We have spent time with the Thule RoundTrip Transition hard shell bike travel case and you can learn here how we felt about this impressive looking box.
Thule is well known for their very fine bike carriers, rear cargo and rooftop boxes and thus the decision to also offer bike travel cases is not surprising. Plus the experience from crafting the other hard cases has clearly come in handy there.
The RoundTrip is unique among travel cases with an included work stand that allows you to work on your bike wherever you travel, but also lets you pack up your bike on that work stand and then the whole affair, without the legs of course, just snaps in the bottom of the RoundTrip. This case is very voluminous and that allowed us the get the bike in without taking the pedals off, something that we well appreciated. We could have also just dropped the post a few inches and then not removed the seatpost and saddle, but that would scratch the carbon post and we thus refrained from doing so.
In a feature demo video on the Thule site they removed the rear derailleur too and tied it with tape to the chainstays, but we only removed the wheels, cockpit and seatpost. Packing the bike was fairly simple but the instructions for the case are not as thorough as they could be. Some of the features we figured out by trial and error, but maybe that is not an issue to most, with the word on the street being that very few people actually read the provided manuals.
Now with race travel season upon us, do you have a case that you trust? I would feel very confident about any of my bikes inside this Thule RoundTrip.
The wheels look high tech and sturdy, but we have no long term travel experience with the case. Everything on the case however looks well made.
You hook the top of the RoundTrip on one end and you then close to buckles on the other side. We opened and closed the case many times and had no problems with the closure system.
Once the buckles are fastened a velcro strap ensures that they don't accidentally open up. There is also a space for a lock on this side.
When the case is traveling, the legs of the work stand are velcro fastened to the side and the element that connects the tray to the legs is mounted to the tray. When it is set up as a work stand that element would actually sit below.
The actual tray snaps into the base like a ski binding and this loop in the center releases the tray from its mount.
Here my race bike is set up on the work stand of the Thule RoundTrip. It isn't a fancy work stand but it clearly can do the job and beats making the carpet in a hotel or a home stay house greasy.
With the bottom bracket area so tall on the Cervelo P5 the strap that is stock inside the RoundTrip was not long enough. We helped ourselves with an old school toe strap that also serves as a mounting device on our roof rack when we run the deep ENVE SES 9 wheels. This problem however is not very likely on most road or TT bikes.
This is how much space is missing on the unusually tall P5 bb area. We however had no troubles mounting a Cervelo S5 with the intended strap.
The S5 does indeed also fit in well. And with the quick release at the bottom you get the whole assembly in and out rather fast.
We had mentioned this earlier, it is very nice to have enough space to keep the pedals in place. As you look towards the bb area you will see the provided strap in place without additional assistance.
Thule provides wheel bags with the RoundTrip and we made sure the wheels got in properly.
There are a few different fork axle mounts offered and come with the box, but we only needed to stock road one. But if your MTB has either a 15mm or 20mm thru axle, Thule has you covered.
These pads sit below the bottom bracket area and you can use them as you see fit.
All packed up and ready to go. If we were traveling we might add a bit more padding to the frame, but this feels very sturdy and safe.
Thule does not offer a rear drop out protector with this case and in their video they tied both the derailleur and the chain and a covered chainstay with tape. But I personally prefer to keep the chain in place this way.
My personal bike travel box over the years has been the Trico IronCase and that has served me well, but this Thule RoundTrip is a great alternative with many nice features. It is big and that allows you to get quite a bit of stuff in there and I love that work stand feature. Most airlines are going to charge you for a bike anyway, so does it really matter how big it is? It certainly does not fit in the back of my MINI Cooper, but that is not a likely rental car most folks would pick up.
The RoundTrip Transition however at $599.95 is about $200 more expensive than that Trico and it certainly isn't a light weight. Ours weighed in at 38 pounds and that is about 8 pounds heaver than the Trico, and it may push the patience of some airline employees. When pulled however the box rolls along very nicely and does not feel overly heavy.
It looks thus like I will be using this Thule case moving forward.