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Old 05-25-10, 02:21 PM   #1
Sammyboy
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El Bolso Bag

Well, I've taken the momentous decision to part with my car. We're a two car family, so I'll still have access if needed, and I have a gigantic Mercedes minibus too, converted to a camper, but this will mean doing most of my travelling (3-4 days a week all over the country) by train and bike. I've sold my Downtube Mini, which didn't quite cope well enough with all the piles of stuff on the rack, but I'll be using my Downtube 9FS's a lot, and will need to carry them on the train, so I'll need a good cover/bag

The El Bolso looks like just the thing, and since Dahon say it'll even fit their 26" bikes, I reckon it'll take my Downtube with drop bars and seatpost rack, but does anyone here have experience with them? Are they capacious? Easy to carry? Robust? Quick to fold and unfold? East to transport when folded?
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Old 05-25-10, 03:22 PM   #2
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the ElBollso bag is quite large, it will take either of my Jacks (26"), or the Ciao or MuSL. the material is quite rugged, and unit is meant for shoulder carry, although i find it a bit awkward with the larger bikes, but otherwise quite usable.

it comes with a carry pouch that is meant to double as a little knapsack to go around your back, but i usually have a shoulder bag or messenger bag, so i will bungee the ElBolso to my rack.

I've stopped bothering to fold it all nice and origami like and just quickly fold it in half and half again and sort of roll it into the carry pouch. I'm not that keen on the insert side pouches (for pedals and little stuff) as i find they tend sag inwards and snag parts of the bike when i am putting it in and so tends to slow down the process a bit. Also with a heavier bike the bag offers no mechanical advantage in that you have to lift the bike into the bag outstretched and the bag itself does not lend itself to standing firm. so there is a bit of gymastics to work the bag around the bike once in.

IMHO the carryon bag is a lot more convenient to use in that the bag itself is not used to support the bike, but rather the shoulder straps are used for the lifting. this makes it a lot more easier to wrap up that you don't have to lift the bike into the unit. the bag in this case only serves to keep you and other passengers from getting grease and dirt from the bike.
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Old 05-25-10, 04:19 PM   #3
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IMHO the carryon bag is a lot more convenient to use in that the bag itself is not used to support the bike, but rather the shoulder straps are used for the lifting. this makes it a lot more easier to wrap up that you don't have to lift the bike into the unit. the bag in this case only serves to keep you and other passengers from getting grease and dirt from the bike.
This. I'm not a fan of the El Bolso if you're not carrying one of the larger folders.
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Old 05-25-10, 04:31 PM   #4
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This. I'm not a fan of the El Bolso if you're not carrying one of the larger folders.
yes, actually i'm rarely using my ElBolso nowadays and I would rather just take my chances when i am taking my MuSL on board. just too much bother.
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Old 05-25-10, 06:29 PM   #5
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ThE El Bolso is well made .. the handle for the shoulder is somewhat rubbery and it will stay on the shoulder. Pleanty of extra space to put stuff when carrying a 20 incher... But its a big bag you need to find room to store it when you dont need it ...

It also kicks me into my kidneys once in a while ..lol
But again its well made and prety robust

The Carry On bag is totally different. It lives in a nice made seatpost bag ... you unfold it and find a skeleton on strings and straps .. they go around the wheels and frame ... they continue into becoming the carrying strap ... and than there is the basllistic nylon wraped around the skeleton and acts like a skin .. its very thin and it will rip to shreds if you would carry the bike in the bag ( its open from the bottom , therefore no circus tricks are necessary to get the bike wrapped up ...

It does nothing to protect the bike, but will keep the grime away from folks ..Its an ingenious piece ...

and I say that not only cause I sell them

Sammy if you need one and have trouble getting one over there let me know
Glad to help

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Old 05-25-10, 06:48 PM   #6
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I have one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/Everest-B-082-...=1KAVFG6CJGHIM
It is roomy and sturdy, and the padded handle is nice for carrying. My one problem with it is that the zipper doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the bag, so you have to put the bike into the bag. You can't just set it down on the bottom and zip the bag around the bike.
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Old 05-25-10, 10:05 PM   #7
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Wow, I hadn't seen the carry-on bag. I'm not really looking for it to protect the bike, just to come within the train rules, make it carriable over the shoulder when folded, and keep grease off the rest of the world, so the carry on might just do the job. Thanks guys
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Old 05-25-10, 11:54 PM   #8
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Are you sure you need a bag at all? I catch SWT all the time (Suburban/Reading/Windsor services) and they are very relaxed about folding bikes. There are always a few on board, and I've never seen a cover.

