Biknd Jetpack Travel Bag - Review

Nov 21, 2016 at 17:54
by Mike Levy  
Biknd Jetpack ready to rumble


Depending on how you packed it, where you're headed, and the airline you're flying with, putting your bike on a plane can be one of the scariest parts of traveling. Will it cost you four months salary? Will you ever see it again? And if it does arrive, how damaged will it be from jerkoffs throwing it around like killer whales playing with a dead seal? You can't do much about the first two issues, but packing and protecting your bike to lessen the chance of it looking like an expired seal upon arrival is entirely within your control.
Jetpack Details

• Semi-rigid foam construction
• Rigid base
• Clamps bike by axles
• Compatible with most bikes
• Inflatable wheel protection
• Dimensions: 51" x 31" x 10"
• Weight: 19.8lbs
• MSRP: $449.95 USD

Biknd's $449.95 USD Jetpack travel bag has been made to do exactly that, and it employs a few neat features that are designed to keep your bike safe and make your life easier, like inflatable wheel protection and a rigid, adjustable base that your bike clamps onto. The sub-20lb Jetpack bike bag can accept any type mountain bike, and even has room for road bikes with high, integrated seat posts.


Frame mounted and sides open for wheels to be packaged.
Our large-sized Patrol fit inside the Jetpack with a bit of room to spare.


The Jetpack bag is all about separation; keeping your wheels, handlebar, and frame all packed together tightly and, most importantly, protected from one another, which is accomplished by way of a number of neat dividers and pads.

Anyone who has had to package a bike in a cardboard box knows that half the battle is squeezing in the wheels (if the rear wheel is off the bike) without letting the rotors or cassette tear a new one to either the side of the box or its precious cargo. Biknd employs two inflatable cushions - one on each side of the bag for each wheel - that are located between the bag's padded sides and the wheels. Picture big yellow donuts and you'll get the idea. These donuts are inflated with your mouth before being laid over the side of the bag; attached covers are then pulled up through the hole in the center of each that keep your wheels from puncturing them, and straps run up through the same hole that you use to snug the wheel down securely before a cover is laid on top.


Both sides down and the inflatable side pads
Covers on the inflatable side pads
The inflatable wheel protection means that the padding is there when you need it, but they can be deflated and rolled up when the bag isn't in use.

What the inflatable donuts do is allow Biknd to squeeze in more protection but without the added bulk, especially when the bag is empty and rolled up, and it means that you can also leave the rotors and cassette on the wheels.

What to do with the bike's handlebar when it's boxed up is another common conundrum, with most people wrapping it and the frame in cardboard or padding before using zip-ties to attach it to the bike so it's not swinging around scratching stuff. Biknd has done something similar, although they've executed in a nicer manner. A frame pad is included that's shaped to wrap around the bike's front triangle, and Velcro straps on the outside of the pad are used to hold the handlebar up against it. Clever.
The handlebars are kept in place with this padded velco section which has velcro loops to secure the bars in place
Strap-on protection covers the front of the bike, and it even has some Velcro straps to keep your handlebar snug.

The Jetpack bag opens from the left and right sides, and when both sides are unzipped, the bike easily stands upright. This is because it's attached to an aluminum base with axle clamps that can be adjusted so the frame will sit up and off the bottom of the bag and have clearance up top regardless of if it's a big downhill sled, small-sized kids bike, or even a triathlon rig with an integrated seat post. The front axle clamp slides horizontally to adjust for the bike's wheelbase, and the rear clamp is moved vertically via a quick-release pin to adjust the bike's height in the bag. Biknd includes axle adapters for nearly every single axle size between here and Jupiter - minus some mega-wide fat bike axle spacing - so most people will be covered.


Adjustable rear axle mount locked in place.
The Jetpack's axle clamps can be adjust in length and height to suit almost any bike.
Fork mounted to the through axle adapter. The for air pressure was released to drop the front low enough to fit in the bag
While they're easy to adjust, the bag's stiff sides makes sliding the axles in a bit tricky.




Performance

Our Jetpack travel bag has seen some serious miles since it landed in the office, with trips to both Chile for an enduro race and to Japan for some riding in the Far East. It has been responsible for protecting a Transition Patrol and a Knolly Warden during that time, both of which escaped scuff-free during their air miles, as you'd hope and expect they would. Protection aside, let's look at how the Jetpack was to pack and travel with.

We first attempted to get a bike in the Jetpack bag without looking at the instructions - you know, like a guy would - and the process is straightforward enough that it wasn't anything that we'd call challenging. The instructions are clear as day, mind you, and they do show you how to make adjustments for bikes of different lengths by tweaking where the clamps sit on the base, but the job is a cakewalk regardless. We had to employ the supplied 15mm axle adapters that slide in and out easily, and it's probably worth noting that you'll want to keep these little guys zipped up in the parts bag when not in use as they're sure to roll away.

