I know I was freaking out flying with my bike to IM Boulder last week! (wow...feels like two weeks ago!) I was originally thinking I was going to drive from Kansas City and have it be a family trip where we visit some family and race a half ironman. That was then, this is now.
Plans evolved and I ended up flying solo to the event. My wife was just too worn out and trying to manage two young children while traveling AND managing a nervous triathlete husband was just not in the cards. I don’t blame her. I had a place to crash to save money and it turned out cheaper to fly thanks to Frontier offering regular priced checked bag fees for bikes!
More on the whole traveling to a destination event later.
Off to the trusty internet for my traveling solutions. Of course I hit DCRainmaker’s blog for his traveling tips. He advocated a soft case over a hard case as hard cases have a shorter life span and for airlines that hit you with bike fees, the bag is less conspicuous. I was sold.
Which one to use? There are a lot out there ranging from $175 to $600 depending on the comfort level you want to buy. This is where I ran into Scicon Technical Bags on twitter. I performed a little research, struck up a dialog and low and behold they were in with Man Versus Triathlon and I had a bag.
The Scicon AeroComfort Plus was what they hooked me up with. It’s a soft vinyl case bag with lots of padding.
I put them to the test for IM Boulder and MVT, and here’s what I came away with:
- The side flaps had a zippered pocket for wheels and extra padding. I took no chances and wrapped the hubs with Styrofoam and they slipped right in and fit perfect!
- The bag has ample padding without becoming too bulky or clunky.
- Sturdy sippers.
- Sturdy handle straps to carry the bag by if needed.
- Ample space for the bike and some of your gear if you want to stow it in the bag and free up room in your carry on.
- The bottom is tied to a metal frame that has adjustable supports for the fork and rear wheel bracket. In the end if you didn’t want to use it, you could take it out but I know I felt more comfortable knowing my bike was secured and the fork would not be flopping around.
- Material appeared to be pretty sturdy.
- There’s a nice strap on the inside that connects the flaps together for extra support after you zip the bag shut.
- Wheels on the bottom and a pull strap on the front! Need I say more?
- It’s a nice looking bag.
- It comes with a handy cinch bag to place the empty bag in when storing to keep it nice and tidy.
- It’s a nice bag and they like to advertise what they provide. WARNING : BIKE INSIDE : HANDLE WITH CARE was pasted on both sides plain as day. To a ticket counter, that says “charge me a huge fee!”. I ended up creatively applying some black permanent marker to the BIKE INSIDE portion as to not tip off eager ticket agents.
- The bag is designed so that you could leave your handlebars on in place. I don’t know about most of you, but there’s no way I’m leaving handlebars on for a flight. It’s a little bit of wasted space and makes the bag a little larger than it needs to be.
- I wish it had straps on the outside to cinch it up on the exterior to avoid any slack in the bag. Smaller the better for traveling.
- It could have used a few more pockets on the inside for stuff like pedals, seat and post, misc gear, etc. They had one, but I’m greedy and wanted more.
- Scicon is based in Italy. You can buy direct from them but shipping will be a killer. There are several retailers in the US that carries them, but they are pricey. Always remember, though, you get what you pay for.
I packed, traveled and came back in one piece and had no major issues. The stress of hoping I would have a bike after a flight that wasn’t scratched up or in pieces was quickly dissipated when I landed safe and sound back home Sunday night after the race. I would not hesitate to use their bag for any future traveling with either of my bikes (and I LOVE my bikes – just as my wife).
*Writer’s note, Scicon provided the AeroComfort plus at no charge for review and did not influence the writer for a positive or negative review.
You can also see my Examiner write up HERE.
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