The Brooks Isle of Wight saddle bag is very well made, rugged, looks good and is capacious enough to store all the bits and bobs you need for even the longest rides.
A good and unobtrusive saddle bag is something that, in my experience, can be a useful addition even to a road bike. It's a convenient place to stow small tools, a spare inner tube and a snack, thereby alleviating the need for stuffing everything into rear jersey pockets – a particular problem for women whose jerseys seem doomed to always have smaller pockets.
Made from rugged water resistant bluesign fabric and Brooks leather, it's a very traditional looking saddle bag, with only one small area of Velcro betraying its place in history. Well, that and the double water resistant zips. These, with leather tags, allow entry to the single bag compartment which is stiffened top and bottom.
It fastens easily to the saddle rails and seatpost on any bike, using leather straps and neat stylish metal rivets. The leather straps are easy to adjust and secure, but the design of the seatpost strap buckle seems unduly complicated and a little on the bulky side, where a simple 'normal' buckle could have done the job more neatly.
The medium size I tried was spot on for carrying a decent array of tools, inner tube, snacks and even a lightweight waterproof jacket. A CO2 pump would fit in a treat too, easily. It's available in three sizes, with the large (£45) quoted as taking a small pump, but I liked the size of this medium one (there's also a small, for £37).
When riding, there was no interaction between legs and saddle bag, nor were there any annoying rattles or signs of its presence whatsoever. It looks pretty great too, not clashing with more modern bike designs too glaringly and also sitting comfortably within the retro-hipster bracket, for vintage lovers.
All in all, I'd say £40 is a pretty good price for a bag that should last a good length of time, relieves your straining jersey pockets, and keeps everything protected from rain – and looks great too.
Stylish, practical and rugged, and goes with (almost) any bike
road.cc test report
Make and model: Brooks Isle of Wight saddle bag
Size tested: Medium
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?
Aimed at all sorts of riders on all sorts of bikes.
"The Isle of Wight Saddle Bag is a smart, practical bag to accompany the rider on every journey"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof bluesign fabric
Brooks leather trims and straps
Water resistant zips
Velcro flap fastening
Stiffened main body of bag
Size Medium dimensions
Available in S, M, L
Available in three colours
Extremely well made using top quality fabric, leatherwork and components.
Too early to tell, but looks like it's built to last.
Not the lightest but it's not designed to be. Designed for rugged longevity and practicality.
Very good value for such a well-made and practical bag that's also pleasing on the eye.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did an excellent job of keeping everything dry and safe and easily accessible. Plenty of space too without being obtrusive in any way.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, looks, quality, size, practicality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slight niggle with the seatpost strap being less than sleek, but only a minor thing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely, and as gifts for other people.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Very well made and beautifully designed, this balances form and function brilliantly and should last well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.