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Orucase made a name for itself with cases designed to sneak past often-exorbitant airline fees related to bikes and/or oversized baggage. And while those cases are still available, Orucase has been experiencing increasing demand for a case that not only fits a mountain bike but also works with the latest crop of modern dropbar bikes with wholly integrated cabling.
Meanwhile, making a case look less like a bike case is now less important given that Delta and more recently United have removed many of their fees related to bikes. Instead, those fees are now often hidden with a rather low weight allowance.
Seeing these trends, the small team at Orucase has been busy designing a bike case that, from a distance, looks much like popular options from the likes of Evoc, Thule, and DB. However, upon closer inspection, the yet-to-be-finalised Orucase Axiom offers some truly clever solutions to common problems.
Note that the Axiom case photographed is an early (and rushed) prototype made in time for the Sea Otter Classic. A production version is still a number of months away. Please excuse any rough finishes or poor alignment you see; the displayed product was simply a proof of concept.
A modular upper
Like so many softshell cases on the market, the Axiom case features a rigid base, a soft upper, and a collapsible aluminium roll-cage to provide protection. Similarly, the case features axle mounts to secure the bike to the rigid base, while the bike’s wheels add further structure to the case and protection to the frame.
With the exception of the Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 TSA and Evoc Road Bike Bag Pro, the vast majority of these cases require you to remove the handlebars from road bikes for storage – an emerging problem given how the cables on so many new bikes are hidden and prevent easy removal of the bars. To solve this, the Axiom features expanding panels (unzip to expand) in the soft case to allow room for the bars to sit attached.
Orucase plans to protect the vulnerable handlebars and shifters with a semi-rigid wrap – not unlike the early iPad covers. Such a handlebar wrap could prove quite popular for use with other cases, too.
Further bike protection will come through the choice of either impact-resistant panels or a vastly lighter option of inflatable-panel walls. The idea of using air for protection isn’t a new idea – Biknd’s Helium has done as much for years, while Orucase takes a simpler, less integrated, approach.
The Axiom case is also designed to fit mountain bikes, although the handlebars will need to come off for that.
Have you ever arrived at your destination to find that the case itself is in the way? I used to use a cardboard bike box for this very reason given the bike could go on a bike rack and the box could be flat-packed out of the way. Of course, this remains a benefit of soft bike bags, too.
Orucase’s idea is to allow the rigid base to fold in half, with the rest of the case stored inside. Here, the bike case would transform into a rather small wheeled case that doesn’t take up significant room. The locking mechanism that keeps the rigid base rigid is still to be refined, but Orucase has some clear ideas on how to keep it easy and fast to use.
Orucase still has a number of things to work out, but the goal is to hit a 20 lb (9.1 kg) weight figure (padding included) while keeping the price under US$800. All up, the Axiom appears to be a travel case that answers a number of complaints I have with cases available today. Assuming it lives up to the claims, then consider me sold. The Axiom should be ready for pre-order in approximately two months.