessly blend physical activity with the convenience of motorized assistance. 

They are redefining how we explore familiar locales and unfamiliar terrains and leading a revolution in sustainable, active travel. And a pleasant one, as well.

<p>One of the most compelling advantages of electric bikes lies in their power-assisted pedaling system. Traditional bicycles can sometimes be restrictive, turning daunting hills and long-distance rides into strenuous tasks. E-bikes break down these barriers with their ability to provide that extra push when needed.</p> <ul>   <li>Conquer Steep Terrains: With an e-bike, hills and steep inclines are no longer intimidating obstacles. The motorized assistance can make pedaling uphill feel like riding on a flat surface, making hilly destinations more accessible and enjoyable.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Long-Distance Comfort: If your journey spans several miles, an e-bike can help you maintain stamina and prevent fatigue. You can cover impressive distances without feeling drained, ensuring you have the energy to enjoy your destination once you arrive.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Adjustable Assistance: E-bikes often come with adjustable power levels, allowing you to tailor the amount of assistance you receive. This means you can opt for more help on challenging stretches and less when you fancy a bit more of a workout.</li>  </ul>

Taking the Edge Off Effort: The Comfort of E-Bikes

One of the most compelling advantages of electric bikes lies in their power-assisted pedaling system. Traditional bicycles can sometimes be restrictive, turning daunting hills and long-distance rides into strenuous tasks. E-bikes break down these barriers with their ability to provide that extra push when needed.

  • Conquer Steep Terrains: With an e-bike, hills and steep inclines are no longer intimidating obstacles. The motorized assistance can make pedaling uphill feel like riding on a flat surface, making hilly destinations more accessible and enjoyable.
  • Long-Distance Comfort: If your journey spans several miles, an e-bike can help you maintain stamina and prevent fatigue. You can cover impressive distances without feeling drained, ensuring you have the energy to enjoy your destination once you arrive.
  • Adjustable Assistance: E-bikes often come with adjustable power levels, allowing you to tailor the amount of assistance you receive. This means you can opt for more help on challenging stretches and less when you fancy a bit more of a workout.

<p>In a world increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our actions, e-bikes offer an <a href="https://blueandgreentomorrow.com/energy/impact-electric-bikes-on-environment/" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">earth-friendly alternative</a> to traditional, fuel-guzzling forms of transportation. More than that, they offer a thrilling and engaging way to explore new places.</p> <ul>   <li>Green Travel: E-bikes use electricity, a much cleaner energy source than the gasoline or diesel used by most motor vehicles. By riding an e-bike, you’re significantly reducing your carbon footprint and preserving the natural beauty we all love to explore.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Immersive Exploration: With their quiet motors and ability to access paths where cars can’t go, e-bikes provide an intimate connection with the surroundings. You can enjoy your environment’s sights, sounds, and smells without the barrier of a car window.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Fun Factor: There’s no denying it – e-bikes are fun! The thrill of effortlessly gliding up a hill, the wind in your hair, and the feeling of freedom make e-biking an exciting and adventurous addition to any travel experience.</li>  </ul>

A Sustainable and Joyful Journey: The Environmental and Fun Factor of E-Bikes

In a world increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our actions, e-bikes offer an earth-friendly alternative to traditional, fuel-guzzling forms of transportation. More than that, they offer a thrilling and engaging way to explore new places.

  • Green Travel: E-bikes use electricity, a much cleaner energy source than the gasoline or diesel used by most motor vehicles. By riding an e-bike, you’re significantly reducing your carbon footprint and preserving the natural beauty we all love to explore.
  • Immersive Exploration: With their quiet motors and ability to access paths where cars can’t go, e-bikes provide an intimate connection with the surroundings. You can enjoy your environment’s sights, sounds, and smells without the barrier of a car window.
  • Fun Factor: There’s no denying it – e-bikes are fun! The thrill of effortlessly gliding up a hill, the wind in your hair, and the feeling of freedom make e-biking an exciting and adventurous addition to any travel experience.

