Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike travel bag - review - Road Cycling UK

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Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike travel bag – review

Smart design makes flying with your bike a breeze

Travelling abroad with your bike is both exciting and stressful in equal measure. Exciting thanks to the adventure which awaits, whether that’s an overseas sportive or warm-weather training camp, but stressful as you watch your pride and joy disappear down the oversize baggage carousel at the airport.

It’s also a stressful experience not just hoping your bike arrives at the other end safely, but because it’s generally nothing less than a faff to pack your machine to make it ready to fly.

The Scicon Aerocomfort eliminates all the faff – a road bike can be fully packed in the bag in five to ten minutes – and the smart design gives your machine a strong chance of arriving intact.

If you’re flying abroad, you generally have three options when it comes to transporting your bike. The most affordable is to try and source a cardboard bike box from your local shop, but they typically don’t offer a great deal of protection and, once damaged, can’t be re-used. They’re difficult to transport, too, and can be a pain to store at home or in a hotel room.

The Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike bag in ready-to-fly mode
  • Specification

  • Price: £475
  • Website: Scicon

Otherwise you can opt for a padded bike bag, which offer varying levels of protection depending on the design, and can be packed down for storage. Or there’s a hard case, which offers additional protection, but is heavy and cumbersome. There’s also a school of thought which says baggage handlers may give bike boxes less respect, as they assume they offer more protection (or it’s less obvious what’s inside).

Whether that’s true or not, both bags and boxes typically require the bike to be dismantled to a certain extent – but with the Scicon Aerocomfort there’s no need to remove your handlebar, take off the rear derailleur or yank your seatpost out. You also don’t need to remove your pedals, but we’d recommend doing so and packing them in your hand luggage with your shoes and helmet – that way if your bike is delayed, you can still rent a bike and ride.

The beauty of the Aerocomfort is in how easy it is to both pack and unpack the bag. When packed, the bag is big, measuring 118cm x 25cm x 90cm (approximately), though it folds down to 106cm x 29cm x 24 cm (again, that’s an estimate), so, while certainly not compact, it’s not a nightmare to store. However, while the bag (with a bike inside) will fit inside the back of a small hatchback with the seats folded down, you do need to consider how much room you’ll need for other luggage (and other people) if you’re traveling by car. Scicon say the Aerocomfort can hold a 65cm frame, though we only used a 56cm frame during testing.

Most importantly, how easy is it to pack your bike? Open the bag and there’s an aluminium frame inside. Remove the wheels of your bike and clamp the bike frame to the anti-shock bag frame, using the supplied Scicon skewers. Next up, fit the rear derailleur protector – a neat feature which saves you taking the derailleur off and protects it from being bashed from the side. The rear derailleur (or hanger) is one of the first things which can be damaged by an over-zealous baggage handler throwing a bike bag onto the carousel.

Then you need to further secure the bike using the internal straps, which run over the saddle (Scicon supply a neoprene saddle cover) and either side of the handlebar (again, Scicon provide padding to protect the handlebar), while there’s also a strap which clips together from either side of the frame to keep the bag tightly closed.

All that’s left to do is to fit the toptube protector, slip the wheels into the side compartments (remember to pack the quick release skewers, too –  Scicon provide a small accessories bag), and do up the three-sided zip. The bag is significantly wider at the handlebar end, and while it can be a squeeze to get the zip over the shifters, everything fits without any problems.

It’s incredibly simple. I’ve used a number of bike bags over the years and the Scicon Aerocomfort is by far the easiest – it takes all the stress out of preparing your bike for travel. During a summer trip to Colorado, I arrived late at night due to a flight delay and, facing just a few hours sleep, was grateful that I could prepare my bike to ride the next morning in a matter of minutes. On the way home, I squeezed in a morning ride, knowing I could pack the bike and be in a taxi to the airport in ten minutes.

Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike bag (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike bag (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike bag (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

It’s partly why the Aerocomfort is the bag of choice for Scicon’s sponsored WorldTour teams, who include Trek-Segafredo, Etixx-QuickStep and Orica-GreenEDGE.. We’ve been at races and seen mechanics hastily packing up riders’ bags, ready for them to fly to another race or straight to a training camp, and when you’ve got a host of riders waiting, the Aerocomfort makes the job infinitely easier.

However, while the Aerocomfort is easy to pack, it’s not lacking on protection, either. The bag is made from a rugged, heavy-duty nylon, with a high-density foam padding in all the right places, including where the bag sits against the shifters. We can’t guarantee your bike will arrived unscathed – there’s always an element of luck involved when it comes to flying with a bike – but can vouch for the Aerocomfort based on the four return trips (both short-haul and long-haul) made during testing. Of course, you also have the option of packing your bike with additional protection (like bubble wrap and foam pipe lagging).

Otherwise, the bag has four replaceable castor wheels which, combined with the front strap and/or shoulder strap, make it easy to move the Aerocomfort around a train station or airport. The bag is also fairly light, at 8.9kg, so with a bike packed it should comfortably come under the 23kg weight limit specified by many airlines, even if you use the bag to also carry some of your cycling kit.

On the outside of the bag there’s an attachment for a flight tag, while Scicon also supply the Aerocomfort with a mini-pump and TSA-approved lock, which means it can be opened by airport security staff without the passenger present (so they don’t need to break it open), if the bag needs to be inspected.

The four wheels make the bag easy to manoeuvre around the airport

Conclusion

The Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA bike bag is undoubtedly a significantly investment at £445 (though you will find it significantly discounted – see below), but if you fly regularly with your bike and want a bag which is incredibly easy to pack, while also offering a good level of protection, then this should be near the very top of your shortlist.

Pros

  • A doddle to pack (less than ten minutes)
  • Strong fabric and well-placed padding offers a good level of protection
  • Relatively lightweight

Cons

  •  Size can make it difficult to fit in a car or taxi with other people/luggage
  •  It will cost you

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