For little satchels that hold a few bits under your saddle you're really spoilt for choice despite them all being very much variations on a few themes of straps and buckles and clip-in devices. Timbuk2 have 25 years experience of making bike related luggage so hopefully they should know what they're doing with their XT seatpack.
This is the small version of the XT pack and it measures 15cm x 6.5cm x 6.5cm so it fits neatly under a saddle without looking like a tumor. It will easily swallow a road inner-tube, multi-tool, some tyre levers and a patch kit: so all the essentials for a ride. Tucked inside there is a little red lanyard with a clip on the end to which you may wish to attach a house or lock key.
The zip extends round three sides of the bag, giving easy access to the contents without necessarily having to remove the bag from the bike. The rear is decorated with a Timbuk2-logo-embossed reflective patch, which also doubles as an attachment for a clip-on rear light. Tidy.
To secure the pack to the saddle an SR buckled strap on the top of the bag loops over each saddle rail to click into it's corresponding other buckle bit on each side of the XT body, and then the straps can be tightened independently to snug the pack into the belly of the saddle and lessen any annoying rattling. There's 3cm of fore/aft movement for the strap to get perfect alignment on your saddle rails.
The thin end of the XT seat pack's wedge secures itself to the seat-post with an adjustable bungee cord, ensuring that it will fit the wide variety of seat-post sizes around at the moment, especially aero ones that can be a bit of a reach-around for some Velcro-fastened bags. That hook is quite chunky and the bungee has quite a hefty toggle to the end of it, you'll need to arrange all of this tidily and maybe tuck that bungee end away if you don't want it to hit your leg every, single, pedal, stroke.
The top and the bottom of the Timbuk2 bag are a rubberized material to resist both rubbage from saddle rails from above and fend off any road spray from below, ensuring the contents stay mostly dry and to help the bag retain its looks by resisting grubby road grit. The sides are made from a rufty-tufty ballistic nylon for durability that withstands the trials of under-saddle life well.
Those straps and buckles keep the bag locked onto the saddle and won't work loose no matter how bumpy is the road, or off-road, you travel. Unlike many other packs that are held on by Velcro straps you won't suffer the testicular dangle of shame that can befall them when one of those straps gives up, or fall off completely, and you won't feel the need to augment security with other straps to prevent such premature ejectulation. The only tiny downside is the loose ends of the straps dangle around a bit, which even though you can't see them you know they make your bike look that little bit scruffy to the man on your wheel. Similarly the compartment zip dangles around and rattles a bit which can be tedious if you're tuned into such nuance annoyances. If you're clever or bothered you can tuck the aglet into the side-strap to cease this petty annoyance.
I'm incredibly fussy when it comes to saddle bags. I hate rattles almost as much as I hate dangling straps and gesticulating zips, miniscule anal details to most but enough to get my fingernails itching, even if I can't see the failings in the eclipse of my arse. I also need my saddle-bag to not look like an elephant's testicle hanging off the back of my bike too. Yeah, I'm a princess about such things. The Timbuk2 XT did pretty well against all these exacting, perhaps even obsessive-compulsive, criteria. Looks okay, didn't rattle and no chance of bouncing off, I had to tidy up the loose buckle straps with the aid of a tiny rubber-band, but that's just me.
Stays firmly put, doesn't rattle, fails to twitch the VecchioJo OCD detail sensors
road.cc test report
Make and model: Timbuk2 Seat Pack XT - Small
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tidy and secure but pricey saddle-bag for the essentials that doesn't rattle and won't fall off.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Timbuk2 say they spoke with their classic bike Seat Pack and asked it to create a way better version of itself. The result is the Seat Pack XT. The XT has Timbuk2's signature wide-mouth opening for quick and easy access, blinky light attachment and reflective hits for safe night riding, plus waterproof accents and a new attachment system. The bungee seat post attachment is a synch to use and the accompanying SR buckle makes it easy to attach to rails and adjust until you're comfy. You'll want to ride it everywhere.
Well, I didn't necessarily want to ride it everywhere, no-one wants to take a spare tube and tools along, but I did because it's quite a good bag really.
Tough, well put together saddle-bag.
It held its cargo under a saddle without ejecting the contents or itself into the verge, no matter what it was rattled over, where it didn't rattle.
The ballistic nylon construction with rubberized top and bottom should ensure that the XT seat-pack lasts a long time.
It's quite a spendy compared to other saddle packs, but having lost two saddle-bags recently due to poor straps, and the annoying cost of the combined contents it's a price I'd be happy to pay for total security.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It held ride essentials safely and with no rattles.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Secure mounting, just the right size for all you really need, didn't look too much like an elephants ball-sack, even in grey.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Price and dangly strap potential.
Did you enjoy using the product? Enjoy is a big word for a seat-pack but it didn't annoy, which is high enough praise from me.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe, my search for the perfect seat-pack continues though.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 47 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.