When we first covered Zipp’s new Connect Wheel Bag we debated bringing one in for review, but we just didn’t see many triathletes using it. Typically, your bike is in its bike bag, or being transported by one of the many bike transport companies that have popped up over the past few years. But then, a funny thing happened. Two friends of the site shared stories which resulted in “I wish I had a padded wheel bag.” First there was Michael, who was transporting his bike with one of those previously mentioned bike transport companies. He was informed that they wouldn’t ship his bike with his disc attached. Then Chris shared a very saddening story about his disc being damaged by an airline when his bike bag was bounced around. Next thing you know, we have a pair of Zipp Connect Wheel Bags being shipped to us, and our review was beginning.
The Zipp Connect Wheel Bag
Each Zipp Connect Wheel Bag is built to carry one wheel (up to 700c with 35mm cyclocross tire). The bags are built from water-resistant EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate), and the wheels are secured and protected with multiple padded blocks around the wheel as well as padding on both sides of the bag.
Inside the bag is a removable internal pocket for storing quick-release skewers and axle end caps.
Two bags can be connected via a pair of included Velcro straps that securely attach them together. A shoulder strap is also provided that works both in single bag and double bag configurations.
Up top of each bag is an integrated handle that is easy to grab even when the bags are paired together.
Each bag retails for $158.
The bags have become a regular companion around AeroGeeks HQ. After spending so much time transporting wheels in wheel boxes (and storing said empty boxes in every nook and cranny we could find), the Connect Wheel Bags are definitely a relief.
To date, we have never had any issues with the bags. The bags are easy to carry and maneuver, even in the two-bag configuration, and our wheels have remained safe every time. Our only one nitpick is that there is a Velcro strap inside the bag to latch a wheel to the interior padding. The strap wraps around just one side of the wheel. For disc wheels, there is nothing to strap them down to since the strap is intended to go through the middle of the wheel, and obviously disc wheels have no middle. We would have liked a larger strap that goes over the entire surface of the wheel to more securely hold discs.
We also suspect that the price may be an issue for some. But for those spending $2-$3,000 on a wheel set, we do believe a 10% investment in storage may be an acceptable cost.
Wheel bags are one of those products that you don’t need until you do. And hopefully when you do, you have enough time to pick one up before you start your travels. At $158 ($316 for a pair) the Connect Wheel Bags are far from the cheapest wheel bags on the market, but the layers of padding and smart features, including the ability to switch between a single wheel and double wheel carrier, certainly make them worth considering for your race travels.