In March of this year, Wheelsuckers’ member, Mark Howard, provided us with a comprehensive review of the Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag, but that was just his initial assessment. In April, Mark travelled to Mallorca for a week of cycling in the Tramuntana Mountains, the first time he had used a bike bag, rather than a bike box, to transport his beloved Giant TCR.
So how did the Mark cope on his travels and, most importantly, did his bike make it through Palma airport intact and did it return home in the same condition as it left?
Two months after my initial review of the Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag, I was packing for a week of luxury, both on and off the bike in Mallorca. Despite my initial confidence in the bag’s ability to deliver the bike in one piece unblemished, there remained a seed of nagging doubt in the back of my mind. However, this may have been as much due to it being my bike’s first flight as it was about the bag being a soft case rather than hard box. I needn’t have worried though, and here’s why.
I was already aware how easy it was to pack the bike, but such is the size of the bag with plenty of space around the bike, there were plenty of options to pack additional kit. After a bit of faffing and weighing, the picture below shows what I managed to fit in!
The bag grossed at 30 kg with 2 kg to spare; that’s about 12 kg of kit packed. That was quite impressive and should help with staying below hold luggage weight limits, or possibly eliminating the need for hold luggage altogether, as I did by using up half of my partner’s weight allowance!
The full accessory bag fitted easily under the down tube behind the forks. I taped a track pump to one seat stay and a camera monopod to the other. The saddle bag was left in situ and the rest of the kit was packed around the frame, forks and stays.
I shrouded the bike in foam pipe insulation, as much to protect it from my other kit as to provide additional protection against external abuse. Although the bag is already well padded, it will be flipped onto its side many, many times during transportation and loose content will jiggle about if not packed in tightly, so I beefed up the padding with a bit of cardboard, which I cut to fit snugly. If one is nervous about particularly vulnerable areas, like the rear mech, then it might be worth considering fashioning a protective covering out of cardboard or foam.
Manoeuvring the Scicon bag was a breeze; very impressive. Even at 30 kg, it was easy to slide in and out the Yaris boot. There was a brief moment of head scratching when we clocked the narrow boot aperture of our Renault Clio hire car, but the shape of the Scicon bag provided a couple of alternative options and we were able to angle and rotate it into place with a few mm to spare. It was also comforting to know that had it been necessary, I could have taken the bike out and folded up the bag; this would not have worked with a hard case bike box!
Negotiating the airport car parks, pavements, hallways, lifts and flat escalators was a cinch. I initially thought maybe the caster wheels were a tad on the small side, but they effortlessly and smoothly glided over any surface and it was no problem keeping it on a straight course. When required to tow and lift up/down kerbs and steps, the hand and shoulder straps were just the job; strong and comfortable. It was also very stable with never a hint of toppling over; most of the time I just guided it alongside me with my hand resting on top. It certainly looked a lot easier to handle than the many other bike bags and boxes I saw being carted around the airport halls and car parks.
Check-In was easy and it was a relief to see that my bathroom scales had been accurate. Although the airline’s small print says bike bags should only contain a bike, no one checked inside or wondered why it weighed so much; maybe I looked too old for a sporty lightweight carbon racer! At least whilst I was in sight, airport staff handled the bag with care, lowered it onto its side and I waved it goodbye.
We were reunited at Palma airport, bag intact without a mark. One of the base corners had sagged a little and interfered with the free rotation of a caster wheel, but once lifted and straightened, we whizzed through the airport to the rental car office with ease.
Unpacking at the hotel, it was a relief to see that the extra kit I’d packed was relatively undisturbed and that the bike and wheels were in one piece, unscathed. Once emptied, the bag was rolled up, packed into its storage bag and slid under the bed. Meanwhile, most of the other hotel guests had taken up half of the bike garage space with their hard cases!
Unfortunately during the return trip to the UK, the bag’s side panel’s outer layer had been split, probably the result of a hard object crushing the fabric against the derailleur guard. However the stronger inner fabric was still intact and the derailleur guard had done its job with no damage to the rear mech. Perhaps if I’d foam padded the guard as well, the damage would have been less severe.
There were of course a few other scuff’s as you’d expect on any hold luggage, but nothing worthy of note or concern. All in all, the bag had stood up well during its two journeys
Despite my initial concerns about a taking my carbon fibre bike in a softshell bag, rather than a hardshell box, the Scicon AeroComfort bike bag won me over completely. Admittedly, it is an expensive piece of kit, but overall quality is so high, that one can understand why its retail price is at the less affordable end of the scale.
No, it’s not as protective as a hard bike box, but it’s still very protective and probably as good as it gets with any soft bag. You can add extra padding, as I did for peace of mind, but it probably isn’t necessary.
It’s a breeze to pack/unpack and there’s buckets of space for extra kit (12 kg in my case), something which normally isn’t possible in hard boxes.
It’s lightweight and a joy to float around the airport halls, car parks and pavements and it’s easy to lift too for the odd kerb or step. It would make a great companion on Strictly Come Dancing!
It’s extremely versatile when it comes to transportation and storage, packing into small car boots and sliding under low hotel beds, securely out of harm’s way. Try getting a hard case into your attic!!
The Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag retails at £445, but if that price tag leaves you a little short of breath, then check out the link below for an exclusive deal that Scicon are offering Wheelsuckers' members. Just be sure to enter the code WHEELSUCKERS2016 at checkout.
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