It’s summer, and oh boy are you ready to do a few mini-epic rides. Maybe you wanna do the “long loop” or make that route down the coast and back in one day. But you can’t fit all the energy bars, mobile phones, cameras, multi-tools, tubes, CO2, etc in your back jersey pockets. Or maybe it’s not epic-ness you’re looking for, maybe you just wanna ride your bike to the next town over, walk about town and eat at that one restaurant, and then ride back. But you really wish you could bring some cargo shorts, regular shoes, and maybe a T-shirt so you can amble about in comfort and avoid being “that lycra douche” at the cafe. Even if your bike cannot mount racks and panneirs, there are a few ways to carry more stuff with you on a ride. You could go with a randonneur-style handlebar bag for the front of your bike, but it’s not so easy to mount the necessary rack onto most bike and not everyone likes how a bike handles with that much weight in front of the steering axis. You could get a backpack, especially the ones from Osprey or Camelback that have lots of pockets/compartments for storage. While that is simple solution that actually works great for rough, technical riding like on mountainbikes, sometimes you just don’t want that weight and bulk on your back when you’re riding in the summer heat. In that case, how about a big saddle/seatpost bag? The classicists among us will choose Carradice, but there are some very clever bags available that would compliment even the most modern bikes out there.
Ortlieb’s Seatpost Bag quickly attaches to your seatpost using a notched plastic belt and levered buckle, similar to a clip-on fender but considerably more secure. With 4-ltr of internal volume, the Seatpost Bag is made of lightweight, waterproof fabric with internal plastic stiffeners, so the bag is not prone to swaying about despite how far over the rear wheel it cantilevers. The bag seals to the elements using Ortlieb’s classic roll-up closure. There is a bungee laced into the top of the bag, which is useful for lashing items like a windbreaker or a pair of sandals. At just 443gr for the Medium size (there is also a Small size), the Ortlieb Seatpost Bag has a good ratio of weight to payload. Ortlieb says the bag will fit 25.4-34.9mm (but no carbon seatposts); however I feel it fits 27.2-31.6mm best. The angle of the clamp isn’t adjustable, so if your bike has a freaky seatpost angle (like some full-suspension mtb) then this may not work out for you. Retail $100.
Arkel’s Randonneur Seat Post Rack and TailRider Bag combination goes a little beyond Ortlieb for versatility and load capacity. The rack ($100) attaches at two points: it clamps to the saddle rails behind the seatpost cradle and then fastens to the post. By taking its stability from the saddle rails, the rack does not harshly clamp onto the seatpost. As such, Arkel’s rack works well with carbon seatposts and even works reasonably well with some non-round seatposts and ISPs. The visual bulk of the Randonneur Rack belies its lightweight construction, weighs only 568gr, and is adjustable for a range of seatpost angles. The saddle rail clamp has two positions to allow the rack to be fitted lower relative to the saddle on larger bikes that have a lot of space between the saddle and rear wheel, to keep the mass of the rack and its contents lower to the ground. On smaller bikes, the rack can be fitted close to the saddle so that it can clear the rear wheel.
Arkel’s TailRider Bag (11-ltr capacity, 540gr weight, $105 retail) is essentially a trunk bag that can fit on a variety of rear racks, but it does superbly compliment their Seat Post Rack. It fits to the deck of any rack via hook&loop straps. The TailRider has an assortment of external pockets and an internal divider. Zippered pleats allow the bag to expand slightly for more internal volume. The TailRider is resistant to water to a certain extent, but in the event of a steady or intense rain, one would use the yellow rain cover, which fits in a convenient yet hidden pocket at the front of the bag.
more photos after the jump
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