Evoc's Bike Travel Bag is a well-specced soft case for carting your bike about. When you get to the other end of your journey it's collapsible and easy to store. Evoc recommends using the internal Bike Stand when transporting road bikes, so we've tested the two together: it's a good combination, and comes in at £514.98 in total.
- Pros: Frame holds bike in position, lots of space, easy to use, collapsible
- Cons: Wheels not very well protected, only two wheels on base
If you're travelling with your bike, there's a range of options. Hard cases will arguably offer the best protection, but with airline luggage limits getting ever tighter it can mean adding riding kit or tools will bump you over the weight limit. If space is an issue at either end – if you're sharing a small apartment, for example, or you just don't have much space at home – then they can be hard to store. Soft bags are lighter, and collapsible to a fraction of their packed size so they can be stored more easily. Which kind of bag or box will suit you will depend on your particular requirements.
Evoc describes the Bike Travel Bag as a hybrid bag, and says it 'combines the advantages of a hard shell case with the properties of a soft bag'. That means there's some structure to it, with a fairly rigid top and end section, with more flexible side panels. There are a number of pockets for accessories, and two specific wheel compartments.
The Bike Stand sits inside the bag, and consists of an aluminium strut with nylon fixings that will accept all the usual axle sizes. The idea is that you secure the bike at the frame and fork dropouts so it doesn't move around so much inside the bag, helping to prevent damage. It adds £115 (rrp) and 1,400g to the bag, giving it an unladen weight of 10kg. That's pretty light, although if you're travelling with an airline with very strict weight limits you may want to forgo the stand for some bubble wrap so you have more weight to play with for other stuff. Evoc offers a road bike fork adapter that protects the legs of your fork in transit if you don't want to use the stand.
Evoc reckons pretty much anything will fit in this bag, and at 138x39x85cm (inside 130x27x80cm) it's fairly big, although Evoc also does an XL version if you're some kind of giant or ride something unusually long.
The best (and only) test of a bike bag is to get it flung about on some planes, so to that end we gave it to two testers for flights to Italy and Spain. Here are their thoughts...
Marcus Pont, flying to Italy with a Specialized Tarmac:
'I used the Evoc bag for a short trip to Italy. It's a good size, and flying with British Airways meant I could check in the bag at no extra cost.
'Packing the bag was relatively easy, but you have to pack it quite specifically and take quite a lot of components off the bike. The limited instruction manual and visual cues of the bag made it simple enough, but it's time-consuming, especially the first time. It took about half an hour to pack the bag the first time, though a fair amount of that was spent working out where things go; when I packed it for a second time I knocked about 10 minutes off the packing time.
'One of the benefits that wasn't obvious to me the first time was that I didn't have to take the seatpost out completely. This was a real benefit, with a battery in the seatpost for my Di2 gears.
'The bag seems fairly well protected, but I was nervous about my wheels. It's a canvas bag and the wheels are on the outside so there's not much extra protection around them. Nothing happened to them on two flights, but I'd prefer them to be slightly better protected.
'I was able to pack my pedals in their original box, all cycling food needed for six days cycling, a track pump and my helmet in the bag with space to spare. It did then weigh 25kg, which meant a short haggle at the check-in desk, but all was fine in the end.
'One downside to the bag is that it only has two wheels so you have to pick it up at one end to move it around. Having four wheels would make life a fair bit easier, especially as you'll probably have another bag, hand luggage and maybe a laptop bag too.
'It was very easy to take the bike out of the bag at the other end and put it back together. I can't think of any downsides to the unpacking process and it was definitely easier to pack the second time. The journey back was pretty much the same as on the way out; there were no surprises or problems.
'Overall I would say this is a very accomplished bag that is easy to use and my bike was well protected during travel. I would prefer that the bag had extra protection where the wheels are housed, and four wheels for easier transport within the airport.'
Simon Williams, flying to Spain with a Cervelo R5:
'Until now, I have always used a Polaris Eva bike box, which is reasonably small. The upshot of that is that you have to almost completely completely dismantle the bike to pack the box.
