Orucase puts up a bold claim: Tired of paying extra fees to travel with your bike? Get an Orucase. The stealthy, square-ish reinforced soft case can dodge the often hefty fees for taking a bike aboard a plane. The size-conscious case is significantly more compact compared to many other bike travel cases on the market, which does make packing more involved, however users may be able to avoid extra luggage fees.
Orucase B2 MTB Bike Travel Bag vs. the Airlines
The Orucase B2 MTB bike bag is all-black, light on branding, and includes a “Therapy Equipment: Handle with Care” velcro tag to throw ticket agents off your trail. As I looked over the case and the tag, I wondered, “If not a bike, then what kind of therapy equipment would fit in a case like this?”
A drum set? A portable cryogenic chamber? Therapy can mean a whole lot of things.
“Is this a bicycle?” the ticket agent asked me. “Uh, yep,” I replied. And just like that, my cover was blown. Though, the case fit the size requirements, and Delta Airlines has information about transporting bicycles on flights, a gaseous cloud of concern still hovered in the back of my head as the agent punched her keyboard.
Some airlines have gotten rid of their special equipment fees entirely, but that doesn’t mean it’s as easy as checking any ol’ bag. Delta says overweight bags will be charged an “applicable” fee though it’s unclear in the post what the fee is.
“It’s overweight,” she said. “You’ll have to pay the overweight fee. It’s a hundred dollars.”
“Buh, what?” I said. “My other bag was underweight. Can’t we just call it even?” I was three-and-a-half pounds over the 50lb limit.
It was a naive question, but there’s never harm in asking. Airlines today would charge you for oxygen if they could and sometimes you get lucky. A few months earlier I had an overweight bag on the way to Mexico and the checker couldn’t have cared less.
This time, the agent told me I could put some of what’s in the Orucase B2 bike bag in another bag. Of course, my other suitcase had already disappeared on the conveyer belt behind her. Unless I wanted to carry my fork in hand, or take my shock and brakes off while the growing line behind me got more impatient, I was screwed.
Of course, I was to blame for missing the weight limit. I had been mildly surprised my bike even fit in the case. I checked with Colin at Orucase ahead of my trip, and we both concluded, “Yes, it should work.” Their max frame length is 47”, and the bus of a bike I planned to take measured 44.5″ from rear dropout to head tube.
Packing the Mountain Bike
The mountain bike I was taking to Ecuador to ride with 2 Wheel Epix was the Privateer 161, a 29er enduro bike with a 470mm reach and a 1,250mm wheelbase I affectionately call the Long Boi.
I pulled the fork out of the frame and tied the headset together, deflated the tires, took off the rotors, and put the wheels in the included wheel bags. The disc-shaped bags sandwich the frame inside the case and are well padded with plastic caps where the hubs sit. To make the frame shorter, I deflated the shock. To fit the fork in the case, I had to deflate it too, and telescope the stanchions.
The Orucase B2 travel case is about 17lb and with my ~35lb bike you’re on the tipping point of most airlines’ 50lb weight limit, even if the bike case is treated as a regular piece of luggage. Some might already be wise to this, but I’d recommend weighing the full bike bag ahead of your flight. I had already put my pedals, about a pound, in another suitcase, and my rotors, shock pump, brake pads, and extra bits, another few pounds, in the other suitcase too.
There are sleeves and pockets throughout the Orucase, which make it easy to stash rotors, and tools, derailleur hangers and brake pads.
Nice and Snug
After about an hour to hour-and-a-half breakdown, the Long Boi was nice and snug in the Orucase B2 bike bag with room to spare. Impressive, considering the bike I packed was a 161mm 29er with long geometry.
I tipped it upside down to hear if things were shifting, but it was silent. All I could do was wait to see what kind of shape the bike was in when it arrived in South America.
To make the fit more snug, there are snap buckles and cinch straps across the width of the case. There are sturdy wheels located on the rear. Grab the handle at the bottom of the bow, lift, and go.
It’s a little more awkward than your average wheeled suitcase, but I did fine with one in each hand from the car to the ticket counter and from the baggage claim to my transportation. Weaving through crowds and around columns wasn’t too bad with the Orucase B2 bike bag in one hand and my suitcase in the other. The short length of the bike travel case gives it some added agility.
Time to Fly
After three flights, my bike bag made it to Guayaquil, Ecuador and the next day I unpacked it. Everything was fine and looked how it did in the U.S. To make the bag more compact when not in use, the Orucase folds up from the top down so it can be stowed without taking up too much room.
The only piece that looked a little concerning was where the bike had been resting on the chainring at the bottom of the case. I folded up a towel and placed it under the chainring before I left, but it still left a straight-edged chomp mark. I may try a folded up piece of cardboard or something more robust next time so the material doesn’t tear.
On the way back, I packed my bike up similarly, however I moved my Fox 38 fork — weighing over 5lb — to my other suitcase, hopefully dodging an overweight luggage fee. No luck, however. Latam Airlines, which took me from Quito to Guayaquil still charged a $100 fee for oversized baggage. This may be a standard fee since the bike bag can’t go through a normal size baggage carousel, but I’m not sure. They said it would cover all three flights back home. My Spanish isn’t good enough yet to argue about fees, but they generally line up with Orucase’s guide to flying on Delta.
Orucase has a comprehensive list with information about flying with a bike and special luggage on specific airlines. Part of me wonders what would happen if I’d told them something else was in the case, but everyone’s first question was “is this a bike?” I’m guessing the smaller road bike cases fly even lower under the radar, hence the name ‘The Airport Ninja Bike Travel Case.’
I was really impressed with the Orucase B2 MTB bike travel case. There was a smidge of risk ordering it to use with a long-travel, long-frame 29er, but I still had inches of extra room and would feel comfortable going up a size.
The Orucase B2 case and the high-quality wheel bags keep the bike and components in place. The straps and buckles give it added security, and the handles throughout the case make it easy to lift and roll or lift from the curb to the car. While I haven’t used the longer cases like those from EVOC or Dakine, I do think the Orucase’s shorter length may give it more agile handling.
The guides on the Orucase website also give the brand a more personal touch and a sense that they do care about cyclists getting the most out of traveling with their bike. With so many different variables present during travel sometimes the best way to prepare is a bit of research and this is a great start.
All of these reasons add up to a recommendation for the Orucase B2 bike travel bag. Whether you dodge added fees or not isn’t a guarantee but at least you’ll have safe and secure way to transport your bike.
Pros and Cons of the Orucase B2 MTB Travel Case
- Compact size
- Thoughtful design, layout, and cargo space
- Easy to walk with
- Might allow you to dodge extra fees
- Packing is more involved than longer and larger cases