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Review: Polaris Axial Pod

Did the Polaris Axial Pod manage to keep my precious steed safe?

We put the Polaris Axial Pod to the test while travelling to a 5 day adventure race with a whole load of kit. Check out how it performed. 

Travelling with a bike can be pretty stressful. Especially if your foreign endeavours require huge volumes of kit. Arriving at the airport to discover you are not going to be charged excess luggage results in a feeling of utter elation.

The true cost of transporting your bike by plane? Which airline is cheapest?

But before we even get to that stage, there is the inevitable decision to make about your carrier of choice. Do you go for a bike box or bag? Should you rent or buy? It is a minefield out there.

Most roadies with expensive carbon steeds will opt for a bike box. It offers more protection for your bike and the requirement for additional kit storage is usually less (after all, how much space does your lycra take up).

In this case however, I needed a luggage solution that would provide enough storage space for the bulk of my kit for a five day adventure race in Canada. For those not familiar with adventure racing – you need a lot of kit. Everything from wetsuits to camping stoves, running kit, cycling kit and everything in between. It is a logistical nightmare so choosing the correct bike big is a crucial step in the preparation.

After a lot of research, I opted for the Polaris Axial Pod. A bike bag that offers more protection than a lot of standard cargo bike bags yet enough excess space to house a week’s worth of kit. Weighing in at 8.8kg it is certainly not the lightest bag on the market but not the heaviest either.

 

The inside of the bag is however what sold me. A solid base and exoskeleton give the bag a nice solid structure while padding combined with a series of constraints within the bag make sure that your bike stays secure no matter what the baggage handlers throw at it. The bag fit my 29″ hardtail in it perfectly, although I did find it a tiny bit tricky to slot the wheels into their designated compartment. However, it is probably more important to note that my wheels were fully in tact when they arrived at our destination thanks to that very padded compartment. And all in all the bag was actually very easy to pack.

If you don’t believe us, check out our how to pack a bike bag video

The bag is quite large, so if you are mainly travelling for weekends away you may be better to opt for the more streamlined boxes in the range that are slightly easier to fit into the back of a cab and maneuver on an airport trolley. But the burly wheels do help with this predicament somewhat. Hauling this bag when it was at full capacity and weighing in at 33kgs was actually easier than I thought it would be.

Another positive for this bag is the fact that it is much easier to store than a bike box. When not in use it can be folded down.

Pros: 

This is a good, sturdy bike bag. It is fairly priced and most importantly my bike made it to Canada and back in one piece.

Cons: 

It is a little on the bulky side and definitely not the lightest luggage option out there.

Verdict: 

All in all, I was pretty happy with the Polaris Axial Pod.

Price: £269.99

Stockist: Chain Reaction Cycles

Also worth a read: 

The ultimate MTB holiday checklist

A guide to cycling holiday insurance

Holiday reads: 8 cycling reads to really get your teeth into

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