Google+ The Norris Files: Ground Effect Tardis Bike Bag


Ground Effect Tardis Bike Bag

I bought this bike bag a few months ago but haven't used it in anger as I had to postpone the Mawson Trail trip. The Tardis is a soft shell bag that folds down to around an A4 size when not in use. Your bike wheels are packed on either side of the bag and held in loosely by inbuilt sleeves while the hub and front axle positions on the bike wheels are somewhat protected with some padding to these parts of the bag.
Hardened plastic axle spacers come as standard with the bag in addition to an inner pocket which stores your dismantled pedals. The bag comes with an over the shoulder strap that allows it to be carried in that manner even if somewhat awkwardly considering the weight. I purchased the bag from NZ through Ground Effects at a cost of around $130 NZ. P1000065
The photos show the bike packed for the flight down to South Australia for the cancelled Mawson Trail trip. The Tardis does not have much in the way of integrated padding so as seen in the photos I have fairly heavily protected the frame and wheel areas.
The pictures don't show it as I hadn't finished packing but around the bike frame clothes, panniers, camping equipment etc, will be packed to add further protection.

I won't really be able to judge the pro's and con's of the bag until I head to the Outer Hebrides next year as I have no bike trips planned that involve air travel until then.
However its immediately obvious that you wouldn't want to carry the bag very far but that is more related to the bikes weight than the bag itself. The limited amount of padding is an issue but this can be overcome by padding the frame as I have done.
However,this creates the problem of what to do with the padding when you arrive at your destination as the Tardis alone folds down to the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Also, I think the bag needs a bike symbol stenciled onto the outside of the bag in the hope that the baggage handlers might notice and take some extra care. Otherwise, I think the Tardis is a pretty cool piece of gear but the real test will come when I fly overseas with it.


  1. I'm planning a trip to Europe to do some touring and a family friend let me borrow this bag off them.

    I've got a medium sized touring bike that will have both front and rear pannier racks - I assume these will have to be removed? I've also got front disc brakes, which might be troublesome.

    I still might go with the tried and true bike box as I am flying with Emirates anyway who aren't fussed about the size. However it would be nice to be able to not scratch around for another box on my way back.

    Another idea is to put "fragile" tape around the box after you have packed it securely so that the luggage people might treat it a little nicer.

  2. Karl, the bag has its advantages and disadvantages. I flew to Scotland and back with it and overall I was very happy with it. The bike came back intact without any damage which is always a bonus and I loved the ease of portability which opened up other options for me when travelling. Not only that, my fly home point was too remote to me able to obtain a bike bag. Size was no issue for Qantas or British Midlands Airways.

    For me, I don't like assembling my bike at airports (as you may have to do with a bike box so this easily fitted in the boot of a taxi and at other times I just carried the bag on my shoulder when I was getting off a train to get to my accomodation, or on buses or at times on ferries. However, my bike has a steel frame and is quite heavy so I wouldn't want to carry it too far.carry

    My rear pannier racks (I don't have front racks) are in the bag (best spotted in pic #5) The photos do not show it but I packed my camping gear and panniers around the bike to complete the packing.i have seen people with mountain bikes that have disk brakes fitted that have put them in Tardis nicely bt I guess there is always the risk of a bent rotor.

    The fragile tape is a good idea and I have seen people spray paint 'fragile' or 'up arrows' on the Tardis bag - I may do this nest time in the vague hope it may get treated more kindly

    Its not perfect (and depends on your requiremets) but the bag goes routinely with me on interstate flights and will come with me on the next overseas trip

    Happy cycling!

  3. Hi Phillip

    I borrowed the Tardis off a family friend who had one spare. I just spend the afternoon disassembling my touring bike to pack it in the Tardis. It was quite an effort to get it all to fit nicely, and I will still need to leave the rear rack out and put that in another bag. But the upside is that it is quite compact so as you mentioned easier to fit in the back seat of a car or car boot. Not really looking forward to re-assembling it though. I'll just have to see how I go.

    Happy cycling!