Home
Verdict: 
Minimalist but practical alternative to traditional wedge packs
Weight: 
80g
Speedsleev Ballistic Nylon Seatsleev Large
7 10

The Speedsleev Ballistic Nylon Seatsleev is described as 'a minimalist compression saddle pack that holds your daily ride essentials'. It's essentially a folding Velcro wallet with designated stash points, aimed primarily at road or trail riders who want to travel light and can't stand clutter. TT bikes and other race rigs are the obvious candidates, but it's also useful for touring, when you don't fancy foraging in a pannier for tools or spares.

I'm something of a 'rat packer', cramming stuff in anyhow (possibly rebelling against my late father's military career), but have found myself warming to the Seatsleev's rugged simplicity.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

Talking of military, it's made from 'Ballistic Nylon', which was the forerunner to Kevlar, and originally devised to protect service people from shrapnel injuries. History lesson over, this suggests it's an excellent material to make bike and other outdoor luggage from. Reputedly harder to dye than other blends, ours was black with bold, white graphics but there are orange, green and white options should you prefer.

Capacity

Speedsleev's website only lists one size, with a weight of 50g; ours was labelled Large and weighs 80g on the road.cc Scales of Truth. It's certainly available for sale in large and small sizes online.

Ripping open the Velcro reveals elasticated 'pockets' designed to swallow a tube, two tyre levers, a multi-tool, CO2 inflator and a spare 16g cartridge. In practice, tubes would need to be either vacuum sealed, packet fresh, or really tightly bound with an elastic band to fit in.

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - unfolded empty.jpg

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - unfolded empty.jpg

With some lateral thought, things aren't as prescriptive as they sound. I need to carry a 15mm wrench with me on my fixed-gear builds, and I've successfully snuck a flat 'giveaway' model (the sort that used to come with new bikes) behind a contemporary 13-function multi-tool. Bijoux designs, such as the nine-function Topeak Mini 9, can also share their pouch with a small glueless patch kit.

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - unfolded.jpg

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - unfolded.jpg

On longer rides, I might want to add a couple of cable ties, and these were packed in beside two slender composite tyre levers, so there's definitely a bit of leeway for personalisation.

Performance

Having rolled everything together, simply wrap the big Velcro straps around the rails, sealing everything shut. There's no risk of ejection, or infuriating percussion over washboard tarmac or unmade roads, and it's easy to remove when locking up in the street or for longer cafe stops.

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - back.jpg

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - back.jpg

Hidden beneath the saddle, it's sleek and unobtrusive – provided you've secured the Velcro properly. The kit 'inside' is reasonably well sheltered from the elements, with the fabric seeming water-resistant in the everyday, caught-in-a-sharp-shower sense. For the most part, it's on par with Cordura nylon packs.

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - side.jpg

Speedsleev Balistic Nylon Seatsleev Large - side.jpg

According to Speedsleev it should come with a raincover, but ours didn't; some online sales sites sell it with, others without... If it doesn't, you can buy one for £5, though I've found other models with elasticated hems in my spares bin that made decent substitutes.

> How to carry stuff on your bike

If you are caught out without a cover, the resulting silty racoon stripe is easily dismissed with a damp cloth, but the fabric does take a while to dry out, even at room temperature. Remember to whip out electroplated multi-tools before you pop your bike away or the bits will be sporting that unsightly orange taint. I've also machine washed ours at 30 degrees and it's emerged from the drum looking packet fresh.

Conclusion

There are two schools of thought here. One says £15 buys a perfectly serviceable wedge pack with similar capacity, materials and a tab to hang your blinkie rear light from. The other is that spending twice that gets you an extremely sleek option that fits in a flash and should last well.

Verdict

Minimalist but practical alternative to traditional wedge packs

road.cc test report

Make and model: Speedsleev Ballistic Nylon Seatsleev

Size tested: Large

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?

Speedsleev says: "The Seatsleev is a minimalist compression saddle pack that securely holds your daily ride essentials. It easily stores a tube, CO2 cartridges, tire levers and a multi-tool, and is ideal for roadies.

"The Speedsleev is a cinch to install. The pack lays out flat to easily slide your ride essentials into the pockets. When you are ready to ride, the pack rolls together tightly and securely with Velcro. Another set of straps wrap behind the saddle rails and around the Speedsleev to secure it your bike.

"A black rain cover is included."

