travelling on planes with EMTB

May 27, 2019
6
8
3
Kent
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turbo levo FSR
#1
I bought a specialized turbo levo and then booked to fly with it to the pacific northwest for two months.....only to discover that you can't fly with a lithium ion battery over 160WH (mine is 700WH). I then called various retailers to see how clued up they were on this legislation. they're mostly not. some even admitted that they wouldn't divulge this information to prospective customers in case it put them off purchasing. that really pissed me off. i called specialized and told them i'd spent a shit load of money on one of their products but that i wouldn't be able to take it anywhere, so what was the point? at first they were indifferent.....and told me to buy a battery when i got there (£1000....and like, what was i going to do with after - throw it in the ocean?) i asked them why they hadn't any contingency planning in place for users to rent batteries from them (ditto retailers), but they kinda shrugged and said it was something they might think about in future. as a goodwill gesture (and to their credit) they agreed to supply me with a battery that i can use (gratis) when i arrive in Seattle. all i have to do is pick it up from one of their retail outlets....and then i can hit the trails. yay! i hope they (and other manufacturers) get something in place soon.....because clearly any manufacturer who offers battery hire globally is going to attract more customers. if specialized supplied me with a couple of batteries, i'd be happy to be a point of contact for anyone flying into the UK....because who doesn't want to take their bike with them?? it wouldn't cost specialized anything (a nominal rental fee could apply) and it would be great for the emtb community.....a bit like arriving in a foreign country and knowing you can score some weed from someone as soon as you land....rather than hanging around dodgy train stations and ending up with a handful of privet that cost you 50 euros. obviously i'm not going to have that problem where i'm going :)
 

Jamsxr

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Mar 30, 2019
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#2
It’s not really up to Specialized to ensure you know about lithium battery transportation :LOL:

I get your point though. I’ve heard of companies in Europe who offer battery rental for this specific reason, it’s really up to 3rd parties to offer this as a service and not the manufacture.
 
May 27, 2019
6
8
3
Kent
Ride
turbo levo FSR
#3
yes i see your point.....somewhat. i went into several retailers and told them i was planning to fly with the bike immediately. they said nothing about the battery issue either because they didn't know about it (which definitely was the case with two retailers) or because they were deliberately keeping quiet in order to make the sale. it's inexcusable in both cases. i spent over 6K and should have been made fully aware of what i could and cannot do with their product.....a bit like being told not to put metal in your microwave oven. if the information was there then i believe i have a right to it; i prefer my interactions with capitalism to be transparent. and if i followed the advice of third parties (like the ones i spoke to) then i would have pitched up at the airport only to have my bike refused. the purpose of this post wasn't about post hoc rationalisation......rather about finding a way round a problem. i agree that retailers should get on board.....but all they care about is profit. manufacturers on the other hand are generally more responsive.....as evinced by my present experience. at least i can score some weed when i arrive.....but will i be able to fly it to the uk? :) Soon.
 

Jamsxr

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#4
I agree, if you’ve asked a shop about flying, and they have provided the wrong information, that’s not good. I actually thought the issues around lithium transportation were commen knowledge, in the U.K. a number of the carriers refuse to transport lithium batteries. You could use a company like DHL and ship the battery to the destination, I’ve not got experience of this, but in theory, it should work.

The issue with manufacturers doing it themselves is cost, it sounds relitevly simple but setting up a service like that would cost millions, meaning our bikes would become more expensive. It would be far more cost effective for a 3rd party to make available a wide range of batteries from different manufacturers.
 

steve_sordy

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#5
It’s not really up to Specialized to ensure you know about lithium battery transportation :LOL:

I get your point though. I’ve heard of companies in Europe who offer battery rental for this specific reason, it’s really up to 3rd parties to offer this as a service and not the manufacture.
This issue is one for all emtb manufacturers to be thinking about. Growing business is not just shoving units out of the factory door. There are other softer issues to be wrestled with. For example, Shimano have a chain of dealers that will service any Shimano motor, irrespective of which bike it came from. This is of comfort to all those buyers importing a Shimano powered bike without any bike dealers in their own country. I'm sure that the Shimano sales guys emphasised this point to YT when they were designing the Decoy. Specialized have their blevo app that may for all I know be the key feature that helps a buyer decide for Speccy and not an alternative brand.

This issue of not being able to transport batteries by air is a significant buggeration, but it is solvable by setting up batteries for hire. That should be done by the manufacturers, either directly or through an agent. It is for the manufacturers because it is they who will benefit from the increased market share. Having said that, one of the battery manufacturers could take a leaf out of Shimano's book and set up something. That would enable them to leverage this with the bike makers.

