If you want to travel in style then the Silca Maratona Minimo is the bag for you. It's the perfect size for carry-on airline luggage, it organises your kit, is very nicely made with lovely materials and is durable, and has several carrying handles for convenience. At £175 it's a big investment but you might be able to justify it, especially if you have a penchant for nicely made products.
- Pros: Lovely design, top materials and construction, swallows lots of kit
- Cons: Pricey, no backpack straps
This is the smaller version of the previously tested Maratona bag. The size is perfect for shorter trips and flying, as it meets airline carry-on size restrictions (46cm x 33cm x 23cm) nicely. It's made from a water-resistant TPU-coated 600D material with understated reflective graphics and water-resistant YKK zippers.
For carrying, it includes three external grab handles and a removable shoulder strap. Wearing it over your shoulder is the most comfortable when it's fully loaded; it's just an oversized shoulder bag. If you load it up or have a long transfer, you might be wishing for the backpack straps of the Maratona bag, but most of the time it was just fine.
On the inside, the bright red lining makes it easier to find small things than the usual black lining of other bags.
A removable divider lets you customise how space is split up in the main compartment, but for the most part I left that at home and just slung everything into the cavernous space because I'm crazy like that and like a bit of chaos in my life. If you don't, it's a useful addition – padded as well, I should add.
There are smaller zipped pockets both on the inside and on the outside, which goes a long way to helping you stay organised when you're travelling. Everything has its place so when you need it, you know precisely where it is.
One nice touch is the inclusion of a roll-top bag for shoes and a vented garment bag. There are two internal water bottle storage loops, too.
One neat feature that came in useful on more than a few occasions is being able to completely open up the bag so the top lies out flat. As Stu pointed out in his review of the bigger Maratona bag, this is useful if you want to sit down and put your shoes on, or have somewhere to lay your tools when you're assembling your bike on a cycling trip.
I get around a fair bit, and this Maratona Minimo gear bag has come in useful on many occasions. I've used it for short trips abroad where carrying everything in hand luggage is essential, with space for my shoes, helmet, riding kit, normal clothes, laptop and other bits and bobs. For a two or three-day trip, it's fine. Back home it's also ideal for taking kit to bike launches, riding events and just trips to riding spots near home.
Is it better than a huge Lidl or Ikea bag? Yes, it's more robust, better and smarter designed, and will get you admiring glances rather than looks of pity that you cart all your expensive bike kit around in a cheap plastic bag. It's a high-quality bag that is made to last, unlike a plastic bag which could end up in landfill or the ocean, and it's packed with very nice details. It certainly makes carrying your bike kit around a lot nicer, not to mention helping to keep you organised. It's the perfect go-to bag for a short trip or weekend adventure, provided your pockets are deep enough for the big price.
And even though it's not cheap, it's still less than some near-rivals. How about Rapha's Weeklong Bag for £220 (though it is bigger) or a Castelli Rolling Travel Bag for £190 (though it does have wheels)?
Even the bigger Maratona costs less than those two, at £180, and is maybe the Minimo's real challenger: it might be worth paying an extra £5 for the slight increase in capacity (and ability to expand it further) and useful extras like a dedicated shoe compartment and rucksack straps.
Extraordinarily lovely travel bag that is well made and well organised
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Silca Maratona Minimo Gear Bag
Size tested: 46cm x 33cm x 23cm (Meets airline size regulations for carry-on luggage)
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Silca says: "MARATONA Minimo is optimized to make it easier to protect, organize, and travel with all of your cycling gear. With 3 external grab handles and a removable padded shoulder strap, the Minimo can be carried like a briefcase, worn like a messenger bag and even layered with your favorite small backpack. Two padded, soft-lined, anti-static pockets with waterproof zippers protect your valuable electronics, while the internal adjustable dividers allow for customization of storage for your specific gear. And to help keep everything clean, a roll-top shoe bag and vented garment bag are included."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Water-resistant TPU coated 600D construction with black reflective graphics
Water-resistant external YKK zippers
Two soft-lined external side pockets
Configurable/removable internal divider
Roll-top shoe and vented garment bag
Internal water bottle storage loops and mesh storage compartments
Removable shoulder strap
Dimensions: 46cm x 33cm x 23cm (Meets airline size regulations for carry-on luggage)
Very well made.
Carries essential ride kit for a weekend race or sportive in organised style.
So far the durability has been first class, I can see it lasting years.
It's not as light as a plastic bag but it's light enough that even fully loaded it's not ridiculous to lift and carry.
The grab handles and shoulder strap make it comfortable to carry – I'd prefer rucksack straps for longer walks, especially if you've filled it up with bottles of gin from the duty-free...
It's blimmin' pricey, but the construction, materials and attention to detail go some way to justifying it. There are of course cheaper bags, like a [insert supermarket] bag for life. There are also more expensive ones – from Rapha and Castelli.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept all my kit organised.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Looks lovely! It's very nicely made and is well thought through.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Aside from the price, there's not a lot to dislike here, and it's cheaper than some rival bags. Overall, it's really good.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.