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Cycling Travel Tips: Bicycle Travel Cases Soft vs Hard Differences

Cycling Travel Tips: Bicycle Travel Cases Soft vs Hard Differences

Cycling Travel Tips

Upcoming cycling race? Trying to figure out if you need a soft or a bike travel case? You have come to the right place. 

Here are five main differences to be aware of when determining what works best for your bicycle and your racing adventure.

Bike Travel Case Soft vs Hard Difference #1: Cost

A significant price to purchase difference doesn’t exist between these options when comparing quality options. (Yes you could buy a really cheap one on Amazon, that’s why we used the word “quality”) I’m betting you thought a soft top bike travel case would be cheaper.  While the upfront cost isn’t much different, below we will show you a few other costs you may have overlooked. 

Bike Travel Case Soft vs Hard Difference#2: Lighter weight

Generally, a soft case option is lighter weight compared to a hard case option. On average, the weight difference is between 5 to 15 pounds. While such weight differences may not seem like a lot, when you are walking through an airport, you may change your opinion.  Also, less weight means you can may spend less either shipping the bike travel case with a company such a fedex or with the airlines. 

Bike Travel Case Soft vs Hard Difference #3: Flexibility

While a hard bike case may have a strong outer shell, their key components are more prone to breaking such as their locks and clips when traveling through TSA.  My theory is TSA is less gentle on hard cases thinking the hard cases can withstand more pressure. 

Bike Travel Case Soft vs Hard Difference #4: Bike Storage Space

Thule Roundtrip Traveler Bicycle CaseDon’t assume hard bike cases will automatically be larger than soft top bike case options. Nowadays soft top bike travel case manufacturers do make options that are comparable size.

Read closely what is called the cubic feet storage description on the bike travel case you are reviewing to compare “apples to apples” hard v. soft options for your cycling adventure. These dimensions are especially important when you comparing mountain bike options compared to cycling bikes. 

Bike Travel Case Soft vs Hard Difference #5: Space after use

thule roundtrip bike case; Cycling Travel TipsSoft travel bike cases can generally fold down into a smaller dimension when not in use. 

Hard top bike carriers generally don’t have that ability and can easily take up a significant portion of your apartment, garage or basement. Though if you rent either option you won’t face this storage dilemma.

Want to read more pro cycling tips and tricks? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Renting a Bicycle Rooftoop Rack to learn more. 

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