Take Your Bike on the Down-Low

Have you ever wanted to bring your awesome ride with you on vacation but found the airlines wanting to charge you an arm and a leg to transport it? If you have checked into this than you know the fees can be downright outrageous. Kelly and I booked a trip to New Zealand for 3 months and wanted to take out bikes with us because we would be riding a good bit and renting them at $100+ a day was just not reasonable for such a long trip.

The Airlines Quoted $300 per bike per way for a total of $1,200!


Blackstar Bags in Portland, Oregon have designed a bag system to fit your bike into which checks as a regular airline bag! The airlines seem to hate sporting and recreation equipment and will charge you a lot if you’re wanting to have fun. You can bring 2 huge suitcases of heavy clothes and whatever else you want but mentioned a bike and it’s an instant up-charge on most airlines.

The Not-A-Bike-Bag is technically over the size limit if you were to somehow put a ruler on it but since it’s a bag with straps to make it an odd shape the Airlines just throw it on the scale to see how much it weighs. It’s not much over the height+length+width measurement the airline allows and looks close enough.

Holds Your Entire Kit

There is a ton of room in this bag. It holds our Kona 5.5″ Full Suspension Mountain Bikes with 2.5″ knobby tires. On top of this we had enough room to put in all our pads, gloves, shoes hiking boots and even dirty laundry, lol.

Pack With Protection

As these are just bags you need to make sure you pad them out a bit. We used cardboard on the outside with some pool noodles we cut down and put around other areas to keep the metal from rubbing. On top of this we then zip-tied everything together to keep it all as one peice so none of the protecting spacers (cardboard/pool noodles) shifted.

The airlines still managed to throw our bags too hard breaking a few zip ties. This caused things to shift and put some scratches on my bike and break a brake rotar on Kelly’s bike.


You’re going to need to remove the wheels, fork, rear shock, handlebars and rear derailer. The rear derailer, fork and handlebars just need to be unbolted. They can stay attached by the cables, just turn them so they fit and ziptie it all together (with spacers)

After you have that sorted out place the 2 wheels on top, rear cassette inside frame and down, and then other wheel on top of that. Tip ties these into place with multiple ties and then pad the top of the bag with cardboard.


Don’t pack your helmets! Helmets are single impact and they will receive multiple impacts in these bags with baggage handlers throwing them around. Take them in your carry on or a hard case of some type.

BlackStar Bags

Phone: 503-284-4752
Email: dave@blackstarbags.com
Website: Blackstar Bags

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