<p>Electric bikes act as catalysts of adventure, opening up a plethora of travel experiences hitherto limited by traditional modes of transport. </p> <p>With their motor-assisted pedaling, e-bikes allow you to venture beyond typical tourist trails, penetrate remote locales, and unearth hidden gems, offering an unmatched exploratory experience.</p>

Unleashing New Possibilities: E-Bikes as a Gateway to Diverse Travel Experiences

Electric bikes act as catalysts of adventure, opening up a plethora of travel experiences hitherto limited by traditional modes of transport. 

With their motor-assisted pedaling, e-bikes allow you to venture beyond typical tourist trails, penetrate remote locales, and unearth hidden gems, offering an unmatched exploratory experience.

<p>Electric mountain bikes, with their robust build, powerful motors, and high-quality suspension, are your tickets to off-road escapades. </p> <p>They facilitate seamless navigation through less-trodden paths, be it dense forest trails, mountainous topography, or meandering desert tracks.</p> <ul>   <li>Forest Exploration: Picture yourself pedaling down serene, leaf-strewn paths, the air echoing with bird calls and sunlight streaming through the canopy. E-bikes can handle uneven terrain, making them perfect for woodland adventures.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Mountain Trails: With the assisted power of an e-bike, steep inclines become surmountable. Experience the thrill of scaling heights and the reward of panoramic vistas that come with it.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Desert Landscapes: Traversing desert trails on an e-bike can be an exhilarating experience. The electric assistance helps manage sandy terrains, allowing you to explore these unique ecosystems easily.</li>  </ul> <p>With an e-bike, you’re not just a spectator but an active participant in the adventure, enhancing your connection with the environment around you.</p>

Embracing the Wild: Off-Road Adventures with E-Bikes

Electric mountain bikes, with their robust build, powerful motors, and high-quality suspension, are your tickets to off-road escapades. 

They facilitate seamless navigation through less-trodden paths, be it dense forest trails, mountainous topography, or meandering desert tracks.

  • Forest Exploration: Picture yourself pedaling down serene, leaf-strewn paths, the air echoing with bird calls and sunlight streaming through the canopy. E-bikes can handle uneven terrain, making them perfect for woodland adventures.
  • Mountain Trails: With the assisted power of an e-bike, steep inclines become surmountable. Experience the thrill of scaling heights and the reward of panoramic vistas that come with it.
  • Desert Landscapes: Traversing desert trails on an e-bike can be an exhilarating experience. The electric assistance helps manage sandy terrains, allowing you to explore these unique ecosystems easily.

With an e-bike, you’re not just a spectator but an active participant in the adventure, enhancing your connection with the environment around you.

<p>For urban explorers, e-bikes offer a swift, flexible, and efficient mode of transport that beats city traffic and takes the pain out of parking. With their ergonomic design and ease of use, electric city bikes turn city navigation into a breeze.</p> <ul>   <li>Beating Traffic: E-bikes allow you to bypass congested routes, saving you time and energy. You’ll get to your destination faster and fresher, ready to dive into the day’s adventures.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Easy Parking: With an e-bike, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Their compact size allows you to park virtually anywhere, freeing up more time for exploration.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Covering More Ground: E-bikes help you cover large distances quickly and comfortably, letting you see more of the city in less time.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Sneak Peek into Local Life: Traveling at a slower pace on bike lanes or through neighborhood streets provides a unique insight into local life. You’ll discover hidden cafes, quaint bookshops, and local markets that you might have missed otherwise.</li>  </ul> <p>Whether your travel backdrop is an urban landscape or untamed nature, e-bikes enrich your exploratory experience by offering a harmonious blend of adventure, fitness, and <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/sustainable-tourism/">environmental sustainability.</a></p>

Urban Wonders: E-Bikes for Efficient City Exploration

For urban explorers, e-bikes offer a swift, flexible, and efficient mode of transport that beats city traffic and takes the pain out of parking. With their ergonomic design and ease of use, electric city bikes turn city navigation into a breeze.

  • Beating Traffic: E-bikes allow you to bypass congested routes, saving you time and energy. You’ll get to your destination faster and fresher, ready to dive into the day’s adventures.
  • Easy Parking: With an e-bike, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Their compact size allows you to park virtually anywhere, freeing up more time for exploration.
  • Covering More Ground: E-bikes help you cover large distances quickly and comfortably, letting you see more of the city in less time.
  • Sneak Peek into Local Life: Traveling at a slower pace on bike lanes or through neighborhood streets provides a unique insight into local life. You’ll discover hidden cafes, quaint bookshops, and local markets that you might have missed otherwise.

