It can be difficult to travel with your bike travel bag. However, the benefits of landing at a new place and being able to ride your bike to the ground can be more than the inconveniences associated with renting a bike or flying your bike. This assumes that your bike can be delivered to your destination safely and in good condition. However, this is not always possible regardless of which airline you use.
There are many ways to transport your bike. However, mountain bikes with larger tires (29”) can be more difficult to pack. When I realized that my old Bike herschel travel bags couldn’t fit larger 29″ wheels, I decided to request a new EVOC Bike Travel Bag. You can fit larger tires with the newer bags, though they may need to be deflated a little.
The EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro can fit most modern mountain bikes (and road, gravel and many other bikes) with ease. It also has a few other benefits. Soft-sided bags are, well, soft-sided. However, I have seen bikes suffer just as much damage in hard cases than in soft ones. How? This happens most often when TSA opens a hard bag and fails to properly put the bike in. It is usually expensive because it is harder to properly place the bikes in these cases. The EVOC bags are made of a rigid PEboard perimeter and glass fiber vertical supports at each end. There are also hard plastic rods in the wheel compartments. The EVOC design is strong enough to protect most people. It also uses the wheels and compartments as structural elements, and adds PE board reinforcements and hard plastic tubs with aluminum rails at the bottom. A large soft bag won’t allow stuff to pile up on top of it, which is good news for airline employees.
Soft-sided bags also have a great advantage in terms of storage. The bag can be folded down to its original size once you have removed all the supports. It is much easier to store this bag in your home, apartment, or shed than a full-size hard case. If you want to reduce your checked baggage weight, soft cases are often lighter than hard ones.
What about cardboard boxes? Although cardboard boxes offer the same protection as EVOC bags in terms of rigidity, it takes a lot more effort to properly package the bike to ensure it doesn’t become damaged. It will likely not hold up if it rains while your bike box sits on the tarmac.
The EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro is different from other Bike travel bags for men. It features thru axle (or QR), mounts on each end and an aluminum tray that can be adjusted for different wheel bases (maximum of 126cm). This makes loading the bike much easier and prevents the crank, derailleur and frame from getting stuck in a bag.
There are four end caps sets and a set spacers included. These can be used under any endcap set for Boost spacing. This allows you to mount standard QR, 12mm and 15mm axles with standard or Boost 110 spacing. To best fit your fork/bike/bag, there are three positions you can mount the axle.
It’s the same story out back with dummy axles of 5 x 130mm and 12 x 135mm respectively, 12 x 142mm and 12 x 150mm respectively (DH or Super Boost).
The axles slide through the three vertical positions. Once installed, you tighten the thru axle just like a hub.
The stand offers a place for the derailleur’s resting against. The stand is sturdy enough to hold the derailleur in place, so it doesn’t get hit from the side. Although I was nervous about leaving the derailleur on, as I remove it every day, it saved me a lot of time. It arrived with a straight hanger at both ends.
Another reason why the Bike Travel bag is worth upgrading to Pro? The front wheel. It is amazing how a tiny detail can make all the difference when it comes to maneuvering a large bag or a bike bag through an airport. Before you check the bag, remember to remove it and keep it in a separate pocket. Although it clips securely, I don’t trust that it will stay on the plane.
The skuut balance bike you see above doesn’t have a chain. It is much easier to remove the chainstay than wrap it. This prevents damage from a loose or flailing chain. Yes, Power Lock connectors from SRAM are not reusable. Although they may be right, I have also removed this connector several times without any problems. You should do this at your own risk and bring another spare just in case.
If you do not want to remove the chain, EVOC offers chain covers. They state that the cover has a flap between the chainstays and the chain to protect your items.
The extra foam around the tubes is especially important for suspension stanchions. You can’t be too careful flying with a multimillion-dollar bicycle. Frost King pipe insulation can be purchased at your local home improvement shop in a variety of sizes starting at $2. The insulation comes pre-slit so you just need to cut it to the desired length and then put it on. When you’re finished with your trip, simply put the pieces back into the bag and use them again. You can make the process even simpler by using a Sharpie for labeling them with the location they belong on your bike.
