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We ordinarily ship complete bicycles in a cleverly designed heavy-duty cardboard box. The overall goal of our bike box is to protect the bike from both structural damage and cosmetic damage as it makes its way from our warehouse to you. History proves that our design is an excellent one. Except for instances where UPS is extraordinary in the mishandling of a box, bikes nearly always arrive in perfect condition.
The downsides of our standard box are almost non-existent. If anything, its only drawback is the fact that its cardboard construction isn't good for years of usage. While cardboard has quite a good strength-to-weight ratio, it isn't a material that lends itself to repeated use. In other words, you'll probably want to retire one of our bike boxes after maybe two or three shipments. The loading and unloading and varied sorts of handling inherent to a cross-country UPS shipment tend to chew up cardboard.
And in moments of self-reflection, we also wish we could ship a bike in a less disassembled state. As it stands now, re-assembling a bike from Competitive Cyclist is a relatively simple affair: Attach the bar to the stem (that's 4 bolts), insert the seatpost (that's 1 bolt), thread on your pedals, and put on your wheels. 5 bolts, 2 pedals, and 2 wheels: It's a pretty simple assembly. But sometimes holding a handlebar in place and threading in 4 stem faceplate bolts can be a finger-twisting exercise. In an ideal world you wouldn't tread so closely to potentially frustrating territory.
With the Velo Safe Pro Series Custom Road bike case, we feel like we've tracked down the very best solution on the market. For starters, its shell is made from seemingly indestructible polyethylene (read: thick, bulletproof plastic). Unlike cardboard, the exterior of the Custom Road box won't puncture, get rounded off, or otherwise allow anything from the outside world get to the interior. It's seriously beefy stuff. Other details add to its durability: It has 4 commercial-grade, heavy-duty, 360-degree caster wheels plus conveniently positioned hand straps that allow it to glide like a skateboard through the airport or to the UPS Store without having to drag it across the ground. Its lockable steel latches never, ever budge unless you want to open them. It's a bike box for a lifetime, worthy of encasing the bike of your dreams.
Beyond its toughness, though, is the ease with which it allows you to pack your bike. It's this ease, in fact, that sets it apart from any other bike box we've ever seen. For starters, you don't need unthread, detach, or otherwise disturb your bar or stem (hallelujah!) Simply turn your bar 90 degrees and attach the fork to the fork block at the bottom of the case. Remove your wheels and attach them with Velcro straps to the sides of the box. The BB shell mounts to a foam pedestal, then you secure things in place by cinching down Velcro straps on the chainstays. You can either remove your seatpost, or simply push it down the seat tube a bit. And you can keep the pedals installed on your bike or remove them -- your choice. You can secure your entire bike in the box in less than 5 minutes. It's amazingly easy, and it's a godsend for mechanically-disinclined cyclists.
The interior of the Custom Road box measures 48" x 15" x 30" and weighs 35lbs. The exterior measures 51" x 18" x 32" including casters. (Please note that the shipping cost shown on our site is for the case with no bike inside. When no bike is inside the case, it sandwiches to a smaller (and thereby less expensive) size.) No matter your frame size it will ship via UPS with a "Large Package Surcharge". Given its girth, shipping via Overnight or 2nd Day Air is prohibitively expensive. Shipping it Ground with the bike inside, though, can be done at a manageable cost. It is both UPS and FedEx compliant.
Regarding travel with the Custom Road case, it falls into most carriers' category of "Oversized Baggage". This means that an airline will accept it as baggage, but will charge you $100 (or more, or less, depending on carrier). Our research indicates that airlines will accept "Oversize Baggage" up to total outside dimensions of 115"/292cm (length + width + height of its outside dimensions). Air travel is a complicated and volatile industry, though, so pretty please check with your airline before your travel. We cannot guarantee that the Custom Road case will be accepted as luggage for all carriers in all circumstances, especially in the era of regional jets and such. Please check with them before you travel.