Attention passengers: flying with your mountain bike is about to be a little less turbulent. I recently moved from northwestern Italy to northwestern Washington state, lugging two mountain bikes in tow, and this Roundtrip bag from Thule was a massive help. Not only is it the only bag I could find to accommodate the oceanliner length of a size large Raaw Madonna’s 1,269mm wheelbase, but there is heaps of space inside for helmets and other gear. I crammed it to the maximum weight limit with room remaining.
This fuselage is built to bang about. The bag and built-in repair stand weigh about 28lb before anything enters, so an e-bike might cost more at the ticket counter depending on airline regulations. All that heft is represented in a tough frame and thick-padded material all around, keeping your frame safe and scratch-free. The bike’s wheels strap on either side once the frame is in, with ample protection between the hubs and frame, and there are special pockets for the rotors to sit in if you choose to leave them intact. There’s also some padded frame protection to hold the handlebars still and prevent them from scratching the pretty paint.
So Thule’s first-class cabin can accommodate a stretched gravity bike, and this bag is notably easy to pull around the airport. Most bike travel bags have to be hoisted at one end, making them somewhat awkward and tiring to move through an airport as you sprint to the next connection. With international travel, the task can be exponentially challenging since you may have to re-check the bike case when you first enter a political zone before continuing on to your final riding destination.
Additionally, many bike travel cases allow your bike to shift somewhat inside, resulting in unbalanced weight in the main compartment that’s a struggle to keep upright. The Roundtrip has a solid base that your bike attaches to at the through-axle, maintaining a uniform upright posture and keeping the bag better balanced.
A Roundtrip bag collapses small enough to fit beneath my size full bed frame, and the front wheel can be removed if needed. The repair stand is also removable and could be left behind like Kevin in Home Alone if you need to save weight, but it would mean your bike flopping more freely inside.
Before we land this trip I’d like to mention that this handy travel case is covered in durable materials in the interest of protecting your bike from rushed baggage transfers and making the Roundtrip last several seasons. On past adventures, I’ve landed to find holes blown through the Cordura fabric of more than one travel case, but this one has made it through a few trips and is ready for many more. The wheels, zippers, and other moving parts have all held up to that same abuse without issue. If you’re in the market for a mountain bike vacation, the Roundtrip might be the ticket to secure your most precious belonging.
- Fast and secure travel packing
- Plenty of space for other gear if the airline allows it
- Easy to roll through the airport without lifting one end
Pros and cons of the Thule Roundtrip bike bag.
- Somewhat heavy
- Could be above budget