Agreed with everyone else about the carryon. I'd clicked a link to Thor's site, and realised if I did need a bag, that's the one I'd get - though I'd have to find another way of carrying it: I've already got a saddle bag with tools & tube.
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Old 05-26-10, 12:22 AM   #9
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... and the cheap option is a single black duvet cover, folded down the middle and hemmed at the sides.

(Did you not get a travel bag with the Downtubes, Samuel, tucked away in your capacious warehouse?)
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Old 05-26-10, 05:45 AM   #10
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If it was only SWT, I'd probably be fine, might not even need a folder, but I go all over the country, using Virgin, Cross Country, all sorts, and they get sniffy sometimes even if it IS in a bag.

I did get a bag with my first Downtube, but it was only ever comfortably big enough for the Mini, and absolutely would not fit my bike with the drop bars and the rack, so when I sold the Mini, I threw it in with that.
I could do the duvet cover thing, but when you've got work things and bags for three days, putting the bike on your shoulder can be very useful. I can get the El Bolso for 25 at the moment, so I might buy one of each. I need to be able to carry my bike into hotel bedrooms, training rooms and all sorts of places without getting aggro, and I don't mind spending 30 to get that.
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Old 05-26-10, 08:22 PM   #11
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all sorts of places without getting aggro
MMORPG player detected~! Which one were you in?
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Old 05-26-10, 11:50 PM   #12
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No, sorry, it's a UK thing, rather than an online thing, at least for me
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Old 05-29-10, 01:03 PM   #13
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I decided on......both. Found a place that had the El Bolso on offer for 5 less than anyone else has the Carry-on! I have two folders still, and my son and I have needed to bag them both before when travelling together, so I thought; let's split the difference. Bigger dent in the bank account, but there you go.
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Old 06-02-10, 12:51 PM   #14
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Ok, so both arrived, and frankly, both look like pieces of crap at first sight. The Carry-on doesn't look like it'll last 5 minutes. Am I correct in undestanding that the bike is supported by two pieces of velcro? The El Bolso looks better, but it's tiny! They really claim it'll hold a 26" bike? I'd expected something that would swallow my 20" Downtube and zip up, surprised they didn't mention that it doesn't. I'll give them both a fair shake, but right now, I'm a bit gutted, and feel like I've wasted my money. I guess there's a market for a decent folding bike bag still.

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Old 06-02-10, 01:07 PM   #15
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Are you 6'5" that it looks tiny? I think it is very spacious and carries the folder just find. keeps my car clean also.
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Old 06-02-10, 02:02 PM   #16
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I'm 6'3. It looks long enough and wide enough, but frankly, not deep enough. I guess I'm jumping the gun, and should try to put a folder in it before I whine.
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Old 06-02-10, 03:54 PM   #17
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Ok, so both arrived, and frankly, both look like pieces of crap at first sight. The Carry-on doesn't look like it'll last 5 minutes. Am I correct in undestanding that the bike is supported by two pieces of velcro?
It should've came with instructions & there is a youtube video I think too, but yea the weight is support by those two velcro straps that you wrap around the front triangle & the rear wheel. The material is only their to act as a cover & it seems fairly sturdy for that purpose. I think it's an ingenious design & worked well in my trip to Japan. The only thing I didn't care for is stowing the excess drawstring in it's little zipper pouch which is a bit fussy to do.
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Old 06-02-10, 07:24 PM   #18
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... and the cheap option is a single black duvet cover, folded down the middle and hemmed at the sides.

(Did you not get a travel bag with the Downtubes, Samuel, tucked away in your capacious warehouse?)
I prefer to stay away from a cheesy "homemade" look for my own personal use bags. I usually buy the bags (i.e. the old Dahon Doubleplay bag-my personal favorite no longer offered) note it's strengths and weaknesses, then make my own version of this same favorite bag with confidence it will last a long time for the uses I will subject it to.

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Ok, so both arrived, and frankly, both look like pieces of crap at first sight. The Carry-on doesn't look like it'll last 5 minutes. Am I correct in undestanding that the bike is supported by two pieces of velcro? The El Bolso looks better, but it's tiny! They really claim it'll hold a 26" bike? I'd expected something that would swallow my 20" Downtube and zip up, surprised they didn't mention that it doesn't. I'll give them both a fair shake, but right now, I'm a bit gutted, and feel like I've wasted my money. I guess there's a market for a decent folding bike bag still.
A good quality Velcro properly sewed in the right direction to balance the weight as not be pulled apart while in use, along with a good heavy strap should support the bike with no problem. One of the things I noticed about most anything made in fabric now is usually a bit tight around the item-or person. Most sewing contractors usually cut very, very close to the pattern to save as much fabric as possible. Add to this there usually several layers of fabric being cut at one time (and might slip or shift around while being cut out) And the seaming techniques used afterwards can add to this tightness too.

