The ultimate protection for your bike?
DoucheBags turned its hand to kit aimed more at two-wheels than two skis a while ago but now it has its new bike transportation solution: The Savage.
Travelling with your pride and joy is always a concern for a rider, especially with all the horror stories over rogue baggage handlers. It only takes one little bit of damage and a trip (and your bike) can be ruined. Fortunately there are plenty of brands out there that have products that will help ease that concern. One such brand is DoucheBags. You’ll be forgiven if you have never heard of the brand but rest assured it knows about bags. The Scandinavian company has its background in the snow sports world where it is renowned for creating well thought out, robust and highly protective packs and luggage solutions.
And it is a bit of a beast. It’s what DoucheBag call a ‘hybrid’ bike bag so it has a bit of soft bag practicality but with the reassurance of a metal frame to protect your bike fully. Taking delivery of the Savage and the first thing you note is the entire system feels incredibly well put together. Unzipping the case reveals the bright red roll cage and a wipe clean interior. DoucheBag has printed the instructions for packing the bag on the inside so for the first couple of times, until it becomes second nature, it was pretty easy to grasp how to complete the packing procedure.
The neat thing about The Savage is the ability to prep the bike outside of the bag so there is no struggle with restricted access. Simply pull out the bottom bracket block and place the frame on top, using the two easy to adjust straps to keep it in place (obviously after removing both wheels). The fork then fits into a properly overbuilt case to protect them from any damage. Remove the stem for the steerer or remove just the handlebar – I prefer to remove the stem as it keeps your bars in the perfect position. Slot the end of the handlebar into the dedicated pocket in the fork case and pop the other end into the dedicated handlebar bag. This then wraps around the top tube to protect everything from scratches and cinches down to the fork case to keep it all tight and stable.
Clips at the bottom of the fork case and bottom bracket block then clip into the lower portion of the roll cage in the bag and lock the bike into place. Assemble the roll cage around the bike (it’s all sprung loaded like tent poles so fits together properly easily). Clip the top section in place and you have a solid structure wrapping around the bike. Extra straps then attach around the saddle and head tube to really lock it in. Wheels fit in dedicated bags either side of the bag – these are accessible from the inside so keeping everything neat. There’s a dedicated pocket and bag for your pedals and other small accessories/tools. And that’s it. I personally also removed the rear derailleur for each flight, you don’t need to but it gives me a little more peace of mind and ensures that a bent hanger won’t ruin my ride.
The only sticking point I found was when flying with a 29er with 2.5″ wide trail tyres. It was a bit of a wrestle to get them into the wheel compartments properly. I could have dropped the pressures but I like being able to get riding within a couple of minutes of unpacking!
All this protection comes at a price though; the Savage is a hefty chunk of a bag at nearly twelve kilograms. You really have to check your flight allowance to ensure you don’t incur excess baggage charges as flying with a typical long travel trail/enduro bike will push you over the limit for several popular airlines. It’s also a big chunk of money too and is currently one of the most expensive bags on the market.
I’ve flown with the Savage several times now and each time I’m impressed with not only how easy it is to pack and the level of protection but also how easy it is to manoeuvre around airports thanks to its big wheels and perfectly placed towing handles. It loses out to the EVOC Bike Travel Bag on weight and cost, but if you want a luxury bag to cosset your lightweight pride and joy then there is simply no better protection on the market.