– Product reviews
I’ve clocked up a lot of bike travel miles, and Scicon’s AeroComfort range offers both of the key things I look for in bike bags: solid protection and effortless transit. They’re a good compromise between strong, easy-rolling hard cases, and lighter reinforced soft cases like the kind Thule and Evoc are known for. But I tested an earlier model in 2015 and after weeks of punishment, found it was not without its faults. By the time I got home from a six-week trip around Europe, a hole had worn through the bottom of the bag where excess material occasionally dragged and scraped whatever surface I was traversing. Usually cobbles. I was pretty excited when the opportunity came up to test the latest generation of AeroComfort MTB 3.0 on trips to a couple of domestic destinations.
Inside the AeroComfort MTB 3.0, your bike locks into a steel frame that fixes it in place and holds it upright. The frame is designed to hold most sized mountain bikes, but if you’re unsure, the Scicon website ( au.sciconbags.com) provides a handy tool for finding out whether your bike will fit or not. The bag also has two inbuilt wheel pockets on the inside that fit my fully-inflated 29x2.2” tyres and would accommodate larger, too (the pockets measure 14cm in width). When packing, the bag unzips in the middle right down to ground level, so it’s possible to stand on the inside of the bag’s sides and do your thing. It’s also useful to allow customs officers to do their checks without unpacking the frame. Yay. Once your wheels and pedals are removed, the bike fastens to the internal frame using through axles or old-fashioned (I think it’s okay to say that) quick releases. Adapters for all different variations come with the bag, as does a storage bag. Rolled up and bagged, the AeroComfort MTB would fit under a bed or on the top shelf of a wardrobe if there’s no space in your garage. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I also remove my rear derailleur, bubble wrap it, and attach this little package to the chainstay. Up front, just loosen off the stem bolts and turn your bars 90 degrees, wrapping and padding them, and your shifters and brake levers, as much as you like. The first time I travelled with the bag I took the bars off, but soon found the bag packed and travelled better with them on, filling out the front end and stopping the excess material from sagging. We estimate the bag will take up to about 760mm bars, but again, the online tool will be helpful here. The whole process takes mere minutes, although it’s easier if you have someone nearby to hold the bike while you get those through axle spacers in - they can be a bit fiddly. Reassembly is equally speedy, and I particularly liked the way the bag unzips flat. You can keep the bike in its stand until you’ve attached pedals, straightened the bars, screwed on your derailleur, and so on, then put the rear wheel in first, keeping the front wheel in the frame, before finishing the bike off. It took me about 15 minutes to reassemble my bike during testing: once in a dark hotel room, and once in a windy, freezing carpark… and most of the time was spent screwing in rotor bolts - my choice!
ON THE GO
Scicon’s AeroComfort MTB 3.0 comes into its own on the go. From the boot of the car to check-in, through crowded airports and zigzagging queue lines, and hurrying for a train or a bus, the bag takes no effort to steer or tow. It floats along behind you as effortlessly as an invisible dog on a leash – which is a great advantage if you’re travelling to an event and want to arrive as fresh as humanly possible. Hefting the bike can, however, feel a little awkward. The AeroComfort bag has no straps at its base, so it can be hard to lift onto its side when putting it in the boot of the car or onto the baggage conveyor belt at the oversize drop-off point.
I was interested to see what had changed since I tested the 2015 version of this bag. The latest version is bigger, designed to take all sizes of mountain bikes, and now has a longer wheelbase, meaning it’s less likely to drag along the ground. It also means that you can keep your bars on when packing. The dragging problem I had with the first version of the AeroComfort MTB can occur with this latest updated design. The difference is that when I noticed that the front end of the bag was touching the ground a bit, I was able to change how I packed it (keeping handlebars on rather than taking them off, and not dropping my seat post much - the bag is ISP compatible, after all), and the problem went away. Travelling with a bike is always a hassle, and while this bike bag isn’t perfect - it’s pretty close. For this seasoned MTB traveller, Scicon’s AeroComfort MTB 3.0 is the best choice on the market.
- Quick and easy to pack and unpack - Glides through airport traffic like
it’s floating on air - Nice added extras like a TSA lock,
spare wheels, and gear bag
- No low straps to help you pick
the bag up to lie it on its side - Base may touch the ground if your bike is small or overzealously dismantled RRP: $949 WEIGHT: 9.0kg FROM: au.sciconbags.com