The Lotus SH-506D Trunk Bag – or Commuter Expandable Rack Top Bag as it's called on distributor Bob Elliot's website – does a decent enough job and has some good features, though personally I'd opt to pay extra for something more waterproof.
The bag turned up just at the right moment as I was about to head off touring. Not being one of nature's efficient packers I was struggling to get everything in my panniers, so the extra bag was just what I needed.
The multiple pockets are ideal for carrying tools, electronics, spare batteries, travel documents and a rain jacket in a tidy fashion, and the shoulder strap was ideal for using it as hand luggage on the ferry to Dunkirk. When not in use, the strap can be detached and tucked in its own pocket.
There's a version of this with a quick release system, but the review model instead fits any rack by using Velcro straps. These can be a little fiddly to use when combined with bulging panniers but held the bag snug and secure as I rattled across Flanders. Belgian back roads can really make you appreciate the love and care British local authorities have for our lanes...
The bag is proof against a light shower of rain, but it isn't sold as waterproof. When the heavens opened somewhere in the south of the Netherlands I made sure everything that needed to be was separately waterproofed. The padded sides however don't soak up water, and the bag itself dries out quickly.
The elastic cord/bungee on the top is useful for taking a rain jacket after a shower to let it dry a bit, or for carrying a bottle on the way to your hotel room at the end of the day.
All in all, it's a perfectly OK bag that did the job I wanted it to. I'm not keen on the feel of the fabric, but it seems to be well put together. If you're after a cheap trunk bag that will fit any pannier rack, this ticks all the boxes. It'll see you right for commuting or for touring alike.
Good value trunk bag that does the job
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lotus SH-506D Commuter Expandable Rack Top Bag
Size tested: 6.8L
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?
Distributor Bob Elliot calls it a Commuter bag, but it's fine for touring as well.
Lotus says: "Trunk bag with rigid foam-lined walls and zipped extendable top section. Internal pouch and key hook. 2 large zipped side pockets and bungee cord on top. Carry handle and detachable shoulder strap."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
600D Polyester & 420D Nylon (rip-stop)
6.8 litre capacity / 8.7 litre extended
3M Scotchlite reflective strips
Rigid foam-lined walls
Zipped expandable section
Internal pouch with key hook
2 large zipped side pockets
Bungee cord on top
Carry handle & detachable shoulder strap
Water repellent fabric used
Seems well made, no reason to suggest it won't last.
Some cheap products can feel shoddy, but this seems fairly solid for the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It did a perfectly acceptable job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lots of pockets, and handy shoulder strap.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer a waterproof bag.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was OK.
Would you consider buying the product? I'd rather have a waterproof bag.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
This is a good product. It's not exceptional in any way, but it does the job and seems well priced for what it is.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop My best bike is: Ribble Sportive Bianco
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general town riding, exploring