Scicon Aerocomfort Road 3.0 TSA Review

I recently bought a new bike, which is a sweet 2017 Specialized Venge ViAS Disc. A simple mention of the bike gives me an excuse to put up a photo of it.

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Photo of my Specialized Venge ViAS Disc taken at the top of Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong

Anyway, I digress, with the disc brakes and the fully internal cables came with a few problems for traveling with the bike.

Problem 1: Fully internal cabling and hydraulic disc brakes meant that after loosening the handlebars there was not enough slack in the cables to let me either twist them down or remove them to use a standard hard case bike box.

Problem 2: With disc brakes, manufacturers have made a shift from the age-old quick-release skewer to a stiffer, more precise thru-axle skewer. This means that many of the bike cases that use quick-release skewers were not compatible.

I have been using a basic Serfas Bike Case for years now but that was out due to Problem 1. I also thought about the uber-expensive Douchebags The Tour but it was out due to Problem 2. I was left with basically only one option, which is the Scicon Aerocomfort Road 3.0 TSA. The older 2.0 version was also not compatible due to Problem 2.

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The Scicon Aerocomfort Road 3.0 TSA fully packed.

Since the bike bag is relatively new, I thought it would be useful for people to have a review of it and also some details on how it handles a thru-axle bike with disc brakes. I’ve now actually made two different trips using it from my home in Singapore to both Hong Kong and to Italy/Spain. That’s a total of 6 flights and many baggage handlers tossing it around without any issues.

The Good

  • It is very very easy to pack and unpack. You can read the same in any review of the the scicon bags. Since I’ve used a basic hard case for a while, this actually was a really nice change since it packed up in 25min despite the extra work I decided to do for extra protection.
  • It wheels around the airport extremely well. We had to walk some long distances within airports to/from rental cars and taxis and with the multi-directional wheels, it was really a breeze. I could push luggage with one hand and pull the bike with another.
  • The build quality is very good. When you feel the material of the bag, the zippers, the padding, the plastic protection added you feel like you have bought something high quality. It does also feel like they have put a lot of thought into the bag, some examples: 1) There is an external zipper pouch to put the straps which need to be removed before flight. 2) A special attachment for the flight tags. 3) A provided luggage lock. 4) Extra plastic to protect the hubs of your wheels.

The Bad

  • Handlebars and shifters feel exposed. Since you don’t have to remove the handlebars, they feel like they are sticking out and will easily get damaged if a luggage handler knocks the case on its side – which they will definitely do. I put something together which I’ll show later to add a little bit of extra protection.
  • The rear derailleur protector doesn’t work with thru-axles! Scicon claim that there is a derailleur protector but they don’t say that you can’t attach it if you aren’t using a quick-release skewer. Because of that, I had to remove the derailleur which turned out not to be a big deal, just that it added some extra time to the packing/unpacking.

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    A quick-release skewer could fit through the hole in order to attach the derailleur protector, but with a thru-axle, there’s no way to attach it.

  • Hard to fit it in rental cars. With a standard hard case, we normally rent an SUV and don’t have any problems fitting in 2 adults, a toddler, suitcases and the bike box. However for the Scicon Aerocomfort, it was too big to stand up vertically so we had to spend quite a long time re-arranging all the bags, eventually getting it to fit sideways. The car was a pretty big Volvo XC60 so it is definitely something to keep in mind.

How I Packed My Bike

Let me start off with what I did to try and make the handlebar area a little bit more sturdy. My fear was mainly that the shifters would get hit when the bag was put on it’s side so what i did was try and reinforce that area by strapping hard cardboard that would hopefully transfer any force to the other side of the bag rather than onto the shifter itself.

I also didn’t feel to happy about having so little padding on the frame and so I bought a pack of Albopads. These are basically high quality padding with straps to make it easier to attach to your bike. Sure, you could go and source your own foam and use your own straps but then you’d probably spend more time packing your bike. These pads have a nice fake-leather finish and I’m sure will last a long time.

 

I also didn’t feel to happy about having so little padding on the frame and so I bought a pack of Albopads. These are basically high quality padding with straps to make it easier to attach to your bike. Sure, you could go and source your own foam and use your own straps but then you’d probably spend more time packing your bike. These pads have a nice fake-leather finish and I’m sure will last a long time.

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This is all the padding I used to protect the bike.

I also did two extra steps in packing up the bike and that was to remove the rear derailleur as well as remove the pedals. The derailleur was then protected within a bag that came with the albopads and then strapped to the chainstay. I decided to remove the pedals since I use the Garmin Vector 2 Pedals which are a powermeter and I thought it best to protect the sensitive strain gauges in there.

The bike is attached to the bike bags solid base using the thru-axle skewers and then albopads are put all over the bike. I also used the top-tube protector from scicon to protect the seatpost. I didn’t use it on the top tube since the albopads were higher quality.

The Verdict

So far, I haven’t had any issues with the Scicon Aerocomfort Road 3.0 TSA, I do still have a worry at the back of my mind that the bike is going to receive a big hit and take some damage. Because of that I don’t think I would fully recommend it unless you have the same constraints I did or if you simply feel that being able to pack your bike quickly is the most important factor.

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