Travelling with your bike has always been associated with a certain amount of hassle. Organising the travel necessities like booking the flights is stressful enough, without having to worry about your bike. To this end I always look to take a bike bag with me that doesn’t cause any additional headaches or worry. Stressing about heavy handed baggage handlers is not conducive to a restful flight. Will the Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA bike travel bag put my worries to rest?
When it comes to bike bags, my main priorities are that it is easy to pack and is durable and reliable. I’m stating this because my long standing first hand experience with numerous travel bags had been, at times, a roller-coaster “journey”!
I’ve always held Scicon in high regard, due to their reputation and a broad portfolio. The fact that they are widely used in the Pro peloton also says a lot. I managed to touch base with Pro team personnel to seek their experience. It was interesting to get their seasoned opinion, which was a positive one across the board.
I opted for a Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA, a dedicated MTB travel bag instead of the road version. Despite that fact, the Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA has been ‘misused’ for training camps and cyclo-cross races as well. We managed to pack road bikes into it without any issues.
I do see the rationale in making a dedicated MTB travel bag. The Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA is a secure case which easily swallows an XXL 29er. Something most road bike orientated boxes would struggle with. It is explicitly custom-made to fit the dimensions of mountain bikes. Burly endurance race bikes and sizeable 29ers need more space than their skinny road cousins.
The bag is made of a foam padded, 840 denier Nylon Ripstop fabric. Inside you will find an enormous SciCon Antishock Bike Frame (ABF). You attach your bike to the ABF frame via your drop-outs, this diminishes lateral movement and any kind of vibration. Now in case you have to deal with different axle sizes, there are additional QR/Thru Axles options to be had. I was also curious whether the bag would take integrated seat-posts. Quick answer, yes it does, I managed to fit a 95cm tall one.
Once your bike is fixed to the ABF you will need to loosen your handlebars and rotate them 90 degrees. On each side of the bag there are internal pockets, to accommodate your wheels and a separate pocket for small parts such as shoes, helmet or accessories. Disc brakes are safe in the wheel bags, which are double padded. This all helps to create a secure environment for your bike and belongings.
Packing and un-packing the bike soon became second nature and a finely tuned routine. We challenged the bag once by squeezing in a sizeable triathlon bike. Frankly, it isn’t made for this kind of bike, but after taking apart the bike, we managed to put it in there safely.
Moving on to moving and the AeroComfort is well served by four sets of wheels. They make the bag very easy to maneuver on smooth surfaces and there is a padded shoulder strap, should you need it. The AeroComfort can fold down to about a third of its packed size once the bike is removed. We did this often on arrival at an airport, putting the bike into the hire car and the bag next to it. The space the empty bag occupies is wonderfully small.
My main worries about using a soft-sided bag turned out to be un-founded. Travelling with your bike is always nerve wracking, but you can lessen that stress with a good bag. I didn’t believe a soft bag would be able to replace a hard case, but after frequent trips via plane, train and automobile, I no longer see a huge need for a hard case. While I don’t think the Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA is perfect, it’s features and construction make it outstanding at the end of the day.
Now, I have a race mate who is a seasoned traveller, he uses a Scicon hard case, which he can’t stop praising! In his opinion the higher cost was worth it for the peace of mind he has when travelling. Now I would love to try the hard case and see how they compare. That being said, my priorities when choosing a bag were ease of handling, manoeuverability and protection. All of which were covered by the Scicon AeroComfort bag, I was never worried whether my bike would arrive in one piece.
In fact the bag has become a favourite among my team and I constantly had requests to borrow it. It’s had plenty of use and it hasn’t always been treated gently. At cyclo-cross races it has been exposed to all kinds of weather and dragged across uneven, frozen and muddy surfaces. I’ve been lax in looking after the wheels, but they still roll smoothly. This is nothing compared to the abuse heaped upon it by airline luggage handlers. I was apprehensive to say the least, expecting a broken frame after their rude handling! But no, the bike was fine and everything stayed in place.
While the AeroComfort isn’t cheap my experience after living with it is that any concerns about cost have vanished fairly quickly after continuous good experience. I’ve talked to other Scicon users and the feedback has been universally positive. Granted the bag has to be used regularly in order to justify the cost, but in comparison to other competitors it’s worth it. I’m not taking into account cheap knock-off products here, but comparing with other high-end brands. The Scicon AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA bike travel bag is really well designed and will be a long time companion on your travels.