When I first saw Dakine’s new bag I was a little worried. Rolled up and off to the side, the bag looked small, and I had just pulled down an XL 29er Evil Following to pack up. Upon unrolling, I quickly found my fears were unwarranted. Dakine has done an impressive job of allowing this soft sided bike bag to pack down neatly while still maintaining plenty of space inside.
Unzipping the bag, I was again daunted by the number of bags, straps and pads that came tumbling out, and with only three small pictures as instruction, I had no idea what went where. After a momentary crisis of faith, I dove in. And I was pleasantly surprised once again. Despite the many moving pads, once the wheels were off, a quick study of the three provided steps made things come together nicely, with two of the pads protecting the frame, fork and bar. Things were already looking very secure.
With the bike padded up, I rolled the wheels into their respective bags, both of which featured a built in padded ring to fit around the rotor. With the wheels ready, the bike went into the bag and despite the numerous buckles, the color coding made them all come together easily. I zipped up the bag and was done. No letting air out of the fork or shock, no lowering pressure in the tires and no swearing at myself. A few shakes of the bag and a short walk reassured me that the bike would be safe in transit.
There was one snafu though. Inside the bag is a nicely designed foam rest for the rear chainstays, keeping them padded and secure, with two straps to hold down any movement. Move the foam rest to the right spot, and the chainstays slot into two cutouts for extra security. However, by using this rest as intended, the derailleur gets pushed into the bottom corner, requiring removal. That’s all well and good, except removing a derailleur is a pain, and something many people are not well practiced at. I did, however, discover that by moving the foam rest forward, the chainstays can sit on top of the cutouts, keeping the derailleur elevated, and with the straps buckled, the bike still wasn’t moving around. The derailleur does hang in a somewhat perilous position, but I would happily avoid the trouble of removal in exchange for a slight risk.
Overall the bag is secure, easy to use, and small touches such as the foam rest for the chainstays, or the included roll for tools make packing a breeze. The bag will retail for $400 and will be available for purchase in March 2018. Check out what goes into packing a bike below.