Pika Packworks EEP 29er Bike Case $462.00
Time to fly.
There aren't many bag companies that can claim they've been manufacturing cycling-specific travel bags as long as Pika Packworks. Since '94, they've been producing air-travel cycling bags for some of the world's top racing teams. There also aren't many companies that can claim their products are manufactured in a Green Building, in the USA, with 85% of materials and fabric sourced and manufactured from domestic suppliers. Pika's a unique company, with equally unique products like the EEP 29er Bike Case.
It shouldn't surprise you that Pika is one of the few bike case manufactures to offer a 29er-specific bag. In the owner's eclectic bike stable lays a very early Willits from the infamous Wes Williams -- who can be considered one of the true 29er pioneers. The EEP 29er Bike case is Pika's largest offering to accommodate mountain biking's largest wheels.
Called an Exercise Equipment Pack (EEP) to help avoid excessive airline bicycle charges, if you can get away with it, the packs are designed first and foremost to protect your two-wheeled investment. The packable foam and nylon structure is easy to transport and stow when you reach your destination. The EEP is made from black 1000-denier Cordura nylon, with foam padded walls.
It makes smart use of pockets to store the items that you remove from the bike for the storage setup; each wheel has its own padded pocket on either side of the bike, and smaller pockets will hold your saddle/seatpost, skewers, etc. Your bike frame is supported by the bottom bracket on a custom crafted foam block arrangement on the bike cradle that nestles down into the bag.
The interior is lined with contrasting yellow nylon. The bright color makes it easy to see down into its depths when you find yourself missing a skewer spring or seatpost binder bolt. Pika Packworks includes custom toptube/handlebar pads with built-in straps to secure your disassembled steering controls and a padded rear derailleur bag with a strap to secure it to the rear triangle should it need to be removed.
Be aware that this bag will normally accept bikes with wheelbases up to 49 inches, though packing bikes of this size will necessitate removal of the front caliper and rear derailleur, and will require that the fork be turned around backwards. It can accommodate a max height of 31 inches. If your front end is too long, you can let preload air out and compress the fork for a lower profile.
In keeping with the bombproof materials, the EEP has tough, nylon web straps sewn around its periphery in three dimensions, with buckles to make the closure redundant. They also include a padded shoulder strap with a generous thickness and width. It makes carrying the EEP no big deal. The pull handles on the burly YKK zipper can be locked together with a TSA approved travel lock for extra security for your toys.
The Pika Packworks EEP 29er Bike Case lacks any logos or language that could indicate to you're carrying a bike, so if you plan to travel with a 'drum kit' or a 'tuba' you'll perhaps be able to avoid specialty item fees.