Packing for a ride or race day can be a hit and miss affair, especially when you’re in a rush. Then even the neatest packing order goes out the window, especially when packing cycling-specific gear. This is more apparent when using generic luggage, which works to a fault, but sometimes, when you’re in a hurry, it’s more difficult to organise into an efficient system for mountain bike gear.
Dirty riding gear gets mixed up with your best trousers. Energy drink powder spills into your work shoes… It’s a mixed bag, literally, but it doesn’t have to be.
The BLS VeloRacing Bag seeks to change all that. It’s a block-shaped bag using a modular storage system specific to cycling gear and other items. Designed to make your life easier and impress mates with your organised packing skills.
We spent three months using the bag for races, trail rides, one or two weekends away including a return flight to Cape Town from Jozi. It’s not within the dimensions of carry-on luggage, but you can get away with it (assuming there are no CO2 bombs inside for the flight…
What stands out?
Quality construction, weight and feel. At just under 2kg empty the block-shaped VeloRacing bag has a solid feel and holds its shape. It’s canvas nylon construction is rugged and easy to clean. Zips are YKK which felt equally as rugged and never gave us any issues.
There are four compartments that are separated by a single divider held in place by a sturdy Velcro attachment, as well as separate module for gels, multi tools and accessories. The compartments are specific for helmet, shoes, water bottles and kit/clothing.
What we like:
We managed to get a change of clothing and two sets of riding kit (two shirts and two shorts), two pairs of shoes, two water bottles, a towel and a pair of slops. The accessories module managed a couple energy bars, spare tube, bike GPS, sunscreen, gloves and a hand pump. Some of these could be stashed inside the helmet.
The base has a removable plastic bottom for ease of cleaning and the modular divider can be detached from its Velcro tabs if you need to wipe down the interior of the bag.
This also means you can detach the divider should you wish to use the bag as a normal piece of luggage. Additionally, there are two thick water resistant drawstring bags for dirty, wet or smelly kit, which, trust us, are heaven sent when stripping down after a muddy ride, especially for shoes. Call us pedantic, but we added a third drawstring bag for the helmet.
The modular layout suits just about all kinds of cycling gear, so other cycling disciplines will also find it useful.
We mentioned the YKK zips earlier. This is often an overlooked feature on apparel (or a way to keep costs lower). YKK is known to produce long-lasting robust zips, which is appropriate for a heavy-duty gear bag. We also appreciate the secure stitching and positioning of the main zip, which allows the bag to zip open fully, taking the ‘lid’ out of the way.
What we don’t like:
Unfortunately, the VeloRacing bag is limited in graphics and colour options, although for a minimum order they provide some customisation. Some of our reviewers felt that the graphics could be a bit more subtle.
Given the cube shape, the centred shoulder strap can be awkward when carrying the bag, and the hand straps hang loose, which sometimes got in the way of the modular compartments (when open). We countered both of these though by simply attaching a carabiner clip around the hand straps and looping the shoulder strap through those.
We also found that the helmet compartment wouldn’t accommodate full-face helmets or large trail helmets. One way around this was to use a helmet bag for a full-face helmet and clip that with the karabiner and use the helmet compartment for knee- and elbow-pads.
Who should buy this product & why?
The organisationally challenged or those seeking a useful, practical and well thought-out piece of luggage for cyclists. It’s well made and specific to cycling and cyclists.
Value for money?
Yes, considering the general cost of luggage especially lifestyle-specific items. The VeloRacing bag is competitively priced, practical, well designed and should last a very long time. In fact, the more we used it the more invaluable we felt it was towards minimising the admin of getting ready for rides, as well as the inevitable post ride unpack. It became one of our most favoured pieces of kit.
Size: 39cm x 35cm wide, 33cm high
Colour: Black with red detail
TREAD score: 8/10
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