The Bridge Street Saddlebag came about via a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer, with the bags being manufactured in Warwickshire. It took a year to get the bag through development with 14 prototypes. That investment in getting it just right has paid off, because the end result is a real gem.
The appeal of the Bridge Street Saddlebag is that it uses an off-the-shelf Klickfix mounting system that can be fixed to any round seatpost. Unlike some saddlebag designs that hook onto the bottom of the saddle via small loops, the Bridge Street has been happily doing service on everything from traditional touring bikes to sub-7kg carbon race bikes during this long-term test.
Admittedly it looks a little out of place on a carbon race bike, but it certainly works just fine and if you have some long distance adventures planned this summer with an overnight stop, this is perhaps your best solution where you can't fit a rack, and don't want to carry a rucksack. It also doesn't have the old fashioned looks of a Carradice, the main choice in this small market, and you don't have to have a Brooks saddle with bag loops either.
Where the Bridge Street really scores well is in its lack of weight. It's very light. That's due to the hollow polymer frame and coated nylon exterior. The roll-top opening means it can accommodate varying loads easily and ensures it's waterproof. I've commuted in persistent rain and the contents remained dry.
Installing the bag onto the bike is pretty straightforward. You do have to remove the seatpost to fit the Klickfix mounting arm though. It'd be nice if the mount didn't necessitate the removal of the post to fit, but once on it is very secure. At the other end of the mounting arm is a one-click release bracket that snaps the bag securely into place.
It's all very solid; I've been testing it extensively for months including the occasional 110km round trip into the road.cc office, and even included some rough roads and gravel paths to test its ruggedness, and it's coped just fine.
How much can you fit in the bag? Plenty, that's for sure. Bridge Street offer three sizes; I tested the medium because that seemed like the best compromise for some commuting and light touring. That gives you 8 litres of capacity. The size small bag offers 4 litres and the large 15 litres. That should be plenty for most commutes, provided you don't have to carry a laptop; I got my seven-inch tablet in there just fine.
If you're going to use it touring as your primary bag, you'll have to travel extremely light. You can get a change of clothes in there and some lightweight shoes, some essentials, food and tools etc, but then you're starting to run out of space pretty quickly. You get a bit of extra load lugging ability with the twin straps under which you can stash a waterproof jacket and arm warmers.
It's worth bearing in mind the 5kg weight limit Bridge Street advise, but you'll probably want to keep your contents on the light side anyway. Because the medium bag is quite small, it's prevents you loading up too much stuff; it certainly focuses your attention on the absolute essentials.
Inside the main compartment is a small zipped pocket that is ideal for storing a mobile phone, wallet and house keys.
Because the Klickfix mounting system is also available for the handlebars, you could mount a size small bag to the bars, use the medium or large bag at the rear and have enough space for a few days touring the open road.
A light can be fixed to a small loop on the back, and this was really my only cause for complaint. Unless the bag is very carefully packed, the light could sag down and point towards the rear wheel, rather than at the traffic behind you. With the seatpost, the regular place for mounting lights, out of action because of the bag, I'd like to see a better solution to the light mounting for winter commuting and riding. There are a couple of reflective details and trim that boosts night time visibility however.
During riding you certainly don't notice the bag. Because it's centrally mounted, any weight is well balanced and after you get used to the extra weight through the first couple of corners, you soon forget it's there. And because it's tucked away behind your body, it doesn't impact your aero performance as much as a pair of panniers, making it ideal for speedy commuters or brisk tours.
Brilliantly simple saddle bag that can be fitted to any bike; ideal for commuting and light touring
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Make and model: Bridge Street Saddlebag - Medium
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?
The Bridge Street Saddlebag is constructed from two layers of high strength coated nylon, wrapped around a hollow polymer frame. The design of the bag means the fabric doesn't rub on anything as you ride, so we don't need heavy fabrics or reinforcements, while the waterproof coatings are safely sandwiched inside the bag for a longer life.
We use a standard, quick release mounting system on the back of our bags. You might have the very same thing on the back of a handlebar bag. It is simple, reliable and instant to use. Spare parts are widely available if you break something, or lose something, or want to use the same bag on other bikes. And yes, you can mount the Bridge Street Saddlebag up front if the shape of your bars permits it.
The Bridge Street Saddlebag has just a few, carefully chosen features. The lining material is a grey nylon that makes it easier to find your stuff without showing the stains of a tough life too much. There is a single zipped interior pocket that is big enough to hold a map. A discreet second zip provides access to the internal frame for crash repairs, and offers a secret place to stash your emergency bail-out cash.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
8 litres /500 cubic inches
500g/18oz including mounting hardware
Everyday use, from day rides to long-distance, hotel-based tours
The high mounting bracket has a load limit of 5kg (11lb). The low bracket has a slightly higher load limit of 7kg (15lb). It is hard to fit the Large bag on the low bracket, however, unless you are very tall or ride a bike with particularly small wheels. So 5kg is probably the practical weight limit for most people.
Handmade in the UK the quality of construction is brilliant and it's been extensively long-term tested through the winter and spring and survived just fine.
A brilliant solution for commuting and touring, and it fits any bike (as long as it has a round seatpost) so you've got no excuse for not planning that multi-day adventure now.
I've purposely waited until writing this review because I wanted to properly long-term test it, and it's stood up just fine.
At just over 500g for the lot there aren't many lighter luggage solutions out there.
The price seems very reasonable taking into account it's made right here in the UK.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly simple and well designed, it's also rugged and durable, and very light.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It looks good, it's light, and it can be fitted to just about any road bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The light loop sags unless you pay particular attention to loading the bag.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I'd give this bag a 10/10 if the light bracket were a little better designed, other than that it's a very smart product that meets its intentions spot on.
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.