The bag's axle clamps are nearly flush with the stiff lower section of the bag, right where the Jetpack's sides fold down, which made sliding the axles in a bit tricky. It took a bit of force to push the sides of the bag out of the way to be able to get them in, which, while not a deal breaker, was kinda annoying. You can lift the base up slightly to make alignment easier, but it'd be nice to see a relief put into the stiff section, or maybe have it lowered a touch.


Biknd Jetpack loaded up and wheels strapped into the sides ready to roll
Almost ready for take-off.


And as for the nifty inflatable wheel protection, they work exactly as advertised. We fit a set of 27.5 x 2.5'' wheels and rubber in them and there were zero issues. Lowering the dropper post creates enough room to keep you from ever having to completely remove your seat post, which is something that everyone wants to avoid, and the entire package zipped up snug as a bug. The zippers themselves are also burly enough that they'll probably last longer than the bag, so there shouldn't be any worries about them wearing out, and the whole package was free of any rattles or jingles from metal or carbon bits touching each other. A bike bag should be a no-contact zone, and the Jetpack does exactly this.

So, with a 30lb bag inside of it, how was the Jetpack while trying to get through the gongshow that is an airport? It turned out to be relatively easy - it's still a tall and skinny bag that weighs a bunch - but the bag's handles are where they need to be, and it rolls easily on its two wheels. Four wheels might be a bit nicer, however, as then you could just push or pull it along without having to lift one end, but this isn't a big issue. And because it can fold down on itself, it's also easy to deal with when it's empty.


Heavy duty wheels built into a heavy duty structure for stability.
Pull handle at the front of the bag
Four wheels would be more convenient than two, but the Jetpack is easy to handle in a crowded airport.


Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesThe Jetpack's novel design - particularly the aluminum base with integrated and adjustable axle clamps, as well as the inflatable wheel protection - isn't different just for the sake of being different. The setup provides ample protection and, just as important, separation between the frame and the wheels and other components.

There's no getting around the fact that investing in a $449.95 USD travel bag for your bike doesn't make much sense unless you're jetting off with your bike at least a few times every year, but the Jetpack is worth looking at if you're lucky enough to be doing exactly that.
- Mike Levy



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53 Comments

  • + 46
 For a split second when I loaded the page, all my brain saw was "Jetpack Travel" and I was very excited.
  • + 21
 I've done probably well north of a hundred thousand miles with mine working overseas and living in europe and the only point of weakness has been the inflatable wheel protection which for the first few trips burst and scuffing at the base the inflatable cases has been solved, but more importantly, twice I emailed Biknd upon landing to find them deflated and they UPS's me replacements from canada to europe at no charge the case has been excellent and I've used it with road, cx, and enduro MTB's - rock solid and customer service is excellent
  • + 21
 Try Stans. Should keep them inflated.
  • + 2
 Same problem here with the hernia donuts. I patched them.
  • + 1
 Same experience. The yellow inflatable wheel-pads aren't great, but Biknd replaces them when asked.
  • + 1
 In all cases, had you fully inflated the donuts?

