How to choose your bike cover?
Choose your bike coverThe online magazine I Love Bicyclette has just published a very interesting article on how to choose your bike cover. What to see more clearly and make a relevant choice among the plethoric offer in terms of protection for bicycles, whether for flexible or rigid covers: Article from the magazine "I Love Bicyclette" of February 3, 2018: We have worked a lot and we are happy to present this file entitled "How to choose the right bike cover" in the face of the enormous choice available to you on the internet! We have tested for many months and collected a lot of information to be as clear and precise as possible in order to help and advise you objectively in this purchase. In the end, based on these criteria, we have chosen an interesting brand to offer you on ILB! :-) To start, you need to select a cover according to the use you will have of it:
- lightweight transport cover for bicycle (car/train)
- bicycle transport cover for the plane
- bicycle protective cover (static in your garage/hotel/outside)
1 - SELECTION CRITERIA LIGHTWEIGHT BIKE TRANSPORT COVERThis bag must be: practical, light, solid, balanced, of high quality, recyclable, compact before use, easy to use. Let’s review the essential criteria:
A - QUALITY OF “FREE PRODUCTS” MATERIALS
Please note: many covers are offered in materials that are not very resistant/suitable for transporting a bicycle... But also with PVC, a material that is about to be totally banned in Europe because it cannot be recycled! No need to buy a "disposable" cover after one use. Select covers using PE600D or Nylon 400 minimum and with a washable lining such as recyclable TPE/TPU ! ( NO PVC or only PVC FREE ) The "hard" versions, in molded plastic do not correspond to the selection criteria of the category and those proposed are often misleading with unsuitable dimensions (too small) and without real protection against the interior, even built with non-recyclable materials and banned in more and more countries, so be careful!
B - ZIPPER QUALITYChoose covers with good quality double zips : easier to open and close with the bike inside, a double zip also allows a double possibility of closing in the event of a problem with one of the two!
C - DERAILLEUR PROTECTION REMAINS THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGEAlmost all bicycle transport bags/covers require you to remove both wheels! It is imperative to secure the bike with a support that is positioned under the bike and goes up along the rear chainstays to protect your chainstays and your derailleur ! Such a support is very rarely sold with light covers but you will find them as accessories for less than 19 euros on the internet.
D - MTB AND ROAD BIKE COVERS SIZESMake sure you have the minimum dimensions: 125 cm minimum for mountain bikes (130 cm for sizes L or XL) and 120 cm for road bikes on average. Below these sizes only bikes in sizes S or BMX (in general) are likely to fit and in particular because of the handlebars! For covers respecting the maximum dimensions authorized by the SNCF (120/90) for train travel, you will most certainly have to shift or remove your handlebars, especially for a mountain bike! https://www.sncf.com/fr/offres-voyageurs/voyager-en-toute-situation/velo-a-bord In all cases, you can measure the length of your bike from the rear axle to the front axle if you have a doubt, but also take into account the length of the handlebar/handlebar placed across which may exceed the vertical of the front axle: if the shape is suitable, no problem; if it is a straight shape = rectangle, you will have problems closing the bag with the handlebars without disassembling it! It is obvious that a cover where you can keep the rear wheel saves you all these problems and remains by far the best formula for lightweight covers. Be careful here too to choose a bag with the right shape to receive the handlebar/handlebar crosswise if possible without disassembling it.
E - PROTECT YOUR FORKIn the same way as for the derailleur, protecting your fork is imperative: all you need is a fork protection that you will find in specialized shops or on the internet. It allows in particular to keep the gap between the sleeves and therefore the adjustment of your disc brake and possibly protects the rebound and/or compression adjustments. In short, do not miss this accessory for a few euros!
F - WHEEL STORAGEHere too , it is essential to choose the right cover : Two solutions and no other should guide your choice: - Dedicated pockets: You must have 2 dedicated pockets with reinforcement in the center so as not to damage your bike, each placed on one side of the the cover for overall balance and maximum protection! Often nothing is specified and the bags only have a simple strip along the length of the bag (and only on one side!) to position your wheels! Result: the wheels wander inside the cover and deteriorate in addition to destroying your bike in the process! - Independent wheel cover: It is imperative that these covers offered have a central reinforcement. These can then be positioned correctly in the bag. Of course a cover with thick foam is even more desirable. Pay attention in all cases to the dimensions of these pockets : as for the independent covers: count at least 76 cm x 8 cm (width) to accept the largest wheels in 29 Inches.
