I’ll be travelling regularly for business, and staying very close to
the client’s office, so i’m considering getting a cheap 29er and
commuting via uni. Only problem is, how do i pack the uni for flying?
Ideally, i could get a hard 29er wheel case, and customize it to fit
the entire uni. Can’t find anything like that online, though. Nor can
in find such a thing as a unicycle case.
A big suitcase is probably the easiest to get hold of. You should be able to find one that’ll fit a 29er (if you remove the pedals and the seatpost). It’ll be more bulky than a custom case would be, but you’d have room for other stuff like pads, helmet, spares or whatever.
Places that make flight cases for musical instruments and the like would probably make you a case to fit, but it would end up more expensive (although would be cool!)
Here’s a way to fly multiple unicycles, or one unicycle and a bunch of other stuff. It may be overkill for a single unicycle, but the advantage is that it looks and acts like “regular” luggage.
NOTE: Airlines are cracking down on bag weight and size now. Many are now charging for that second piece of checked luggage, though usually only $25 or so. It’s called the “avoiding bankruptcy surcharge” I think. If you use a bag like my example you won’t need both extensions opened, but I think you’ll need the one. I have flown with my MUni (nominal 26" wheel) with both extensions closed.
TriAll3Sports makes a travel case called the Clam Shell Wheel Case. It fits a 700c wheel with room for a unicycle frame. It is sized to fit just within the airline baggage size regulations so it should not get an oversized baggage charge. You will have to be careful though not to go over the weight limit (50 pounds or so, depends on airline).
It’s an inconvenient case to carry around (big and no wheels). It is also expensive ($300).
The typical way to pack a unicycle is to ask a bike shop to save a cardboard box they get for wheels. Or ask them for a cardboard bike box and cut it down so it fits a unicycle and is within the airlines size limit for regular luggage.
I would recomend a torker ax for weight savings. To protect my ax for shiping I use two thin disks of 1/4 inch under layment plywood on each side of wheel. To make, cut disks slightly smaller than tire. Cut slots approximatly 2" wide to center of disks so they will slide over axle. Drill 5 or 6 holes around perimeter a little inboard of wheel and secure with cord. I also remove pedals and seat and put in bag. The floatation noodles with a hole in center used for swiming works well for pading seat post, cranks etc. With uni so well protected I believe you could use a soft bag which should be easy to find at camping, surplus store.
This is just what I did a month ago for a flight on Southwest Airlines. The wheelbox was great, except too small to fit my 29er without taking the frame off the hub. With removing pedals as well it took about 10 minutes to take apart & same at the other end. This airline charged no extra fee for the box as my second piece of luggage, but they required I sign a damage waiver as the box is more easily damaged or ripped open. It came through fine though, and I’ve saved the box for next time.
A couple of months ago I was searching for a travel case for my MUni and didn’t find any recent info (for example it’s been almost five years since the last post on this thread). Finally I decided to order a Polaris EVA Folding Bike Pod which I appears to be an excellent choice. I can fit my 24" or 26" MUni with all my riding gear inside it (helmet, shorts, knee/shin and elbow pads, shirts, tools, gloves, small backbag, pump (Topeak Turbo Morph), shoes, etc) It’s not easy to fit everything inside but it’s possible. I haven’t tried to fit my KH 29 inside but I guess it won’t fit (maybe if the tyre is removed from the rim…)
The dimensions of the case are (w+h+d) 157.5 cm which is just below the 158 cm limit used by many airlines. It’s also rather light, has two wheels for easy transport and looks like normal luggage so no questions are asked at check-in. I think it’s stylish enough even for business trips
I’ve now used it on a couple of trips and I believe it protects the contents sufficiently well even though it’s not totally hard case, i.e., the walls flex slightly. Quality of construction appears to be good.
Hopefully this short review is usefull to somebody searching for a travel case for a 24" or 26" MUnicycle.
This case in the 10 inch width is airline legal. I have one for my road bicycle with 700c wheels so I think it should fit a 29er wheel but you may need to remove the tire. http://www.sandsmachine.com/ac_hard.htm
I own one of these and have used it to transport my disassembled KH29 with Nimbus Shadow Handle equipped saddle (removed & disassembled). I also put the pedals (wrapped and in a ziploc bag) in the case, along with my KH Pulse gloves and Impact pads, a small empty Camelback hydration pack, spare inner tube, tools, a “frame pump,” and a hand towel for cleaning/drying the uni before repacking. I can leave the Maxxis Ardent 29" x 2.4" tire on the KH Freeride rim, but the tire has to be fully deflated in order for the wheelset to fit. (The case would easily hold a 26er.)
It does have wheels. They are inset on the bottom edge transverse to the long axis (they are not external casters as shown in the photo on their website). A “pull strap” is also included, so that it is quite easy to pull the tipped case behind you on hard surfaces. However, it’s 28.5" wide, so getting through airport crowds can be challenging.
Cost (MSRP) = $395. Which is a heck of lot of money for what you get, but they do have discounts for first-time buyers, and often run specials around the holidays (I think I got mine with a 20%-off offer).
That said, the case is well built and has held up well to travel. I’ve never been charged oversized baggage fees (it is sized exactly to the largest dimensions allowed), but I have been asked about the contents. Usually I just say “sports equipment” or “exercise gear,” mindful that if you say uni-“cycle,” they may try and charge you the extra fee they charge for a cased bi-“cycle.”
The only problems I’ve encountered were caused by TSA not repacking the frame and parts properly, so the case wasn’t fully closed on arrival. (Fortunately, nothing was lost.)
Bottom line: It’s a good (albeit costly) way to transport my 29er when I fly. (However, I do try to take direct flights when traveling with my muni to reduce the amount of potential abuse by baggage handlers.)
For that exact purpose (business trips) I got a 20" uni, equipped with a Schlumpf hub. When disassembling, it fits into my normal suit case together with cloths and luggage. In high gear I can go at a pretty pleasant speed, and it’s a great commuting device.
Anything bigger than 20" may cause an issue with many airlines, as the are picky on the luggage size as already mentioned by John.
Be prepared to take some tools, pump, helmet (currently I am in Australia where people are fined for biking without wearing a helmet, so I better don’t expose myself to be considered a bicyclist), … with you as well.