PEZ Reviews: OGIO Endurance 9.0 Bag

It’s pretty much impossible to be a decent road cyclist without also being decently organized, and while my own fitness still needs some work, I’ve found the OGIO Endurance 9.0 bag makes the other part a lot easier.

As a cycling gear reviewer, I see a lot of gear and kit bags. Helmets, shoes, glasses and all kinds of clothing need to be in one place so I can relax and enjoy the ride, and while each new bag that comes across the PEZ desk promises to be the ultimate, only a few get pretty close – like the new Endurance 9.0 bag by Ogio.

US-based OGIO started out making duffel bags, and were so good at it they grew a pretty healthy OEM business making bags for the major sporting goods brands we all know and love. Their own desire to build high end bags priced them out of the duffel category, so they used this expertise to build bags for people who really wanted higher quality, better construction and design – like golfers, business travelers, and serious athletes (that’s you, dear Pez-Reader).

Spoiler alert – if you’re reading this before Fall 2013, then you’ll have to keep that shopping finger cool a few more weeks before you can actually buy one. I scored one of the pre-release bags and it arrived just in time for the family summer road trip – which thankfully means I get to bring the bike for some of my own r&r. So inspired by the Griswalds, the Pez Sport Family Truckster was loaded to the brim with everything we need for the mom – dad -two kids plus nonno – family funfest. Fitting all that gear on board is like solving a puzzle, but one thing that makes it easier for me is compartmentalizing – so I always pack a separate bag for just my cycling gear. This way I know where I can find everything I’ll need when I get the green light for one of my rides.

My initial exploration took longer than usual as I kept finding more zippers and compartments to open – there’s a lot of highly organized stowage here that might take a while to sort through, but in the end is like nirvana for any highly organized athlete. Essentially the bag design is one large main compartment, surrounded on 5 sides by more compartments specifically designed and labeled for complete training or race day travel. In all there’s 59 liters of configurable storage packed into a bag that measures about 26”w x 15”d x 11” h – plus an expandable bottom that can increase the height by about 3 inches (more on this later)

It’s made of an assortment of tough & durable fabrics spec’d by Ogio, the kind you’d expect from a company with their pedigree in high-quality bags, and while my test only lasted a week, I’d expect a bag like this to stay intact and looking good for a long time. The zippers are big & rugged, and easy to open and close, and covered by their warranty. My test bag weighed just around 4 lbs.

While the overall bag feels like the right size for a “day bag”, the main compartment is one of the larger ones I’ve seen. And while it is fully collapsible, the bag has a nice amount of structure built in to stand open on its own for easy loading. The inside of the compartments are a light gray color – which gives the impression of more room, but really helps in finding whatever you put inside – no black holes to swallow your favorite socks here.

On the top of the bag are the two carrying straps – designed to slip over both shoulders and carry as a backpack. The straps are adjustable and vented, but what I really liked was the unique handle design that allows you to grab the bag like a normal tote to hold and carry it securely in one hand.

Each of the other five exterior sides of the bag features a full sized, full zipped storage to make organizing very easy. The long sides open to reveal still more pockets – some vented and transparent so you can see what you are looking for, most with zippers. One side is clearly labeled for “Nutrition” – which I really liked since other bags force me to put my bars and gels into a plastic bag tossed into my main storage area.

I used the other side pouch for a few wrenches, pump, patch kit, but didn’t come close to filling it for my week-long trip.

The two ends of the bag offer some mighty deep storage for shoes and helmet. The ‘shoe’ zone is clearly labeled (another feature I really liked, helping me quickly locate just what I need), and expands into the main compartment to hold two pairs of shoes, plus a few more items if you so desire. It’s lined with a heavy duty waterproof material – so it’s a great place to chuck dirty gear and not contaminate everything else.

The other end of the bag features a unique storing ‘net’ that stows in a hidden zippered pouch until you need it. It’s stretchy enough to hold a TT lid, and velcros in place to hold yer bucket snug. For traveling I found plenty of room in the main area for my helmet, but this is a great place to hold it after your ride, or even use the pouch for something extra.

There’s a good sized buckle here that’s intended to secure the whole bag to a bar – they call it the “Staging Area Clip” – ideal for transition zones where your bike might be waiting for you – turning the while thing into an easily accessible vertical ‘closet’.

Tech Vault
Protecting eyewear is a constant concern – and for me that means almost anytime I’m not wearing said eyewear. Until now I’ve been happy using the fairly sturdy cases that most cycling glasses come with, and I habitually pack my glasses inside my helmet so I’ll know where to find ‘em, although keeping track of a small black case swimming around inside a larger black bag doesn’t always make for ‘ease of location’. So it’s nice to see Ogio’s “Tech Vault” – a dedicated compartment large enough to hold glasses, electronics a bike computer, chest strap, and more.

This one is placed for easy access at one end of the bag, on the top, which helps if the bag is stowed lengthwise in your car, and you don’t really need to pull the whole thing out to get at your glasses, or hung vertically with the bar clip, so the Tech Vault finds itself located on the top.

Ogio made this one pretty big – I measured it at close to 8”w x 3.5”d x 5”h – and it’s big enough to hold my eyewear (and the case) with no probs – I also stuffed in two pairs of gloves to add some extra padding. This is not necessary though, as they also include a padded divider that folds, and velcros at each end so you can split the compartment to separate items you really don’t want getting scratched…

Finally – this whole zone will not collapse (I said it was sturdy!), so there’s little chance of items getting crushed. And the kicker is the lockable zipper – a pretty cool feature if the airline makes you check it – or even for some simpler raceday security.

There’s room for two full sized bottles in specially shaped zippered pouches along one side. They open up to snugly hold whatever yer drinkin’, or zip closed to lay flat and out of the way.

Finally, in a bag that’s filled with cool features, this one struck me as very smart. The entire bottom unzips and expands to reveal a separate zone ideal for wet, dirty, smelly stuff. The sides are vented with a heavy mesh to aid in drying, and the bottom is a heavy duty material that I expect to be very durable.

My tester was black with silver accents, and two other color combos will be offered: navy/ acid green and grey/ blue fuschia.

MSRP is US$160, and you can buy direct at the website or at a retailer or bike shop.
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