The Mountainsmith Cycle Cube ($80) is one of those pieces of gear you never knew you needed until you got one and then you wonder how you made it this far in life without one. And that sums up the Intro, Review and Conclusion. Easiest review ever!
What I loved
Size. Pre-Mountainsmith Cycle Cube days meant transporting my mountain bike gear in a my Deuter Airlite 26L daypack. In it I would stuff a towel, wipes, shoes, socks, kneepads, gloves, tools, sunblock, lip balm and a change off clothes. Helmet would be strapped to the outside and I carried my hydration pack separately. Most of the time I didn’t forget something important—like my helmet and hydration pack. But 51L-capacity of the Cycle Cube means that I can carry my helmet and hydration pack inside and it reduces the chances of leaving them behind because everything is contained in one bag.
Thoughtful design and organization. With pockets and compartments and dividers for every item you could possibly need, it’s a bag designed for the cyclist. I wish I could pinpoint my favorite feature but I just can’t. They’re all equally awesome. Among the highlights are pockets for my gloves, a padded sunglass pocket. The main compartment’s large interior space that effortlessly holds hydration pack, helmet, change of clothes and a towel (and a handy Velcro-adjustable divider to keep the disgusting used towel and sweaty, smelly used bike clothes contained in their own arena of filth). A mesh outer pocket holds the things I want easy access to at the trailhead like bug spray, sunblock, lip balm. There is a separate shoe compartment!
Ventilated. This is a really nice added feature that I don’t see on bags too often. Mountainsmith made this possible with smart die-cut ventilation holes to allow air intake for breathability and ventilation. When I get home from the trail, unpacking a bike bag and generally cleaning up after myself isn’t a priority (unlike a shower, cold beer and nap). Oftentimes this task is done a couple days later after my sweaty bike clothes, towel, shoes and socks have been marinated in sweat, body odor and mank. This is the to say that the inside of the Cycle Cube (and my clothes) is dry and smells like a bouquet of Lily of the Valley after two days—they just don’t smell like a Mumbai sewer.
What could be better
Shoulder strap sold separately. Oh for gods’ sakes, just throw in the Haulin’ Padded Shoulder Strap! A shoulder strap would make it easier to carry.
Final thoughts and a parting shot
As I said earlier, the Mountainsmith Cycle Cube is one of those pieces of gear that makes you wonder how you made it this far in life without. For all you get with this bag—outstanding organzation, smart design, peace of mind that you aren’t forgetting something—the price tag of $80 is tough to beat. Plus, it’s not like you have to limit its use to cycling. I can even see using this bag for hauling your climbing gear to the climbing gym or beyond.
The lack of shoulder strap is a minor annoyance, but really you can cannibalize a shoulder strap from any bag in your closet. I have a Timbuk2 messenger bag shoulder strap that I re-deployed.
The Mountainsmith Cycle Cube is a Gear Gals Piece of Highly Recommended Gear.