Amtrak Weight Limit for Bikes

Rincon

Active Member
Has anyone taken their e-bike on Amtrak? They have a 50lb weight limit for bikes. My bike could make the limit if I remove the battery, but I wonder if that is necessary. Has anyone found any issues with over-50 lb bikes?
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Yeah, but did anyone else notice that in Rincon's list that the "not offering bike service" and "trainside checked" lists are identical?

If I remember correctly, there are limited stations where you can check a bike. I also recall that finding the bicycle car on an Amtrak train can be a challenge and require a mad dash when the train arrives. The service basically works but you need to be aware of the details.

Note that if you box your bike you can check it as luggage and take it on most any train.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I rode the Surfliner from Slobispo to LAX in 2016 after a bike tour from Montery to San Luis Obispo.

It wasn't a big problem for us, but we weren't given very good information about where the bike car was (it is typically at the end of the train, the question is which end). Since the train can easily be a thousand feet long if you guess wrong you might be committed to a mad dash to load your bike. And speaking of which, if you have panniers you'll need to take them off to get the bike into the racks and might need to take them off to get the bike on or off the train. Even with relatively light touring bikes it took quite a bit of teamwork to get our bikes and all of our gear on and off the train.

The other thing I remember is that the rack wouldn't accommodate tires bigger than two inches. Since a lot of e-bikes have bigger tires that is something to keep in mind as well.

On the boxing issue, I've done the boxing thing a bunch of times. Theoretically there are boxes available at the station. In practice at most locations where you can check a bike on Amtrak there will be a bike shop (but maybe not nearby) and I'd recommend arranging with the bike shop to have boxes shipped there.
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Another pro tip: make sure you panniers or trunk bags can convert into a backpack or have shoulder straps. You are going to have a lot of bags to haul around and carrying them all in your hands isn't going to be comfortable. Also, if getting your bags off of your bike is at all complicated you are not going to have much fun, so handlebar rolls, seat twinkies, and panniers that velcro onto the rack are not a good fit for this kind of trip.
 

jhoblo

Member
Another reason to ride a folding bike! Here's what Amtrak has to say about folders:

Folding bicycles under the dimensions of 34" x 15" x 48" (860 x 380 x 1120 mm) will be allowed onboard all trains in lieu of a piece of baggage.
Only certain passenger cars can accommodate folding bicycles as carry-on baggage, otherwise they must be checked.
Only true folding bicycles (bicycles specifically designed to fold up into a compact assembly) are acceptable. Generally, these bikes have frame latches allowing the frame to be collapsed, and small wheels. Regular bikes of any size, with or without wheels, are not considered folding bikes, and may not be stored as folding bikes aboard trains.
You must fold up your folding bicycle before boarding the train. You may store the bike only in luggage storage areas at the end of the car (or, in Superliners, on the lower level). You may not store bikes in overhead racks.


I would suggest that you watch your bike at stops so that someone doesn't grab it when exiting the train (when I rode the SW Chief from ABQ to L.A. almost anyone could have grabbed someone's luggage, it appeared to me.) Put it in a bag so that it doesn't look so much like a bike, especially an e-bike.
 

jhoblo

Member
I just read it! Interesting, just last year e-bikes were prohibited!
Amtrak does allow e-bikes:
Electric bicycles under 50 lbs. are allowed in checked baggage and on trains with walk-on bicycle service.
Gas-powered motorized bicycles are prohibited.