Pros: Stable roller, sturdy material, high volume
Cons: Fussy main zipper, side load straps *must* be well tightented, no side handles, no vertical room for large (XL, XXL helmets)
In spite of the review title, this duffel rolls nicely even for taller (6 foot+) folks. There are bags out there that require bending over to pull, and even then they will be prone to tipping over when pulled up ramps or when sharply cornered. This bag does none of that.
The material is sturdy; the zips don't foul up; the overall volume is large enough for a 2-week trip for this packer. And so this bag would be good value, particularly over some of the competing products in the price range.
Which brings me to two (and a half) downsides.
The one long-standing flaw in the over-and-under concept is that vertical room within the bag is split horizontally into two compartments. 2 of my helmets simply do not fit into either compartment without bulging over into the other one. My travelling companion has a smaller noggin and mostly wears soft-sided helmets, but even her K2 Virtue helmet had to have the headphone flaps removed (re-installing those properly was a bit of a niggling -as in ever-resurfacing ear pain and chafe- hassle). That's the first downside.
The second downside is that the main horizontal zipper is designed to completely separate. This is not a required feature for an over-and-under design: there are over-and-under day bags out there with 80% zippers that can (and do) last for decades. The Dalbello designers, in their so-clever wisdom, decided to make the top into a pseudo-backpack (rucksack for the Euroreaders).
It is my feeling that this decision compromises the overall durability and main purpose of the duffel. Every time the zipper is unzipped most of it's length, one must be very, very careful to realign the start tabs of the zipper before attempting to close the bag. This took the writer 3 tries with the bag empty, and 4 tries with ~25lbs load in the bottom and top compartments. Urgh.
To take the tension load off the zipper the bag is provided with 4 tension straps, wide as seat belts, with snap closures on each. These do work, and any smart traveller will make sure they are fully tensioned because the zipper itself isn't really up to handling transport loads. It is the durability of the snap closures that is in question, especially if they are subjected to the hard life of air travel luggage, since they are exposed on the sides of the bag, since they are required for continued function, since there *is no handle on the side of the bag*.
Which brings me to the half complaint - there is no handle on the long sides of the bag (there are two on the top, and one on the short side). It is therefore completely natural for an air luggage handler to reach for the strap closures as handles for stacking and tossing and hefting. It would not surprise me one bit to see the durability of the bag significantly reduced by such use, especially as the closure straps are mission critical items.