While not yet an official product from bike bag specialist Scicon, we’d seen their rain bags featured in the Tour de France on Eurosport about the pro teams using them to keep gear organized and close at hand. We reached out to get some more info and learned that they are actually kind of available to consumers now for team/group orders, and will be more readily accessible with a bit of an update when Scicon introduces a new website and e-commerce platform later in the year. In the meantime, Scicon printed up a couple of custom Bikerumor.com bags for us to review and are offering another pair of customized bags to two of our readers as a part of an upcoming reward draw. Hop past the break for the details on the bags and to find out how you will be able to win a personalized one in a couple of weeks…
The Scicon Rainbag was designed with pro teams in mind, in order to keep the gear for an entire team organized and easy to access in the back of a team support car. It gets its name because the pro cyclist will stuff the pack with all of the spare clothes they could expect to need if the weather turns bad on an otherwise nice day. When rain starts mid race, a team soigneur sitting in the back of the team car, can quickly find each rider’s bag and dole out the right rain jacket, arm warmers, or pair of shoe covers. And if someone crashes mid-race and needs to replace something like a pair of gloves, or even a broken shoe or jersey, that’s in there too.
As a pro item, the Rainbag is only partly available to consumers. Since they are not a normal production item, each run of bags is made-to-order, so to get one you need to buy a bunch for your own team or club. That being said, Scicon didn’t say that they had a fixed minimum order and seemed willing to work with customers to produce them in relatively small numbers, and everything they make can get a custom graphics design like our did. What does that mean? We don’t really know, but I got the feeling that maybe down to 5 or 6 bags might even be considered. OK, so Scicon elaborated that the minimum order is 15, so @JP and @Silverlining will have to find some more teammates to make an order before the new customization site is up and running.
But even that limitation is expected to drop away soon. Scicon has a new e-commerce site in the works that will allow some easy to process customization (like getting your name printed on this and their bike bags) direct through their website. It apparently has some time left to hone the design and back-end functionality that will connect to the production scheduling, so it isn’t expected until maybe the end of 2015/early 2016. But then, a version of the Rainbag with updated Scicon graphics and personalization will just be a few clicks away.
In the meantime Rainbag still isn’t exceptionally cheap though. The bags actually have a huge number of parts, with 6 zippered compartments, and takes a surprising amount of production time. Just for comparison, Scicon explained to us that the Rainbag takes 80% of the same time they spend sewing their 550€ Aerocomfort bike bag. That means the bags as they stand, will cost about ~120€ including personalization.
From a tech stand point, the roughly 25x25x45cm Rainbag is made of a durable Cordura fabric with carry handles on the top and on one end. It has 4 equal-sized pockets along the long side top and bottom that are labeled as “Rain Jackets+Vests”, “Warmers”,”Jerseys+Shorts”, and “Gloves” that are lined with a light water resistant nylon. The front end with your name and handle has a large deep pocket labeled”Shoes+Covers”. It has a small mesh pocket on the opening flap to stow a set of shoe covers, and the shoes slide into the heart of the bag surrounded by the 4 main pockets. The back end of the bag gets a more shallow pocket intended to store wet gear after it is used.
While it was designed for pros its layout, size, and clearly-labeled pockets make it a great gear bag for amateur cyclists as well. With cyclocross season in full swing we’ve been getting a lot of use out of the bags as well. I personally keep mine packed with clothing for cold and wet weather, as a back-up. For each race I pack a pair of musettes, each with a complete kit for the expected weather: one for warm-ups and pre-riding and one for racing. The Rainbag serves to always have a complete back-up kit for when the weather turns sour. So far, I’ve only done one race where I didn’t at least pull out a pair of arm warmers when it was colder than expected. And just this past weekend when it was supposed to be sunny, we drove just over an hour to a race where it rained almost the entire afternoon, and I pulled everything out that was waiting for me in the Rainbag.
The small size of the bag means that if fills up if you put each of the labeled items inside. We typically add a short-sleeve base layer and a cap in with the gloves. I then toss small bits like my GPS, heartrate monitor strap, sunglasses case, and race number in the mesh end because it is easy to see what I’ve remembered. Being able to know everything is in the car and easily accessible, among the spare wheels, has made the pre-race run around a lot smoother. While I’m as far from pro as you can get in Masters cross racing, the organization that comes with this Rainbag takes a good bit of stress out of race prep and lets me focus on riding (or maybe sleeping in for an extra 15 minutes in the morning.) In either case, my race experience has actually improved with a simple bag alone, which isn’t something to balk at.
The two customized Rainbags that will be up for grabs in a couple of weeks will be the same Bikerumor.com design as our review samples so you can rep your love of tech news. Two lucky readers will get one Bikerumor/Scicon Rainbag that will be customized with their name and country (or perhaps state) flag. To get in on a chance to win one, all you will need to do is complete our reader survey that comes out later this month. So keep an eye out for that and enter to win one, amongst several other rewards we have in store.
And if you don’t win or don’t want to wait, gather up your friends/club/team and get in touch with Scicon directly. While the Rainbag isn’t in their web store, they feature it on occasion in their news feed, and will be happy to custom make you some.