Polaris Axial Pod - Review

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:19
by Paul Aston  
Polaris; based in Derbyshire, England; are celebrating their 25th anniversary of designing and creating cycling specific clothing and equipment. Their luggage range includes three bike 'pods', two of which are solid cases, the other is this foldable 'Axial Pod'. The moulded EVA base has integrated wheels and strengthening bars for rigidity. The upper is constructed from a tough, 600D fabric with various straps and foam pads to suit any shape of bike and prevent bike-on-bike contact. The bottom bracket sits on a built-in foam block which is the starting point for securing the frame, and also keeps the chain rings and derailleur raised off the base and out of harm's way. One feature of the Axial Pod is the removable plastic sheets that give the pod shape and rigidity, and allow the bag to be folded down for storage, when not in use. The pod is designed for long-travel and downhill bikes, and can fit any size of wheel. An internal pocket is handy for storing spare bits and discs, and there is also a small, fabric tool roll included. Multiple grab handles are in place to move the pod around, along with the integrated wheels. There are three colour-ways to choose from: Black/Charcoal, Black/Charcoal/Blue and Black/Charcoal/Green. $465 USD / £299.99 www.polaris-bikewear.co.uk

Polaris Axial Bike Pod

Polaris Axial Bike Pod
Plenty of straps to keep your pride and joy in place, although the seat tube straps didn't line up well with our bike.
Polaris Axial Bike Pod
The handles aren't in the best position, and can lead to sore arms if you have a lot of walking to do.
Polaris Axial Bike Pod
The moulded base is robust and good for dragging the bag down city stairs.
Polaris Axial Bike Pod
Being able to fold the bag to roughly 1/3 of its volume is handy for cramped hotel rooms or storage areas in your home.

Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesThere are a couple of options for travelling with a bike: a specific bike bag, or a cardboard bike box. Not wanting to stir that hornet's nest of pro's and con's; we have a bike bag! Packing the Axial Pod is easy. The bike can be fastened securely to the foam block which raises the bike off of the base and gives ample room for the derailleur and chain rings. The head tube and front axle area fix securely to the bag, then are covered by foam straps to which the handlebars attach, preventing any interface rubbing between the two. I travelled with a large sized NS Snabb, and a large sized Canyon Strive which both fit in easily. There's plenty of room for 27.5" wheels with the tires inflated inside the wheel pockets, and according to the 'How to video' on the Polaris site fitting in 29" wheels is a cinch too.

At 8.8kgs it's a decent chunk of your airline weight limit, but isn't out of line with its competitors. Even with a weighty downhill bike you should come under the standard 32kg allowance of most airlines. I have taken a few different flights with this bag with no damage to report, despite leaving the derailleur and discs installed for flight. For lifting the loaded bag in and out of various vehicles, the carry handles worked well. But, for long distance dragging/pulling between terminals the handles needed to be positioned horizontally rather than vertically - and lower down. This change of angle would put less strain on your wrists, and placing one lower down would balance more weight on to the wheels and less weight in your hand. After some arm pump issues, I discovered that on smooth airport floors, the EVA base slides easily so you can just drag the pod if your forearms are out of steam.

The pod did become a little lopsided after a few flights but I guess this is the price you pay for a soft, folding bag. The removable plastic strips are easy to install and remove, and being able to fold the bag down to roughly 1/3 of its size is handy when storing at home or in a cramped hotel room. If I had the choice again I would choose the black and charcoal colour-way, as my green pod did get dirty quite easily, especially within the vicinity of an oily chain and headset.

Overall a great, robust bag, that kept my bikes in one-piece.
- Paul Aston


  • + 85
 Bike box from the local shop still does the trick........

The trick where you save $465 USD
  • + 46
 Might not save exactly $465, need to account for some cost for the obligatory duct tape re-enforcement required to make the box truly travel worthy.

All hail duct tape.
  • + 5
 The amount of time and hassle I saved was probably worth more than $465. Then again, I only paid $250 for my bike bag.
  • + 2
 sure the bike box from the local shop won't give extra weight on flight too! haha you can save some more $ from the baggage
  • + 7
 Whatcha going to do when it starts to rain, starts to rain on your reign.
Cardboard+ rain= a big mess I'd rather avoid.
  • + 4
 Use some of your saved $465 USD and rent a car and deliver yourself and dry bike in a bike box to your destination
  • + 5
 I wish I could drive my bike to my favorite riding destinations; but unfortunately one of my go to spots is 17 hrs away via car. I can fly there in 2.5 hrs. My EVOC has not let me down yet.
  • + 6
 Use some of your saved $465 and purchase some sticky plastic carpet protector which you can find at any local builders merchants @ approx 10 quid just wrap your cardboard bike box in it and hey presto one waterproof bike box
As its self adhesive its as easy fook , result
Another money saving idea brought to you by " I'm a tight c#@t.com "
  • + 2
 My plastic fantastic wonder bike had a hole punched in from the hub, due to baggage handlers in a cardboard box, I'm saving for a bike bag!!
  • + 1
 compare this dream bike box to a card box is just.... you know
  • + 48
 For that price it better b air canada proof
  • + 8
 hey now, I'm sure 'that' air canada incident wouldn't have occurred if the bike were made of cast iron.
  • + 1
 Now where's that writeup/link w/the comparison of costs of airlines and bike bag/weight $?
  • + 6
 Don't worry, if Air Canada wrecks your bike in transit they are more than happy to help you resolve the issue.... If you work in the bike industry and use social media to grab the attention of a worldwide audience who get into an uproar and begin to taint the reputation of the airline.... then they are your best friend and will offer their version of "fair market value" for your beloved baby. Go Air Canada!!

