The first thing you'll notice about the Biknd Helium Bicycle Travel Case is that it has air bags for your bike. We should note, by the way, that it doesn't use helium in any way -- just air. The name 'Helium' stems from the lightness of the case. It weighs only 24 lbs empty, and considering the level of protection it provides for your bike, that's darn light.
The air bladders are a big part of the story, but many less obvious details make the Helium Travel Case one of the best values in protection per dollar for your bike. For starters, it uses super tough 900 denier ballistics nylon and 1200 denier polyester Oxford cloth on the outside. At the stress points where the hubs lie inside the bag, tough plastic shields are used to protect your hubs and offer protection for the bag as well, since this would be a prime spot for abrasion if left unprotected. Similar plastic shields are used on the inside end of the hubs as well, and they're strapped into place so they'll never fall off during transport. On the subject of wheels, the Helium is unique in that it can store two pairs of wheels with the bike. So go ahead, take your aero wheels and your lightweight wheels for the days when you'll be high in the mountains.
The Helium Travel Case is easy to load because it zips open to lay completely flat. You'll have easy access to the fork mount -- no more finagling deep inside a dark box to secure the fork tips to the skewer block. Biknd includes pads for the fork leg, stem, and drivetrain to protect your bike's finish from scratches or abrasion. As you fold the case towards the secured bike frame, the inflatable bladders fold over the wheels on either side of the bike, separating them from the frame. And once the case is all zipped up, you'll use the included pump to inflate the pneumatic padding to fill the space between the wheels and frame. Other details include nylon sleeves to keep the wheels from abrading each other and a nylon rear hub spacer to protect the rear dropouts.
The Biknd Helium Bicycle Travel Case has casters to make transport through the airport easy. It will accept road bikes up to 64cm size and mountain bikes up to 45" wheelbase. In most cases, you will need to remove your rear derailleur from the bike frame. When assembled into full size, the Helium Case is 33.5" x 50" x 12". When not in use, the Helium shows off one of its most desirable features -- it packs down to a fraction of its assembled size. It's easy to stow in the corner of a hotel room or in the closet behind your jackets.
This was my first bike bag, and I would highly recommend it. I transported my bike from Singapore to Toronto, with 2 sets of wheels. I think it's probably one of the few bags that will allow for 2 sets of wheels. It was very easy to use, and it takes no time to re-assemble the bike. I am not a very good mechanic, and I basically just followed the instructions... and had no problems. I was considering between a hardcase and this, and am glad that I picked this bag instead.
Just completed my first round trip from Kansas City to Sydney AU. No problems, bike and case traveled well...You do and would expect to get a few strange looks at the airport...My Scott addict is a 61cm, still room for shoes, helmet, and tool kit....Total weight with one set of wheels was 45lbs...United charge $200.00 to Sydney and nothing on the return, got a good counter person on the return..Taking it to Kona in a couple of weeks with no worries...Worth the money...
I took the bike case on a trip from Denver to California. I had two legs of the flight. It took some time to pack up the bike the first time, but on the return trip, it took me about 15 min. to pack it up. All of my gear and tools fit inside the case perfectly. The case performed perfectly. And more importantly, the bike was well protected.
The bag is good at only few things:
1. Rolling efficiently through the airport
2. Packing it is fast and simple
3. Light weight
4. Small easy to transport
This is where it goes wrong:
1. Construction quality is poor on seams and exterior nylon is not a hi denier to with stand the abrasion of travel and airports. After one trip the seams were bulging apart, the exterior handles are coming unstitched, the glued interior is coming apart from the edges of the plastic base plate.
2. The air bladders don't actually hold air? What a great idea to have air protect your expensive bike while traveling however, each time I retrieved the bike from the baggage claim it was empty. TSA checks every bike bag and therefore you are not allowed to watch the process. They do not simply open the zipper at the top at look inside. The entire bag comes apart and the air is let out so that it can be zipped together again while deflated.
Upon returning home I inflated the air bladders and within a few hours they had half the amount of air in them while packed with the pressure of a bike contained in the case. Bottom line, no air no protection for your bike.
3. The wheels are placed on the exterior of the air bladder with very little padding to protect from the case being stacked or tossed. This is also something that doesn't seem well designed to expose the wheels to absorb all the pressure and weight while its being tossed around. A pair of race wheels with no padding, not a great plan in the packing method of the case.
4. The rear of the case has zero protection for the rear der hanger or drop outs. Zero, none zero which meant I had to pack the case with more padding and try to protect the rear of the bike. This is absolutely not acceptable. It does not give good piece of mind when you open the case and it has no air the the rear der hanger is bent because the bike case doesn't have padding or a ridged area on the rear of the case for additional protection.
5. The straps have to act as a handle as well. This is not very well thought out. No handle on top means the straps act as the conduit for baggage handlers to throw the bike around. This means poor construction yields seams stressed beyond measure within the first trip.
6. Overall this is a better case than some I have used traveling with my bikes however for the cost and overall condition of the case after use, I would not suggest this case at even half the cost.
This product is an example of good idea with terrible execution. It is easy to get a bike in the bag. The problem is that one does not purchase a bag to simply put a bike in it, but to get it from one place to another. Here are the things that went wrong on one round trip with one layover:
1. The clasps that attach the handle to the rest of the bag tore - the high quality nylon did not year, but the $0.01 cheap thread that is used to fix the nylon to the case did not stand up. Brought it to a cobble who fixed it for $25. He laughed when he saw the quality of the stitching.
2. Air bladder - only works if it holds air. Mine did not hold air on either trip. ON the way back I actually sat there and watched the TSA guys open and close the case to make sure they didn't let the air out . They did not.
3. Lost the wheels one the bottom of the case. Wheels are awesome, so awesome that I am giving this bag another shot. I was so happy wheeling my bike into the airport on the way there. On the way back it was a slog as I had to drag it.
4. The foam pad in the bottom of the case came unglued. The glue job was ridiculous.
Oh yeah, as a result of the bag getting deflated my mountain bike wheel suffered about $80 worth of damage - bent rotor and untrue wheel.
Yes - airlines are rough, but a $600 bag should protect the bike. I will try an exchange. If I have any issues I am sending back and giving a one star review. BKIND, if you read this and would like a video of my expereince, please let me know. Again - like the design, just don't use such cheap materials in critical places - especially the handle!
I used the bag to take my bike to a Gran Fondo in Italy. Worked fine on the trip out, but on the return trip one of the wheels broke off: completely missing. I took up United Airlines offer to fix it: it's been gone for two months. I called the bag repair shop it was sent to: the wheel is still on order from Biknd. I'm now calling Biknd to see if they will honor their one year warranty. Good thing I haven't needed the bag in the interim. Frankly, not impressed with the construction quality if a wheel comes off after just the first use.
Im first biknd case air cushions went flat on the flight to S.A and my rims got bent! I sent the case back to BC and they traded it no questions asked! My second case had the same problem luckily my bike wasn't hurt on this flight! the case is over priced and is not safe to protect your bike!
The bag is really nice. However on my second flight I lost a caster wheel. On the third flight I lost the other caster wheel. I think I am going to install my own, something more secure than trying to get a replacement. Otherwise a nice case.