Whether your travel backdrop is an urban landscape or untamed nature, e-bikes enrich your exploratory experience by offering a harmonious blend of adventure, fitness, and environmental sustainability.

<p>Travel is about shared experiences, and what better way to amplify this than with a <a href="https://easyebiking.com/are-there-any-good-electric-tandem-bikes/" rel="noreferrer noopener">tandem electric bike</a>? Built to comfortably accommodate two riders, these innovative bicycles invite you to double the joy of your cycling adventures. </p> <p>Ideal for couples, friends, or family members, tandem e-bikes foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork while providing the same benefits of individual e-bikes.</p>

Double the Delight with Tandem Electric Bikes: A Unique Way to Share the Adventure

Travel is about shared experiences, and what better way to amplify this than with a tandem electric bike ? Built to comfortably accommodate two riders, these innovative bicycles invite you to double the joy of your cycling adventures. 

Ideal for couples, friends, or family members, tandem e-bikes foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork while providing the same benefits of individual e-bikes.

<p>The market for tandem e-bikes is brimming with options that cater to different needs and preferences. When selecting a tandem e-bike for your journeys, prioritize comfort, power, and stability to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.</p> <ul>   <li>Pedego Tandem Cruiser: Renowned for its comfortable seating and robust motor, this model guarantees a seamless ride. Its user-friendly design caters to both seasoned cyclists and beginners, making it a top pick for any duo.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Micargi Tahiti NX3: Known for its stability and timeless design, the Micargi Tahiti NX3 promises a secure and stylish ride. Its sturdy build and responsive controls ensure it can easily handle various terrains.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Bintelli Tandem Electric Bicycle: A combination of durability, power, and comfort makes this bike an excellent choice. It boasts a powerful 750-watt motor and comes equipped with a comfortable seat, making it perfect for long-distance rides.</li>  </ul> <p>Each of these options brings its unique blend of features to the table, enabling you to choose one that best aligns with your travel plans and cycling proficiency.</p>

Top Picks: Best Tandem Electric Bikes for Your Travel Adventures

The market for tandem e-bikes is brimming with options that cater to different needs and preferences. When selecting a tandem e-bike for your journeys, prioritize comfort, power, and stability to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.

  • Pedego Tandem Cruiser: Renowned for its comfortable seating and robust motor, this model guarantees a seamless ride. Its user-friendly design caters to both seasoned cyclists and beginners, making it a top pick for any duo.
  • Micargi Tahiti NX3: Known for its stability and timeless design, the Micargi Tahiti NX3 promises a secure and stylish ride. Its sturdy build and responsive controls ensure it can easily handle various terrains.
  • Bintelli Tandem Electric Bicycle: A combination of durability, power, and comfort makes this bike an excellent choice. It boasts a powerful 750-watt motor and comes equipped with a comfortable seat, making it perfect for long-distance rides.

Each of these options brings its unique blend of features to the table, enabling you to choose one that best aligns with your travel plans and cycling proficiency.

<p>A tandem e-bike experience offers far more than a novel way to get from point A to B. It allows two people to share the physical effort, making it feasible to traverse greater distances and tackle more challenging terrains. But the advantages go beyond the practical.</p> <ul>   <li>Bonding Opportunity: Riding a tandem e-bike necessitates communication and cooperation, forging a unique bond between the riders. Whether it’s a couple, a parent and child, or two friends, the shared experience can <a href="https://www.mass.gov/service-details/defining-healthy-relationships" rel="noopener">strengthen relationships</a>.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Shared Memories: The shared experience of navigating a route together, the conversations along the way, and the shared triumph of reaching your destination create lasting memories.</li>  </ul> <ul>   <li>Enhanced Accessibility: For those who may be less confident or able to cycle, a tandem e-bike allows them to be part of the adventure. They can contribute as much or as little as they feel comfortable, ensuring an inclusive experience.</li>  </ul> <p>In essence, tandem e-bikes share not only the workload, but also the joy, challenges, and triumphs of the journey, creating a truly shared adventure.</p>

Sharing the Ride: The Benefits of a Tandem E-Bike Experience

A tandem e-bike experience offers far more than a novel way to get from point A to B. It allows two people to share the physical effort, making it feasible to traverse greater distances and tackle more challenging terrains. But the advantages go beyond the practical.

