Traveling with a bike is always a mix of joy and fear. On one hand, you don’t have to worry about the condition of rental bikes at your destination, you know the ins and outs of your gear, and you can start riding as soon as you get your rig pieced back together. The flip side to this is the constant worry of your bike being brutally damaged somewhere in transit.
EVOC has come up with a rather elegant solution with their aptly named Bike Travel Bag. Designed to swallow up anything from a wispy road racer to the burliest DH sled, it offers a good level of protection without sacrificing manoeuvrability or ease of use while at the terminal.
The construction of the bag is quite rugged. A hard plastic bottom and durable PE board sides ensure that crushing and bending forces are kept to a minimum. The bag is held aloft with a series of fibreglass rods, which also add protection to the ends of the case. Finally, the outer shell is made of 600D PVC coated nylon, which keeps the water out and resists tears.
On the inside, the bag is big enough to house all of your riding gear along with the bike, so you don’t have to use valuable suitcase space on things like helmets and riding shoes. This is a definite perk when returning home as you can keep dirty riding clothes separate from everything else and save on doing some heavy-duty laundry. Straps help secure everything down to keep it in place during transit, and there are also a few internal pouches for things like pedals and tools.
The bike is also further protected on the inside thanks to a movable block that supports the BB, and keeps your chain ring from contacting the bottom of the bag, Fork stanchions are wrapped in yet more foam and high-strength tarpaulin.
So how does it compare to something like a standard cardboard bike box? Having maneuvered through airports with both the box and the EVOC bag, I can definitively say the bag makes things a million times easier. Dragging a cardboard box stuffed to the brim with cycling gear on top of all your standard luggage is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. What’s worse, after (barely) making it through the ticketing gate, I had to open up my carefully sealed box and display the contents to ensure I wasn’t smuggling anything.
In contrast, I was able to swiftly move through the terminal with the EVOC bag, and upon checking it, went with the old “sporting goods” line, which saved me the rather steep bike shipping fee. From there, it was a short jaunt to the oversize luggage drop, where it subsequently disappeared into the bowels of the airport. Grabbing it on the other end of my trip at the oversize baggage pickup was just as simple, as there was no mistaking it for anything else. Since then, I’ve used it on a wide variety of day and overnight trips. The bag will just fit underneath a Greyhound bus, stacks nicely in the bed of a truck, and doesn’t arouse suspicion when brought on board a ferry. Wins all ’round then.
I’ve found it really difficult to find faults with the bag. That being said, it does take up a lot of space even when packed down, so those who have limited square footage to spare may want to take some measurements before picking one up. The only other barrier is cost. With a price tag of $550 MSRP, it can be a bit hard to swallow shelling out that much cash for what amounts to a (very good) bike suitcase.
With all that in mind, the EVOC Bike Travel Bag makes a whole lot of sense if you plan to venture far and wide with your bicycle. It’s durable, reliable, and makes dealing with the headache of travel just that much easier. Anything that makes traveling with a prized possession simple is good value in my books.
No dealing with tape or cardboard on either end of a trip? Sounds like it’s just the ticket for the jet-set biker…