- Will fit long wheelbase bikes
- Inflatable wheel protection
- Easy access design
- Heavy to pull along for any distance
- Expensive compared to Evoc bags
The BikND Jetpack XL is designed for bikes with long wheelbases and slack angles, it has an integrated aluminium support bar along the base with secure clamps for both axles plus it has inflatable nylon airbags to protect your wheels and both sides unzip completely to give 360-degree access. So, if you want peace of mind when flying your big rig, the Jetpack XL is well worth saving up for.
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I’ve used it on four flights and my bike has arrived unscathed each time, although the bag has clearly had some rough treatment, judging by the marks and scuffs on the exterior. The outer material is a tough nylon polyester and sustained a little rip, but this is just cosmetic.
The XL boasts the same well-thought-out design – and £449 RRP – as the standard Jetpack, except for being 10cm longer, and you don’t need to remove your rear derailleur, which is handy. The 360-degree opening, with the sides lying flat, helps make packing simple and is also useful if you want to reach in to get at things you’ve stowed inside.
Once you’ve spent a little time on initial set-up fitting the correct axle spacers to the front and rear axle mounts (thru-axle fork mounts are standard) and figuring out the best way to configure the rear axle stand, packing your bike is pretty painless. All you need to remove are the wheels, pedals and handlebar.
It’s easiest to have someone hold your frame while you attach it to the axle mounts, using your axles to secure it. Fit the fork axle first as this mount slides along the support bar (to accommodate different wheelbases), so you can then align your rear dropouts with the rear axle stand. Once locked in, your frame is going nowhere and, most crucially, it’s lifted well away from the base of the bag so that it and the rear mech can’t be knocked from below. There’s also a foam pad included that you can position along the Velcro strip on the side of the bag to further protect the mech.
The wheels fit in internal compartments and lie on the airbags so the disc rotors are well protected, as are the hubs by the plastic hub covers that keep the wheel locked in place with Velcro straps. The airbags are a little fiddly as you have to take them out of their covers to blow them up by mouth – one cover ripped at the seam after a few uses, although that’s by no means major. One of the beach ball-style valves leaked air, so a dab of Vaseline on them before first use should prevent air loss.
You then secure the handlebar with Velcro loops to the frame pad that wraps around your top and down tubes, pop the pedals in the robust zip-up bag that contains an assortment of axle spacers (including 15x110, 12x157, 12x148) and Allen keys, and you’re pretty much done.
While the Jetpack XL is a kilo or so heavier than many other bags, at 10.4kg, airline weight limits are usually 32kg+ so I had allowance spare, plus plenty of space, to stash tools, shoes etc inside the bag. (Strictly you’re not supposed to do this, by the way, according to most airlines.) However, because it only has wheels at the back you have to lift and pull it– and that 32kg soon feels heavy. I actually put mine on a trolley inside the airport, which was a lot easier (although it’s so long at the base that sitting across the trolley it didn’t fit through some of the doors!). Adding front wheels would be an improvement as then you could simply pull it along.
The Jetpack XL’s dimensions are 144x35x80cm. While both Jetpacks are specifically designed for mountain bikes, they can easily fit gravel and road bikes or a tri-bike with an integrated seatpost. Like most other bags, the Jetpack folds up for easy storage and can fit through a loft hatch no problem. The XL comes with a five-year warranty, which helps justify the cost. If your bike isn’t super slack or long, you can find the standard Jetpack reduced to £320 online.