Thule RoundTrip Pro Travel Case – Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Video mailto:cam@nsmb.com
Date Nov 25, 2015

Flying with a bike is a pain in the ass. The days of yanking pedals and turning bars are long gone and now boxing your bike is essential. Some riders swear by the cardboard box method because you can flatten and store easily when you arrive, but most riders use some sort of case.

empty

Packed and ready for takeoff. The Thule RoundTrip Pro is sleek, light and incredibly convenient.

One option is the burly hard case, like the Trico Iron Case. These are heavy (15 kg/33 lb) and require a full tear down, but they protect your bike extremely well. Dakine makes large soft cases which can accommodate just about any bike, even a large DH machine, but these aren’t light either and the protection they provide is limited.

lima

Commander James Wilson inspecting our luggage at the airport in LIma Peru; 10 bikes and 10 gear bags for 10 riders.

An unlucky Air Canada customer found out what happens when your EVOC case ends up under a baggage cart (presumably) earlier this year, but usually a well packed bike, even in a soft-sided case, arrives in good shape. (To be clear – this was clearly not the fault of the case).

evoc

This is what can happen when things go completely wrong. In the end Air Canada stepped up to pay for the damage.

Thule’s newest bike case reminds us the company hails from Sweden, the land of Volvo, Lego and Ikea. It’s sleek, efficient and ingenious – just as you’d expect.

compressed

Once you arrive you can collapse your case for easy storage. The Trico Iron Case (right) is a great option if you want security and longevity – but they lack the efficiency and convenience of the Round Trip Pro.

I was surprised by one of the most impressive features of the case, because Thule doesn’t blow this particular horn. Despite having rigid plastic sides (beefed up by aluminum bars) and a hard plastic base, the RoundTrip Pro collapses small enough to slide under most beds. The plastic sides are removable and they accordion flat to fit inside the base, so you are left with an easy to deal with item of 30 x 126 x 25 cms (12 x 50 x 10 inches). This is a huge help when you reach your destination and when you return home needing to stash until your next trip.

stand

Be prepared for your cameo if you are going to photobomb. The base of the stand easily slides fore and aft so you can mount your rear wheel and check your shifting. For travel the three aluminum legs slide into the sides of the case for added protection and the support mounts to the other side of the i-beam base.

This case is also the only one I’ve used that has an integrated stand, allowing you to break down and assemble your bike quickly without bending over. Once you are done the base, with your frame attached, snaps securely into the rigid plastic bottom structure of the case.

fork_mount

The case comes with fork mounts for 15mm (shown), 20mm or a conventional 9mm QR. There is also a lefty adapter available.

Thule says the RoundTrip Pro will accommodate most bikes with a wheelbase of up to 46″ / 116.8 cm, but the size large Giant Reign Advanced I packed to Peru has a 47.9″/121.7 cm axle to axle measurement – and it fit just fine. I had to turn the fork around and remove the front caliper – but that’s it. For a little more space and protection I could have removed the rear caliper, but I chanced it in both directions  without incident (Thanks to Eugene from Obsession Bikes for packing help on this end).

bb_mount

The base straps ahead of the bottom bracket to accommodate virtually any bike.

Otherwise only the usual removals were required; pedals, wheels, handlebars and rear dereailleur (for protection only). I dropped the Reverb post into the frame and retracted it, put the wheels in cases for a little security and then zipped things up. I also put my hydration pack, shoes and a bunch of extras in there without going over the 32 kg/ 70 lb weight limit.

return

Packed for the trip home – minus the rear wheel in the red case. The tripod base for the stand (behind and to the left) is ready to be disassembled and tucked away. When you arrive the process happens in reverse and you first assemble to stand and then clip the base, frame and all, into place for your build.

Unlike the Dakine and Trico cases, the Thule wheels along upright. It handles weight much better this way and allows you to easily walk with wheeled luggage in the other hand and pass through doorways. Once boxed the sides are smooth and the entire package is narrow making snags that may damage your precious cargo unlikely.

The bad news is that the RoundTrip Pro will set you back US$760, but you could recoup some of that by renting it to your buddies who are too cheap to buy their own. Thule also makes a hard-sided version, the RoundTrip Pro Transition, for the same price. It weighs almost twice as much (15.8 kg/34.8 lbs) but offers a next level of protection – and it should last for years to come. Thule also makes two lower priced cases for travellers on a tighter budget.

For more head to thule.com


Any tips for packing your bike for flight?

 

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Comments

spokemagazine
0
Caleb Smith  - Dec. 1, 2015, 9:40 a.m.

Cam. That Thule Bag was designed in Dunedin, New Zealand for Thule by bunch of Kiwi designers who also happen to be Mountain bikers… Just Sayin.

Reply

NickB
0
nick bitar  - Nov. 27, 2015, 1:09 p.m.

Is it ok to leave a dropper post in the down position for while you travel? The bike could end up in the case for a few days. What about flight pressure?

Reply

stephen-park
0
Stephen Park  - Nov. 28, 2015, 9:49 a.m.

It's never been a problem for my 2010 KS 900R, and I've travelled a bunch with it… It's often left in the down position for weeks at a time.

Remember, too that baggage hods are pressurized to the equivalent of 6 to 8000 ft above sea level. Never had issues with tires or suspension parts, either.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 29, 2015, 9:51 p.m.

It was no problem for me. One direction pressure was removed etc. but on the way home I didn't bother and it was fine.

Reply

slyfink
0
slyfink  - Nov. 27, 2015, 11:44 a.m.

oh, and another pro-tip for you: that foam you have zip-tied on there? pipe insulation is pre-shaped and doesn't require zip-tying…

Reply

slyfink
0
slyfink  - Nov. 27, 2015, 11:43 a.m.

so the wheel(s) travel separately? Not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand it's lighter, slimmer, and you could argue at the check-in counter that it's not a bike (it's a frame) to avoid the dreaded "bicycle surcharge". On the other hand, what if the cases get separated and don't arrive together..? you won't get far with just one wheel.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 29, 2015, 9:52 p.m.

Wheels don't travel separately. I put them in cases within the Thule case.

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - Nov. 26, 2015, 11:02 a.m.

Lego police just showed up. We are from Denmark, not Sweden.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 26, 2015, 12:10 p.m.

Damn! I should have known that. Billund! Thanks. Updated.

Reply

mrt
0
Mr.T  - Nov. 26, 2015, 3:43 a.m.

Note: does not fit XL Knolly Warden or XL Evil The Following. Seriously rained on my parade

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Nov. 26, 2015, 8:42 a.m.

I had to take off the fork to get my XL E29 into any of the cases mentioned in the article.

Reply

ericz
0
EricZ  - Nov. 27, 2015, 10:34 a.m.

The XL E29 is probably one of the biggest bikes out there, not surprised.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 26, 2015, 9:23 a.m.

Even with fork removed?

Reply

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