Pete journeyed to the the home of the Greek gods to check out the new bike packing bag range from German brand EVOC.
Escaping the cool clutches of a Scottish autumn, Pete headed south and east to Thessaloniki and Mount Olympus to see what the new EVOC bike packing range had to offer.
Better known for their bike bags, backpacks and photos packs, the new bike packing range is the latest addition to EVOC’s impressive line up.
Photos by Manfred Stromberg.
In a departure from the usual press camp setup, we were told by Jan, Dani, Wolfgang (Wolverine) and Simon from EVOC, that this camp was not about the product… More an opportunity to find out the vibe and ethos that lead to EVOC products coming to fruition.
With that, we went to dinner and bed ahead of a run out on the trails under the shadow of Mount Olympus the following day with local guiding outfit Outline Adventures.
EVOC’s starting point, was, like their bike bags and riding packs, was a gap in the market. Happy that their backpacks were capable of doing the heavy lifting, their bike packing bags were designed to be small and supplementary, rather than strapping ride-altering loads to the bike itself.
What EVOC found was that there was large, waterproof bike packing bags and small, water resistant or non-weatheproof bags about. The gap found was one for small, high quality bags that can survive the worst of weathers.
This is typified by the handlebar bag which is essentially the flagship of this new range. Those outdoor enthusiasts will no doubt recognise the dry bag closure that so many trust. The Boa closure leads to a seriously snug fixture for a bag that can swallow some serious luggage.
Handlebar Pack Boa
- M (2.5L) and L (5L) sizes
- Boa attachment
- Roll-top closure
- £119.99 RRP (5L), £99.99 RRP (2.5L)
We don’t have to wait long to test out whether the new packs cut the mustard. A short drive to the foot of Mount Olympus and we’re soon handed snacks for the day before winching our way up a fire road under a baking October sun.
What’s immediately obvious is the cavernous capacity of the handlebar bag and the ease with which you can ratchet it tight to the bars. The first trail drop in is a solid test of whether the bag will stay put or not.
A steep chute, littered with rocks and a hefty compression at the bottom would see most bar bags flapping in the breeze, but no, not even a noise from the bag as it remains clamped to the front with a steely resolve.
Not once on this magical mystery tour of the woods below Zeus’ back yard do I ever feel the need to adjust the bag’s tightness on the bars, despite gradually increasing the load within it. You could quite happily render your steering vague and arduous before the bag starting to wobble, which seems somewhat at odds with the idea that the packs are supplementary.
Seat Pack Boa
- S (1L), M (2L) and L (3L) sizes
- Roll-top closure
- Dropper post compatible
- Soft TPE seat post protection
- Flexible main compartment
- £79.99 (1L), £99.99 (2L), £119.99 (3L) RRP
Like the handlebar pack, the seat pack attaches using a moulded TPE base, tightened using a Boa closure and finishes off the top end of the new EVOC bike packing range. Made of similar durable, waterproof material with the same roll-top closure, this should survive whatever your back wheel can throw at it.
Fitting requires slightly more thought but not because of the actual mechanism, which is just as straightforward as with the handlebar bag, just with a single Boa instead of two. With three sizes available, and with the same adjustability, which size you opt for will depend greatly on the space available between your rear wheel and your saddle.
With more time to fettle the bag sizes and bike setup, I’m confident that the seat pack would be just as secure and cavernous as the handlebar bag, but the latter wins out for me if it was a straight fight simply because it’s less likely to get drowned in slop from the back wheel, the attachment is rock solid and everything is right in front of you.
Top Tube Pack
- 0.5L capacity
- Water repellent YKK zipper
- Internal mesh pockets
- Includes frame protection stickers
- £29.99 RRP
The top tube pack is the smallest of the bunch at 0.5L capacity and doesn’t sport quite the same features as the handlebar and seat packs, but does find itself in a very useful part of the bike for easy access.
Three velcro straps keep the pack in place right in front of your eyes and the half litre storage makes it perfect for a powerbank to keep a GPS unit topped up with juice, a multi tool or some gas for those trail-side repairs make this one a winner in my eyes.
With the packs strapped to the bike, snacks and spares loaded we headed off into the unfamiliar heat of the woods squeezed between the mountain the sea. The opening day saw us in familiar pine with the scent of hot wood lingering in the air.
The opening day was spent traversing across the hill interspersed with steep chutes and gullies, all littered with fist-sized boulders and gravel that either had too much grip, or none.
Once we’d returned to the hotel, taken the obligatory dip in the Mediterranean and schmoozed over drinks, we took to bed for a day on trails that begged to be covered in liquid sunshine. A long drive over a mountain pass that was used many times for the Greek World Rally Championship, we started on a high plateau that threw us into beech forests that were as steep as they were fun.
Essentially a fall line trail with minor turns that tightened as the beech turned to oak, Danis, our guide insisted we wouldn’t want to ride it in the wet. I could only think that it might well have been the best trail ever with the excitement that comes with a little less traction.
Another winch to the mid-way point on the hill and more of the same beckoned with razor-sharp rock taking over from well-hammered shale, before the rain ruts took over.
Happy and tired, we leave the serenity of the beach for the chaos of Thessaloniki approaching a marathon weekend, load up on the finest local cuisine before turning in way too late for our flights the following morning.