  • + 3
 Surely they wouldn't.... Smile Launch the Polaris Cool

...I'll see myself out.
  • + 39
 Pfft, I check my bike into first class... 2 rows, cover him with a blanket to ensure his carbon doesn't get too cold.
  • + 23
 This bag is especially exceptional for carrying your expensive carbon mountain bike through the forrest!
  • + 17
 Looks like a good purchase. Hope there's room for my $200 shorts and $75 multitool in there.
  • + 4
 I've packed a bike in a bike box... If I used this thing twice it would be worth it not having to pack my bike in a cardboard box and then worrying about whether the airline is gentle with it or not. It's expensive, but for the people hating on the price: either you don't have that nice of a bike and you're not worried about damage :p, or you've never actually used a cardboard box to ship/travel with. It sucks!
  • + 3
 I have the EVOC bag and highly recommend it, yes the bag is 8.5 kg before any gear and I think I got it off wiggle for $400 AUD which is a price tag to consider. although I've used it for I think more than six flights and some of those were aus to france, nz to Canada and it is looking like it will easily last another 15 flights, no major signs of wear, tears or handles ripping off. one massive advantage to consider is bags that have wheels, these round things are super handy on any large bag/suitcase. from the first time I packed my rig in to my EVOC bike bag and made my first trip to the airport, and from air ports to train station, changing to connecting train on different platform, and from train station/bus stop to taxi or the short walk to your accommodation a flimsy bike box just doesn't cut it. buy a quality bag that makes the ball ache of travelling with a bike a breeze.
  • + 2
 Bike bags really are the future, we have lots of athletes who have taken our Bags on everything from a plane across the world multiple times to the the London Underground and Public transport and the maneuverability makes such a difference.
  • + 7
 That price tho...jeez!
  • + 5
 a bag that is even MORE expensive than the evoc one ?? (400$) I didn t know it was possible !!
  • + 2
 Yeah, I'm not sure how you do a review of this without thinking about the established Evoc bag that looks better-padded, seems a bit better thought through, and is less expensive. But it doesn't have a cool name like "axial pod"...
  • + 3
 And the EVOC one doesnt go lopsided and the wheels are wider making it easier to move. Been using the EVOC one for three years and it is streets ahead of anything I used before.
  • + 1
 The EVOC Pro bag this lines up against is actually more expensive by around £100 but they both have their positive points. The EVOC is slightly more stable due to its wheel placing but it doesn't collapse for storage making it slightly awkward to store and transport. They both take exactly the same range of bikes.
  • + 2
 I appreciate the reply, and for sure, a bag that packs up to fit in your rental car/motel closet is a good idea. I just thought the reviewer missed the most obvious thing for the review.
  • + 3
 This is our first attempt at a soft shell after a range of very successful rigid/semi rigid cases so we are taking all these points as positive steps to build from moving forwards. The positive we take is that all our athletes and reviewers have always arrived with a fully intact and well protected bike and that's the main aim, to beat the luggage handlers and keep peoples bikes safe! Smile
  • + 2
 "It doesn't collapse for storage making it slightly more awkward to store and transport"

Ehh... I call bullsh*t. The evoc bag does collapse. I have one, and fold it down to store it under my bed. Very easy to do!
As for awkward to transport, well that's simply not true either. It can be left folded down and transported very easily, but I imagine most people only "transport" them when there's a bike inside. It seems the evoc wins on that front too!

*edit* Also noticed that you're drawing comparisons with the bike bag pro, which is more expensive, but is also nearly 1kg lighter than your product. Sorry dude, that's another fail!
  • + 2
 Thanks for the dude comment but I am actually a girl (shocking in the cycle industry i know)

Secondly ours is 8.2 and the EVOC is 8kg, I don't mention weight at all, there is nothing wrong with the EVOC it is a great bag we are only promoting our own product not calling anyone else. If you actually note, I just complimented the EVOCs plus point of being more stable. My friends work for EVOC and we all appreciate healthy competition within the industry.