My instinct is to only 1/2 or 3/4 inflate them so the pressure differential in flight would cause them to fully inflate. If they were fully inflated then they would probably pop on the plane.
  • + 1
 @s100mphplus: I live at 2600m elevation here in Addis Ababa and flights are typically pressurized at around 1600m.
  • + 11
 How is this compared to the benchmark EVOC bike bag?
  • - 22
flag pm148 (Nov 23, 2016 at 23:08) (Below Threshold)
 A literal 15 second google search on my phone told me the evoc bag is 440 on backcountry.com
  • + 8
 @pm148: I'm not sure @PAmtbiker meant just in terms of price.
  • + 1
 @ermoldaker: wow I'm a dumbass???? Looks like sleep deprivation is getting to me I read it through three times and didn't get that, couldn't understand why he hadn't just googled the price!
  • + 3
 It must have been excruciating writing this without drawing any comparisons with..........y'know
  • + 7
 I own both. I prefer the EVOC (simpler, faster to load, one pound lighter on a real scale), but the Jetpack is also very nice and the metal frame could add a bit more security over the EVOC. Both bags fit a large Santa Cruz Nomad with 180mm fork well.
  • + 3
 @Chickenwithshovel: haha to be fair I read everything I reply to at least three times, somehow that just slipped through, like I said I'm a dumbass
  • + 7
 Solid review. Not a bad price for something so well engineered. Hell, some backpacks used to be about that much. And I do wish I was lucky enough to justify such a specialized piece of gear.
  • - 10
flag Theeeeo (Nov 24, 2016 at 1:23) (Below Threshold)
 Eww, you buy Specialized gear?
  • + 6
 @Theeeeo: Thanks a lot. I reckon I'll be sued now for failing to capitalize their name.
  • + 4
 @kingsx: Yep, I can confirm this as I am actually an Agent of Specialized Suing (A.S.S)
  • + 3
 I have one of these and it is a solid pice of kit. It won me over the EVOC as it has the fixed frame inside to fit the axles to. Been through several flights now and only has a bit of scuffing on the bottom corners.
  • + 2
 Hey a little tip if you buy it through a Canadian dealer on eBay that will ship internationally with the exchange rate from the USD to canadian you can get a killer deal on these. Purchased mine a little over a year and a half ago this way.
  • + 2
 I have this bike bag and chose it for all the reasons in the review. The internal frame and air bags really protect the bike well and snug everything up when closed. My only gripe is that i still don't like to have my bars with brakes attached strung up near the top of the bag, I simply take all controls off the bars and put bars in loose, only 10 mins to re attach controls.However This bag like ALL bike bags is too short! yes my trail bike fits in no problem but i do remove rear brake caliper as its a bit exposed. My DH bike - (admittedly a Canyon Sender size large) is just too long to use the internal frame, I had to deflate forks & Shock and only then did rear drop outs fit into the bag at a squeeze. I love this bike bag but please start making them longer, new geometry means our bikes are getting harder to squeeze in these bags.
  • + 2
 Waiting for same purpose bag with weight below 3kg. When bag itself is 6-8 kg, then how could you fit bike, spares, protection etc in the limits of 21kg per bag? Ok, sometimes it is 23kg, but still, may be not enough if it is good old aluminum dh bike with weight near 16kg. So I'd buy one even for 1k but if it is stiff as bikend or evoc and less than 3kg. Any aerospace materials in the bag frame?? Goretex pro + cordura externals to sustain any conditions??? Nope, just another heavy bag...
  • + 2
 I made myself a bag that wheights just bellow 3kg. I t has a rigid wooden bottom and the sides were built with 3 large zippered pockets that are used to put cardboard pieces inside, so I can get one used box and cut it to fit inside the pockets, depending on the harshness of the trip, I can also glue foam to the pieces of cardoboard. This way, on longer travels, the inside cardboards can be trashed and the bag can be easily stowed.
  • + 3
 My wife and I both have these. Traveled with both our trail bikes, and road bikes. Both work great, no complaints. I would highly recommend them.
  • + 1
 mi cardboard bike box has travelled more than many of my friends. and through the years it has developed a waterproof adhesive tape layer all over. even my friend used his and mine as a tent to sleep at chatel's bikepark surrounded by wild pigs!!
  • + 1
 I have flown with mine quite a few times and it has served me well. A large GT Force LE, a large GT force X carbon and a medium Giant Glory have all fit with no issues. I just ordered a Medium '17 Giant trace advanced and I imagine it will fit without any issues as well.
  • + 1
 I travel alot with my bikes and have used many different bike bags over the years. I can tell you for a fact the cardboard box that your bike comes in, reinforced with gaffer tape is the best option for flying your bike around.
  • + 1
 Mine worked great until the pull handle handle stitching tore off in the middle of Heathrow. The wheels were bent on a trip back from Europe and now it wobbles if I pull it too fast - but that said it got the bike back and forth without any trouble aside from this - they inspected it at TSA and customs both ways and I didn't have to deal with a re-taping nightmare.
  • + 1
 I had one of these , the actual weight of the bag was almost 12 kg which was an issue travelling with a DH bike , a few durability issues also presented after only small amount of use , the biknd company then refused to answer any emails and no warranty was offered after they initially requested photos and seemed interested, the functionality of the bag was great but so is an evoc , which happened to be the same as the claimed weight , no quality issues , and made by a company that actually gives a sh*t about their customers
  • + 1
 I had a BKind bag a few years ago, and it was too short for my medium Covert frame, I had to deflate shocks and remove derailleur, etc... Don't know if they improved this but despite the inflatable bags being a great idea they got punctured on the first trip, I patched them up, got punctured again. One thing I have to say that customer support was excellent and sent me new inflatable bags without questions asked, but sadly these new ones got punctured again on the first trip i used them. I eve tried covering the bike with towels to see if this could prevent punctures. I now use the EVOC bag with a 29er and have nothing to complain about except maybe 4 wheels on the bag to push it would be awesome.
  • + 2
 Try putting less air in the inflatable donuts. I've used mine several times with no issues. The baggage compartment isn't generally pressurized and also air volume the higher you get increases... They pop themselves.
  • + 2
 The baggage compartment is pressurized.
  • + 1
 @mfoga: empty a soda bottle before final decent and see what happens.... The bottle crushes itself on decent.... Opposite thing happens when you climb... Air expands under less atmospheric pressure.... Inflated objects pop...
  • + 1
 @scotttherider: I never said there was no change in pressure I said that baggage compartment is pressurized. That would actually depend where you are landing. The pressure in a plane is about 6-8k feet in elevation. So if you land at sea level there has been a large change in pressure. No different than if you drive to the mountains. The baggage compartment is pressureized to the same as the cabin so yes that same effect would occur on the donuts, but the idea that it due to the lack of pressurization in the laughable compartment is incorrect. It's due to the pressure levels that are kept when at cruising altitude and the pressure where they were inflated. I have plenty of time in a plane to understand how this works, I have flown around 1.5 million miles in the last 15 years.
  • + 1
 @mfoga: I've flown 1.5 million miles in the past 5 years.... Big f*cking whoop.... But exactly what I said with the difference in air pressure at altitude. I do know that in my 25-30 times I've traveled with my biknd bag I haven't fully inflated my donuts and never suffered any punctures in mine... No need to laugh at the fact that I didn't know if the baggage compartment was pressurized. Never really cared if it was.
  • + 1
 The easiest and safest way for travelling with bikes is to actually ride it around the airport, and then when any officials ask you otherwise you become that one guy everyone always sees at the airport who kicks off and starts a shitstorm even though you're clearly in the wrong.
  • + 1
 I bought one of these prior to my recent trip to the US. I used bike boxes previously but they are just a bit of a pain to haul around the airport. I could easily wheel along this and my suitcase behind me no problem - its very stable and performed as it should have.
The only damage to my bike was due to poor placement of the handlebars by me Frown which meant they rubbed a small patch on my fork.
No problems with the inflatable discs (i didn't fully inflate them).
Just be aware if you have a long bike... Ive got a Large Whyte G-160 and i had to decompress the fork and shock, remove both the caliper and hanger and it literally JUST fit in.
  • + 0
 You can pretty much go to any bike shop and ask for a shipping box, most of the time they just give you a box that a bike was shipped to them in and it's free and unless you are still rocking an old iron horse Sunday you shouldn't be overweight
  • + 1
 Agreed just flew Van to Europe 3 separate flights with two bike boxes. They were perfect after the whole journey and you don't have to strip the bikes down that much bit of pipe insulation and cable ties round the vitals.
  • + 7
 @domo-kun: Cardboard works until it comes time for TSA search. Then you are leaving the retape job to someone else. Rezippering is quick and easy.
  • + 1
 Actually no dont tape it fully until they check it which they do with you there then seal it up proper after they're happy. Not a big deal to have a roll of tape with you, Thats my experience anyway. Im not against bags Id get one myself if I travelled alot but if you're not doing it much a box is fine as its free. They are a good way to keep costs down as it as it can be pricey enough just to bring a bike never mind the added cost of a 500 dollar bag.
  • + 2
 Cost isn't that bad when compared to the ridiculous fees some airlines charge for oversized baggage.
  • + 0
 How so? I used a cardboard box for a box fan and kept my bike luggage under 50 pounds and under the size limits.

