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.
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.
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 Brand||Size When Folded|
|Brompton||23″ x 22.2″ x 10.6″|
|Tern Link A7||15.6” × 31.5” × 28.7”|
|Vektron S10||16.1” × 33.9” × 26.8”|
|Decathlon Tilt 500||30.7″ x 26″ x 15″|
|Dahon Mariner D8||31.9” 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:
- Check-in suitcase. 18″ x 13″ x 7″. Because of the small sizes, it’s unlikely that any folding bikes will be able to fit in this type of suitcase.
- Cabin suitcase. 20″ x 14.4″ x 9.2″. Again, it’s unlikely that you can fit a folding bike in one of these cases.
- Medium suitcase size. 24″ by 17″ by 10.5″.
- Large suitcase. 27″ by 20″ by 14″. This will be able to suit most folding bikes on the market. If your bag is larger than this, you might need to pay additional fees when flying.
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.
Most commonly, though, you will need to make the following changes:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Packing your clothes. If you plan on going on a more extended holiday, you might want to pack some clothes around the folding bike. Wrap this around the frame to stop it from getting dented.
- Using a tennis ball over the seat post. Sometimes, you will need to remove the seat post pillar. In this case, you can hollow out a hole in a tennis ball. This will allow it to sit nicely over the seat post connector, ensuring it doesn’t get bent out of shape.
- Using plumber inlay for the frame. The plumbing inlay is a soft foam cylinder. By cutting a slot in the side of the inlay, you can slide it over the frame. This ensures that the frame doesn’t get bent out of shape.
- Deflate the tires. If you plan to fly with a folding bike, you must deflate the wheels. This ensures they don’t burst when the air pressure changes during the flight. You can leave in a small amount of air to help protect the rims.
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.
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.
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.