Regarding the foldable nature of both Pods being soft cases I sincerely imagine this is a beneficial feature of both, Reviews have shown that this particular feature on ours has been clearer and more functional but that is all.

There is no bad blood it is simply a review of another bag that provides the same service as effectively. At the end of the day it is personal preference.
  • - 4
flag speedfreek (Jul 15, 2015 at 2:24) (Below Threshold)
 A quote directly from the article above, where they presumably weighed the bag:
"At 8.8kgs it's a decent chunk of your airline weight limit"

With the Evoc pro bag being 8kg flat, that's an 800g difference. Correct? Yeah, that's best part of a Kilo...

My point regarding weight is that you're drawing comparisons with the more expensive Evoc Pro bag, and arguing that yours is better because it's cheaper. I'm not sure you can compare it with the Evoc pro, as it is significantly lighter, and has a whole host of features that yours doesn't, so I'm really unsure what basis you're using to compare the two. It's an apples and oranges situation, and I think you'd be better off comparing it against the regular Evoc bike bag, which matches it for price and still comes out lighter.

"it doesn't collapse for storage" Your words. Not mine.
You're a marketing coordinator for Polaris, right? Quoting incorrect information about your own products, then simply inventing faults with rival products is not very good marketing. It is in fact, quite unprofessional, and says a lot about you as a company. I sincerely hope you're only spreading fallacies on internet message boards, rather than on an official level. Either way, it's not great.
I agree, healthy competition's a great thing- it keeps the industry interesting, but there are ways and means of doing it well. Offering unbalanced comparisons, and lying to make your own kit look better, is not the best way to go about it.

In regards to your Dude/Girl in the bike industry point... I don't really care. I know plenty of women who work in the industry; it's not a shock. Nice chip on your shoulder though.
I also don't really care about the "bad blood" thing. I have no vested interest in which is the better bag, and you are right to a point about it being a personal preference thing. However I think your promotional tactics are pretty dishonest, and need to be called out for the sake of balance.
  • + 4
 Regarding the weight of the bag I can only follow our official statistics from the factory that make it 8.2 and that is what it is in all of our media and the information I get from our design team. As you can imagine I can only go on the information provided.

I never said ours is better than the EVOC, like I said my best friend is the UK marketing manager for EVOC they have made soft shell bike cases for longer than us and I have already pointed out its benefits. They are completely different as they provide completely different fixing, fastening systems etc. Both will do the job perfectly well in a different format but with the same result. Your bike will be protected and you have a lot greater piece of mind. The old EVOC bag is 8.6 but that is really irrelevant.

I have never seen the EVOC bag collapse or been shown for it to collapse in any marketing material so maybe that is a feature they should show more of as it is clearly a handy one. Hardly false information, I have just never ever seen it so I sincerely apologise if this seems in any way misleading, If it does fold down into its base then that is great just wasn't a point I have ever been made aware of.

Definitely not lying about our kit at all, I think you will see from the above it's a totally fair and unbiased review and have clearly stated the points we will be working on in future. Also the similar positive reviews on Dirt, Singletrack and Enduro Mag make exactly the same comparisons so our product does exactly what we say it will do and that is protect your bike. In the same way that the EVOC will.

Like I said its personal preference at the end of the day and as long as people are able to explore and travel with their bikes safely and at the end of the day ride all the awesome trails then that is the main thing, whether they use a Polaris or an EVOC (i have friends that use both and way more besides).
  • + 2
 Doesn't matter what you make or what your product is, or how well it works - there are always be negative Nancy's and haters on the internet. Don't worry about it - that fellow was never going to be one of your customers anyways. Keep on with the efforts. Competition is great for all of us bike consumers - more choices at a better price.
  • - 1
My point is that you're drawing an unfair comparison: Offering your product up against a rival product that's in a completely different price bracket, with a bunch of features that yours doesn't have. What that's essentially doing is skipping over Evoc's actual rival to your product ie. making the case that yours is better. Now, that's absolutely fine if the claims are substantiated, but as far as I can see you've not actually given any reasons as to why it's better. Simply stating something over and over again doesn't make it true.

Regarding the weight discrepancy- Surely as a marketing co-ordinator, it's your job to get on to the reviewers and find out why they've stated the wrong weight, if that is indeed the case, and get them to correct it. If they have in fact weighed it and it comes out at 8.8, don't go blurting out on message boards that it's lighter, when it clearly isn't.

You say you're not lying or giving false information, but as far as I can see you have given at least two "facts" that don't appear to be researched, and are in fact untrue. Whether made intentionally or otherwise, that is misinformation.
In itself that's not the end of the world, but when you're representing your company, it just smacks of a complete lack of professionalism.