'Plenty of thought has gone into designing this Evoc bag and the accompanying stand. The stand, which sits in the bottom of the bag and holds the frame and fork via the dropouts, was excellent. Given the experience of using the bag the first time, I would have used a spare quick release (kept in the frame insert) to make the transition into the bag smoother when dismantling the bike. That way, you can remove the rear wheel, keep the frame in your hand and secure immediately, without needing to remove the rear quick release and fit into the frame setup.
'I was nervous initially about the soft outer, but the bike came through both flights unscathed and I had no issues with it at all. The large soft handles were excellent when moving, along with the wheels.
'I travelled with the family to Valencia. It was a family holiday, so the bike needed to be transported with minimum fuss! It went in the car upright, with the middle seat folded down. We travelled on public transport when we arrived in Spain, and I had no issues with moving the bag around, or getting on or off buses or trains with it.
'I would absolutely consider buying this bag if and when I replace my existing bike box. Despite the extra cost for the stand, it does make the bag easier to use and your bike more secure, so I'd recommend it.'
Good quality soft bag that's easy to use; the optional internal frame keeps your bike secure and is recommended
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Evoc Bike Travel Bag
Size tested: Fits all DH/FR/XC and road bikes
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Evoc says, "For many years the BIKE TRAVEL BAG is our approved solution for transporting almost any type of bike. As a hybrid construction it combines the advantages of a hard shell case with the properties of a soft bag.
"Multifunctional EVOC BIKE STAND for transporting your bike in our bike bags BIKE TRAVEL BAG and BIKE TRAVEL BAG PRO. Various mounting options enable the fastening of different bicycle types and bike sizes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bike Travel Bag:
285 l, 9100 g, 138 x 39 x 85 cm (Inside 130 x 27 x 80 cm)
Collapsible to: 136 x 39 x 25 cm
Maximum wheel base: 126 cm
Fits most: Cross Country-, All Mountain-, Enduro-, Freeride-, Downhill-Bikes up to 29', Gravel-, Road-, and Triathlon-Bikes
New polycarbonate bike block for fixation included
For safe transport of road bikes and triathlon bikes, you need the ROAD BIKE ADAPTER DISC, ROAD BIKE ALUMINIUM STAND or BIKE STAND
Multifunctional EVOC BIKE STAND for transporting your bike in our bike bags BIKE TRAVEL BAG and BIKE TRAVEL BAG PRO. Various mounting options enable the fastening of different bicycle types and bike sizes.
1400 g, 131 x 26,5 x 27 cm
Fits into all BTB, BTB PRO und BTB XL
Fits: road bike, triathlon bike, XC-, FR-, downhill bike
Fixation for: Front axle (QR 5 mm, Thru axle: 12/15/20 mm, Boost), Rear axle (QR 5 x 130 mm, Thru axle: 12 x 135/142/148/150/157 mm, Boost)
Maximum wheel base: 130 cm (length adjuster to max wheel base: 124 cm to fit into all previous BIKE TRAVEL BAG models)
Very well made, good quality materials.
No issues with the flights it's been on. Wheel protection feels like a weak point, and overall level of protection is less than a hard case, but a soft case has other benefits.
Wearing well, no issues.
Very light without the frame, which is good for budget travel with strict weight limits.
At nearly £515 including the bike stand it isn't cheap; there are plenty of hard cases to be had for similar. It is good quality, though, and pretty easy to recommend if a soft case will suit you better.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: bikes survived flying, it's easy to pack and easy to use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light, frame holds the bike well, room for plenty of other kit in the bag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quite expensive as a package, could do with four castors instead of two, wheel protection not the best.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Similar price to a hard case; the bulk of the market is in the £400-£500 range, so it's at the expensive end.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe, if I felt the light weight and ease of storage were big factors for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good soft case and the frame makes it feel more secure in use. It's fairly expensive but good quality, and both travellers got on well with it.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.