If you’re dreaming of far flung adventures, maybe you want to take your own bike with you. The Evoc Bike Travel Bag is designed to keep your favourite toy safe in transit.
The Evoc Bike Travel bag is a soft bag with hard shell bottom, replaceable skate wheels, and removable ribs for side structure. Designed to accommodate most bike types, there are additional adaptors for carrying a road or triathlon bike, and it promises to be able to handle 29 inch wheels.
Internally, there is a solid block which sits between your chainstays. A selection of straps – including a padded frame strap – to hold your frame and forks into place. You’ll definitely need to remove both wheels, and your pedals, but you may get away with just shuffling of your bars rather than complete removal, depending on the size of your bike. There’s a pocket for each wheel on either side of the bag, and while the cautious would (and should) remove the rotors to prevent damage in transit, the pockets will take the wheels with the rotors and cassette still attached. The sides of the bag are re-enforced where your locknuts are most likely to try to puncture the fabric. There’s a small internal pocket for small items – such as pedals, or discs, perhaps, and another on the outside of the bag.
The ‘ribs’ are made from glass fibre, and can be removed so that the whole bag will squash down to the kind of size you can squeeze under a bed. The hard shell bottom means you’re probably not going to get it into the bottom of a wardrobe in a budget hotel. When built up and filled with a bike, the dimensions are 138cm width, 83cm height, base 39cm at the wheel end and 28cm at the front. We’ve fitted ours into the back of a Honda CR-V with one rear seat folded up, and the back of a Mini Cooper S with both rear seats down.
As well as the skate wheels on one end, the Evoc bike travel bag has a variety of handles placed around the bag so you can haul it around. During our test time, we’ve used it to transport both gravel and mountain bikes on a selection of rail journeys and flights. How has it fared?
On The Go
We’ve been fitting a 29er full suspension bike in the bag, in a size medium. It’s not a teeny XC bike, but equally there are plenty of longer wheelbase bikes out there. The fit on our bike has been pretty snug – if you ride a large or XL frame, you’re probably going to have to do some more dismantling to get your bike in. Certainly you should expect to be removing the rear derailleur, something we were lucky enough to get away without having to do. You may also find you need to turn your forks backwards in order to reduce the length. For a trail journey, our gravel bike fitted quite easily, with a fair amount of room to spare inside the main body of the bag for shoes, clothes and helmet.
Given that it is a largely soft case, you might expect that this would be ideal for meeting flight weight limits. In fact, with a carbon fibre full suspension bike in there, we’ve been only just on or under the 23kg weight limit set by some budget airlines, without sneaking any shoes or tools in there with the bike. Pack carefully. Clean your bike before you go. Take off that heavy spare inner tube you’ve got in that enduro strap-on (just don’t forget to pack it somewhere else).
I used this for a long train journey primarily to try and argue that ‘this isn’t a bike, it’s luggage’ so that I’d be able to get it on all the trains. I did get on all the trains, but it wasn’t plain sailing – in fact on one train I was told it was too big and I might have to get off because the tea trolley couldn’t get through. But that’s another tail of woe. The lesson for me was that it didn’t fit in any of the luggage spaces except those designed for bikes. While I felt more comfortable that bike was safe rather than being bashed by others in the racks, I didn’t like being tied to standing around the bike store when my booked seat was elsewhere on the train.
Pulling the bike bag around train stations was a bit of a sweat. Away from the polished floor surfaces of an airport, the bag is a little less stable, and it often felt like there wasn’t a handle quite where I wanted it in order to pull or lift it. The main padded towing handle is low down on the bag, so that you walk with the bag stood tall behind you – this is fine indoors, but not so much if you’re crossing kerbs or other bumps along the street. The handle at the top of the bag doesn’t give you a lot of ground clearance, and quickly gets vary painful on the hands, as do the side handles, if you’d having to lift the bag for any length of time (like over a platform bridge for example). I’d like to see the extra handles be a little easier on the hands, and an extra handle on the top would be handy for manoeuvring it into upright into the back of a car. But all that said, it’s a lot easier to deal with that my usual cardboard box!
Fitting a medium 29er full suspension bike into the Evoc bike travel bag is relatively easy. Steps that I have had to take each time are removing the rear derailleur and removing the bars, leaving all levers attached. The first couple of times I had to wiggle the bars around to get them in the right position to strap them to the inner wall of the back, but having used the bag a few times I seem to have got the technique nailed.
You could be tempted to put some tools in the inner pockets, but if you plan to fly with this bag you’ll most likely put it over the weight limit. On one occasion when I hadn’t found time to clean the bike, I had to remove the brake disc rotors in order to get the weight down to 23kg (with a full carbon bike).
Some airports have asked me to drop the air out of the tyres, but I like the added protection it offers the rim so I tend to halve the pressure when packing the bike, so they appear very soft to the staff but there’s still something in there.
I like having a very brightly coloured bag for the most precious cargo. I get very paranoid about lost luggage but travelling with a bike reached new levels of anxiety for me. I can take some peace in knowing it’s hard to miss.
This Evoc Bike Travel bag does make packing a fairly pack-by-numbers affair, with lots of straps and protection included. However, it’s fairly snug lengthwise, so riders of XL modern geometry bikes may find themselves doing a fair amount of dismantling. It’s certainly easier to drag around than a cardboard bike box, and looks a lot better too. If you’re planning on a few trips, it squashes up nicely for stashing in your loft in between adventures to far flung places, and once you’ve used it a few times you’ll get the knack of fitting your own particular bike into it.
|Product:||Bike Travel Bag|
|Tested:||by Hannah and Amanda for 8 months|
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