I used 3/8″ insulation that I had around my house. It worked well for the smaller tubes and held in place without tape around the 34mm fork stanchions. Masking tape or foam is required to hold the downtube and larger tubes in place.
We’re talking about protecting your bike in the bag. Make sure to remove your rotors. Do it. Although I was reluctant to take them off for my first bike trip with the Bike Transport Bag Pro, I decided to give it a try.
It was a test I tried, and it ended up being a severely bent rotor when my bike arrived in Italy. This wasn’t the only damage, but it was something that could have been avoided, especially with Centerlock wheels. Use a tool to remove the rotors from your destination.
How to Assemble a bike travel bag?
The EVOC Bike Bags Travel Bags are very easy to put together. However, I encountered an issue that I didn’t know existed: the vertical supports wouldn’t insert into the channels. This left two inches of top.
An inspection of the channels revealed that two of the bottoms had kinks which prevented the support rods passing through.
What tools should I Bring?
You may be able, depending on how finicky or small you are at assembling a bike with a multi-tool. For me, tools that make bike building as simple and fast as possible are important. However, I had to pay attention to the maximum weight of the bike bag. Your weight limit may vary depending on which airline you fly with. It is likely to be between 50 and 70 pounds. You may find that the bag weighs 26 lbs.
I kept it simple and brought along a 4mm Thandle allen (for stem bolts), an L-wrench allen (5mm) with spare Gorilla tape around the middle (don’t forget the zipties) and a 6mm/8mm wrench to fix the pedals. The Wolf Tooth Component Pack Pliers (32.95) are essential if you need to take the chain off again and ship the bike home. They can be used to store spare master links and also act as a tire lever and valve core tool. To avoid bent rotors when you use Centerlock rotors, you will need a Centerlock Tool. WTC Pack Wrench packs light and has a magnetic 1″ hex at its bottom for use with steel hex inserts. You can also take their Pack Whip ($44.95) and a cassette lock tool. This combo is a lifesaver for anyone who has ever lost a cassette or had it jammed behind a cassette.
While the rest of the Pack Wrench inserts can be interesting, I don’t think it’s necessary to bring along a 16mm hex, splined BBB tool, or 20mm socket for most trips. However, the socket might prove useful if you have one of Otso bikes that has Tuning Chip dropouts. However, the 8mm might be useful for pedals. Each can be bought individually for $20, with the handle available for $39.95.
What else can I put in there?
It all depends on what weight restrictions your airline has, but most riders will be able fit their heavier gear into the aircraft. This includes your helmet (a helmet storage container is a great way to protect it while shipping), hydration pack/hip pack, shoes and pedals. These items can be stored in the area below your downtube. It keeps them in place. You can also store lighter items, such as bulky jackets and clothing, anywhere in the bag.
What should I do if my bag or bike is damaged?
This issue was unfortunately encountered on my first trip with the Bike Transport Bag Pro. It was evident that the bag was mishandled by the airline, as evidenced by the 15 other EVOC bags that arrived at the Pirelli launch in good condition. But what do you do now?
If you are concerned about damage to your motorbike baggage, the best thing to do is to immediately go to the baggage check while you’re still at airport. You will not be eligible for compensation if you leave the airport, even if you wait longer than 12 hours.3
This was something I had to learn the hard way during my trip. It took me a while to get my bike bag, which was delayed on the flight from Chicago to Italy, but other journalists and the Pirelli crew waited for me. I thought, “OK. I’ll deal this later.” But Delta was kind and took my case even though it was codeshare with Alitalia. They made it clear that they would never make the same mistake again. This is not something you should expect to happen very often – and it will be compensated fairly. The $695 bag arrived brand new, and Delta offered $100 to cover the cost of repairing the massive hole in the main compartment. There was also broken stitching in three spots. I was told by EVOC that this would be covered if the defect was a simple seam problem. EVOC offers a two-year warranty.