  • Bonding Opportunity: Riding a tandem e-bike necessitates communication and cooperation, forging a unique bond between the riders. Whether it’s a couple, a parent and child, or two friends, the shared experience can strengthen relationships .
  • Shared Memories: The shared experience of navigating a route together, the conversations along the way, and the shared triumph of reaching your destination create lasting memories.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: For those who may be less confident or able to cycle, a tandem e-bike allows them to be part of the adventure. They can contribute as much or as little as they feel comfortable, ensuring an inclusive experience.

In essence, tandem e-bikes share not only the workload, but also the joy, challenges, and triumphs of the journey, creating a truly shared adventure.

<p>Electric bikes, with their blend of ease, fun, and sustainability, have transformed the way we can experience travel. They allow us to connect more deeply with our surroundings, venture into unexplored territories, and create more sustainable tourism practices. </p> <p>The addition of tandem e-bikes to the mix has made the joy of e-biking more shareable than ever before. Whether it’s a serene bike ride along a secluded beach, a thrilling off-road trail in the mountains, or a leisurely exploration of a city’s <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/famous-landmarks-around-the-world/">cultural landmarks</a>, e-bikes are paving the way for unforgettable, pedal-powered journeys. </p> <p>So, when planning your next adventure, consider integrating an electric bike into your plans - it could add an exciting new dimension to your travel experiences.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com">Wander With Alex</a>. </em></p> <h2 class="simplefeed_msnslideshows_more_article">More Articles From Wander With Alex</h2> <ul>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/things-to-do-in-paris-france/">Lovely Things to Do in Paris, France on Your Vacation</a></li>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/visit-central-italy/">Central Italy: 10 Great Places For Your Italian Vacation</a></li>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/aruba-vacation-faqs/">Caribbean Getaway: Your Aruba Vacation FAQs Answered</a></li>  </ul>

Final Thoughts on E-Bike Travel

Electric bikes, with their blend of ease, fun, and sustainability, have transformed the way we can experience travel. They allow us to connect more deeply with our surroundings, venture into unexplored territories, and create more sustainable tourism practices. 

The addition of tandem e-bikes to the mix has made the joy of e-biking more shareable than ever before. Whether it’s a serene bike ride along a secluded beach, a thrilling off-road trail in the mountains, or a leisurely exploration of a city’s cultural landmarks , e-bikes are paving the way for unforgettable, pedal-powered journeys. 

So, when planning your next adventure, consider integrating an electric bike into your plans - it could add an exciting new dimension to your travel experiences.

This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex .

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IMAGES

  1. How to Take a Family Mountain Bike Trip

    travel with your mountain bike

  2. Mountain Bike (MTB) Holidays, Guided Tours & Travel Ideas

    travel with your mountain bike

  3. Mountain bike trails

    travel with your mountain bike

  4. Canada Mountain Bike (MTB) Holidays, Guided Tours & Travel Ideas

    travel with your mountain bike

  5. 10 tips for travelling with your mountain bike

    travel with your mountain bike

  6. Five Ways to Have More Fun on Your Mountain Bike

    travel with your mountain bike

VIDEO

  1. Is your mountain bike TOO BIG for you? #mtb #shorts

  2. Your mountain bike if you… #mountainbiking

  3. 3 Methods For Riding Drops On Your Mountain Bike #mtb

  4. Set your Mountain Bike up Like a Pro!😎 #mtb #mountainbike #mtbtips

  5. First International Trip Flying with Our Bikes!

  6. Traveling With Your MTB?

COMMENTS

  1. How to fly with your bike

    How to fly with your bike | Packing, weight limits and surcharges explained | BikeRadar.

  2. The Essential Guide to Traveling with Your Mountain Bike

    Follow our essential tips for a smooth and successful journey from your very first trip: Remove the front wheels, pedals, and rear derailleur. Wrap removed components in bubble wrap or similar protective packaging. Secure hydraulic brakes with foam pads and tape to prevent damage. Buy one of the best bike boxes to ensure security and full ...

