Several close friends and I have been working on a bicycle saddle bag prototype and would like to get some inputs and feedbacks from fellow cyclists here. We want to make sure we are on the right path to help address the issues that current saddle bags have.

As avid cyclists ourselves, we often time have our dilemmas when it comes to saddle bag. Practical or aesthetic? Size or storage? At one hand we want the saddle bag practicality of carrying around the essentials items like spare tubes and multitools during our rides. On the other hand we want to keep the clean aesthetic of our bike. In the case where the practical sense won the first dilemma, we typically still need to trade off between storage space or utterly bulky saddle bag. Even the ones least concern with aesthetic would shake their heads staring at the brick like saddle bag hanging below the bicycle saddle. Majority of the saddle bags in the market today are boxy and black, which doesn’t help to promote the saddle bag’s stylish or aesthetic aspect.

What do you guys look for when choosing a saddle bag? What is in your wish list of the ultimate saddle bag? If you are not a saddle bag user today, what is holding you back and what will make you switch camp?

Would you be interested if there is a saddle bag that can do the following?
1. Compact enough to carry most of your essential items. Think 2 spare tubes, 2 tire levers,  2 CO2 canisters, Multitools with chain tool, patch kit, all these in a compact form factor.
2. Stylish enough to not ruin your bike aesthetic, this can be quite subjective and personal but assume it meets your styling requirement.
3. Quick attach and release. Much faster than dealing with Velcro.
4. Abundant styling/color choices.

We love to hear your inputs and hopefully we will be able to create something that all the cyclists want to use. Thanks!

40 comments

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Welsh boy [562 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

I think you are trying to get too much in there.  If you only have 2 CO2 canisters anything more than 2 tubes (your patch kit) is pointless and personally I think multi tools are a waste of time, carry a 4mm, 5mm and 5mm allen key, that is enough for most roadside repairs.  I carry my stuff in a medium size bottle box which means i can also carry a small pump for those emergencies where you run out of CO2.

In answer to your question, I dont like velco fasteners around a seatpost, i have ruined an ecpensive pair of leggings in one ride where the velcro rubbed against my leg so i would like to see some form of saddle mounted bracket so it is easy to swap the saddle pack between bikes, something like Topeak use.  It must also have a loop for a rear light which doesn't leave your light pointing down at the floor like so many do.

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Sevenfold [90 posts] 10 months ago
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I prefer to have as much as I can in my saddlebag so I can leave my jersey pockets for food. So I carry 2 inner tubes, CO2 + 2 spare cartridgers, multi-tool, 2 large tyre levers, patch kit & spare chain links, packaway jacket & a couple of cable ties. The Topeak bag I currently use is quick release & expandable (great idea & worth incorporating in your design) but no longer made which is a shame as mine is 7 years old & starting to show its age. Each bike I have has the same quick release on the saddle rails so it is easy to move from bike to bike. I'll second the loop for a rear light.

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sergius [560 posts] 10 months ago
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I carry:

- Two tubes (after "the" incident)

- Tyre levers

- Multi-tool

- Tyre boots/self-adhesive puncture repair patches

- A valve core tool (again, after "the" incident)

 

Everything is stored in freezer bags for easy packing and waterproofing (plus a silica gel packet in with the multi-tool)

 

I currently use a Topeak one which is the best of the many I've tried.  Quick release from the saddle, expandable if needed and has a loop for a light when the light isn't so good.

I hate the asthetics of saddle bags - but I'm not prepared to fill up my jersey with tools.  It's already got enough in it with phone + food.

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andyp [1591 posts] 10 months ago
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All I carry on a ride: Two tubes, patches, multitool, cash. Plenty of options available to carry that.

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theRomfordRider [6 posts] 10 months ago
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I use the Thule Pack 'n Pedal Seat Bag in the winter as it hold way more than my summer bag and it's water resistant too.

I carry two tubes, two CO2, multi tool and two tyre levers, and if i pack it right sometimes my mini pump.

