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By Lennard Zinn
Features: The Italian-made Sci-Con 52 Aerotech bike travelcase is a nylon bag with padded sides and a solid base with four rubbercasters to roll on. It has a two-way zipper around the unpadded ends andtop and two large carry straps around the girth. The rear dropouts clamponto a fixed-position mount with a skewer and a steel guard to protectthe rear derailleur. The front fork mount (two versions are shipped withthe case) slides back and forth to adjust for the wheelbase of the bike.The wheels are strapped to the frame, and three hollow slotted cylindricalfoam pads (pieces of hot-water-pipe insulation) are provided to protectthe frame where the wheels contact.Likes: This bag (or case I don¹t know whatto call it, because it is a bit of both) is a snap to pack a bike into;there is no need to even remove the pedals! You simply remove the wheels,clamp the front and rear dropouts down (they adjust out to at least mywheelbase of 107cm), strap the wheels to the frame, and zip it up! Evenmy large road bike (65cm) fit in without even
lowering the seat from its 88cm height! I did have to pull the barsoff of the stem; without a front-opening stem, I would have had to removethe stem and bar (but I do have a length of 95cm from the back of the saddleto the bar!). With most road bikes, you simply flip the bars down to protectthe STI or ErgoPower levers. For someone who travels a lot with a bike,to not
have to break it down and put it back together on t he other end isa tremendous feature!The bag/case is also light and it folds down quite small featureslacking from many bike cases. The fact that the ends and top are not padded,different from other hard-bottom bike bags I know of, allows it the flexibilityto zip around a high seat or wide bars or to fold up to store or stuffin a trunk easily. Padding around the ends and top affords little additionalprotection anyway.
The bag accepts two sets of wheels alongside the bike, and the rear-derailleurprotector, though obviously cheap, seems to work well to protect the derailleur(but it makes it a bit more hassle to skewer the rear end down).The soft wheels roll easily on airport carpeting as well as marble floors.Dislikes: The padding is not very dense and thenylon is lightweight. These features contribute to the bag¹s lightnessand ease of use, transport, and storage, but you cannot count on them formuch protection from big impacts or sharp objects.There are some straps attached to the inner walls of the bag, but youreally need to provide your own straps to properly anchor the wheels frommoving, particularly if you are putting two sets inside.A handle on the end to pull it with would be nice.Other: The bag I tested is blue. The new color thisyear is orange. The importer claims that for the 2002 season, USPS, Navigators,Jean Delatour, and Mapei are all using this case for all their airlinetravel.Test dates: March, 2002Weight: 13 poundsPrice: $320Contact: Van Dessel Sports, 115 Stryker Lane, Building4, Unit 4, Hillsborough, NJ 08844; 908/431-4471, fax 908/431-4474; Web:www.VanDesselSports.com