I would broadly agree with that description.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Speedsleev lists these features:

Material: Lightweight Ballistic Nylon

Capacity:

* 1 Tube

* 1-2 16g CO2S Cartridges

* 1 Air Chuck Inflator

* 1-2 Tire Levers

* Weight: 50g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Decent grade of nylon, well made too.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Does exactly what it says on the tin, unobtrusively, but unless you are running full-length guards I'd keep a waterproof cover handy at all times.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Lightweight design and disciplined packing will be a winner all-round.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Not necessarily a system I'd adopt wholesale across my fleet, and pricey compared with wedge packs of similar capacity. That said, it's well made and user friendly.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Speedsleev fits in a flash and is extremely unobtrusive, thanks to decent materials and organised layout. Perfect for light road and TT builds, and this level of organisation also lends itself well to touring, where you might need easy access to tools/essentials.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Very lightweight, rugged and user-friendly.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing per se but rain cover is a must on wet rides without mudguards.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? For a TT or similarly pared-to-the-essentials build, yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the above context.

Use this box to explain your score

Decent alternative to the classic wedge pack and ideal for minimalist lightweight builds, if maybe a little too prescriptive for some packers.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

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: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

14 comments

Avatar
nortonpdj [200 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Silly.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1144 posts] 5 months ago
5 likes

Indeed  ... 

Saddle pack: Stuff can't fall out. Stuff doesn't get covered in road crap.

This: Stuff can fall out. Stuff gets covered in road crap.

Avatar
Geraldaut [44 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I also prefer 100 times the simple dhb light weight saddle bags from wiggle. Can't do more simple.

Avatar
Welsh boy [466 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

Reminds me of the good old days when we used to wrap a spare tub in a beer towel and strap it under the saddle with a spare toe strap.  Basically, a crap idea which died out for a very good reason.

Avatar
ped [292 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

I used to see a rain cover as a useful addition to any bag, but then realised it's just a failing of the bag itself. There's no reason for a bag not to be water resistant at the very least, if not water proof. 

Avatar
part_robot [304 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Goddammit these open rolls really are dumb; why on earth would I want something that's bulky, not waterproof AND doesn't cover my tools? Fortunately there's plenty of makers/indies such as BigXTop who'll knock up something that's waterproof, half the weight and half the price.

Avatar
Dunkeldog [12 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Hmm, a bike burrito...

Avatar
bechdan [129 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

some idiots will buy it, then realise they should have bought a bag and saved some money in the process

Avatar
thehill [5 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

i got one of the speedsleev rangers during their kickstarter, it is a fully closed design that mitigates all of the issues raised here. no idea whay that one isnt being reviewed, and to be honest no idea why this model even exists given how much better the ranger is. it has separte compartments for tubes, co2, tool etc. never rattles. great bit of kit

http://www.speedsleev.com/product/speedsleev-ranger/

Avatar
wellsprop [722 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Look at the Lezyne Road Caddy - nearly half the price and MUCH nicer.

Avatar
PaulBox [679 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Is it done up correctly in the photos? I would have expected the longer flaps to have covered the contents a bit instead of being tucked underneath.

Still a shit idea though...

Avatar
imajez [99 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
PaulBox wrote:

Is it done up correctly in the photos? I would have expected the longer flaps to have covered the contents a bit instead of being tucked underneath.

Definitely reviewer error there. Looks like there are flaps that cover ends of the tools before being wrapped up.

 

Avatar
cdamian [182 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I can recommend the Lezyne Roll Caddy, it is very simmilar but I am not worried about stuff falling out: http://christof.damian.net/2016/08/what-is-in-my-bag-part-1-small-saddle...

Avatar
TypeVertigo [421 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Quoting the review -

"Remember to whip out electroplated multi-tools before you pop your bike away or the bits will be sporting that unsightly orange taint."

 

I can see the appeal of these tool wraps and "seat sleeves" for minimalists, but just the vastly increased chance of water ingress is enough to turn me off. If, like me, you tend to leave the contents of your saddle bag for months at a time, the sight of rusting multi-tools and master links when you chance upon a mechanical is depressing.

Sure, you could wrap them in a ziplock sandwich bag individually, but that seems like more faff than it's worth.

Silca's BOA-equipped tool wrap seems like the best design of this ilk IMHO...I'm just not willing to pay the Silca "tax".