  3. How To Fly With Your Bike: The Ultimate Guide

    In most ways, bringing a mountain bike on an airline is the same as bringing a road or gravel bike. However, mountain bikes are generally bulkier, with thicker tubes and wider axles. This means mountain bikes may not fit in all travel cases, and you may need a case or bag specifically designed for large bikes.

  4. How To Fly With a Bike & The Best Airlines to Choose

    Standard checked bag fees. 40 lbs (18 kg) 80 linear in (203 linear cm) It'll be hard to get your bike under 40 lbs and 80 linear inches, so expect to pay overweight/size fees. American Airlines. Standard checked bag fees. 50 lbs (23 kg) 126 linear in (320 linear cm) $150 overweight fee if the bike bag is over 50 lbs.

  5. Can You Bring a Mountain Bike on a Plane? a Comprehensive Guide

    Step 3: Dismantle the Bike. Once all the tools and items are ready, it's time to dismantle certain parts of your bike. You'll need to do this if you want to safely bring your mountain bike on a plane. There's no need to be overwhelmed, as we will walk you through this every step of the way.

  6. How To Fly With Your Mountain Bike! Step by Step Guide

    Packing away and traveling with your bike can be a really daunting experience. In this video I share some of our favorite travel tips and tricks to do it as ...

  7. How to Fly with a Mountain Bike and What Bag To Use

    Regular checked bag fees apply. American: The usual checked baggage fees apply when checking a bike. There may be oversize or overweight fees. Delta: Normal baggage fees and overweight/oversize fees apply. Hawaiian: Depends on where you're flying. Travel from one Hawaiian island to another with your bikewill cost $25.

  8. How To Fly With A Bike & The Best Airlines To Choose

    Make sure the clamp is either lightly tightened or removed and kept separately. Wrap your bike and its components in padding. You can use bubble wrap, pipe insulation, or pool noodles. Secure the padding with tape or zip ties. Attach the handlebars, fork, and seat post to your frame and secure them with zip ties.

  9. Tips on how to travel with your bike

    How to pack your mountain bike in a bag for travel. Over the years we've been exploring the world - from Europe, to South America, to Africa, and beyond - with our mountain bikes and we've tried almost every bike packing option available: from the cheap and cheerful cardboard bike box from the local bike shop, to more expensive, hard-shell boxes.

  10. The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Your Mountain Bike

    Transportation Options for Mountain Bikes. Transporting your mountain bike safely and securely is a crucial aspect of traveling with it. Depending on your travel plans and preferences, you have several transportation options to choose from: 1. Car: If you're planning a road trip, transporting your mountain bike by car is often the most ...

  11. How To Safely Transport Your Mountain Bikes on a Long Distance Road

    When it comes to traveling with your mountain bike in North America, the road trip is king. Until gas prices climb back up to astronomical levels, it will almost assuredly be cheaper to drive than to fly. Once you've computed gas costs and plane tickets, correct those numbers by comparing the cost of flying or shipping your bike, or renting ...

  12. How to travel with your bike like a pro

    Here's the steps to follow: Pedals: Take them off and put them in a bag or a case. Wheels: Remove both wheels and slot them into their allocated slots. Put a piece of cardboard or brake blocks ...

  13. How to pack your mountain bike up for travel: 8 tips

    Store pedals in a side compartment of your bike case. 3. Handlebars off. Remove the bolts (and any washers) on the clamp that secures the handlebars to the stem; with the handlebars now hanging ...

  14. Complete multi-day mountain bike trip packing list

    Even though you're heading on a mountain bike trip, don't forget to pack some normal clothes for walking around town in, going out to eat, and for relaxing post-rides. Here's what I typically pack for my mountain bike trips: 1-2 pairs of jeans. 2 pairs of leggings. 1 pair of shorts or a skirt.

  15. How to pack your bike for travel #MTBminute

    10 simple steps to packing your bike for travel. Remove pedals - Remembering the non-drive side pedal is reverse threaded! Lower saddle. Release derailleur clutch to help with easy removal of the rear wheel. Remove both wheels and remember to replace axles.