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It should've came with instructions & there is a youtube video I think too, but yea the weight is support by those two velcro straps that you wrap around the front triangle & the rear wheel. The material is only their to act as a cover & it seems fairly sturdy for that purpose. I think it's an ingenious design & worked well in my trip to Japan. The only thing I didn't care for is stowing the excess drawstring in it's little zipper pouch which is a bit fussy to do.

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Old 06-16-10, 06:58 AM   #19
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Well, I tried the Carry-on, and I am at least somewhat happier. I seriously doubt it would take a 26" bike; it only just swallowed my 20" Downtube IXFS, though the drop bars didn't make it any easier. The velcro was much more secure than I had feared, and supported the bike really well, though carrying it on and off trains and in and out of hotels is, I suspect, likely to damage the cover quite quickly, though I hope to be wrong. I often use a seatpost rack too, and I suspect that will neither fit, nor if it does fit will it be possible to get the velcro round the rear wheels. So, partial success. I'll report more as I try it with other configurations, and as I try the El Bolso.
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Old 06-21-10, 01:48 PM   #20
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Ok, well, after a second use today, it works, but I definitely don't like it. I like that small package, and the way it mounts, but it's so hard to get it over the bike. The video demo is a joke, I have to put the saddle through the top zip to get it to fit at all, and even then, I had to turn the bike upside down several times in the process. Again, I can't give any credence to the idea it'll fit a 26" bag. Once it's in, it's easy to carry, but generally I'm carrying it into hotels, with all the concomitant risk of banging it into doors and things, and I'm certain that it'll tear as a result soon. Therefore, I'm going to find a way to hang the El Bolso on my bike, and try that next time.
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Old 06-22-10, 02:12 PM   #21
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I thought the carry on was only spec'd upto 24" wheels? No surprise it won't fit a 26" bike well. The El Boso is a 26" bag from what I understand. The carry on cover- yes its thin. Its only really meant to satisfy the regulations that a folder must be covered in a lot of subway systems. It works fine for that, but doesn't protect the bag from the bike, or the bike from anything really. Its a grease/dirt cover, thats it, thats all. I don't even bother with the straps on mine anymore. I pull it over the top, and pick up the bike through the bag lift on the train, and set it down until its time to get off. I can roll it once its off the train and in the station.
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Old 07-06-10, 04:21 PM   #22
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Thing is I'm not asking the Carry-on to cover a 26" bike, I'm using it on a 20" Downtube. I wouldn't fancy putting a 24" bike in it!

Anyhow, I've been trialling the El Bolso, and I like it a LOT more. It fits better, it feels way more likely to survive regular use, it's easy to carry, I can throw my helmet and gloves into it when I pack the bike up outside a hotel, and I feel way more confident carrying it around the corridors. It's almost making me think I won't look at a Brompton after all, but it doesn't make the fold any smaller, so it doesn't help with getting it on cramped trains. Anyway, the only issue I have with the El Bolso is that it doesn't pack down so small, but it'll carry the bike with a rack on it, and fits easily in a small pannier, so no real problem there. I think the Carry-on will become a "just in case" job for when I don't think I'm going to need to cover it, and the El Bolso will be the preference for when I know I'll have to. Again, though, the El Bolso barely fits the 20" bike, with the wheels crammed into one end, the bag will only just cover the hinge at the other. I wouldn't want to have to put a 26" er in it.

So in summary, Carry-on, don't like much, El Bolso, like a lot.
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Old 07-06-10, 06:36 PM   #23
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Dont know if it helps any,but i carry a large black garbage (trash) bag which folds very small. Its only for emergencies where they might refuse bike. One can buy a dozen or so for cheap. I keep it in frame tube of Brompton where it splits to fold. Slip it over the top and grab frame through the plastic.
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Old 07-06-10, 09:36 PM   #24
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can you take pictures of how the Downtube fits in the bag?
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Old 07-09-10, 05:44 PM   #25
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Anyone used one of these to take it on the plane.?I bought one for this purpose for a Dahon Jack 26" mountain bike folder but it does zip seal.I now have doubts it will be accepted at the airport.
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