I’ve just bought a new bike with a one piece bar/stem. I have a SciCon bike box that I have used many times to fly with, and it’s really first rate, but this new bike won’t fit the box, unless I remove the bar/stem. I’m tempted to get a SciCon Aero Comfort bag, which allows the stem/bar to stay in place.
It’s a soft side bag as opposed to the original SciCon which is a hard case.
Does anyone have any experience with this bag? Is it safe to fly with? Will the bike be well protected?
Link to the SciCon bag here: Scicon AeroComfort Road 3.0 TSA Bike Bag | ProBikeKit Canada
No experience with this soft side bag. I’ve flown with a hard case and not had issues, but one thing I’ve heard regarding the Aero Comfort style bag is that they force the baggage handlers to be a bit more careful in some ways - specifically, they can’t stack anything on the bag like they may do with a hard case, which can be treated like a robust box without any real care for the carbon goodies inside (which I rather hope it is!).
I’d say your bike bag would be most likely kept upright, too. The aluminium frame that protects the bottom end and rear deraileur hanger and dropouts seems like it is a great feature too. While I’ve heard pretty much only good things about the Scicon bag you’re looking at, it seems this is usually coming from pros who have backup bikes and people to source replacements quickly.
I guess travelling on a plan with your bike is a gamble, and you can only try to shorten the odds of disaster through research and advice. Best of luck.
I love the convenience of the Scicon bag, but be warned: luggage handlers will often put these upside down so that they stop sliding around because of the wheels. This is why people’s brake hoods are always moved and twisted when they use these bags. I’ve seen it firsthand (I’ll see if I can post the video from my phone here).
Some tips from a luggage handler: Flying with your bike: tips from a baggage handler - CyclingTips
Here’s a photo of how they’re loaded:
I reckon it’s a good idea to loosen the shifter mounting bolts when packing your bag, to allow them to be pushed out of the way under pressure, rather than putting stress directly onto the bars and rest of the bike.
With the integrated bars/stem - I’d probably just remove them and wrap them up in foam against the top tube. It’s a pain as you will have to release cable tension and then re-assemble at your destination, but do-able otherwise.
I travel quite a bit with my bike and use a Post Transfer case. It has been the best bag I’ve ever used - my Scicon Aero Comfort 2 collects dust.
I have an integrated bar and stem (Canyon) and while reassembly is needed, i find it much much safer to have the bike taken apart when traveling. What i have found to be a point of stress is trying to move around an airport with a huge awkward bag. The trade off of disassembly into a compact bag and feeling more unencumbered was a good one for me.
Have heard a lot of stories of bike damage from the Scicon soft bag. I actually have a travel bike with normal stem and bars so I can keep using my Evoc soft bag.
All bags are loaded with wheels off the floor of the pit. We will typically load soft-sided bikes flat on top of the other bags, mainly because they will not stack well. This goes for pretty much all soft sided cases: EVOC, ScoCon, Eep, Post, etc. Hard sided cases will typically go lower in the stack or vertically against the pit wall. S&S cases go in with similarly sized suitcases, they tend to fit well with the larger cubes.
Thanks Hump for this really informative response.