 

https://www.thule.com/en-gb/gb/bike-accessories/panniers/thule-pack-n-pe...

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longassballs [88 posts] 10 months ago
3 likes

I don't think there is a perfect saddlebag as it depends on the application and bike e.g. I carry different things between my 29er mtb and road bike, but assuming you're talking road I really like my Castelli XL. They've embraced the black boxy look by making it a ... black oblong. With no concessions to aero-ness it looks all the better. Fits two tubes, multitool, levers and a few odd ends. Don't like CO2 which I would only use if racing, which I don't, so the elastic strap under the bag for a pump suits me great. Although, I was stretching it a bit fitting in a medium sized Lezyne Pressure Drive that I subsequently lost after working itself loose that was my fault. The replacement size small fits great. So my perfect bag would have a secure fastening for a pump on the outside of the bag.

If I raced I'd use a minimal saddle roll. If mtb a 29" tube can be awkward to fit anywhere, never mind two. If on cx bike I can't fit two tubes either, which I'd like to.

I actually need a solution for my Mother's bike. She rides a 29" hardtail which in hindsight should have been 27.5" as it's too big for her and has very little seat tube showing. I got her a saddle roll so she'd have enough room to put on a rear light but the light isn't very visible and she can't fit a tube in the roll. Probably should get her a top tube bag. There are a hell of a lot of 'casual' cyclists who have little seatpost showing who need a dedicated tool bag elsewhere whereas these bags are marketed usually as food bags so don't buy them

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tugglesthegreat [103 posts] 10 months ago
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I went for the Evoc tour for £15, will hold two 700c x 40 tubes and my tools.  It has internal mesh pockets on the sides and flap it has tarp material in the middle section for durability and for easy clean.  I generally use it for gravel events and it has been caked in mud and cleans well.  I guess you could argue that this adds weight!  Depends on your priorities.

The fit is really secure and fast, and it is out of the way so no rubbing when peddling.

  

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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Thanks for the valuable inputs!

There is definitely no one size fits all for saddle bag storage. We think in general cyclists would want the saddle bag to be visually unobtrusive. So I guess the ultimate solution would be something compact enough to fit the absolute essentials yet have the capability to expand for more items if needed and still remains visually unobtrusive while in compact or expanded mode. And it needs to be compact enough to not rub the bibs.

Looks like the ability to do quick release/attachment for bike swap is something important as well and we will definitely take that into consideration.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2405 posts] 10 months ago
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Velcro bags are not great but then bags with a QR system are more weighty and they need to be also carbon rail/oval carbon rail friendly which most aren't and are an absolute bugger to fit properly.

If I'm riding with my tubs I'll take a Foam repair canister which acts to infate too, a mini tool and a couple other small bits (zip tie, latex glove, hand wipe), replace with 2xlevers , a single tube and instant patch when riding clinchers. My pump is clamped by its own holder at the bottle cage mounts..

As the bag is not really load bearing something that could clamp onto the saddle rails like a pincer clamp and the bag attaches to the two clamps (Which are left in place) and a finger press release would work great. Or a rubberised strap that is attached at one side but also has a retaining peg, having multiple slots along the strap means you can keep the bag tight but also fit different parts of the bike securely and with scope for different sizings due to the elasticity of the strap and the slots for shortening/lengthening the reach of the strap.

Also, does it need a zip?

Dimensions for a snug racing bike type saddle bag should be circa 16cmx10x13cm LxDxW

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Dimensions for a snug racing bike type saddle bag should be circa 16cmx10x13cm LxDxW

The dimension of the prototype that we are working for is more compact than 16cmx10cmx13cm LxDxW so hopefully it will be snug enough smiley

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BehindTheBikesheds [2405 posts] 10 months ago
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survivor wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Dimensions for a snug racing bike type saddle bag should be circa 16cmx10x13cm LxDxW

The dimension of the prototype that we are working for is more compact than 16cmx10cmx13cm LxDxW so hopefully it will be snug enough smiley

Too small and it then becomes less useful for the sake of a few extra cm, my tyre repair cannister (for riding tubs) is 15cm long, if I can't get that in lengthways then the bag is no good to me as I'd have to have that in my jersey pocket.

having measured out the space with the tool, cannister etc it should be 16x8x10 and no less, any smaller and it isn't a useful saddle bag IMHO unless you don't want to take things like a spare tube plus multitool plus two decent tyre levers, and there are already inexpensive very small bags on the market already.

