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Verdict: 
A well-justified expense for the regular traveller who's happy to pay for quality
Weight: 
2,200g
Silca Maratona Gear Bag
8 10

The Silca Maratona Gear Bag is the designer luggage of the travelling cyclist, the Louis Vuitton of the image conscious rider. And thankfully, it's not all fashion over function, with the quality and the design warranting that price tag.

  • Pros: Well made, hand luggage friendly size
  • Cons: Wheels would be nice...

No doubt we all have various ways of carrying kit to an event – a supermarket 'bag for life', a rucksack, or literally chucking it loose in the boot of the car. But if you are a dedicated racer or travel a lot with your kit then something dedicated to the job makes for a faff-free pre-race sort out. The Maratona is certainly an extravagance from that point of view, mind.

> Find your nearest dealer here

In my racing days it made a big difference to me to have everything in its specific pocket, so I knew exactly where to lay my hands on it. It was a bit of a ritual. I've had plenty of kit bags over the years but none quite as well thought out as the Silca.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - show storage.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - show storage.jpg

Your shoes can be placed in an internal pocket which you can access externally and internally, plus it's vented too, should your daps get wet or pong a bit.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - vent.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - vent.jpg

Inside you'll find a couple of mesh zipped pockets on the lid, which are perfect for the lightweight stuff – baselayers, jerseys, socks, gloves and so on. Plus in the main compartment there are various straps to hold onto rolled-up kit.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - top flap pockets.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - top flap pockets.jpg

There are also elasticated straps for water bottles, which is a nice touch as you can fill them before an event and not worry about them leaking all over your kit before a race.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - inside.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - inside.jpg

Around the outside are various zipped pockets for small essentials, and if you pack smart you can really carry a huge amount of stuff, easily enough for a week-long training camp in sunnier climes.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - side pocket.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - side pocket.jpg

Although our photos don't show it, one of the neatest ideas is the way that when you unzip the top it lies completely flat so you can sit in the bag to put your shoes on. Anyone who's been hopping around in a wet field swapping between the trainers you drove in and your cycling shoes will appreciate this.

Also, if you've flown with your bike and need to put it together on landing, the bag creates a place where you can spread out your tools and parts without them having to sit on the carpet or bed of your hotel room.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - open.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - open.jpg

Speaking of flying, as long as you don't ram the Maratona to its limits, it comes in just under the carry luggage size limits at 55 x 35 x 23cm. It's about 44 litres of space according to Silca, but pack it to the gills and you can achieve 60 litres – though it'll be a squeeze to wedge it into the basket at check-in.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag.jpg

So, the price: £180. Worth it? Well, it's a fair amount, but I think so. Of course, you can do things a lot cheaper and the Maratona is an extravagance, but the quality and finish really do justify it.

> How to fly with your bike

Before the Silca turned up I was using my Endura Roller Flight Deck Bag which has a capacity of 40 litres and loads of separate compartments. It also has an rrp of £119.99, but the Maratona seems better made, especially inside, and the material more robust. I'd also say it's more practical for general use as a non-cycling suitcase.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag 2.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag 2.jpg

The Endura wins on having wheels and a pull-along handle, making it easier to use than the Silca if you are trekking between taxis, buses and airports. You have to carry the Silca, though it does have plenty of handles and straps, plus there are internal straps…

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - straps opening.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - straps opening.jpg

…to turn it into a rucksack.

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - staps.jpg

Silca Maratona Gear Bag - staps.jpg

Castelli also has a range of luggage, including the XC Rolling Travel Bag at £200 or the Gear Duffel Bag costing £100, which goes to show that the Maratona is pricey but it's not alone.

Overall, it's a quality bit of kit. Do you need it? Probably not. But if you have it, it's very nice indeed.

Verdict

A well-justified expense for the regular traveller who's happy to pay for quality

road.cc test report

Make and model: Silca Maratona Gear Bag

Size tested: 55cm x 35 cm x 22cm but expanding to 60cm x 40cm x 25cm

Tell us what the product is for

Silca says, "The Maratona Gear Bag was designed as a cycling specific travel bag for those weekend riding trips and races, yet is versatile enough to be used as a general travel bag. Our designers used feedback gathered from both professional and amateur riders to design a gear bag that addresses the common pain points of traveling with cycling gear."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Silca lists these features:

600D construction with waxed canvas panels and reflective quilt stitching

Vented damp garment bag

Vented shoe bag with internal and external access

Internal water bottle storage and tool storage

Lined external pocket

Stowable shoulder straps to convert into a backpack

Maximizes airline size regulations for carry-on luggage

Dimensions: 55cm x 35 cm x 22cm but expanding to 60cm x 40cm x 25cm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a great bag for cycling kit or just a weekend away without the bike.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good quality and well designed.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A few more specific storage pockets would be welcome.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

There are much, much cheaper options out there for bunging your cycling kit into, but I'd say for the quality and general design the Maratona is worth the money and deserves an 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

6 comments

Avatar
Gasman Jim [217 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

£180 ? You must be joking.

The airport baggage handlers will really enjoy kicking this around!

Avatar
JohnnyEnglish [22 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

The airport baggage handlers will really enjoy kicking this around!

How so? It’s hand luggage...

Avatar
Beecho [371 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
JohnnyEnglish wrote:
Gasman Jim wrote:

The airport baggage handlers will really enjoy kicking this around!

How so? It’s hand luggage...

Thanks for the clarification. I thought it was daylight robbery.

Avatar
Gasman Jim [217 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
JohnnyEnglish wrote:
Gasman Jim wrote:

The airport baggage handlers will really enjoy kicking this around!

How so? It’s hand luggage...

Not if it's got tools in it!

Avatar
jonathanfmcgarry [51 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Meanwhile Alpkit's excellent Drydock 50 litre bag is a mere £56 and is as near to indestructible as you'll ever need.

Avatar
Bob F [47 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm sure it is well made to Silca standards.  

Not for me though. It's compromised as a backpack, and no wheels is a showstopper for the Heathrow T5 jaunt.