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Pro Bike Travel Case

3
£549.99

VERDICT:

3
10
A soft bike bag with some great features that would be even greater if it could stay in one piece
Easy to pack
Solid bike mounting base
Easy to manoeuvre
Folds down small when not in use
Light
Can be awkward to pull over some surfaces
Not very durable
Weight: 
9,000g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Pro Bike Travel Case is a soft bag that's full of nice touches to make packing your bike away for travel easy, but it suffers terribly from poor construction and just can't go the distance.

Check out our guide to the best bike boxes and bike bags for more (robust) options.

The Pro case follows the template of many other soft bike bags, with a solid base with wheels on, a foam padded body that's resistant to both water and baggage handling abuse, an internal frame to secure your bike to once a level of disassembly has occurred, sleeves and pockets to put wheels and bits in, and a bunch of handles to help with dragging it around.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Open Bag Full.jpg

Like all soft bags, it's a compromise – it's better than a cardboard box in being more waterproof, easier to move about and needing less pipe lagging and packing tape, but not as protective as a full bike-enveloping plastic clamshell case, although it's lighter and easier to store.

Bag assembly

All bike bags require a bit of a knack to packing that gets easier each time you use them, and the Pro Bike Travel Case is no different – although the process is increased considerably by having to build the bag up from its initial packed state, and the supplied instructions are pretty basic and require a bit of thought and intuition to decipher.

The bag is given its shape and a level of rigidity by a series of rods that need to be inserted around the three upper edges of the bag on both sides. There are two long rods to fit along the top of the bag and four up the sides. They're a struggle to insert into their respective nylon webbing pockets at the ends, so while it needs to be that way to give the bag some of its structural integrity, you don't want to be doing this assembly every time you use the bag. You have to flex the upright poles a worrying amount to get them to fit into their end pockets and it's all very fingers-and-thumbs in the dark, hidden corners of the non-zipped side.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Internal Black Pad.jpg

The positive to this system is that when all the rods are removed from the bag it squishes down to a fraction of its size, making it easier to transport, store or hide under a bed. Being the owner of a solid bike case that won't fit in the loft hole and takes up a lot of the spare room, this is a definite advantage for the majority of weeks of the year when the bike isn't going away.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Internal Cradle.jpg

But if you needed to squish the bag down for storage during your holiday, taking these out and then replacing them for travelling home again would be a tedious chore.

There are also four shorter thicker rods that fit in the side panels to protect the bike from side blows, a bit.

Packing a bike

Construction over, it's time to put the bike in. With its wheels off, the bike fits onto an alloy cradle that straps in the bottom of the bag, making it easily removable to facilitate this part of the process.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Internal Cradle.jpg

As long as its wheelbase is less than 124cm your bike will fit, and the bike carrier supports are adjustable along the cradle arms to fit whatever distance there is between your bike's dropouts. They're held in place with four hex key-tightened collars.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Cradle Ring Clamp.jpg

It's pretty fiddly to set up initially but when it's done, it's done, unless you plan to use the bag for a variety of bikes. Your bike is held into the internal frame with its own quick release/bolt-through skewers; there are blue adaptors on the arms to swap around to suit whatever size dropout width and configuration your bike has. The right rear one also has a chain guide built in to keep that tidy. There are additional wide Velcro straps on both arms to wrap up and over the skewers for extra stability and security.

2023 PRO Bike Travel Case - Rear Dropout Chain.png

Next up, it's seatpost and bar and stem removal time. The Pro case comes with a frame pad that wraps around the front of the bike's frame triangle, with Velcro straps to hold seatpost/saddle and stem/bar safely out of the way. If your seatpost is heavily greased it might make everything a bit grubby, so a plastic bag might come in handy here. I found that the cable routing of one of my bikes didn't like the bar being stored to the left, as the supplied frame pad would like, so I had to reverse everything to get things to play nicely. There's usually a bit of adapting and adjusting to fit everything in any bike bag, and this appears to be this one's area of fudge.

2023 PRO Bike Travel Case - Packed Handlebars.png

Note: if you have a small bike or not much seatpost showing then it's possible you could fit the bike in the bag with the saddle and seatpost still in. This does mean it becomes more of a structural part of the bike bag and subject to any external forces that might make themselves known, which you might not fancy.

You then shuffle the hitched bike frame and carrier combo back in the Travel Case and secure it to the base with the straps.

Now the frame can be secured to the side of the bag with straps at the head tube and seat tube cluster areas. These are attached to large foam blocks to keep the bike away from the side of the bag and provide some squash and thump protection.