How do you propose to attach such a small bag to the saddle, singular clip, how are you angling the bag, vertical, horizontal or at an angle to match the seatpost?

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No Sweat [36 posts] 10 months ago
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In no particular order:

Black is the new black - it goes with anything, and is least likely to show bike related oily dirt.

One size is unlikely to fit all.

Somewhere to attach a rear light is a must if the bag takes up seatpost 'real estate', and the light should always point the right way, whatever the load in the bag.

The ideal saddlebag should not make a sound when the bike is in motion - the fixings must be rattle-free and the contents of the bag must be held tightly so they do not move or rattle (compression straps?).

It should be waterproof.

Also, if you can contrive a way to carry a phone so that it's accessable without disturbing everything else in the bag, but it's still held securely and kept dry - then I'm in (probably)!

 

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
survivor wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Dimensions for a snug racing bike type saddle bag should be circa 16cmx10x13cm LxDxW

The dimension of the prototype that we are working for is more compact than 16cmx10cmx13cm LxDxW so hopefully it will be snug enough smiley

Too small and it then becomes less useful for the sake of a few extra cm, my tyre repair cannister (for riding tubs) is 15cm long, if I can't get that in lengthways then the bag is no good to me as I'd have to have that in my jersey pocket.

having measured out the space with the tool, cannister etc it should be 16x8x10 and no less, any smaller and it isn't a useful saddle bag IMHO unless you don't want to take things like a spare tube plus multitool plus two decent tyre levers, and there are already inexpensive very small bags on the market already.

How do you propose to attach such a small bag to the saddle, singular clip, how are you angling the bag, vertical, horizontal or at an angle to match the seatpost?

 

There is not many cycling items that cyclists would bring during their ride that is 15cm or longer.  Frankly we haven't design our bag to store the tyre repair cannister. But perhaps it is something we need to look at in our design iterations. We are still finalizing our design so we may throw that in if it make sense.

Like I mentioned we are still finalizing a lot of our design details and there are still alot of options/selections that we need to go through. I will definitely share the details with you once we are finalized.

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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No Sweat wrote:

Also, if you can contrive a way to carry a phone so that it's accessable without disturbing everything else in the bag, but it's still held securely and kept dry - then I'm in (probably)!

I guess it really depends on the phone size isn't it?  Galaxy Note or iPhone plus will be a though challenge! no

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alansmurphy [1892 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

BTBS is interested in a niche offering looking for an ideal bag for one  3

I'd say that variety is your friend and you're unlikely to find one that suits all. Love the phone idea of being able to access that without all being disturbed. I may have had a brain wave for you, the Russian doll of cycling bags. I carry less in the summer and winter throws up different issues, moisture, mud etc. Why not have a small bag (perhaps not so waterproof) that can be used alone or fit into the bigger bag when required?

Sample will do as payment  3

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akmbikes [24 posts] 10 months ago
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For me, in no particular order:

Space to carry two tubes, multitool with chain splitter,  2 tyre levers and, ideally, a few other bits and pieces summing up to the size of another inner tube.

It should be narrow.

A light loop that keeps the light pointing in the correct direction is a must. And it should be able to cope with a decent weight of light.

I'm prefer to have a cinch stap for the saddle and seat post but the one for the saddle should just go right round the bag. Much the best way, as it stays tightly on even if the stiching for the strap to the bag fails. And not having to purchase and fit the quick release mounts is a bonus.

Waterproof would be nice.

