A Few Flights with the Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro
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A Few Flights with the Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro

Evoc’s Bike Travel Bag Pro is what the German brand refers to as their “high-end” solution for bike transport. It’s a soft/hard-sided hybrid case with multiple integrated bells and whistles designed to keep bikes safe and secure in transit. I’ve used the Travel Bag Pro on a few flights this year and, while I’m not a big fan of air travel nor checked luggage in general, this bag has been a pleasure to use.

Let’s check it out in detail below!

Prior to this year, I went a while without flying, and even longer without hauling a bike with me (or checked bags for that matter), but had some trips recently where traveling with my bike made more sense than shipping it or renting once at my destination. My only former experience with bike luggage was an old two-piece hard side case that worked well for road bikes and some older MTBs, but I sold it once my mountain bikes got bulkier and no longer fit.

There are plenty of options for bike travel bags and cases on the market these days, and I honed in on the Evoc line because they appeared to have a balance of efficiency and strength. The soft upper portion also allows them to be collapsed when not in use for easier storage. I own a few Evoc camera bags, as I appreciate their thoughtful organizational layouts and overbuilt qualities, so had an idea of what I’d be getting from one of their bike bags.

The Bike Travel Bag Pro appeared to hit most marks for me: collapsable, accommodates fairly large frame/wheels, and is simple to use with only minimal bike disassembly. But, it is not without drawbacks, which I’ll explain more below.

1988 Toyota Pickup tailgate for collapsed scale

The Pro version of Evoc’s bike travel bags, specifically, utilizes a padded upper nylon portion with removable plastic “sticks” and “tubes,” while the lower hard deck is further strengthened when the bike is loaded onto the aluminum-railed bike stand (included, but also sold separately). It also fits a fairly large max bike size, which was a selling point over other bags on the market. My Sklar Sweet Jammer has a 1227mm wheelbase which essentially maxed out the bag lengthwise (1300mm is the longest wheelbase that will fit).

Specs

  • Capacity: 310L
  • Weight: 22.04 lbs (including clip-on wheel + bike stand)
  • Dimensions: 147 x 36 x 85 cm (Inside 136 x 27 x 80 cm)
  • Maximum bike wheelbase: 130cm
  • Collapsible to 147 x 36 x 22 cm for easy storage

Travel Bag Pro Setup and Loading a Bike

The bag arrived completely collapsed and required the bike stand to be assembled and the sticks/rods installed to give it shape. I first made the mistake of trying to load the bike frame while the stand was inside the bag. My bike comes so close to maxing out the stand/bag that there was hardly any clearance to do so. Hot tip: load the bike on the stand and then lift everything into the bag together.

Evoc includes a pack of axle adapters sized for “all modern axle standards.” These adapters slot into the hubs at each end of the bike stand, which the bike is then attached to as if threading axles through wheel hubs for a secure fit. Hubs are height adjustable using a series of vertically-slotted holes. I tried to find the sweet spot where my chainring would be elevated off the floor of the bag, while also leaving a buffer at the top where the stem wouldn’t protrude too much into the top of the bag.

With the stand together I removed my wheels and handlebar to mount the bike on the front and rear axle brackets (notice the tape measure in the above image indicating my bike just 9cm shy of reaching the stand’s max length). With the bike affixed to the stand, my handlebars came off and I strapped them to the included top tube protector.

With my bike taking so much lengthwise real estate on the stand, I was forced to remove the derailleur to make it all fit in the bag. This wasn’t really a big deal and I actually appreciated not having it protruding from the bike’s rear end and, rather, resting on the floor of the bag where it was less prone to impact and damage.

I typically ride with chunky 29×2.6 tires on wide rims, so the bag needed to have large wheel holsters. This bag has two separate wheel compartments on the aft end, each with reinforced disc and cassette protectors. The compartments take two 2cm diameter plastic rods for shape and, seemingly, offer added protection to the wheels from outside impacts. These rods would be easily replaceable with PVC of a similar diameter. Fully deflating the Teravail Kessels allowed the entire tire/wheel assembly to slide right in.

No tire removal + no disc removal + no cassette removal = travel bliss!

In addition to adjustable positioning for hub/axle configuration, the bag’s interior includes a variety of strap positions to secure the bike to the side of the case. There are three interior pockets; one clear pocket is located on the sidewall and was perfect for storing pedals, tools, and other bits like my stem clamp and bolts. I stashed my shoes, helmet, and tool roll on the floor of the bag rather than in my stuffed carry-on luggage. I figured that if the bike bag was delayed in transit, I’d have little use for my helmet and shoes anyway and, thus, didn’t need them with me.

Traveling with the Bike Travel Bag Pro

Weighing in at 24lbs, this bag is heavy. I think it will be a challenge for most folks traveling with mountain bikes in this bag to stay under the 50lb limit of most major airlines. I tried to work around this and book a recent flight through Alaska Airlines, which has a reasonable $30 fee for “sports equipment.” Unfortunately, that flight happened to be operated by American Airlines, whose staff looked bewildered when presented with my bike bag and did not hesitate to slap the $100 fee on it.

In retrospect, I could have packed the wheels and gear in a separate bag to reduce weight and likely avoid the $100 surcharge, but would have then been dinged the standard $30 or $40 per bag. In the end, it’s largely a wash between shipping, renting, and checking when figuring in the upcharge, but the convenience of flying with your bike often outweighs alternatives.

The bag rolls on two permanently affixed rear wheels and one optional clip-on front caster that slides into a hole in the aluminum handle system. Evoc claims these are skateboard wheels, but they look more like scooter wheels to me. Regardless, they are replaceable, which is a bonus.

I can’t imagine using this bag without the front wheel. It makes maneuvering around airports a breeze. Just don’t forget to detach it and store it in the bag’s front pocket. It merely rests in the handle slot, so will fall out as soon as the bag is lifted off the ground!

After a few flights with the bag, I noticed a few areas of material wear, both on the inner ripstop nylon and the outer cordura. At this point, I’m blaming this on myself for the way I packed the bike. I don’t think I was careful enough about where my brake levers and handlebar head unit mount were placed inside the bag, which then caused abrasions with who-knows-what was stacked on it during transit. Hopefully I can pack better in the future to eliminate this from happening again. It’s a good lesson, though, and another reason I’m happy with my decision to remove the derailleur rather than try to make it fit in the bag while attached.

Wrap Up

The Bike Travel Bag Pro has done everything I need it to do and more, though it’s not without it’s shortcomings that I’ve attempted to point out. So, to wrap this review, here is a list of pros and cons I’ve identified in my time with the bag:

Pros

  • Solid, secure, protective
  • Folds to compact size for storage
  • Simple assembly and bike loading
  • Ample internal pockets for small bits
  • Adjustable for a variety of bike types and sizes
  • Easy to maneuver when loaded

Cons

  • Expensive (MSRP $795)
  • Heavy (24lbs)
  • Variety of axle adapters leaves a lot of unused plastic pieces
  • Potential for material wear