  16. How to Fly with Your Bicycle on a Plane: Airline Guide

    The pressure of any nitrogen gas in mountain bike struts is no more than 200kPa (kilopascal) or 29PSI (pounds per square inch) Any cartridges for inflating tires are small (less than 50 ml) and contain a non-flammable gas ... Customers can travel with their own bike box, however it must not exceed the dimensions and must be properly and ...

  17. How To Fly With A Bike

    So you're going on a riding holiday with your mountain bike, should you choose a cardboard bike box or dedicated bike travel bag to fly with? Here's Neil wit...

  18. How to Travel With Your Mountain Bike

    5. Take the wheels off. Separate the wheels from the fork and frame. Then, let some of the air out. On tubeless mountain bike wheels, completely letting the air out completely will make the tire bead pop off the rim. Instead, leave about 10 to 15 psi inside. 6.Extra removals for extra peace of mind.

  19. 26 Amazing Multi-Day Mountain Bike Tours & Companies

    United States: North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Washington. Sacred Rides is perhaps one of the best-known mountain bike travel companies out there with tours in over 13 countries and across the United States and a "#1 Mountain bike tour company on earth" kudos from National Geographic Traveler.

  20. What is Travel on a Mountain Bike?

    Mountain biking travel is a term that indicates the distance of movement for any moving parts. Before, travel only referred to mountain bike suspension, but now it also incorporates dropper seat posts. The travel distance is typically measured in millimeters (mm) and can range from 80mm on cross-country bikes to 200mm or more on downhill bikes.

  21. What Does TRAVEL Mean on a Mountain Bike: Is More Travel Better?

    Travel is simply the maximum distance that either the front or rear suspension of the Mountain Bike can compress, when absorbing force, before bottoming out. The higher the travel the more force the suspension can comfortably absorb. The lower amount of travel the lower amount of force absorbed. Specialized FSR Suspension.

  22. The 10 Best Bikes for Your Next Bikepacking Adventure

    The Best Bikes for Bikepacking. Best Overall: Curve GMX+ Titanium. Best Value: Kona Rove. Best for Beginners: Canyon Grizl 7 Suspension 1by. Best Hardtail Mountain Bike for Bikepacking: Salsa ...

  23. Have you Ever Taken a Guided MTB Tour?

    Exploration and solo rides are fun, but sometimes it's best to hire a mountain bike guide, especially if you're riding in a new-to-you destination and want an expert to show you the best trails. It can also be nice to let someone else handle ride logistics and way finding so you can just enjoy the ride.

  24. McLaren Launches the Most Powerful Trail-Legal Electric Mountain Bike Ever

    The brand claims it's the most powerful trail-legal mountain bike ever. ... The flagship Extreme 600 has 145mm of rear travel coupled with 160mm forks, a mullet 29er front wheel, and a 27.5-inch ...

  25. Find Your Next Trail Run With A Mountain Bike

    With 100mm of front travel, this bike is great for those just getting into mountain biking who want to explore single track, cross country rides, and some moderate downhill.

  26. 10 Things to Know About Coler Mountain Bike Preserve + Other Tips

    3. Coler Gets Busy. Coler is probably the most popular mountain bike trail network in Bentonville. Slaughter Pen is popular too, but it's a lot more spread out so it doesn't feel overly crowded.

  27. Supercaliber SL 9.6 Gen 2

    SL OCLV Mountain Carbon, IsoStrut, UDH, 80mm travel Fork RockShox Recon Gold RL, DebonAir spring, Motion Control damper, lockout, tapered steerer, 42mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Maxle Stealth, 110mm travel

  28. How to pack your mountain bike up for travel: 8 tips

    Store pedals in a side compartment of your bike case. 3. Handlebars off. Remove the bolts (and any washers) on the clamp that secures the handlebars to the stem; with the handlebars now hanging ...

  29. Pedal-Powered Journeys: How E-Bikes Can Enhance Your Travel ...

    Whether your travel backdrop is an urban landscape or untamed nature, e-bikes enrich your exploratory experience by offering a harmonious blend of adventure, fitness, and environmental sustainability.

  30. Crazy modular bike rack caters to people with way too many bikes

    Each bicycle wheel tray tacks on $100 (and 5 lb), so a one-bike system costs $1,000 and a five-bike system costs $1,400. The Trailbreaker Moto single-motorbike version prices in at $1,150, while a ...