No bling design. A nice black bag is fine. If you must bling it at all, put a little reflective piping on it.

Hope it helps...

Al

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
akmbikes wrote:

For me, in no particular order:

Space to carry two tubes, multitool with chain splitter,  2 tyre levers and, ideally, a few other bits and pieces summing up to the size of another inner tube.

It should be narrow.

A light loop that keeps the light pointing in the correct direction is a must. And it should be able to cope with a decent weight of light.

I'm prefer to have a cinch stap for the saddle and seat post but the one for the saddle should just go right round the bag. Much the best way, as it stays tightly on even if the stiching for the strap to the bag fails. And not having to purchase and fit the quick release mounts is a bonus.

Waterproof would be nice.

No bling design. A nice black bag is fine. If you must bling it at all, put a little reflective piping on it.

Hope it helps...

Al

 

Storage space for all the listed items - checked

Narrow to avoid bib/tight rubs - checked

A solid attachment place for rear light - checked

Solid and fail safe mean of attachment - checked

Water/weather proof - checked

Bling or black, with reflective deco - checked

I think you will like what you see when our product is ready yes

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gunswick [132 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

Topeak already make them, the XL size is great.

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
1 like
gunswick wrote:

Topeak already make them, the XL size is great.

what do you think about Topeak size M equivalent but with L size storage capability?

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rowes [105 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

In mine, one inner tube, levers, multitool, valve core tool, patches, small bandage, couple of plasters. If I ride In the dark I've a couple of bookman lights in the too. Longer rides maybe some gels or flapjacks shoved in. Out with the kids and wife I'll bring a dumbbell spanner.
I've had one that was almost like a gel case, so a bit firmer. It was great as its waterproof and easy to clean, particularly during winter and for off roading.
Universal clips between bag sizes and bikes is must. As are light loop too.
It would be nice to have a separate, easy to access card/coin section so you don't spill the entire contents outside the cafe.
Different colours sounds good, but meets to be cleanable.

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risoto [78 posts] 10 months ago
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I prefer to patch my punctured inner tube roadside (I ride alone) and carry the following:

1. Spare inner tube in plastic bag for pretection (for serious emergencies: if you ruin the tube patching it or if the valve fails)

2. 3 Tire levers (need them for very tight fit on my rims) plus I've broken several in the past. Get some from Tacx - unbreakable.

3. Patch kit - Park Tool or Lezyne. Pre-glued are worthless though they might get you home, they don't last.

4. Good pump - just got a Lezyne Road Drive mini pump (size  30

5. Multitool with built-in chain-tool (never had a chain break but might happen)

6. Quick/missing KMC link chain link

7. Tire boot from either Park Tool or Lezyne

8. Smartphone and credit in plastic bag stuffed in a top tube bag - I don't like to carry stuff in my jersey pockets.

I hate velcro saddle bags so it should click to the saddle rails and it should be possible to put a light on the back that DOESN'T fall off! (happened once - I lost it) Look to a secure solution on the Scicon brand.

 

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mikeymustard [34 posts] 10 months ago
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It's a big ask to have one bag to do everything.

I've made several saddle bags for myself, and also own a decent sized Carradice (Cadet).

I find a bag of about 15cm x 15 x 15  [around 3 litres] is a nice size for 2-5 hr rides - inside I keep multitool, couple of tubes, CO2, scabs, a sample-sized bottle of chain lube, pvc gloves, a couple of emergency cereal bars etc.

If I'm going for a leisurely day trip my carradice carries all of the above plus: flask and sandwiches, stuff like swimming kit, walking shoes, camera kit etc. and a light raincoat (on outside) and lock (also attached to the outside), with room for other stuff if necessary. It can also be used to carry some shopping home. Carradice claim the Cadet has 13Lcapacity but I think it's actually about 15L!

So if you could make a bag that will carry everything the Carradice can but be only about 15cm cubed, then not only will you have a bag for every eventuality but you'll probably get the Nobel prize for physics too!