2023 PRO Bike Travel Case - Seatcluster.png

Pop the drivetrain cover on to stop any other stuff you might put in the bag from getting oily smeared.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Frame Pad + Drivetrain Cover.jpg

Wheel pockets

The wheels slot into cavernous pockets each side of the bag and are held taut with a pair of Velcro straps. They're offset front and back to help with tidy packing, and there are large reinforcing plastic discs on the outside to lessen axle rub and rotor damage.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Front Wheel Support.jpg

Extra protection

For further protection, four foam blocks are supplied to stick to the bag via Velcro strips running either side towards the bottom, so you can mount them where your bike might be most sensitive to baggage strikes and clumsy loading.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Internal Black Pad.jpg

The base and the bottom 30cm of the inside of the bag is lined with a silver foil type material that will help towards waterproofing, and more importantly it makes it easier to see where you've dropped that 3mm bolt when you're assembling the bike in a dim hotel basement.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Open Bag Close.jpg

The Pro Bike Travel Case also comes with a big drawstring bag to put your helmet or shoes in, and there's a large zipped mesh pocket to store pedals, energy bars and whatnot inside the rear end of the bag, and another open mesh pocket for knick knacks on the side towards the base.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Internal Mesh Pocket.jpg

I fitted a 56cm road bike in the bag and there was plenty of room to spare, you could easily fit a mountain bike in if you wanted, although rangier full-suspension bikes and modern geometry long-low-slack bikes might struggle.

2023 PRO Bike Travel Case - Packed Bike.png

I've spent some time in the past packing and unpacking various bikes into a large variety of bike bags and boxes, and once the initial setup is done the Pro Bike Travel Case is one of the good ones. Mounting the bike onto the cradle and then putting it in the bag is genuinely useful, especially at the other end when you might be putting the bike back together in a hotel room, where this frame can serve as an impromptu bike stand – so you can build most of the bike back up without making a mess of the carpet.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Rear Wheel Support.jpg

On the move

The base of the bag has four solid bars bolted to it for rigidity and to protect the bottom from rubs and scuffs, and moving the bag around is made easier by the four wheels.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Rear Roller Wheels.jpg

The rear two are integrated into the bag and slightly recessed into a large corner boot of plastic, while the front pair are removable.

The front ones are castor wheels, which help with steering, and they can be clicked off with a push-button to stop them getting damaged in transit – a neat feature, on paper. A small external zipped pocket to put them in would be handy so you don't have to reopen the bag to hide them in before they disappear into the hold, especially if you've made use of the zips' ability to have a small padlock or zip-tie slotted through them, but that's a minor whinge.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Detachable Wheel Sockets.jpg

There's a webbing grab handle on each side of the bag and one on the top for general heaving about, plus two handles on the front edge, both thickly padded with rubber, one on the top corner and one at the base, so you can comfortably pull the bag along on all four wheels or lift the front and roll along on the back ones.

While there seem to be enough handles and straps placed on the bag, it could still do with more – shoving the bike around, you always grab for a handle that isn't there. The middle of the rear of the bag (where the small clear windowed luggage label pocket is) would especially benefit from one for pulling the bag in and out of doors, grabbing it off luggage carousels, and pulling it out of the bowels of coaches and cars, as that bit seemed to want to be grabbed over any other bit.

All packed up, the Pro is a compact bag; it's small enough to slide easily into the back of a normal car with the seats down, and it makes for a manoeuvrable bike case – although that's not without issue.

Wheeling any bike bag across a perfectly surfaced flat marble airport concourse is easy enough, the real test is when it has to be walked across an expanse of car park, or the 500-metre walk to the car hire check-in, or any of the random linking stages you might have to transfer across to get to where you're going, and the assortment of surfaces you might need to push, pull and drag a bike bag along the way, and then lug it up some hotel steps.

'Luckily' I have a fantastic test course in the walk from my house to the train station: just over a kilometre of pavement, tarmac, concrete, dropped kerbs, drain covers and generally poorly maintained lumpy, bumpy, holed surfaces. I also wheeled it through most of an Italian town in a rash decision to walk to the hotel from the station because it might be nice...

> The stuff they never tell you about flying with your bike

Depending on how you push or pull the Pro Bike Travel Case, it can be okay or a pain in the arse. While the internal struts give the bag a bit of rigidity, which certainly helps when moving it around, it doesn't make it a totally solid structure and there's an uncontrollable degree of flop in there. Using the top middle strap and pulling the bag alongside you works well, although it's not comfortable for long distances; using the padded handle at the top front of the bag is easier all-round, but you do surrender a degree of control.

The grab handle at the base of the bag at the front allows you to drag the bag along by just the two rear wheels, and while that's the fastest and most efficient way to move, it's only so on a flat and even surface because the rear wheels are small and close together, making the case top heavy and incredibly tippy – it wants to fall over frequently when you're trundling over the usual variable cityscape surfaces.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Base Handle.jpg

It doesn't like strong winds either.

