– Prod­uct re­views

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WORDS: IMO­GEN SMITH PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

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.

GET PACK­ING

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.

AEROCOMFORT EVO­LU­TION

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.

HITS

- 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

MISSES

- 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

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