This whole discussion has made me think about all the Focus owners out there (including me!) who have batteries that cannot be easily removed from the frame. So for them (and me) it is not battery hire that is the issue but bike hire!
 

Doomanic

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#6
How many different battery types are there?
Spesh have 3, Shimano 3, Bosch 2 (currently). Then there's Giant's take on the Yamaha, Yamaha themselves, Panasonic. It's not going to be easy to set up a battery hire facility, that's for sure.

I tried to hire a Bosch battery from BPW last year but they'd only hire me the whole bike (which I understand) and wouldn't let me take the battery off to use on my own bike (which I don't fully understand). I assume they are worried that a battery is more likely to go walkies than a whole bike, even if it's an accident.
 

Jamsxr

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#7
I agree it’s an important consideration but we are quite a demanding bunch of consumers 😬

They should offer concessions to their dealers to hire our batteries, simple.
 

MattyB

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Jul 11, 2018
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#8
How many different battery types are there?
Spesh have 3, Shimano 3, Bosch 2 (currently). Then there's Giant's take on the Yamaha, Yamaha themselves, Panasonic. It's not going to be easy to set up a battery hire facility, that's for sure.
Exactly, and with ever more integration in the coming generations of new bikes this problem is going to get harder to solve before it gets easier. I used to think this would be solved by battery hire, but I just can’t see how that will be logistically feasible or financially viable unless the manufacturers get together and standardise on a small number battery designs - yeah, right...! :unsure::ROFLMAO:

Perhaps the next generation of batteries will be a dramatically safer chemistry allowing us to fly with them, but I think that is unlikely given they will have higher energy density so the airlines will be extremely cagey even if they are proven to be safer. The most likely outcome for at least the next 5 years is those wanting an ebike in a location they have to fly too will need to hire the whole bike - that is a model we know can be made to work, though obviously it’s far higher cost for us as consumers. :cry:
 
Last edited:
May 27, 2019
6
8
3
Kent
Ride
turbo levo FSR
#9
You could use a company like DHL and ship the battery to the destination, I’ve not got experience of this, but in theory, it should work.
i looked into this....and threw the towel in when the tenth carrier (including DHL) said they'd only deal with me if i were a 'company'.
 

Jamsxr

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#10
i looked into this....and threw the towel in when the tenth carrier (including DHL) said they'd only deal with me if i were a 'company'.
Sounds like an opportunity, eFlight 🤫

Create a shipping platform business, ideally you would have a set of pre defined parcel lockers or parcels shops the consumer can choose as a pick up/drop off location. Even better, team up with a car rental company.
 

Doomanic

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#11

TheBikePilot

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#12
I don't think there's the demand there at the moment. It would be about a 10k investment for any shop to have batteries for hire then how much would you actually pay per day to rent one...?

I do see your point, but I think the surface mail shipping is the only viable option at the moment as the community grows but imagine setting up a company to deal with the logistics of that. The set up costs would be huge without knowing the demand..Would you pay 30 euros a day for a battery when you could ship it there and back for 60..?
 

steve_sordy

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#13
Yes there are lots of different batteries, but there are many more types of bike. If the problem can be fixed by renting bikes then it must be cheaper to solve by renting batteries. Batteries are smaller and cheaper than a bike and would require less capital to set up.

The fly in that argument though is as follows: As a potential hirer of an emtb (because my battery is embedded in the frame), I would prefer to hire a bike just like mine, but when faced with reality I would compromise and rent whatever was available. But I couldn't rent whatever battery they happened to have - because it likely wouldn't fit the bike I had. Therefore despite the fact that batteries are smaller and cheaper than bikes, there is a solution that is affordable and that works. It's called bike hire.
 

TheBikePilot

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#14
Yup and that’s what I would do :) They are about 80-90 a day. I looked at singletrack safari and a new Haibike wasn’t that bad for a week..
 

Pdoz

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Feb 16, 2019
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Giant full e pro
#15
Yes there are lots of different batteries, but there are many more types of bike. If the problem can be fixed by renting bikes then it must be cheaper to solve by renting batteries. Batteries are smaller and cheaper than a bike and would require less capital to set up.

