Travel Tips

How to Pack Your Bike for Air Travel 

July 18, 2022

You booked your Sacred Rides Moun­tain Bike Adven­ture; you have your flight lined up, and now you need to pack your bike. This is a very impor­tant part of your trav­els. You will be on your bike all week and want to make sure it’s prop­er­ly secured so noth­ing ends up broke or bent upon your arrival. We are going to help you pre­pare your moun­tain or grav­el bike for takeoff. 

Prepping Your Bike for Travel:

Gath­er every­thing you will need before get­ting start­ed. Tools, bike box, bike, and pack­ing materials. 

Make sure your bike is clean. 

Pack extra sup­plies – sealant, tubes, snacks, tools, brake pads, hangar, zip ties, ect. What­ev­er you think you may not have access to when you reach your destination. 

Remove the following: 

  • Ped­als 
  • Wheels – deflate to 10 PSI. Make sure to insert spac­ers between pads once wheel is removed so calipers don’t get pushed out
  • Disc Rotors to ensure a bet­ter chance of arriv­ing true
  • Bot­tle Cage 
  • Seat Post (drop­per down) 
  • Dérailleur — this increas­es the like­li­hood the dropouts won’t get bent


  • It’s impor­tant to pro­tect where parts touch parts. A com­mon way to dam­age a frame is to pack the wheel in the back and the cas­sette or hub end caps are touch­ing car­bon fiber frame mate­r­i­al slow­ly grind­ing away the mate­r­i­al every time it’s shift­ed in flight. Spend the time to wrap your frame, forks, han­dle­bars, cranks, etc. with closed cell foam, bub­ble wrap or some­thing sim­i­lar. Many MTB bags have built in pads that work great

Make sure you secure the following: 

  • Dérailleur 
  • Han­dle­bars 
  • Seat­post (if removed) 
  • All acces­sories  

Pro Tips for Traveling with Your Bike:

  • Don’t pack your hel­met in your bike bag, snap it to your car­ry-on. Hel­mets fre­quent­ly are cracked when packed with the bike.
  • When han­dling rotors and pads, make cer­tain not to touch with bare hands and allow any con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of greas­es and oils. Use clean tow­els to keep the rotors clean.
  • Always make sure if a wheel is removed for the pack­ing, there is an axle/frame brake in both the rear and fork dropouts. With­out the brac­ing, frame and forks don’t stand a chance.
  • Wheels should go into a wheel bag for added protection. 
  • Car­board is cheap to acquire but should not be used more than 2 times max. Find­ing a bag that fits your bike is expen­sive up front but both con­sid­er­ably eas­i­er to pack but also designed to pro­tect the most sen­si­tive components.
  • A 30 lb MTB in a bag with your ride gear will quick­ly go over the lug­gage weight for bikes. Most air­lines lim­it your checked bike to 50lbs or 23kg. Pack your ride shoes near the top so if you are over by a small amount you have a cou­ple pounds to remove when check­ing-in. You can always tie them to your car­ry on. 
  • If you can keep your tools in your checked lug­gage (bike or oth­er) that is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed incase the secu­ri­ty check does­n’t allow in car­ry on.
  • Leave your CO2 car­tridges at home, you can not fly with them. 
  • Make sure every­thing in the bike bag or box is secured. Take pic­tures. Close it up. Shake it. If you hear any­thing mov­ing, make adjust­ments, and repeat until every­thing is ful­ly secure. 
  • Put your name and con­act infor­ma­tion in many places in and out­side of the packed bag.

Bike bag and case options:

There are many options on the mar­ket. Our favorites are the EVOC (most pop­u­lar), Dakine (EVOC qual­i­ty for less $$$), and The Chain Reac­tion (best deal). 

Have ques­tions about get­ting your bike packed or what bag/case to pur­chase? Reach out to us at