Lots of pros, but...

So there's a lot to like about the Pro Bike Travel Case. It's lighter than a plastic clamshell case and folds down small when not needed. The twin-railed metal frame in the base gives a secure footing for the bike and out of the bag makes it very easy to disassemble/assemble for packing/unpacking. The wheel pockets are huge and will fit a mountain bike wheel, and the internal pockets are handy too. It's a pleasingly compact and manoeuvrable bag, although dragging it around can be a frustrating affair at times. Unfortunately the Pro Bike Travel Case has a problem, and it's a big one.

It doesn't handle the chuck, thump and crush of airline travel at all well. It's impossible to predict how kindly a bag will be treated once it goes through the plastic flaps of no return, and we've all heard horror stories while probably never having an issue ourselves. But even taking the abuse lottery into account, the Pro Bike Travel Case really isn't up to the task.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Hole In Corner.jpg

On its first outing the pop rivets holding the plastic foot that house the rear wheels gave way, I suspect because of the main body having a certain amount of flex to it in relation to the base, allowing too much movement for the rivets to cope with. This was quickly fixed with some nuts and bolts, but it wasn't a good or reassuring start.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Bottom Rear Plastic Boot.jpg

As if to prove it, on the case's next travels, one of the upright struts forced its way through its nylon end pocket, which compromised the bag's rigidity, protection and integrity. And there was some serious scuffing to the zip on a top corner.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Base Strut Sleeve Fail.jpg

On its third trip away, that loose pole punched its way through the bottom corner of the bag, possibly thanks to a blow from above, and a pole that runs along the top of the bag went through its webbing pocket too. The metal studs that stand proud of the inserts that the removable front wheels click into were showing damage too, likely from being dragged across the floor by a ground crew employee who isn't paid enough to care. This became worse over successive trips, so that enough of these studs has been worn away that the wheels don't clip in any more, so they're useless now. It's also maybe how one of these removable wheels got lost in transit somewhere. Oh, and a bit of the zip has come away from the body of the bag on a corner.

2023 Pro Bike Travel Case - Removable Wheels Post Wear.jpg

Overall, the Bike Travel Case really looks like it's been through the wars. Despite all of this, though, and with an increasing degree of trepidation each time I've used it, the bike inside has emerged completely unscathed. But it's an unacceptable and worrying amount of damage for a bag to sustain in so few trips that it doesn't inspire much faith for future travels. For the Pro Bike Travel Case's sake it's probably a good job that we're being encouraged to minimise air travel to help save the planet.

Value

On paper, the Pro case isn't badly priced for what it is, but its performance lets it down. More protective, more robust bike bags and boxes can be had for less.

If you don't need the packability of a soft case, the Bike Box Alan Premium Bike Box is arguably the benchmark bike bag for safe travelling. Go anywhere near an oversize baggage belt and you'll see one. It's a plastic shell that requires more bike breakdown than the Pro, but it's cheaper (£440, and currently on sale for £374), and a sturdy box that should set your mind at rest however often you travel.

The Merlin Cycles Elite Travel Bike Bag looks similar but has a cheaper rrp of £429, up from £380 when Nick reviewed it in 2020 (and because it's Merlin it's probably on sale right now – oh yes, it is, £289). It doesn't have the bike cradle or bag-reinforcing struts and only has one set of wheels, but it packs away small too and in the course of testing appeared to hold up well.

The Evoc Bike Travel Bag always seemed to a popular and sturdy soft bag when I was hoicking bikes out the backs of vans, and comes with an optional frame to support the bike like the Pro case, but is still cheaper at £424.99. The members of the road.cc staff who helped with the testing recommended it, with one even considering buying it for themselves.

The Bikebox Online VeloVault2 is more expensive than the Pro, at £545. It's another hard case that's quite roomy, although that translates into it being quite a big box. Mat was impressed, though, saying it was strong, well made and very easy to pack. (And just as he said in his review in 2018, if you don't want to stump up the cash to buy one, they're also available to hire.)

Conclusion

'Soft' travel bags are always going to have their issues and be more susceptible to grazes and injuries than hard cases when dealing with being handled poorly and loaded into luggage compartments with the likelihood of piles of other heavy things chucked on top of them, but it's the compromise that many are happy to make for a bag that's light to move around and easier to store when not in use.

Over my years of travel with bikes I've stood nervously at the baggage carousel waiting to see what might have happened to countless bikes in bags and boxes, and I've never seen a bag suffer such a succession of damage in such a short time. Normally you'd have to wait a few years and get a-few-times-round-the-world amount of air miles under your belt to come to a satisfactory conclusion about the protection and longevity capabilities of a bike bag, but there's no need here.

