Dakine Bike Roller Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Attractive price point, easy load process, rolls/carries well
Cons: Not the most protective, less refined than competition
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dakine Bike Roller Bag is a functional product at a very attractive price point. As a result, it won our Best Buy award. This bag delivers decent protection levels and boasts a reasonably low ease of storage and weight. The simple loading process was a highlight as nobody wants to fuss with a complex and finicky loading system. No, this bike travel case may not be the best of the best, but it is an impressive piece at a low price tag.
The packing process was quite simple with the Dakine case. The process was by far the quickest among our test class and it was also the least complex. It could be argued that this fast and simple load process leads to a less protected bike. That may be a valid argument, but regardless, stuffing our bicycle into this case was fast and straightforward.
Remove the wheels, handlebars, and pedals from your bike. Start by putting the top tube/frame cover on the front end of the frame. Next, drop your fork into the fork protector bag/wrap. This is a very nice touch as it covers your vulnerable fork stanchions and keeps them out of harm's way. None of the more expensive cases have this feature…so kudos to Dakine. Set your rear triangle on the foam block to keep it off the ground. Next, remove the derailleur and stick it in the padded derailleur envelope. This is another nice touch and we would recommend zip tie-ing the derailleur envelope to your chainstays.
Next, put your wheels into the wheel bags. This is a nice fit that doesn't require a lot of force or totally deflating your tires. Put one bag on each side of the frame. Then, use the red straps to secure your frame and you are ready to roll.
The process is exceptionally intuitive. Some of our more complex cases require us to consult the directions at every step. The Bike Roller was logical and easy to understand. The steps were obvious and it didn't require a high level of precision. We give huge points to the fork wrap, it is a nice touch and protects one of the most fragile areas. Tip of the cap to Dakine.
The Dakine bag offers decent levels of protection. Throughout our testing process, we hauled this bag around, pulled it in and out of vehicles, and dragged it around a lot. We do mean a lot. There was no damage to the bike or components.
The Bike Roller does give us a slightly higher level of concern compared to some of the other bags. When we were moving the bike around, it seemed like there was a little more slop in the bag compared to other options. This means the bike felt like it moved around a little bit more. Again, there was no damage to the bike or any of the components, but it was moving in there. Other bags where the frame and fork are bolted to a frame feel a little more sturdy and protected.
We have mentioned it at least twice already, but it is worth mentioning a third time. We love the fork cover. Fork stanchions are a vulnerable area, especially with the handlebars positioned nearby. It isn't difficult to imagine handlebars slipping out of position and cutting your fork up. This is not only unsightly, but it heavily affects performance. The fork cover/wrap is a killer touch that deserves recognition.
Ease of Rolling/Carrying
The Dakine case rolls well-enough. It can't stand up to the best of the best, but it is a reasonably easy travel case to move around. The smaller wheels have a three-inch diameter and do not swivel or turn. They roll just fine, but if portability and walkability is an important consideration for your bike case, there are better options. This case rolls just fine on nice surfaces like those you might find in an airport or train station. Cracked pavement and uneven surfaces are a lot less pleasant.
This case is easy to pick up and onto luggage conveyor belts or check-in stations. There are plenty of handles, and the case never feels overly massive or bulky.
The Bike Roller weighs 17 pounds, 15 ounces. This measurement was taken while the bag was empty except for the included packing materials. This makes the Dakine among the lighter bags in the test; it's about .75 pounds heavier than the lightest competitor.
Weight shouldn't be a critical consideration when purchasing a bike case. Airlines have weight limits that vary slightly. Of course, the bulk of the weight will come from your bike and whatever else you shove into the case. That said, a few pounds difference is certainly significant if you are approaching a weight limit.
The Dakine case does not have any security features. You could easily add a TSA-approved lock to bind the zippers together. Security is a minor metric as a thief who wants your bike will most likely steal the whole bike case rather than open it up and remove your bicycle. That said, it can act as a deterrent for the opportunist who may want to grab a helmet or shoe out of your case.
Ease of Storage
The Dakine scored well in the ease of storage metric. It packs down pretty small, and it is also pretty light. This means that it can be easily jammed onto that hard-to-reach shelf or be minimally irritating in the corner of your closet. Soft cases are inherently easier to store compared to hard cases; you just need to remove the structural supports to take full advantage and collapse the bag.
At this price, the Dakine case is a stellar value. This travel case delivers solid, if not fantastic, performance. Yes, you can spend twice the amount for the bells and whistles and a little bit of additional bike protection. That said, the Dakine bag gets the job done just fine; this is especially true if your bike has already seen heavy use, and a scratch or scrape isn't the end of the world.
The Dakine Bike Roller bag is a rock-solid and simple bike travel case. Sprinkle in a fantastic price point, and you have a delicious recipe for success. The Dakine earns our Best Buy Award. Yes, you can pay significantly more money for a slightly more protective and feature-filled travel case. We salute Dakine for delivering a functional product that gets the job done without breaking the bank.
— Pat Donahue