We got the Dakine Bike Roller bag a couple months back and were very impressed with the overall build and layout of the bag. It was a stroke of luck when Giant Factory Off Road team mechanic and friend, Colin Bailey reached out asking if we had any bike bags he could buy or borrow. Knowing Colin and the team’s travel schedule for the EWS series is no joke, I offered him our brand new bag in exchange for some pictures from the road and a no BS review once he’d packed and unpacked it a few times. Here are some thoughts from a bike packing pro.
Dakine is known to make some of the best luggage on the market so I had high hopes they did their research and created a bag that could withstand the rigorous travel of multiple World Cup seasons and the disrespect of airline employees chucking it on and off planes and conveyor belts.
The first impression from the bag was a good one. I instantly noticed how simple and streamlined it is. There’s no extra handles, zippers or pockets that can catch or snag in transit. Coming in at around 16lbs, it’s one of the lightest bags on the market. With insane baggage fees and weight limits these days, weight is always something to consider for those who travel often. For those who don’t spend most of the year traveling with a bike, the empty bag simply rolls down and buckles to itself. The empty storage size is similar to a golf club bag. This comes in handy both at home and in hotel rooms.
If you’ve ever spent time using the same luggage for a number of years, you’ll know that quality zippers are very important. They are typically one of the first things to fail. The zippers on Dakine’s Bike Roller Bag seem to be bomb proof. They are high quality and are recessed slightly within the bag. There is also a nice piping overlay to help protect it. Time will tell, but it seems other parts of the bag will fail before the zipper does.
The wheels are a little small for a bag this size but are high quality and recessed into the base frame. This area is not overly excessive like other bags on the market and seems to be an area where Dakine saved weight. At the opposite end of the bag is a nice padded handle that feels good in your hand as you pull your precious cargo.
Inside the bag you’ll find two internal wheel bags, a fork bag that’s also part of the frame’s retention system, a top and down tube wrap that secures the handle bars, a small rotor/ derailleur bag that Velcro’s to the bottom of the bags plastic frame and a small parts bag to store your pedals and other small parts you remove during the packing process.
Packing The Bike
Packing a bike into the bag is about as easy and painless as it gets. The two wheel bags feature a built-in padded ring to fit around the rotors, if you decide to leave them on. In my opinion, keeping your rotors on your wheels is a bit risky and I still remove them to be safe. Those five minutes saved aren’t worth the cost of new rotors. You must pack one of your wheels into the permanently secured wheel bag first before your bike goes in.
Next, simply slide your fork into the fork bag and buckle the padded strap that wraps around your stem securing the fork bag on the bike. Once the bike is in the bag, the fork bag then buckles into the bottom main frame, securing the front end of your bike to the base. Despite the numerous buckles, they are color-coded making the process fool proof. Your handlebars then Velcro to the provided sleeve that wraps around your down and top tube keeping your bars secure and protected.
On the bottom of bag is a nice padded foam rest for the rear chainstays. It’s adjustable to your bike’s frame size via Velcro that is secured to the bottom of the bag’s internal base frame. Two straps secure the chainstays and limit any movement. However, by using the foam rest as intended, there is very limited room for the rear derailleur thus requiring removal. Removing a derailleur is not ideal and somewhat of a pain. I wish Dakine had altered the area, making the foam rest taller to give the derailleur some more room. I also think they should have had the main plastic frame of the bag wrap up round the bottom corner of the bag where the derailleur sits. The change could help protect the rear end from impacts during travel.
Once your frame is packed, the second wheel bag sits directly across from the other and is secured in place with more color coded buckles keeping it from moving around inside during transport.
Once the bag is fully packed and zipped up, there is a large compression strap across the top of the bag to keep everything extra secure. Fully loaded the bag is very balanced and sits nicely, unlike other bags that tend to lean to one side and have a mind of their own when pulling them. Dakine also included a nice luggage tag that slides into its own pocket near the top of the bag.
The Wolf’s Last Word
After a few international flights the bag has held up fairly well with a few exceptions. On one side of the bag, two handles have a different stitch pattern than the handles on the other side and for some reason aren’t properly reinforced. As a result they are starting to fail due to the stitching failing and pulling out. This is not a huge issue now, but could become one over time.
Dakine also used a different material around the bottom of the bag that is slowly showing signs of abrasion. On the inside, the wheel bags are starting to show some damage from the hubs trying to poke through the sides of the soft material when fully packed and compressed. One thing I wished Dakine had done was add some hard plastic to these areas to prevent this from happening and eventually damaging your frame.
I travel with a bike more than most and due to my experience, I’ve become very picky about keeping my athlete’s bikes in perfect shape. Even though I have a few critiques that I think will truly help, I believe Dakine has made the best bag on the market. It’s excellent quality, lightweight, travels well, is easy to use and securely protects your two-wheeled machine.
However, I think it would be cool to see them use some of their fun patterned materials you see on their other luggage to give this bag a little personal flair. If you’re a serious cyclist and a frequent flyer, this bag is a must have. Thanks Dakine for doing your homework!
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