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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mikeymustard wrote:

It's a big ask to have one bag to do everything.

I've made several saddle bags for myself, and also own a decent sized Carradice (Cadet).

I find a bag of about 15cm x 15 x 15  [around 3 litres] is a nice size for 2-5 hr rides - inside I keep multitool, couple of tubes, CO2, scabs, a sample-sized bottle of chain lube, pvc gloves, a couple of emergency cereal bars etc.

If I'm going for a leisurely day trip my carradice carries all of the above plus: flask and sandwiches, stuff like swimming kit, walking shoes, camera kit etc. and a light raincoat (on outside) and lock (also attached to the outside), with room for other stuff if necessary. It can also be used to carry some shopping home. Carradice claim the Cadet has 13Lcapacity but I think it's actually about 15L!

So if you could make a bag that will carry everything the Carradice can but be only about 15cm cubed, then not only will you have a bag for every eventuality but you'll probably get the Nobel prize for physics too!

 

We are definitely no Nobel prize winner, and it is out of our design scope to be able to carry everything that the Carradice can. Having said that we do try to achieve a storage capacity one step bigger than its size class typically offers. Hopefully you will like what you see when our solution finally came into fruition. Thanks for your inputs!

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drjohn [55 posts] 10 months ago
1 like
survivor wrote:

Hopefully you will like what you see when our solution finally came into fruitation. 

Did you mean to say "comes to fruition"....?

thewordisnotfruitation.com/

Unless your startup is actually called "fruitation", in which case I applaud both your literary genius and your clever marketing (not clever enough for a Nobel prize though).

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survivor [17 posts] 10 months ago
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drjohn wrote:
survivor wrote:

Hopefully you will like what you see when our solution finally came into fruitation. 

Did you mean to say "comes to fruition"....?

thewordisnotfruitation.com/

Unless your startup is actually called "fruitation", in which case I applaud both your literary genius and your clever marketing (not clever enough for a Nobel prize though).

 

Thanks for pointing that out. Sorry for my bad spelling.

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survivor [17 posts] 1 month ago
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Hi! It has been some time.

We are hard at work and we are very close now. Tentatively we are planning for October launch at Kickstarter. We are still working out the details.

As a preview, checkout https://www.vouel.com

If you are interested, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest updates from us! More details to come, stay tuned!

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kil0ran [1117 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Ah, nice idea. No issue with having the zip at the bottom if you can remove/replace so easily.

Been working on saddle position for the last week or so and one of my pet hates is removing and restrapping my saddle bag. Same frustration applies when putting the bike on the workstand.

Granted this is a very niche annoyance but even so I'm pleased to see a different approach.

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tugglesthegreat [103 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

For me Evoc Saddle Bag Tour is great. 

It will take two tubes, it's got mesh pouches inside to put leavers and tools. It also has a tarp material down the center part so cleaning mud off is easier. 

Having said all that I guess for some that would not be an ideal saddle bag and they only carry one tube or less don't care about the easy clean feature. 

 

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survivor [17 posts] 1 month ago
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tugglesthegreat wrote:

For me Evoc Saddle Bag Tour is great. 

It will take two tubes, it's got mesh pouches inside to put leavers and tools. It also has a tarp material down the center part so cleaning mud off is easier.

Having said all that I guess for some that would not be an ideal saddle bag and they only carry one tube or less don't care about the easy clean feature. 

 

SNAP.B has the option to take two tubes if needed and its easily clean as well.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2405 posts] 4 weeks ago
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What was the final internal dimensions of the bag?

Will it be carbon rail friendly, also as I mentioned earlier will it be oval rail compatible?

I ended up buying a Brooks Isle of Wight, it stays on the bike permenantly as I've no need to remove it so the quick release isn't that important to me. It's big enough that I can put foam cannister, tube, mini tool, food bar, you could just about get a packable rain jacket in.

It's certainly a good looking bag and not out of place on a cabon racer and no problems with oval carbon rails either.

Good luck with the product.

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