Which Folding Bikes Fit in A Suitcase? Best Air Travel Bikes

By Mark Plummer •  Updated: 10/21/22 •  7 min read

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Many people choose folding bikes for their portability, making them the ideal choice for taking on a holiday with you. But first, you will need to pack your bike into a suitcase. So, which types of folding bikes can fit in a standard-sized suitcase?

Most popular brands, like Brompton and Tern, will be compact enough to fit into a suitcase. They will often require a larger suitcase to hold them. Bulkier off-road models, like the Dahon Mariner D8, might be too bulky to fit. In rare cases, folding bikes can be small enough to be considered carry-on. 

Transporting a folding bike shouldn’t be too tricky, as most will be able to fit into a suitcase.

Which Folding Bikes Fit in A Suitcase
Which Folding Bikes Fit in A Suitcase?

But you might need to learn some packing skills, like removing the seat post. Keep reading to learn everything you need about putting your folding bike into a suitcase.

What Size Folding Bikes Fit In A Suitcase?

Often, the most significant factor determining whether your bike will fit into a suitcase is the size of the wheels. Usually, bikes with wheels smaller than 20-inches won’t have too many problems fitting into a suitcase.

You will also need to consider whether any adjustments have been made to the bike.

What Size Folding Bikes Fit In A Suitcase
What Size Folding Bikes Fit In A Suitcase?

For example, if you have chosen to add a rear carrying rack, you must be prepared for the foldable bicycle to take up more space within the suitcase.

The brand can also impact how large the bike will be when folded. Here are some of the most popular foldable bicycle brands and the typical size of their bikes when folded:

Bike BrandSize When Folded
Brompton23″ x 22.2″ x 10.6″
Tern Link A715.6” × 31.5” × 28.7”
Vektron S1016.1” × 33.9” × 26.8”
Decathlon Tilt 50030.7″ x 26″ x 15″
Dahon Mariner D831.9” x 27.5” x 12.9”

Though this range is indicative of most folding bikes on the market, some have been designed with compactness in mind. The most prominent example of this compactness is the Kwiggle. It has folded dimensions of 21.6″ by 15.7″ by 9.8″. But they needed 12-inch wheels to achieve this.

These figures can be compared to the standard suitcase sizes.

These will often depend on whether you want to carry your bike onto the plane or if you prefer to check it in. Here are the measurements to keep in mind:

Based on these figures, most folding bikes can be placed into a suitcase. But some larger models, like the Dahon Mariner D8, might be too large to fit into a suitcase. Though this is in the minority.

It’s important to remember that airlines consider the total suitcase size.

This is done by measuring the suitcase’s height, width, and depth. Then, add all the figures together. In most cases, there will be a total limit of 69 inches.

Furthermore, if you plan on going on an airplane, you must consider the suitcase’s weight.

Usually, you will have a limit of 69 pounds before you need to pay excess fees. Though these restrictions might vary a little, depending on your airline.

How To Pack A Folding Bike Into A Suitcase?

If you plan to put a folding bike into a suitcase, you’ll need to ensure it’s been appropriately packed. Sometimes, a compact folding bike can fit into a bag without further modifications.

How To Pack A Folding Bike Into A Suitcase
How To Pack A Folding Bike Into A Suitcase?

Most commonly, though, you will need to make the following changes:

  1. Lift the pedal. You can lift a pedal in many cases, allowing the bike to sit flat. If not, you might need to remove the pedals.
  2. Removing the seat post. Sometimes, you might have to remove the seat pillar, as this component can stick out and form an irregular shape. You can put the seat pillar next to the bike.
  3. Removing the wheels. On rare occasions, you might have to remove the wheels to allow your bike to sit neatly in the suitcase.

If you need to make any of these changes, remember to include the tools used in the suitcase. This ensures you can put your bike back together when you arrive at your destination.

It’s also a good idea to take some steps to protect your bike frame, especially when you are flying or putting your bike on a bus.

It’s common for these transport methods to jostle around your bag a lot more. Here are some of the frame protection options you can explore:

What Type Of Suitcase To Use For A Folding Bike?

There are a few suitcase options that you can explore. Sometimes a bike manufacturer creates a custom bag specially designed for transporting folding bikes. For example, straps will allow you to hold everything in place.

This prevents the cycle from being jostled around during baggage handling.

What Type Of Suitcase To Use For A Folding Bike
What Type Of Suitcase To Use For A Folding Bike?

Another option that you can consider is using a hard-shell suitcase.

This will provide some protection from being bumped as the bags are loaded. Though it’s still a wise idea to have a little extra padding. Because of this, a hard-shell suitcase is the preferred travel option.

A third option is a soft fabric suitcase.

The material’s flexibility can make it a little easier to fit the folding bike into the bag. However, it also means that the frame is more susceptible to denting. So, it’s vital to ensure that you provide plenty of padding.

Final Thoughts

Getting a folding bike that fits into a suitcase shouldn’t be a problem. Most major manufacturers will be able to comply with this request.

But it won’t always be possible.

Some bulkier sports models will have features, like rear storage racks, that make them too large to fit into suitcases.

Mark Plummer

Mark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.

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