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Douchebags: The Savage Bike Bag review
Versatility and packability all in one package.
Three months into our pandemic lockdown, as an avid cyclist I can safely say that I’ve explored 99% of the paved tarmac within a 125-mile radius of the city I live in. With international travel locked down and the pandemic still in full force, more people are taking up cycling to keep fit and explore their local area.
As anyone who’s bought in to cycling recently knows, it’s not a cheap hobby or sport. Bikes are expensive, and bike parts are delicate. Believe me and my wallet, I’ve broken enough parts!
As I set my sights on some domestic travel and cycling exploration, Douchebags kindly sent me their fully protected Savage bag, enabling me to travel safely with my bike.
Douchebags sent me the Savage Bike Bag for free so that I could try it out and share my thoughts with our readers. I’ve used and abused it before giving this review, and you can rest assured you’re getting an honest, unbiased opinion.
First and foremost, let’s talk about what kind of bike bag this is. The Savage is a soft-shell bag with a few tricks up its sleeves. Bike bags for travel come in two main categories: soft-shell and hard-shell. Soft bags give the advantage of packability, size and weight — you can expect to incur some additional weight charges with a hard case, but this comes with additional bike security and safety.
The Savage has the best of both worlds, taking advantage of a patented roll cage–inspired construction that protects your bike from the top and sides when you’re traveling, but compresses to 35% of its full size when unpacked for easier storage. Its lightweight construction also means that you fall well below the 50lb limit that most major airlines enforce on sports equipment.
The one-size-fits-all bag offers additional items as standard to allow you to safely pack away road bikes, mountain bikes, track bikes and more.
Packing the bike
After unpacking the bike bag from its folded-and-delivered state and looking through the instructions sewn in to the inside flap of the bag, the first thing to cross my mind was, “Oh no, Ikea instructions.” The images offer options for both road and mountain bikes with slightly different configurations for each.
I’m not the best at following instructions, and I’m admitting to you now that the first of the two bikes I packed into the bag, I completely ignored the first steps. The second go around, following each of the instructions — in the correct order — the bike was packed safely and securely in under 10 minutes.
The packing process involves a padded bag for your fork and a padded block for your bottom bracket that slide along the bottom frame of the bag and clip in securely. These are movable and adjustable, so the bag can be used for any bike that you own. The bag offers storage pockets for components that are removed during the packing process, like wheel axles and pedals, and offers two additional pockets on either side of the bike for your wheels, with padding where your hubs rub the bag to keep things protected and tidy.
Top tip from our experience
My one criticism of the packing process: The instructions suggested dropping the seat post into the frame.
For anyone using a carbon seat post, dropping it in to the frame will spread carbon gripper paste the full length of the post and potentially damage your components. My quick fix for this was to remove my seat post entirely and attach it to the same area that the handlebars strap to.
Once the bike is strapped and stored inside the bag, the final step is to fully assemble the roll cage. The roll cage comprises a few pieces of metal tubing that wrap around the two ends of the bag and secure over the top with a single removable bar. The bag zips up tightly over the metal frame to enclose the bike and finish the packing process.
Transporting and usability
The bag has two sets of wheels — two static wheels at the back and two articulated wheels (like a shopping cart) — that allow you to wheel around and steer the bag easily while it’s on all four wheels. The bag also comes with many sets of handles for easy lifting and, most importantly, a large, padded handle that allows you to easily wheel the bike like you would a suitcase, on just one set of wheels.
A standout feature of this bag is how it interacts with every other piece of equipment Douchebags makes, taking advantage of their hook-up system. No longer do you need to double-fist your bike bag and suitcase and awkwardly waddle through security trying to maneuver two separate bags. The hook-up system allows you to strap its backpacks, which range up to 60l capacity, directly onto the bag for easy traveling. They even make bags to fit additional cycling equipment, like your helmet, that are all compatible with this feature.
I’ve yet to take any major trips with the bag, since all rail and plane travel is paused. However, the bag fits safely into the trunk of a car with no worry that it’ll fall over and break. With the roll-cage structure, I would confidently give this to any airline (except United) and expect my bike to be handed back at my destination undamaged.
Unpacking the bike
Unpacking the bike was as simple as rebuilding a bike can be. I packed away my road bike with a set of hex keys and needed an additional 15mm wrench for my track bike. All tools could be stowed away in the storage pockets in the bike bag.
The real test was whether I could recreate the folded state that the bag arrived in. I’m sure you’ve all experienced fighting to pack away a sleeping bag or tent. I’m happy to report that the bag easily folded back to its original state of 30-inches smaller.
Pros and cons
- Versatility. This bike bag’s size and features allow it to fit just about any style of bike.
- Weight. Although a fair bit heavier than competitor soft-shell bags, it’s far lighter than a hard-shell.
- Protection. This is one of the most protective soft-shell bags on the market with its roll-cage features.
- Fast shipping. Douchebags offer free DHL shipping on orders of $150 or more.
- Size. The protection and versatility of this bag mean you pay a little in size. A hard-shell that fits only a road bike comes in quite a bit smaller.
If you have bikes of all shapes and sizes and limited storage space, this is the bag for you. It’s everything you need and more to keep your bike safe during road trips, flights and train rides. At $599 with free shipping, its price sits below many competitors with less quality products. I highly suggest adding a backpack to your order — I know I’ll be adding one to my travel kit before heading out on any big adventures to take advantage of the hook-up system.
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