Ensuring that all of the gear that you need to mountain bike makes it into your vehicle and to the trailhead with you may seem like the most basic of tasks. Yet I’ve been skunked before, arriving at a trailhead over an hour from home only to find I had left my shoes at the house. Sadly, flip flops and clipless pedals aren’t compatible. The Bike Cube from Mountainsmith promises to prevent tragedies like this by keeping all of your gear in one convenient bag.
The Bike Cube is, as you likely surmised, a cube-shaped duffle bag designed to haul bike gear. It provides 3,417 cubic inches of volume to haul all the gear you could possibly need on a day ride. Features include three different main compartments, interior mesh sleeves for shoes and helmet, mesh ventilation on some of the pockets to keep your gear from stinking, and a fleece-lined eyewear pocket. The entire cube is constructed using durable 150d Baby Rip Stop Poly and 210d Rip Stop Poly.
On the Way to the Trail
If you guessed that 3,417 cubic inches is a lot of capacity, you guessed right. In addition to hauling necessities like a small pump, spare tube, snacks, etc., I’ve stashed a full riding kit in here, shoes, helmet, a change of clothes for after the ride, and I’ve even gone as far as packing my entire hydration pack filled with water into one of the pockets. Color me thoroughly impressed with the sheer capacity of this bag.
The convenience of having one dedicated bag to haul all my gear has proven to be extremely handy when heading to the trailhead. Being able to check all of the boxes, putting all of the gear into one bag, eases the mind.
I began using the Bike Cube at the tail end of fat biking season and I found it to be exponentially more useful for fat biking than summer mountain biking, for the simple reason that a fat bike ride requires so much more gear to execute successfully. The more gear that you have to haul, the more useful the Bike Cube becomes.
The ideal situation would be to keep the Bike Cube always packed and always at the ready–you never know when a mountain bike ride will break out! Knowing that you have your shoes, helmet, gloves, rain jacket, bottles, snacks, tools–whatever it is you need–already in the Cube and ready to go makes getting out the door take radically less time.
The problem I ran into is that about half the time I ride right out my back door, and the other 50% of the time I drive to a trailhead. So while I wanted to keep the Bike Cube full and ready to go, I found myself unloading it and spreading my gear all around my house in between rides.
In many ways this defeats the potential usefulness of the Cube. Ideally, it’d be best to have a dedicated kit to keep in the Cube and another to use for riding from the house. But even I, as an Editor for a mountain biking website, still have just one favorite rain jacket and one favorite helmet. Dropping the coin to have an extra helmet, extra shoes, extra jacket, et. all just for the sake of convenience is a luxury not everyone can afford. But if you drive to the trailhead for every single ride? No worries!
Finally, while this massive duffle bag is billed as a bike-specific gear hauler, I didn’t find it to actually offer any features I would consider bike-specific. Sure, it has mesh dividers in the pockets–but none of them are specifically tailored to any one product, aside from the sunglasses case, which of course, isn’t bike-specific. The vented pockets are nice to let stinky clothes and wet shoes ventilate, but that seems more athletic-specific than it does bike-specific.
John reviewed the Mountainsmith Bike Cube Deluxe a few years ago and that seems to offer more bike-specific features, but the price tag increases from $55 for the standard Cube to $85 for the Deluxe with the addition of a tool roll, changing matt, and shoulder strap.
The Bike Cube fulfills a critical gear hauling function, and it does so with a massive capacity. I have no structural or wear complaints with this bag.
But in 2017, I can’t help but think that a bike-specific gear bag should offer more refined features that would prove more useful for the mountain biker. Some that come to mind include:
- Ergonomic sleeve for helmet and shoes (the current ones are awkward to use).
- Dedicated sleeve for mini pump
- Water bottle holders
- Zippered interior compartments for small things that you don’t want to fall out
Thanks to Mountainsmith for providing the Bike Cube for review.