You can either stuff your pockets, or use a small saddlebag like the excellent Birzman Roadster I/II Reflective Saddle Bag to carry a spare tube, multi-tool, levers and patches. Which you choose is purely down to personal preference, but I prefer a minimalist saddle bag for the essentials. This one ticks the boxes.
It's available in two sizes; I tested the smaller option. It's big enough for one tube, a decent sized multi-tool with a chain breaker and a tyre boot and handful of emergency patches. You could squeeze some tyre levers in there too, but I prefer to just use my thumbs. Granted you could simply put those items in a jersey pocket, but at this time of year I like to free up my pockets for carrying an lightweight jacket and extra bit of food. Having the saddlebag permanently attached to the road bike means I don't have to remember all those ride essentials every time I head out the front door.
The Roadster uses a long Velcro strip to wrap around the saddle rails, and there's enough overlap that you can pull the strap very tightly and squish the bag into the base of the saddle. This ensures its doesn't rattle or bounce around when you're riding.
A second Velcro strap loops around the seatpost. After the first ride, I realised this smaller Velcro strap was contributing very little to the bags stability. So I snipped it off, minimising an potential for scuffing the carbon seatpost on my road bike. Despite this, the saddle bag is rock solid and doesn't budge at all. That's because the main strap is sufficient to anchor the whole assembly into place.
There are generous reflective tabs on the side and rear panel giving a nice bit of extra visibility for night riding. There is also an LED loop for hanging a light off.
It's made from a water resistant material that does do well to keep a lot of the rain out, especially handy if you ride sans mudguards. Ride in such conditions long enough and the water will eventually seep inside.
Stylish minimalist saddle bag that doesn't ruin the looks of your nice bike, is capacious enough for essentials and stays firmly secured under the saddle. Nice reflective details too.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Roadster I Reflective Saddle Bag
Size tested: Black
New for 2014, the Roadster 2 is a tiny lightweight saddle bag with reflector straps on the sides, the back and an LED hook. It is large enough to keep your essentials in for the ride, but small enough to hide away under the saddle. This splash proof bag is the perfect companion to take with you on the road
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Roadster 1 is a tiny lightweight saddle bag with reflector straps on the sides, the back and an LED hook.
It is large enough to keep your essentials in for the ride, but small enough to hide away under the saddle.
This splash proof bag is the perfect companion to take with you on the road
Just big enough for a tube and tool and that's yer lot. Remove the smaller Velcro strap (it doesn't need it) and it looks good any any road bike
It's so small you're prevented from overfilling it
It's not as cheap as filling your pockets, obviously, but as simple well-designed saddle bags go, it's a cracking bag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Stays firmly put under the saddle, doesn't rattle, shake or sag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's minimalist design and those generous reflective details.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The unnecessary smaller Velcro strap.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.