That means I get by for FREE. I mean, it wasn't reusable, but I can always find another box for the next time I fly.

This bike box will be more than 50 pounds, unless you have a very light bike, and it is oversized too. AND it costs a ton to start with.
  • + 6
 I would love to see this box you got a bike in that made it under the size limit. Anything that hold a bike is going to be oversized there is no way around that unless you plan to put it into a number of different boxes but now you are paying for extra bags. 62" is the max size for virtually every airline. That length + height + width. So a 26" wheel set might barely fit that. Now not every ticket counter is hell bent on size limits. I have flown a number of time with cardboard boxes, plastic boxes. What they charged , excess weight or size or both was inconsistent but most times it was over weight.

And I have a jetpack, and I can fix both my Reign or my Trance in there and get it under 50lbs but yeah its still over size but now way your getting around that
  • + 1
 @mfoga: You just have to take the front and rear triangle apart and deflate the tires. I don't see why it is that complicated.
  • + 1
 It shrinks down to about 25 x 25 x 10 when you overlap the wheels. Then just throw the other stuff in between. I guess you'd kinda be f*cked if it were a 27.5 or a 29, especially if you had wide wheel spacing or a geometron long top tube. I didn't have this problem as I was on a 26" back when they were normal. My frame was also just within spec's because it had a 24.5" top tube so the lower part of the headtube, which stuck out a bit, was still just within 25".
  • + 1
 Just found www.probikekit.co.uk selling for a cyber Monday price of £246 in UK Big Grin
  • + 1
 Any CyberMonday deal on this? I know there is room at $449 to cut pricing. Did you guys see the BlackFriday Deals?
  • + 1
 I have one and flew with it several times this year. No complaints so far.
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