7 Minute Read
7 Minute Read
Yup, there’s one here, just for you! Read through the review and you’ll find it towards the end.
To be honest, I haven’t have much experience with them as a company. I’ve known about their products for a long time now, most particularly their larger bike travel bags.
However, I’ve never seriously considered a soft shell bike bag, given the weirdly specific conditions that various airlines like to legally cover themselves with. I wrote more about how I travel by plane with my bike if you’d like to see more of my thoughts on that matter specifically.
This is something else entirely though, so I thought I’d write about it.
Recently I was traveling on an epic trip to the Dolomites. As part of the trip’s perks, I found this bag waiting for me in my hotel in Bormio once I arrived. Velodrom even took care to put my name on my individual bag!
I knew we were getting a bike bag of some kind, but I thought it’d be a basic, small thing that I’d likely never use.
Turns out that it wasn’t!
I think this was the first thing I noticed, actually. Even when collapsed down and inside a plastic bag, this thing was actually super rugged feeling. But in a way that felt, I don’t know, nice.
You can also tell that the bag is extremely purpose driven when you see the labels included for things like “gloves” or “warmers” associated with each of the pockets. You may think this is a bit gimmicky, but it does show that care was put into the design of the bag.
I can’t specifically speak first-hand to its “rain” quality here, but given the material, it definitely should hold its own in some wet conditions.
It’s a somewhat small bag, but surprisingly large for what you may initially expect. It’s basically just a bit larger than if you were to create a generous 3d “box” around a helmet. With a bit of extra space. Their website describes it as the size of a “large shoebox.”
It won’t carry a bunch of things, but it’s going to fit basically what you’d need for a day’s event. Likely a helmet, a bunch of soft items, and your electronics like your bike computer or tail light.
You can fit a set of shoes around your helmet, either in the same pocket or in the pockets that are accessible from the top of the bag, but it’ll definitely get stretched out a bit. You’d still have room, but only for a few soft or small items.
Now if you instead orient your helmet sideways, with the outer shell facing the outer side of the bag, you can actually fit two shoes in the gap on the other side. That is, if you stack them heel to toe like you normally would in a shoebox. Once I packed the bag this way, I was surprised that everything fit so well. You could even fit some sunglasses or some snacks inside the helmet.
That being said, you do have considerably more room if you use the main pocket for shoes and carried your helmet separately. The product page actually has a handy gif that showcases this quite nicely.
I didn’t use the strap too much on the trip itself, but I did find it quite handy when later using the bag traveling on some busses, trains, and planes. The main top hand strap is solid and can definitely support plenty of weight on its own.
I find that traveling with a helmet can be tricky. You don’t want it compressed against things in your luggage with the potential to take an impact when people throw your luggage around. But also because it’s kind of an awkward shape on its own.
I didn’t exactly feel like wearing mine on the bus in Venice, nor did I want to strap it on the outside of my backpack. So instead, I put it in this bag, threw on the strap, and added it to my array of luggage that I hastily packed up after climbing the Passo Fedaia from Alleghe earlier that morning.
It felt quite well protected in there, and it fit into a nice rectangular shape that sat nicely on top of my rolling suitcase.
There are 4 top / bottom pockets, each fitting skinny things in a flexible shape. Imagine putting 4 books in, side to side, two accessible from the top and two from the bottom. Except that you also have the main side pocket that basically expands and contracts in a sort of duffel bag fashion.
So depending on what you really want to carry will determine how you pack these pockets. When putting a helmet in the main pocket, you’ll find that smaller and flexible items like clothing will fit best in each of these pockets because they’ll fit around the helmet. Similarly, if you fit the helmet in sideways with a set of shoes next to it, you can still fit several items in these pockets provided that they can fit around the shell of your helmet and around your shoes.
The other side pocket expands a bit like the main pocket, but doesn’t extend all the way like the main one does.
It’s also covered by mesh, which would work well with something wet that you don’t exactly want festering like that old gym bag you may still have in your closet somewhere.
A fun perk that I liked! Velodrom had labels with each of our names on them made for our bags. It was a nice touch.
It’s a velcro rectangle that can be removed pretty easily, and apparently can be customized to whatever you want. You just have to select “shop custom” button on the product page.
So the intention for this bag, as instructed by our crew, was to keep things that we wanted to have later access to during SAG stops throughout each day.
This came in super handy when we were climbing up a bunch of mountain passes. There was no reason to carry our rain gear, jackets, or extra vests on the way up. We could instead hop in the van, find our clearly labeled bag hanging on one of the hooks, and get what we needed.
It was also a nice place to put something that maybe you realized you brought along earlier in the day and no longer needed. I used it as a stash bag for my suncreen and my GoPro, which I didn’t always want to have on me at the time.
I’ll admit that I haven’t used this bag much since getting back from my trip, but I still love it and want to use it more. It’s something I can easily throw over my shoulder and into my car when doing day trips up to San Francisco to ride up northward into Marin.
It doesn’t weigh much on its own, and fits nicely into what is sometimes a hastily packed car, packing down well if you no longer need it to actually store things on your journey.
Generally, it worked out surprisingly well for me when traveling through Venice at the tail end of my trip, and I found myself regularly using it to store small things that I needed more easy access to while traveling through the airport. It worked well as my “personal item” on the plane as well.
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