G - LENGTH OF THE HANDLES AND BALANCE OF THE BAGA detail that is not one in use. We often find bags with handles that are too short and you have to carry your bag at elbow level. Remember to check that the handles have an opening between 30 and 35 cm!
H - SPEED AND SIMPLICITY OF USEThe covers allowing to keep the rear wheel are now acclaimed by users for this type of bag. Removing the front wheel only is simple and allows easy, quick and clean assembly/reassembly!
I - COVER STORAGE BAGThis storage bag which initially contains the cover should be used to store dirty things, shoes, etc. when the cover is used: many "first price" covers are delivered in a cardboard box that is unusable after unpacking!
J - CASTERS OR NOT CASTERSAfter numerous tests and discussions with users and manufacturers, several things systematically stand out and are therefore to be remembered:
- Only the offset castors are acclaimed! The covers with the wheels inside the bag are not stable and even worse "break the wrist", deteriorate too quickly (often not of good quality on bags under 150 euros) and ultimately make the bag unusable very quick. Choose simplicity for this type of bag!
- No use really for light transport covers! On the contrary, these wheels prevent the folding and compression of this type of bag, which must be as compact as possible when “not in use”!
- The "integrated" wheels on the width are often small so the edge of the bag touches the ground and wears prematurely, what is more with the weight of the bike and the too steep angle used to roll it!
K- CONCLUSIONTo sum up, taking into account these selection criteria, we have retained:
- Scott Classic cover + seatstay support (not included) + fork protector (not included) - removal of the two wheels!
- Scicon Travel Plus MTB + seat stay support (not included) + fork protector (not included) - disassembly of the two wheels!
- ROADBag Original and MTBag Original with two dedicated pockets
- ROADBag Race / MTBag Race and ROADBag Pro / MTBag Pro with independent wheel cover + fork protector included!
- Fork protection
- Stay bracket
- BUDS independent wheel covers also on sale, you won't find them elsewhere!
2 - SELECTION CRITERIA FOR LONG TRAVEL AIRCRAFT TRANSPORT BAG FOR BICYCLESAll the quality and size criteria are the same as for transport covers (with dismantling of the two wheels):
- Minimum dimensions of 130 cm x 85 cm are ideal for all sizes
- Double ZIP
- Mandatory fork protection, frame and seatstay support
- Protection of the wheels in pockets or independent wheel cover: foam lining of 10 mm minimum with mandatory central protection
- Handlebar attachment system
- Offset wheels (wider than bag to keep loaded bag balanced)
A - RIGID OR SOFT SHELLA good (top-of-the-range) hard shell obviously remains the ultimate solution, but it still has to include the characteristics above. But taking into account all the elements, a soft shell (nylon or 600D) can be more practical and almost as protective if the bike is well wedged inside!
- Rigid base support in Rigid Shell: the fixed support which allows the axes to be fixed is recommended in this case! Indeed the bike does not move and remains protected by the hull.
- Rigid base support in Soft Shell: it is obvious that in this case, if the bike is completely fixed with this support, it risks being stressed laterally on a violent impact and therefore having serious problems (other than pocs of paint) with a possible deformation of the frame or even tearing
B - WITH OR WITHOUT CASTORS
- With wheels: in this case they must absolutely be offset to avoid breaking your wrist and raising your bag every 3 meters. You will most often get a cover that folds only partially, more or less, or even not at all and which in "non-use" often remains a real problem for storage, especially in a hotel room or an apartment.
- Without wheels: a "soft cover with protective foam" can be perfectly suitable: with experience in airports, we often take a trolley because we have to carry luggage in addition to the bike cover, so as long as we go we put the soft cover across it. What's more, this bike cover must be deposited in the "bulky" located not far from the check-in counters.
C- CONCLUSIONTo sum up, taking into account these selection criteria, we have retained:
- Evoc Travel Bag Pro
- Buds ROLLBag, foldable travel bag for all types of bikes