Rule 1 of any sales/marketing job: Know your product.
Rule 2: Know your competitors (ie. don't make claims about your rivals that you don't know to be true)

About the unbiased review bit, I was referring to your claims, not what PB have said. They review a lot of products, and generally seem to be very honest and fair. Apologies if that wasn't clear.

You're probably right about me not being a customer. I already have a bike bag, so don't need another one.
For what it's worth, I'm not hating on the Polaris product- it's a bloody bag for god sake, and I'm sure it's great in use. I'm also in no way against competition- it keeps things fresh and pushes product development. In the end, that's a great thing for us; the consumers.
What I am against though is somebody from one company, making misrepresentations of their rivals, in order to further themselves.
  • + 1
 I have the $440 S and S butterfly latch case and a bike that fits. Paid for itself already by avoiding oversize luggage fees and insane bike rental fees. Paying more for something that will cost an arm and a leg to fly with just doesn't make sense to me. Rentals might be cheaper.
  • + 1
 with out wishing to sound negative or have a go at your products, i have a question for hpolaris25

how long have you worked for the company,? and how well do you know your productline/ range. ?

8 years ago on my first whistler trip i purchased a polaris soft shell bag off crc for that trip, it was 80 pounds in the sale, the quality of it seemed ok, it looked very much the same as my brothers ultra bike bag, but like with most of the polaris products ive had, (bike bags and cloths,) the stitching on them is substandard,
my bag was packed sensibly not over loaded or bulging, when i arrived at vancouver the stitching had given in and the bag had a massive tear in it due to the failed stiching in the corner, if you read the customer reviews on crc you will see lots of people have the same problem with the polaris bag, ive also had similar problems with the 2 polaris windproof jackets that i had, stitching failed and they fell apart, thats why i now have 2 evoc bike bags, the oldest one still going strong after 6 years use, and use whindproof from differant manufacturers,

paul aston, on the bag that you have been testing, have you noticed if any of the stitching is failing, just wondering if polaris have sorted out their substandard stitching or not, ?
  • + 1
 any soft bag will NOT protect your bike. I own one and never use it as I end up using my old skool Iron Case that actually protects your bike from destruction. Using a soft bag is stupid
  • + 3
 Can you fold the bag to roughly 1/3 of its volume when the bike is inside it?
  • + 3
 Probably only 2/6
  • + 2
 I've used the Chain reaction bike bag on 3 trips to whistler flying AIR CANADA! The bag and the bike inside held up well on all three trips.
  • + 1
 Colombian handmade excellent quality bike box = 50 USD.
Airline charge cost = 25 USD x 18 Times = 400
The happiness to take my bike everywhere.....
I'm still saving money.
Thanks Polaris Company.
  • + 3
 Can I also use it as a tent?..
  • + 3
 When looking at the thumbnail I thought it was a tent because of it's shape and the picture being taken in the woods lol

Turned out to be a bike bag. Not sure why someone would carry a bike bag through the woods Smile
  • + 2
 Yeah lol that was my first thought and with the name as well I thought it was a tent...Big Grin
  • + 2
 after the air canada incident I don't think I would ever recommende a soft shell bag, hard shell is the way to go!
  • + 2
 We are working on an advanced hard shell design now that will take bigger bikes Smile
  • + 1
 I wish airlines would just roll my assembled bike onto the plane, then roll it off at the other end. its a bike, it's not a box or a bag.
  • + 1
 EVOC all the way, been to Whistler 4 times and France once, still looks good, never had any problems, bike comes out the other side perfect.
  • + 1
 Currently reviewing one of these myself. So far im very impressed. Review will be on MBR
  • + 2
 seriously consider EVOC bag, I think its cheaper, I have one, used it loads and would deff buy another one for sure.
  • + 2
 For a comparative Bag EVOC are actually £100 more expensive for their new Pro Bag that will take all the same size bikes but there has to be competition in any marketplace
  • + 2
 yeah for sure, this bag does look pretty sweet, I would try one for sure and by the looks of it would be totally happy with my purchase.
  • + 3
 love the colour....not
  • + 2
 I don't get it...Polaris makes snowmobiles, not bike bags.
  • + 1
 Polaris Industries make Snowmobiles Smile Polaris Bikewear makes cycling clothing and Luggage in the UK.... although I have always thought a snowmobile would be a lot of fun! www.polaris-bikewear.co.uk
  • + 2
 And all i can think is that beautiful Canyon!
  • + 1
 agreed it is a beautiful bike! Can't wait to see all the new bikes at Eurobike next month
  • + 1
 tent no it's more like a nice condo! Cardboard here I come!!
  • + 1
 they have um for snowmobile too
  • + 2
 I want one!
  • + 1
 were is that galvanized steel bike box?
  • + 1
 Looks like an EVOC

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