I’m by no means a minimalist cyclist – the kind who jumps on his bike with nothing but the clothes on his back and rides off.
But otherwise I don’t normally carry anything else. I don’t go hundreds or thousands of miles on tour
, ride somewhere to shop or buy groceries, nor ride to camp or stay overnight. I don’t even take my lunch very often while biking.
Not normally, but occasionally I do have a need to carry something somewhere or from one place to another or to drop something off that won’t fit in a bike jersey or the expandable seat bag
, or extra supplies like food and tubes for a longer trip or lunch for a day trip.
Most of the bags I have are larger bags but sometimes if I am not traveling far I’ll just throw whatever I need to carry into a backpack – though that certainly isn’t a good option for long distance as it very quickly gets sweaty and heavy on the back.
Despite the moderate price the absolute first thing I noticed was how well-built and heavy-duty this bag is, as soon as I opened the packing and package containing it. You would think that it was a hundred-dollar plus item. Not only does it seem and look well-made out of quality materials but the whole bag concept is quite well thought-out in its design.
It’s made of a waterproof (yes it is waterproof – not just water-resistant) double-walled lining. In fact it almost feels insulated because of this, and it does seem to offer some rudimentary insulating abilities to whatever is inside. The interior is a plasticky waterproof blue nylon material while the outside is a diamond-latticed nylon material, from a distance it looks almost like leather.
The zipper teeth are made of nylon, but fairly heavy-duty, and has a sealed overlapped ridge along the inside for more waterproofing abilities, and the outside has a unique cover or material completely over the length of the zipper. I’m not sure how it opens and closes so easily with this covering the zipper but it does – unlike some cheaper bags and items with zippers that you have to be very careful with opening and closing this slides along quite easily. The zipper slider and puller parts are aluminum with little lanyard and a rubber part on the end for easy opening and closing. One of my zipper pullers kind of tapped lightly against the zipper itself as I rode when I first got it, which for a short time drove me crazy as I thought something was clicking on my bike. A spot of hot glue in that one place on the zipper pull was all that was needed. Not a complaint here, just a little idiosyncrasy on my particular set up.
The inside is so waterproofed that I almost think that you could fill this with water and it would hold it pretty well 😉
The bag itself is about three litters of capacity and along the bottom is another zippered section (again, the same zipper format as the main access to the interior) which folds out, giving the overall capacity another liter of storage and a full triangular shape when deployed.
For me this was somewhat of a selling point but in reality the water bottle holder would have to be completely removed from the bike for this additional section to be opened fully so it really was of no use to me. For colder weather riding or when you have alternative water bottle mounts this might be good for some.
Unfortunately even without the bag expanded fully the bag still encroaches into the space above one bottle holder, making the only way to put a water bottle in that bottle holder is to use a very short bottle, at best. I normally ride with two water bottles no matter what time of year I ride so it has limited my use of this otherwise excellent bag. For me I really miss having two large, tall water bottles so I tend to only use this bag for shorter trips where I am taking my lunch somewhere not all that far away or transporting something to the nearest city, or whatever. Possibly on other bikes and kinds of bikes where the bottle holders are may be less obstructed by the bag.
The way it can be configured is that it is meant to be snugged up against the down tube in front, but it works just as well pushed back up against the seat tube in back too. But again, in either position it still limits the use or height of a water bottle in one place or the other.
Putting aside my disappointment in losing a water bottle space while using it – otherwise the bag is absolutely excellent.
Before I go any further here are the exact specs:
Dimension: 35.5 * 7 * 14cm / 14.0 * 2.8 * 5.5in
Expanded Dimension: 35.5 * 7 * 24cm / 14.0 * 2.8 * 9.4in
Capacity: 4L (3L + 1L)
Weight: Approx. 332g / 11.7oz
The nose has a fully waterproof padded part, making it look like it could comfortably travel through water on the prow of a boat. On one side of this piece, if you lift it slightly away from the rest of the bag, you’ll find an overlapped access hole for a water bottle hydration pack tube. This is kind of cool in that it would be a great way to take extra water during those mega-hot days we have in this area sometimes, with the bag providing some insulation too. Between a hydration pack and maybe some slim water bottles stored inside with the triangular expansion part deployed you’d make up for the missing water bottle and much, much more. I did slide my hydration bladder into this and extended the tube through the outlet hole, just to see how it fit but did not use it for more than testing.
