Now that traveling is back to somewhat of a normal setting, more and more riders are traveling with their bikes. The potential problems that circle flying with your bike are varied, and no one wants to open a bike bag to discover damaged equipment. That’s why if you fly to races or go on trips with your bike regularly, a nice bike bag or travel case is paramount.
I drive to most of my races but I’ve been lucky enough to fly to some as well, and packing a bike bag has never been without anxiety — until now. The new EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro is a travel companion that wants to help you travel in peace and not receive a bike in pieces.
What is it — EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro
The new EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro is a bike case that looks to take the disassembly and uncertainty out of air travel. The collapsible bag is specifically designed for drop-bar use — hence the dramatic bar-shaped padding near the front of the box.
The idea is to get the bike packed and stored safely with the least amount of mechanical turmoil and time. After a few trips with the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro, it’s safe to say they hit the mark.
The EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro isn’t a hard case or a softshell bag, it’s truly a mix of the two with some ingenious structural supports. For those that know their way around bike travel; hard cases protect well but they weigh a ton and can be hard to transport/store — soft shell cases are usually lighter, slimmer, but are susceptible to damage and water.
The way EVOC designed the Road Bike Bag Pro, the case is collapsible and arrives flat with the handlebar protective layer as the only awkward piece. The EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro case collapsed comes in at 130 x 53 x 25cm and weighs around 25lbs.
Inside the box is everything you need to pack and ship your bike. The bottom of the bag is a rugged plastic, matching the material of the handlebar supports. The remainder of the case is a mix of reinforcing fabric and ripstop style padded material on the inside.
For transportation, the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro rolls on two fixed inline skate style wheels in the rear and an optional removable front wheel.
EVOC rightfully recognize that most bike racers would lose the front wheel within seconds, so they added a small stowaway bag for it — very clever and cool.
On the inside of the bag, you’ll find; a metal frame where the bike will attach without wheels, EVOC padded wheel bags, various flat graphite sticks for structure, and finally, PVC style tubing for extra protection.
It sounds like a lot — and it really is. I can safely say it took me more time to build the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro than get my bike packed and inside it. It’s similar to other bags I’ve used but the graphite sticks threw me for a loop.
Each stick fits snuggly (very snuggly) in slots around the outside of the bag. They provide structural integrity, and are very resilient to hits, bending but not denting or cracking. Another advantage of graphite sticks is they are very lightweight and add little weight to the case.
How to Pack your Bike for Travel
After setting up the sticks and getting the case to stand up in form, the next step is to set up the metal guide stand for your bike’s dropout configuration. I travel with my do-it-all ‘cross bike most of the time and found the 142 x 12 drop-out dummy axle holder fit nice and snug.
There is a small amount of configuring what level to put the dummy axel in — there are four in the rear and two in the front. These are set up in various heights to make certain your chainring doesn’t pass under the metal frame. Some bikes are easier to fit than others, but no matter what — all bikes will fit.
Like the MTB oriented EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro, the rear support is designed to protect the rear derailleur and derailleur hanger from impacts. To do so, simply shift the rear derailleur inwards until it makes contact with the vertical support – now any impact won’t be able to bend the hanger.
After you remove your wheels, you attach the frame to the bike stand mounting the front end first and moving the rear to meet the dropouts. The sliding dropout on the metal frame is super nice and you never have to fight with pushing or pulling into place.
When the bike is secure, the handlebar cover buckles over the cockpit assembly. This may not look like much but I’ll assure you, this material is super tough, plus it sits inside a hardshell case when all is said and done. One of the best parts of this bag is that you don’t have to make any changes to your bar and stem position. That way your fit remains untouched, and it’s ready to ride at your destination.
When I travel, I usually take some tools with me and remove the rotors from my bike just in case. So after removing the rotors, and pedals I stored them away in my Green Guru bag and pack the wheels.
The EVOC wheel bags are generous, but they didn’t fully cover my 35mm gravel tires, so I decided that a 28mm road tire would have to do. You may have better luck with larger tires by deflating them before cramming them into the bag.
I found it easier to add the wheel to the case and then add the metal bike frame into the bag. Before you put the wheel in you’ll need to add the last layer of protection to the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro — the PVC rod. This plastic rod slides in right in the middle of the inside of the bag and is much easier to install than the graphite sticks.
Once you have the PVC rod in on each side, you’re ready to pack. The wheel goes in, then the frame, and then the other wheel. The EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro comes with straps to hold the bike, wheels, and cargo in place.
The bike should slide easily into the bag, though I’ve heard some stories of riders needing to drop the seat post a bit to fit.
Once you’re positive the bike fits, you add the bracing rod through the rear triangle. This is a super cool feature that adds tons of rigidity to a delicate area of the bike frame.
When you are satisfied with the pack job, you’re all good to zip up. The EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro zips really nice with a burly zipper with a combo lock — good for keeping people out of your stuff if you get help up, but you might want to set it after TSA security check-in.
Real-life travel with the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro
The EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro is super easy to pack up but it wasn’t as easy to fit it in my car with the family. The plastic handlebar section makes it a bit tough to finesse in and out of the car, so if you’re traveling with it, make plans ahead of time and spare your family the headache.
Wheeling the bag around the airport was easy enough, the extra wheel in the front helps move the bag easily. The top-heavy nature of the bag can make it hard to roll around if it’s not your only bag and you’re trying to keep your kiddos in line.
Hopefully, you’re not lugging the bag around the airport for too long, but the professional look and style will get you some looks. Plus — most people are kind enough to give you room to pass.
I’m usually worried about how my bike will come after going through TSA and Home Land Security, but this simple pack job put me at ease. When I picked my bag from the conveyer belt it showed little signs of wear or abrasions. When I opened the box, everything was in place, as I packed it — this is rarely the case when I use my hardshell case where I use my Tetris skills to organize and TSA has to recreate my pack job.
EVOC Road Bike Travel Bag Pro Review
If you’re in the market for a bike travel bag that packs away much easier than a full hard shell but has most if not all of the hard shell benefits — this is your bag. The price is a bit steep, and if you’re thinking you won’t use it much, I would consider renting a bike instead. If you like to travel with your own gear and do it often, the EVOC Road Bike Bag Pro is a top choice. Plus you can lend it to your buddies for a six-pack when not in use.