The fly in that argument though is as follows: As a potential hirer of an emtb (because my battery is embedded in the frame), I would prefer to hire a bike just like mine, but when faced with reality I would compromise and rent whatever was available. But I couldn't rent whatever battery they happened to have - because it likely wouldn't fit the bike I had. Therefore despite the fact that batteries are smaller and cheaper than bikes, there is a solution that is affordable and that works. It's called bike hire.
More realistically, a bike shop would be hiring a " demo" model , and you would be taking the opportunity to have a decent test ride on something desirable. Win, win situation - the bike shops increase customer awareness of the latest and greatest bikes, customers get a chance to decide if an upgrade is needed, and the cost of running " demo" bikes is subsidised by people test riding rather than just the manufacturer ( and eventually consumer)

I know a few shops doing this in Australia, a days hire is around $120 oz , the bikes seem to get sold with around 1500 km on them and aprox $2k below retail - so assuming people are doing less than 75 km a day, the shops are covering their expenses ( plus most likely getting a discount from the manufacturer)
 

TheBikePilot

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#16
Both my local bike shops in the surrey hills stopped renting decent bikes because:

A) They get nicked all the time.
B) In the winter so many things on a full sus bike need replacing it makes it economically unviable.

They trailed renting ebikes but stopped for this reason :(
 

Macone

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Oct 28, 2018
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#17
my mate wanted to go for a decent ebike ride with me last week to see what all the buzz was about, so he rented a KTM Kapoho for NZ$75 (thats around $37.50 UK Pounds) for a day and away we went for a 40 kilometre mixed terrain ride. Seems pretty reasonable to me but that's here in Wellington New Zealand.
 

steve_sordy

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#18
More realistically, a bike shop would be hiring a " demo" model , and you would be taking the opportunity to have a decent test ride on something desirable. Win, win situation - the bike shops increase customer awareness of the latest and greatest bikes, customers get a chance to decide if an upgrade is needed, and the cost of running " demo" bikes is subsidised by people test riding rather than just the manufacturer ( and eventually consumer)

I know a few shops doing this in Australia, a days hire is around $120 oz , the bikes seem to get sold with around 1500 km on them and aprox $2k below retail - so assuming people are doing less than 75 km a day, the shops are covering their expenses ( plus most likely getting a discount from the manufacturer)
That seems to me to be a business model that would work. In countries with mucky winters, like the UK, the rental bikes are sold off at the end of August, so no need to replace anything during the winter.
End of August is also just in time to make way for the new models coming in. Ten years ago once bought an ex rental bike for £1000 when the new model was on sale at £2000 (Giant Anthem X2).
img_5655-jpg.14250

By the time the shop had stripped off the yards of high viz protective tape from the frame and changed the tyres, chain and cassette, the bike was "as new". And it came with three months warranty. Because it was an expensive bike to hire, very few people had actually taken it out. I enquired and I was told that Giant gave massive discounts to the shop to have all the models in the fleet for prospective purchasers to demo, not just for members of Joe Public to go for a Sunday ride.
 
May 27, 2019
6
8
3
Kent
Ride
turbo levo FSR
#19
Sounds like an opportunity, eFlight 🤫

Create a shipping platform business, ideally you would have a set of pre defined parcel lockers or parcels shops the consumer can choose as a pick up/drop off location. Even better, team up with a car rental company.
yes my thoughts exactly: lockers at airports which open and dispense through an app on your phone.
 
Jan 16, 2019
97
97
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Wellington NZ
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Giant Trance E+ 1
#20
I'm planning a trip Tasmania and this topic has been lingering in my mind.

Seems there's no clear solution that doesn't risk lives or make me a c#nt! Was thinking:
1) Bring my bike over without the battery. buy the exact model upon arrival use the battery on my bike. refund the seeming unused bike on my last day "wasn't for me"
2)courier it but mislabel the contents, hope it doesn't get seized
3)smuggle the battery in my rectum
4)get fit enough to ride my analog....truth be told, I'd rather go with option 3
 

Pdoz

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Feb 16, 2019
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Maffra Victoria Australia
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Giant full e pro
#21
I'm planning a trip Tasmania and this topic has been lingering in my mind.

Seems there's no clear solution that doesn't risk lives or make me a c#nt! Was thinking:
1) Bring my bike over without the battery. buy the exact model upon arrival use the battery on my bike. refund the seeming unused bike on my last day "wasn't for me"
2)courier it but mislabel the contents, hope it doesn't get seized
3)smuggle the battery in my rectum
4)get fit enough to ride my analog....truth be told, I'd rather go with option 3
5 Hire an e bike in tas ( although I think they have sold the ebike fleet for this season)

6 Buy a battery for your bike in tas then sell it to an aussie ( if you get the shop to keep the original packaging , most bike shops will have the ability to transport via courier within oz to another bike shop - I was told around $25 oz when discussing this with a shop owner) .

7 try to convince your dealer to post the battery to a dealer in tas ?
 
Jan 16, 2019
97
97
28
Wellington NZ
Ride
Giant Trance E+ 1
#22
5 Hire an e bike in tas ( although I think they have sold the ebike fleet for this season)

6 Buy a battery for your bike in tas then sell it to an aussie ( if you get the shop to keep the original packaging , most bike shops will have the ability to transport via courier within oz to another bike shop - I was told around $25 oz when discussing this with a shop owner) .

