Okendo Bike Travel Pads | A Closer Look
Okendo Bike Travel Pads | A Closer Look
If you’re anything like us you’re probably a little over protective of your bike, especially if it’s a new bike. That dreaded first scratch is deeply unpleasant to say the least. When you think about it, the most common phrase out of a racer after a crash is … ‘Is my bike ok?’, never mind that this is my third broken wrist in as many years haha.
But, in reality, that first scratch and most minor damage done to your precious race machine happens in transit … in the car, on a plane … generally not on the track. So, as you would expect from someone who suffers from OCBD (Obsessive Compulsive Bike Disorder), we’ve been intrigued by the Okendo Bike Travel Pads since they appeared in April 2018. Would they easy the pain of BMX bike ownership?
Well, finally at this year’s Papendal SX rounds we tracked down Olympic Medal winner and man behind the system, Colombia’s Carlos Oquendo, for a demonstration. It was obvious to us that Carlos has put a lot of thought and work into this project, he’s clearly passionate about it. And we do like to see racers branch out of their racing comfort zone and delve into other parts of the industry, there has to be life after the last gate drop …
Our initial thoughts from that day outside the Colombia pit tent was that we definitely needed these pads in our life, they seemed well conceived, well made, they look cool, but most importantly, they could actually make our life a little more convenient, no more shoving random items of clothing between bikes in the car … but would that still be our opinion after a few weeks of using them?
To start with, it’s a neat system, it’s simple to figure out and easy to use … like all the best things in life. Like we’ve said, the pads are well put together, the stitching seems robust and durable as does the actual material covering the foam. It’s also easy to clean with a damp cloth … waterproof material! The foam itself is not too thick as to become an issue in itself but it’s also pretty dense, proving good solid protection for your precious frame … the goal of the product.
The webbing straps are all in the right places and do their job of securing the pads in place although we thought this was one area that the product could instantly be improved, at least visually. We’d like to see thicker straps with easier to adjust, higher-end hardware (buckles, clips etc) in the vain of camera bags and straps … ‘Peak Designs’ products spring to mind. These may only help at initial set up, after that it’s just visual coolness but you are protecting your very expensive bike after all. Speaking of the straps, we’re not sure why the front two are outside the padding while the rear pair are inside. We think the rear ones would have been easier to use if they were outside also, although there is an easy to use elastic strap at the rear to pull around the rear dropouts which we have been using while ignoring the rear webbing straps.
The system also comes with fork and crank arm pads which are handy and do their job, although we’ve been using them less and less as time goes by, purely because they are a bit of a pain to get on using the attached straps and clips … the obvious upgrade here is elasticated Velcro straps so you can quickly, easily and securely get the pads in place. Nonetheless, the pads are good to have for long haul travel where you’ve got the time and the incentive to pack everything perfectly.
The other thing you get is a colour coordinated zipped bag, made for the same durable material, that you can strap to the two front webbing straps. It’s handy for pedals, a number plate maybe, a few small tools and holding your bars in place if you need to remove them for travel, keeping everything relatively compact and secure.
Overall the pads are perfect for us, where we mostly throw a couple of bikes into the back of the car with the seats down for the short trip to the local track … and it’s the back of the car where we pick up most of our scratches. The travel pads are also great for flights where you have to remove the bars and forks, and stuff the whole lot into a golf bag … no more searching for extra padding to shove in there too.
When it comes to car bike racks, the bike pads system is fine with roof racks and the type of rack that attaches to a tow hitch (at least the models we looked at) but if you have a rack that supports your bike under the top tube, then you’re all out of luck … and that, to be honest, is the biggest issue we found with these Okendo Travel Pads. But, assuming you don’t transport your ride on one of those bike racks all the time, there is a lot to love here, especially if you can get your hands on a custom graphic variant … that’s our next goal … Okendo Travel Pads emblazoned with the Fifteen logo.
Price wise you’re looking at around $129 in the US for an off the shelf design (we’ve asked about European distributors, and while there are some we don’t have any solid information on them as of yet) although we’ve seen them privately advertised for significantly less than that … but even at the top end price we think these deserve a place in your cascade of BMX accessories, especially if you’re bike proud, like us! Carlos Oquendo has hit on something here that could easily spawn a slew of new related products … and we can already visualise the next model of the ‘Okendo Travel Pads’, but until then, we’re lovin’ the current version …
Find out more about the Okendo Travel Pads over on Instagram at the Okendo Shop.