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The best bike bag?
Choosing a bike bag is not necessarily a case of asking how to choose a bike bag, but how do I choose the best bike bag for me?.
You might want the absolutely best bicycle travel bag, but the fact is, there probably isn’t one objective “best bike travel bag”.
In this article, you’ll find out the important characteristics of a bike bag, then be able to choose the best bike bag for you.
What to look for in a bike travel bag
You’ll be pleased to know that there is no perfect bike bag (though if I had $200k to spend on making some, that problem would get solved).
Everyone looks for different things in a product, and bike bags are no exception.
Before choosing a bike bag, you need to consider what is most important to you.
We’ll get to bike bag characteristics in a minute, but first a short digression. Stick with me, this will make sense.
Should I take my bike overseas?
I often get emails from people asking “Should I take my bike on my cycling trip” (usually to France).
My answer is usually a qualified “it depends” and here’s why.
Close your eyes and imagine a few different scenarios that will occur when you’re on your trip…
Bikes at the airport
On the day of your departure, you lug your bike bag and the rest of your luggage (backpack for the plane, another roller bag) to the airport and are faced with long queues.
You spend time wrangling your bike bag through the queues.
What would you rather?
- A bike bag that is light and agile, or
- A bike bag that’s a bit more cumbersome, but more robust, or
- No bike and thus no bike bag
Obviously, which bike bag you choose will depend upon how much hassle you’re prepared to put up with.
If you’re likely to get annoyed by moving a big bike bag and the rest of your luggage around, get something more agile (like the Scicon Aero Comfort Plus for example).
On arrival: trains, buses, transit and taxis
When you arrive, you’ll likely be:
1. Jumping on a train to somewhere, or
2. Jumping on a bus to somewhere, or
3. Getting a hire car, or
4. Getting a taxi (probably to a hotel or campervan depot)
If you’re getting a hire car, then you’ll want something reasonably compact that fits in your car – though hopefully you planned for a hire car big enough to accommodate your bike bag.
If you’re getting a taxi – especially if you’re with a travel partner – and have a bike bag and 2 luggage bags, you’ll want something that’s compact. Not all airports have nice big minivans (think Toyota Hiace) or station wagons (Commodore), and all your luggage will quickly overwhelm the space. (In 2009 in Frankfurt we had to wait 45 mins for a taxi big enough for 2 bike bags and 2 luggage bags.)
Campervans, hire cars, hotels and long term accommodation
If you’re hiring a campervan, or a car and staying in hotels or long term accommodation, you’ll want something that you can fold up and keep out of the way once your bike is unpacked (Scicon Aero Comfort Plus, EVOC Bike Travel Bag or Chain Reaction Cycles bike bag).
If you’re staying in one place for a period of time, you don’t need something so compact, but you’ll still need to fit it into the hire car.
Why these examples are relevant
You’ll note that these examples pretty much cover most situations in a trip where you’ll be using your bike bag, or need to accommodate it.
They’re important to highlight because little inconveniences and annoyances on a trip can add up.
So then, how to choose a bike bag
Characteristics of a bike bag
When choosing a bike bag, generally speaking you’d consider these characteristics (in no order of preference or importance). If some of these don’t make sense, check out my EVOC Bike Travel Bag review which describes them in detail.
The VeloNomad bike bag reviews are thorough, so you can be pretty much assured you are not going to miss any details.
- Robustness/Build Quality
- Protection for bike
- Securing the bike
- Overall design considerations
- Where to Buy
Decide what’s important to you
Out of all the characteristics above, decide what is important to you.
You can then download the bike bag ratings comparison spreadsheet which compares and rates all the bike bags on the VeloNomad bike travel bag reviews page with weightings for each metric.
Decide which things are important to you, then weight them higher. Things you consider less important (for example, price), you can weight lower.
This should in theory give you an objective outcome that delivers the best bike bag according to your needs.
Which bike bag I’d choose
If you asked me to pick a bag, here’s what you’d get as an answer:
- If money was no object, and you wanted a light, agile, compact bag, get a BikeND Helium. Remember, I have not reviewed one yet (dear BikeND – please send one for review).
- If money was kind of a consideration and you wanted something agile, light and compact – get the Scicon Aero Comfort Plus. Bear in mind they do not have the longevity of an EVOC or CRC.
- If you want the ultimate in protection for your bag, get the EVOC Bike Travel Bag or Chain Reaction Cycles bike bag (which has the added bonus of being cheap AND awesome). You’ll compromise on agility (they both don’t have castor wheels on the front) and to a lesser degree on weight, but will have a robust, protective bag.
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