Product Courtesy of: Speedmatrix Pte Ltd
Distributed by: Speedmatrix Pte Ltd
Available at: Speedmatrix dealers

Carry-on bag

Compared to using mere arm strength to hoist the bike up, it is actually much easier to have the weight of the bike on your shoulder; I could carry it for longer periods

The beauty of a foldable bike is in its ability to follow you wherever you go. This implies that you do not have to lock the bike outside where it could get stolen, and you can bring it to wherever you want to go, which means you’ll not have to depend on public transport, you can just unfold it and go places!

But my dream has always been cut short by the realisation that all foldable bikes are heavy. They are akin to carrying two unwieldy bags of rice on one arm, which tires your arms out in a matter of minutes. The only way to travel long distances is to roll them, which can be accomplished on most foldable bikes.

Dahon used to have a bag called El Bolso, which is basically a very large shopping bag with shoulder straps that allow you to carry your bike on your side, but that has been phased out. Instead, today we have a newer bag that has a more refined design. It’s called the Carry-on Cover. Unlike El Bolso which uses the bag to carry the weight of the bike, the Carry-on Cover uses two velcro straps to lift the bike, so that the Cover does not have to take the brunt of the bike’s weight, which is a notable design improvement, given that a bike does not evenly spread out its weight, rather, its weight is focused on certain contact points with the bag such as the pedals, which can cause tears in the bag. The new system mostly eliminates this.

The saddle bag also is a pretty nifty thing to have. Should you just need a saddle bag, you can remove the Cover and use the bag. It is waterproof, durable, and has a reflective strip behind it. Of course, if you attach saddle bag, be prepared to have your seatpost not being able to fully go down, especially if you have a rear light attached too.

The Carry-on Cover comes in a saddle bag, with pictorial instructions for everything from installing the bag onto the seat post, to how to use the Carry-on Cover to lift the bike.

What Can It Carry?

Dahon claims that the Cover can hold most Dahon bikes ranging from the 16” to 24” wheel size bikes. I had my suspicions that the Cover seems to be more suited to fitting the compact rectangular fold of the Speed, Mu or Ios. I had a Smooth Hound which is also a 20” bike, but has a drastically different fold size vis-à-vis the aforementioned bikes.

As predicted, there wasn’t a problem with fitting my Dahon Speed D7 into the Cover, which works as mentioned – it fully wraps the bike, including the wheels. With the saddle attached, it was just a bit taller, but no problems either. Carrying it on my shoulder worked as promised – the bike stayed upright. You could open the zip on top to reveal the seat post, which will be useful in manoeuvring the bike through tight spaces.

Comparing this to the Speed, the Smooth Hound has a less neat fold. The head tube sticks out like an ugly erection; the chain rings are sharp and pose a risk to the nylon rip-stop cover. Fingers crossed, but the Cover failed to fully encompass the bike, despite my greatest efforts, the head tube created a lot of volume, which caused the cranks to stick out. The forward velcro strap also had no suitable point where it could be secured, resulting in the bike not staying upright when lifted. Unless you have found a way to secure this bike, the standard Dahon method isn’t going to cut it here.

Blending the Cover into your Commute

Carrying a bike using the strength of your arms is a difficult affair. The question now is whether the Carry-On Cover will aid you in carrying your folder further with less pain. Compared to using mere arm strength to hoist the bike up, it is actually much easier to have the weight of the bike on your shoulder; I could carry it for longer periods, which means that if you had to do an interchange between MRT lines, it would be easier to conquer the tiring distance between the two stations. I found an added benefit of having this cover over your bike is that less people will be curiously staring your way as they would when you have an exposed folding bike, which I find disconcerting.

Of course, any longer and you can feel your shoulder complaining with soreness. While this is an improvement over carrying the bike by hand, it is not something that will totally change the way you feel about lugging a 10+ kg load. If you want to carry it for even longer distances, you will probably need a (non-existent) bike backpack, or you can simply roll it.

The Cover has been pretty useful for other occasions too, such as when you have a muddy and wet wheel, and feel the need to keep places clean. Plus, buying this product automatically means you have a saddle bag, which is useful for keeping your personal effects while you ride.

In Sum

The perennial truth about accessories is that they aren’t necessary, but all accessories make your life easier, and this Carry-On Cover certainly makes your life easier should you be a multi-modal commuter, or if you have to carry the bike for long distances for some reason. To add to that, the pouch that holds the Cover can be used as a saddle bag, making it a greater buy if you don’t have one already.