7 try to convince your dealer to post the battery to a dealer in tas ?
will look into option 7, but not holding my breath

another possibility:

8) See if anyone on the forum lives in Taz and owns a Giant.....anyone?.....will pay cash :)
 

Stumpy

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#23
.....a bit like arriving in a foreign country and knowing you can score some weed from someone as soon as you land....rather than hanging around dodgy train stations and ending up with a handful of privet that cost you 50 euros
😂😂😂
 

Pdoz

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Feb 16, 2019
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Maffra Victoria Australia
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Giant full e pro
#24
8) See if anyone on the forum lives in Taz and owns a Giant.....anyone?.....will pay cash :)
You might have more luck offering a reciprocal arrangement ( especially if you post a seperate thread ) . I know it's worked for merida riders ( nz to oz battery swaps)

Ps Sorry, but I'm in victoria and my 2018 giant battery is no use to you.
 

HORSPWR

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May 23, 2019
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#25
yes i see your point.....somewhat. i went into several retailers and told them i was planning to fly with the bike immediately. they said nothing about the battery issue either because they didn't know about it (which definitely was the case with two retailers) or because they were deliberately keeping quiet in order to make the sale. it's inexcusable in both cases. i spent over 6K and should have been made fully aware of what i could and cannot do with their product.....a bit like being told not to put metal in your microwave oven. if the information was there then i believe i have a right to it; i prefer my interactions with capitalism to be transparent. and if i followed the advice of third parties (like the ones i spoke to) then i would have pitched up at the airport only to have my bike refused. the purpose of this post wasn't about post hoc rationalisation......rather about finding a way round a problem. i agree that retailers should get on board.....but all they care about is profit. manufacturers on the other hand are generally more responsive.....as evinced by my present experience. at least i can score some weed when i arrive.....but will i be able to fly it to the uk? :) Soon.
Lucky the battery isn't integrated or you wouldn't have even been able to take your bike!
 
May 27, 2019
6
8
3
Kent
Ride
turbo levo FSR
#26
yes indeed. i am now arrived in seattle. it all went very well at heathrow. my box was checked in without incident and now i am off to pick up my battery from gregg’s cycles.
 

craig landau

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Dec 19, 2018
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brisbane australia
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demo 8 160/900 e
#27
more bullshit from the airlines, my mate is part of the Olympic comity , each event he flys home with the torch filled with gas , then theres the guy in a electric wheel chair , so the bullshit the airlines feed u over a battery should be challenged in a court room
 

MattyB

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Jul 11, 2018
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#28
more bullshit from the airlines, my mate is part of the Olympic comity , each event he flys home with the torch filled with gas , then theres the guy in a electric wheel chair , so the bullshit the airlines feed u over a battery should be challenged in a court room
Be our guest, but after what happened on the Dreamliners (that were using batteries with an identical chemistry) I think your chances of winning would be very, very slim...

Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery problems - Wikipedia
 
Last edited:
Mar 13, 2019
12
8
3
Derby
Ride
Trek Powerfly
#29
Hi all,
Ive just got from Spain, I wanted to take my ebike, but couldnt find a way of getting the batteries there. Tried DHL, freight forwarders and other 3rd party couriers, as soon as you said it was over 300mah, they didnt want to know.
I also work for UPS, so was hoping to send it through them. As I looked into it, the costs started to outweigh the reward.

I have the bosch 500mah power pack batteries and was planning to ship both.

So firstly I get that the package would need to be correctly packed, marked as lithium batteries and travel by road. My plan was to get it delivered to a local shop that accepts packages for collection near my hotel.
Then it starts to get complicated
1. I would need to trade as a company.​
2. I would need to have dangerous good training to prove that I could package the batteries correctly. At around £300​
3. The rate I would get wouldn't be very good as I would only be shipping a few times a year. Approx £50 per package each way. (I was planning to ship 2, in 2 boxes)​
4. Plus a £50 dangerous goods surcharge each way, per shipment.​

By the end of that it was looking to cost me £600, plus £100 to ship the bike.
The options then are.
1. I could just hire an ebike for that money​
2. I could just use the battery from the hired bike (if it was the same type) if I really wanted to take my own ebike.​
3. Take the MTB​

So I ended up taking my MTB to Spain, still enjoyed it. Just not the hills as much..... haha
 

steve_sordy

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#30
This whole issue is an enormous opportunity for some enterprising soul.

Until then, I guess that I will have to hire an emtb and consider it test riding for my next bike! :love:
 

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