Packing the Swift Folder into a Suitcase.
One of the attractions to the Swift Folder was its ability to pack into a suitcase. You could rent a bike when going on a biking trip, but there is something comforting about bringing your own bicycle. You know it inside and out and it’s your main link between you and your destination.
On the Xootr website, they warned that packing a Swift Folder into a suitcase is an exacting process, yet it can be done. They recommended finding a 31” Samsonite suitcase off Ebay. It’s a perfect suitcase as it fits airline regulations and is relatively cheap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the exact one they purchased, but opted to go for a similar yet common model, the Samsonite F’lite 31” hard-shell suitcase. If you shop around, you can get it for $135 (mine was purchased at a luggage outlet at the Sawgrass Mall).
It took about 60 minutes to pack the first time around as most of the time was spent trying to figure out what to place where. However, it took only 25 minutes to repack in a hotel room because I had taken photos to recreate the process. It fits perfectly into the Samsonite F’Lite.
It must be packed differently from what is shown on the Xootr website to fit into a Samonite F’Lite suitcase. It may be the the dimensions are different from the suitcase they used. The main issue was fitting the front frame into the case. It is short by ½” and the bottom. It will ONLY fit if it sits on the split line of the case. Fortunately, photos were taken of the process. Hopefully this will help others who are interested in packing their Swift Folder on a trip.
1. Gather some type of box and some small plastic bags and use that to keep EVERY tool used and small part that you removed from the bike. That way you have everything you need and leave nothing behind. A large rag could be laid on the ground and serve the same purpose while doubling as a rag to clean off parts.
2. Since this bike uses a Shimano Nexus Gear hub, shift down to the 1st Gear.
3. Slide the shift cable from the geared hub.
4. Remove the chain. The chain used has a quick disconnect to remove without tools. This is not necessary, it just makes things cleaner.
5. Remove the front wheel then remove the quick release. Unscrew the hitch on the center of the frame. Remove the quick release on the top of the seat post. Remove the pedals.
6. Place a piece of 1” foam down as shown. Insert the rear frame and rear wheel as shown.
7. Unhook the rear brake and place the front frame on top of the rear frame.
8. Place bubble wrap in between the front and rear frame. Place the handlebar assembly in the case
9. Slide the front wheel under the handlebar assembly
10. Slide the seatpost-saddle under the front wheel and handlebar.
11. Place foam on top.
12. Secure the bike with straps on the suitcase. Close the suitcase, tilt it on its side and give it a quick “shake”. The frame will fit perfectly into the suitcase.
13. Duct tape the hinges shut.
A few more tips:
– Make a note of which direction you need to turn the pedals for what side. Righty-tighty and lefty-loosy do not apply for both pedals.
– Get half of an old bed sheet to leave bike parts on.
– Get small towel to leave the tools on so that it is easily visible so nothing is left behind.
– Bring some small stuff sacks and label them to hold items like tools, pedals, lights, lock, etc..
The bike, with all the parts, tools, fenders, etc. came out to 49.7 pounds on the scale at the airport.
The suitcase is fairly rugged, so there was no need to place any type of crush guard in the suitcase. It should be noted that the Xootr Crossrack, rear pannier, water bottle cage and fenders would also fit in the suitcase. However, this was the first trip packing the Swift Folder that I wanted to make is not as difficult to repack if, God forbid TSA had to open it.
Inside and out, a message was placed indicating what was in the suitcase and a warning to not unpack it. I didn’t have time, but full color laminated photos will be included as well. I hope to fine some compression straps to lay flat into the suitcase to keep everything bundled together if someone had to unpack it other than myself.
UPDATE: On my return trip back from Seattle, TSA held back the bicycle and put it on the next flight. This was made apparent when I discovered it did not arrive. Fortunately, nothing was missing/broken and everything was packed as before. I think my direct warnings pasted all over the suitcase helped protect the contents.