PEZ-Test: TRICO IRON CASE
We had the chance to roadtest the Trico Sports Iron Case on our overseas trip to cover the Belgian classics. With two airlines, four connecting flights and a gauntlet of gnarly baggage handlers ready to rip, grind and crush my beloved DeRosa, this was the perfect opportunity to put the Iron Case to the test.
Weighing in at only 12.5kgs (27.5lbs) empty, the case did more than just deliver my bike and wheels in pristine shape. It also carted along all my cycling accessories – a convenient side benefit when packing for a trip encompassing business, sport and leisure. Most importantly, judging from the stares in the Brussels airport, I think Belgian ladies admired its rugged good looks.
A handsome addition to any cyclist’s abode…
The Goods on the Goods
The Iron Case is built from a two-piece shell. The mold uses a series of ridges to increase overall strength and rigidity. Seven heavy gauge nylon straps with sturdy oversized plastic buckles are used to secure the case. A nylon strap is used as a handle to tow the case through airports (or to the team car). Two hard rubber wheels, strategically recessed where they won’t be ripped asunder, make it easy to transport the case on the ground. I found the setup quite helpful as I rolled my way to the front of the line for bratwurst and beer in the Frankfurt airport at 6:00 AM (hey- I was on vacation…!).
The case also has a locking feature that uses an innovative design to tuck the lock out harms way. The appearance of the dark grey case is very cool with its’ built-tough industrial look. Your wife won’t want it in the house but it adds a nice touch to any condo-locker or suburban garage.
You can fit all this – and more – inside the Iron Case.
I liked the use of a two-piece design secured with the nylon straps. I’ve used one-piece cases that work with clamps, handles and hinges enough times to know that the hardware will be promptly bent and eventually torn from the case completely after just a few airline torture tests. By comparison, the rip-stop nylon straps used in the two-piece case are rock solid and recessed out of harms way. They also provide a number of convenient ways to pick up the case – something the hinged-style cases lack. Two sets of rubber feet allow the case to be stood on its side or on end – a rather helpful feature whether you’re storing the case or fumbling around at customs looking for your passport.
A second advantage of the two-piece mold is the extra convenience it allows in packing, unpacking and transporting the bike. There may be room in your garage to flip up the top of a hinged case while you do your packing but don’t expect this same luxury in the space of a European hotel room. The two-piece case allows you to stack the two components thereby taking up less space. This also enables you to lay your bike inside the case without removing the bars and seat post – a useful feature if you are just transferring by car between hotels and don’t want to disassemble the bike.
The two-piece design also allows more flexibility in what goes in the case. I packed a few extras that the case easily accommodated. The use of seven straps enables the case to be secured snuggly and evenly depending on how it has been packed – a nice feature that is not available with hinged-style cases.
What’s In the Box?
The case comes with three pieces of foam cut to size. The first piece of foam lies in the fiberglass shell and the bike frame lies on top of that. Here’s how I packed my 58c. First take off the pedals. Next, off come the seat post and wheels. Secure the chain and lay the bike in the case, chain side up with the cranks parallel to the chain stays. The case comes with two skewers that can be inserted into the front and rear dropouts for additional support. I take the bars out of the stem and lay them flat in the case. Then I lay my floor pump alongside the chain stays with the foot pedestal providing extra support to the rear triangle and derailleur. I also put my bottles in the cages and lay my helmet in the centre triangle.
Throw in a frame pump, cycling shoes, booties, tubes, tire levers, HRM, computer, etc. and add the next layer of foam. Remove the skewers, put in the wheels (don’t forget to let the air out and please don’t carry CO2 cartridges on the plane) and lay the third piece of foam over the wheels. Put the lid on, buckle and tighten the straps and you’re done.
The Case for a Case?
Some people say it’s better not to travel with a bike case. Hello? The airlines give special care to bikes if they are in plastic bags they say. Right. A bike bag is more convenient they say. Maybe, but they don’t stack well, especially when they’re on the bottom. If you travel – Get A Case. Besides, you can use it to carry your riding accessories leaving you with extra space in your regular luggage.
Length: 46” (117cm)
Width: 29” (74cm)
Depth: 10” (25cm)
Weight empty: 27.5lbs (12.5 kg)
The bike and wheels survived the trip without incident. This alone is worth the price of admission. Packing and unpacking was a breeze taking about one hour in total, facilitated by the generous two-piece design. The convenience factor of having all my equipment in one place will be appreciated by anyone who is used to the chaotic rigours of travel. As a bonus, the cases’ rugged straps, buckles and wheels survived about 7,000 miles of travel unscathed – beating my experiences with the hinged and handled varieties. This case effectively combines smart design with rugged good looks. I say it’s as tough as Tyler Hamilton!
Get more info on the Trico Iron Case at their website:TricoSports.com