For this sort of money you're going to expect a bag that will look after your bike for many years of travel, and while there's always an element of luck in such matters, a large amount of the Pro Bike Travel Case's misfortune seems to be poor design and construction choices.

Verdict

A soft bike bag with some great features that would be even greater if it could stay in one piece

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pro Bike Travel Case

Size tested: n/a

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?

Pro says: "The PRO Bike Travel Case features a reinforced frame to provide a sturdy, protective, travel case for your bike. Designed to provide you with a better sports' bicycle experience the PRO Bike Travel Case was developed to fit all bikes; including 29'er mountain bikes, gravel bikes and road bikes. It features a reinforced inner frame and improved protection, when compared to the previous version of PRO's Bike Travel Case. Inside the Bike Travel Case there are 2 wheel compartments, which have been placed to further ensure the strength of the frame. It rolls on 2, rear, caster wheels and 2, front, fixed wheels to efficiently carry its 9-kilograme weight."

On paper it should be a good bike bag because there's lots to like in the details; in real life, however, it's worryingly poor. Sturdy it is not.

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

Pro lists:

Improved function and durability for the ultimate travel bag

Renewed frame design combining super durable materials with a stress-free set up

Glass fibre rod construction for extra strength

Upgraded wheel compartment placement ensuring additional security

Fixed roller wheels on the back for easy manoeuvrability

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
2/10

It looks well made and there's been some intelligent thought put into the features, but it seems like it just wants to fall apart.

Rate the product for performance:
 
4/10

On the one hand it's a good bag if you want something that can pack away smallish, has a great bike cradle and some genuinely useful design features; on the other, its ability to self destruct puts doubts in your head about its ability to look after a bike.

Rate the product for durability:
 
1/10

It broke on its very first outing.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

As a soft bag it's going to be quite lighter than a full plastic box – handy with airlines' random baggage weight restrictions.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

More protective, more robust bike bags and boxes can be had for less, plus its performance lets it down.

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

Technically it did its job in being able to protect a bike from the adventures of air travel, but the fact that it started to fall apart on its first outing casts doubt on it being able to do that for much longer.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Light, packed down for storage, bike cradle.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's just not up to the job.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

If you don't need the packability of a soft case, the Bike Box Alan Premium Bike Box is arguably the benchmark bike bag for safe travelling. It's a plastic shell that requires more bike breakdown than the Pro, but it's cheaper at £440, and currently on sale for £374.

The Merlin Cycles Elite Travel Bike Bag looks similar but has a cheaper rrp of £429, up from £380 when Nick reviewed it in 2020, and is currently on sale for £289.

The Evoc Bike Travel Bag comes with an optional frame to support the bike like the Pro case, but is still cheaper at £424.99.

The Bikebox Online VeloVault2 is around the same price as the Pro, at £545. It's another hard case that's quite roomy, although that translates into it being quite a big box. (If you don't want to stump up the cash to buy one, they're also available to hire.)

Did you enjoy using the product? It was nice in that it was simple to pack, manageable to walk around with, light and squished down small for storage, but its ability to self-destruct under the bumps and scrapes of travel was very, very disappointing.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

There's lots to like about the bag, but its willingness to self-destruct under transit trauma makes it unfit for purpose. You can get more robust, more protective bags for less.

Overall rating: 3/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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4 comments

Avatar
tomascjenkins | 6 months ago
0 likes

I've been away on 4 trips to Europe l, and a friend with the same case,with this case and the bikes have always survived fine. I think it offers great protection for the bike. Wheeling it isn't great. I haven't had the same damage from baggage handlers as Jo. It has a few scuffs and marks but nothing that a suitcase wouldnt pick up as well.
I think 1.5 stars is a bit harsh and makes it seem like a seriously unviable option, which it definitely isn't., I'd give it 3 stars at least,

Avatar
ubercurmudgeon | 6 months ago
0 likes

If your bike is going to be handled by other people, outside of your sight, then:

Hard case > Cardboard box > Soft Case > Nothing

But they have their benefits for other uses.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to ubercurmudgeon | 6 months ago
0 likes

I prefer big fish -> little fish -> cardboard box myself. 

Avatar
Dadams7378 | 6 months ago
0 likes

If you have an expensive bike (particularly if its carbon) and travel with anything other than a hard case box, you really are asking for trouble IMO.  You might get lucky indefinitely, but if you travel a lot then I'd say there's a high chance it'll end in tears.  Maybe I was particularly unlucky, but on my second flight using a Scicon soft bag, it got crushed / dropped / manhandled so badly that the steel QR holding the rear wheel to the internal frame was bent and the mech hanger of my Trek Madone ripped off.

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