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