Along one side of the bag are two mesh pockets, tight but open at the top. Good for notes, keys, car remote, maybe notes on directions or what-have-you. They’re large enough where you could stick your keys or car remote down into them and not worry about them falling out, though if you were mountain biking you’d probably want to stick anything of value inside.
Inside, as I mentioned above, is the clearly waterproofed blueish nylon and a pair of large Velcro pieces and a detachable divider that can be arranged anywhere in any position (or left out entirely). It gives you a lot of space, it is about three inches wide, but it’s surprising how much you can fit into it and if needed it will bulge and still stay secure. If you are carrying a lot of smaller things the divider works well to give it some stiffness even if you don’t necessarily need the divider for, er, dividing things.
I carried a number of things in it, and also tried a number of things for testing purposes (that I did not actually carry anywhere). Things I carried – lunch, extra light clothes rolled up (you can’t carry a pair of jeans or anything like that), bike parts that I was selling to someone, extra bike parts and tools, large battery packs
and cords, phone, and pepper-spray
(bike-specific). Things I put in it just to see if they would fit but did not ride with – hydration bladder
, more clothes, pistol, and a brick – just to see how stable it was riding around my yard with the extra weight; it held it securely.
logo itself has reflective properties for night use. Unfortunately there are no other reflective surfaces, but putting reflective tape
on it is always an option.
To attach the bag to the bike there is a strap around the entire perimeter of the bag; top, bottom, and sides, sewed at intervals to the bag creating flat loops. Then there are multiple Velcro straps that can be slid through these loops at any point(s) around the bag and then wrapped around and Velcroed to the bike tubes. This means that it is almost infinitely variable in attachment options. There are also plenty of straps so if you have a large, beefy top bar or down tube you can Velcro two straps together to fit around it, or pretty much anything else that you wish. On my Kona Esatto
the down tube is quite large and I did need to attach two of the Velcro straps to each other to fit around it.
It fit the bike perfectly but my Specialized Pitch MTB
with its angled geometry was a bit less of a good fit, but still was fine. You could also use your own Velcro or other strapping to hold it in place too.
On the Kona
, which is what I tested it on mostly, the bag stayed in place even with cross winds and didn’t sway a bit. Even when I stood up going up hills and really tilted the bike aggressively to either side as I peddled in an attempt to make it sway.
My knees don’t touch it, which I was a bit concerned about. And while it’s not that large, it does present a bit of an increased cross-section but really I didn’t notice any resistant while riding in cross winds. I did not try it fully deployed in high cross-winds, only configured normally.
I attempted an experiment in mounting it upside down on top of the top bar, as well as right-side up on the top bar. With it snugged up against the stem and Velcroed tightly there it only moves a little but it is hard to come to a stop and put the feet down of course, as there is little room for the crotch in front of it above the top bar. I also tried it back against the seat post, which created a more less-swaying attachment. But again – not really practical to get off the bike at a stop sign or light with it in this position.
This configuration does allow for both water bottle holders to be used with large bottles and also does show how configurable this bag is in general. But it’s not the most favorable position for it, it’s really made for under the top bar – a place where it fits perfectly and stays 100% securely.
So in conclusion I would rate this bag very high on the value versus money scale, whether you paid a little for it or a moderate amount. High quality, extremely configurable, attractive design. The only downside is that it does encroach on the space where you would have a water bottle in the water bottle holder, unless configured in a non-standard position. For those who don’t need two water bottles, or whose bikes may have a different geometry than mine, losing space for a tall water bottle may not be an issue.